Who Invented Chess? Read Along To Find Out!


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When we play any game, especially one like chess which has a rich history and impressive phenomena, we want to know where it all started, right?

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Who is the inventor of chess games and how did they come up with the concept? Who has invented chess and why? What are the other names for chess? Who was the first grandmaster in chess?

Thus, today, we will address these important questions including who created the chess game and the reason why chess has become such a popular game. So let’s get started, shall we?

The history of chess – who invented chess game first?

The history of who invented chess is fascinating, especially to Indians. As it so happens, chess originated in India in the northern regions where the Gupta Empire reigned in the 6th century, thus making the game at least 1500 years old.

To answer the question of who was invented the chess game, we need to note that chess was formerly known as Chaturanga, which loosely translated means ‘The four cavalries.’ The gameplay of chess was developed as a means to map out the attacks and defenses of the 4 sections of the cavalry in wars at the time.

The 4 main divisions of war were represented as the infantry division or pawns, the cavalry or knights, the elephantry division or bishops (hence known as elephants on Indian and Spanish chessboards), and the chariot or the rooks.

The game soon spread over to Arab countries and was established among the rulers of the time. Thereafter, with the Spanish wars and European struggles, the game of Chaturanga took a life of its own and spread through the western world. We will discuss this in a minute.

Finally, around Europe, chess got a new name and they established the ground rules for the gameplay. There are several records that claim the name of the person who invented chess was Commander Han Xin who wanted to demonstrate an upcoming battle with strategy but the claims remain unverified.

How was chess propagated through the world?

As we have mentioned, the answer to who invented chess ends as far back as India in the 6th century. Soon after, the gameplay spread Persia.

When the Arab countries invaded Persia, the game of chaturanga was adopted by the Islamic world and played at the courts of several world leaders of the time.

With the Spanish invasion, the game soon traversed to the Latin countries and was soon becoming quite popular with European nations as well.

People who played the games at the time wrote books about the different playable chess moves and possible strategies that became popular among war strategists.

Around the 15th century, when the game finally took a foothold in southern Europe, the game was given a universal name. Who invented chess name or the exact name of the person who invented chess is still unknown. We would like to believe it was one of the strategists in the Gupta royal court. However, as the game spread through the European countries, it began attracting attention and gained the reputation of being the best mind-sharpening game.

The evolution of chess is just as interesting as knowing who invented chess in the first place. Given that the original pieces and gameplay differ immensely as compared to the layouts, strategies, and game-tracking used in the current times, we need to know how chess evolved to be what it is today.

How chess evolved – who invented chess name and gameplay as we know it today?

As you know, chess spread to the Southern European nations around the 15th century but aside from the chess books left by the chess masters of the time, there are very few records for how the gameplay evolved.

The most reliable sources date back to the 1850s and by then most of the basic principles of chess gameplay were already established.

The first chess game was played by Ruy Lopez who was a priest. His talents at the table made that game one of the greatest chess games of all time, at least at that time. The move that he played, and was subsequently named after him was actually not something he invented. He had studied several books on chess moves published before his time but since he was the first recorded person to use the move, it was named after him. The question of who invented the chess game move that he played was irrelevant.

Soon after, as the gameplay evolved, the strategies of capturing pieces, mating the enemy, and playing multi-level threats came into play. Since the beginning of chess, there have been several best chess Grandmasters whose gameplays popularized the game even more till it became a household phenomenon. The first grandmaster was William Lewis who would have attained the title had the concept been in motion during the 1590s. The best chess grandmasters include names like Fabiano Caruana, Magnus Carlsen, Gary Kasparov, and many others.

Ever since the greatest chess games of all time began to draw traction, the gameplay has evolved. Who invented chess no longer matters. What matters is how the gameplay these days has started to incorporate more steady strategies and the number of captures per game has reduced. In the earlier days, it was all about making the captures and leaving the enemy’s king at a disadvantage. In current times, with the evolution of chess, capturing has taken a back seat. Instead, chess players focus more on playing unique strategies to checkmate the opponent’s king in as few moves as they possibly can.

These days, chess is no longer played for the intents it was invented. Nowadays, chess is more of a professional venture where people can play the game and attain FIDE titles and grand prizes.

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