Who Invented Chess?

Chess is an ancient game that has remained popular and beloved by millions of people still to this day.

Most people at least know of the game, even if they don’t fully understand how to play it, but not many people know where chess originated from.

Who Invented Chess?

Who invented chess? Where does it come from? How did it become so popular?

The origins of chess are highly debated and are considered very controversial because no one has a definitive answer on who exactly invented it, but there are many theories on where it originated from.

In this article, we will be telling you everything you need to know about what chess is and who actually invented it! So read on to find out!

What Is Chess?

Chess is one of the oldest and most popular board games in the world.

It is a two-player game, played on a checkered board, with one player taking charge of the white pieces and the other taking charge of the black pieces.

White always moves first and then the players alternate each move, taking each other’s pieces with the overall objective to put your opponent’s King in the “Checkmate” position.

If you achieve Checkmate, then you have won the game.

Chess is a strategy game, designed to teach players how to use long-term strategy as efficiently and effectively as possible.

There are a very distinct set of rules that must be followed when playing the game and each piece has a set format in which it can move.

The moves and rules we know today have changed a lot over time, chess played in the 6th century would be practically unrecognizable to us as it was basically a different game!

It sounds like a lot to remember, but once you learn how to play chess, it is a great game to play and you feel a great sense of accomplishment when you beat your opponent!

Who Invented Chess?

So, who invented chess? Well, the answer isn’t as cut and dry as giving you a single name.

Who and where the game was invented is heavily debated and speculated among chess enthusiasts and historians. The origins of chess are highly debatable.

There are so many legends, stories, and even just straight-up guesses as to who and where the game was invented, so there isn’t a definitive answer to who invented it.

One legend comes from India, involving the Indian king, Shahram.

A wise man came to Shahram and wanted to show him the importance of each of his subjects in his kingdom.

To show the king their importance, the wise man created chess, using the king, queen, bishops, rooks, and pawns to represent the residences of the king’s kingdom.

King Shahram loved the game so much that he ordered everyone in his kingdom to play and learn the game.

This legend is one of the most popular when it comes to the debate about where chess was invented.

The story of the wise man and King Shahram is one of the more popular legends associated with chess, there is a massive variety of other legends you can look into as well.

Chinese Roots In Chess

Chinese Roots In Chess

Though India is one of the more popular places that chess was invented, there are actually a lot of people who believe that chess actually originated in China.

Those who believe it originated in China believe that it was invented in China in 200 B.C. by a commander called Hán Xin.

He created the game to represent a particular battle.

Not long after that battle, the game was forgotten again until the 7th Century, and it resurfaced with several new rules.

It became popular under the name “XiangQi” which meant the “Elephant Game”.

It completely lost any reference to the battle it was supposedly created after and it was extremely different from the chess we know and love today.

People that believe this is the actual place it came from also believe it migrated from China to India and Persia and continued to spread throughout the world, slowly modifying into the chess game we now know.

The History Of Chess: The Romantic Era To The Digitized Era

The game continued to change until about the 15th century.

It went through prohibitions on occasion where no one was allowed to play it and it just about survived sanctions from the Christian Church.

Up until the 1880s, it continued to change until the version we still know today was officially established. This period of time is known as the “Romantic Era of Chess”.

The game continued to grow in popularity and started to get competitive. Chess Tournaments began to spread throughout the world and Competitive Chess was born.

The first official World Chess Tournament was held in 1886 and Wilhelm Steinitz became the very first official World Chess Champion.

The 20th Century saw chess enter the digital age through chess engines and databases.

This was quickly followed by chess websites and online chess games and the “Romantic Era of Chess” then evolved into the “Digitized Era of Chess”.


Although we don’t have a definitive answer for “who invented chess” there are luckily lots of theories we can ponder on.

It’s up to you which of these theories you believe really!

Do you believe it was invented by a wise man in India or are you more convinced it was invented by a war commander in 200 A.D China?

Do you believe in a completely different theory altogether? Regardless of what the correct answer is, whoever the official inventor of chess was, we applaud them.

Chess has remained one of the most popular board games for centuries, and it doesn’t seem to be declining in popularity any time soon!

If you don’t know how to play but you’re interested in learning, look for some guides online, watch some tutorial videos and try it out for yourself!

When you know how to play, chess is an extremely enjoyable and stimulating game!

Jenna Ostria
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