Chess Rules Then and Now

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The exact origins of chess are still unclear though others believe that the game was based on the Indian Chaturanga, which literally means “four” and “arm”.

The ancient “chess” game used pieces that are slightly similar to modern chess, as well as movements. However, the rules of such a game are yet to be clarified. In every game there are rules and chess in not an exception. In fact, there are several rules that govern the competitive and recreational game. However, the question really is, where did the rules came from and how were they developed?

Early Chess Rules
During the 16th century, the rules of modern chess took form in Italy. Since then, the rules of the game have evolved continuously. Going back centuries in the past, before the modern rules even took form in Italy, chess was played very slowly, with some games lasting for several days. There are other variations of the rules that began to change the shape of the game during the 1300s. The most notable, though originally unpopular, change in the rules was the ability of the pawn to move two squares during the first move instead of one.

After 1475 A.D., there are new modifications in the rules that further led to the evolution of the game. For instance, the queen was introduced and made a powerful new piece. This eventually led to the additional value attached to the previously considered minor tactic called the pawn promotion.

In Chaturanga, the war elephant has also evolved into the bishop, thus providing more range. The noticeable changes in the rules also gave way to the rise of figures that are “unwarlike”. Eventually, chess moved closer to the court and ordinary household due to the departure of pure military symbolism to the game, which was noticeably prevalent in India and Persia.

Rise of the Modern Chess Rules Specifically during the Middle Ages, a new set of rules for the game had emerged. Within this principle, both the rook and the king acquired the privilege to castle, which is a variation of the move, called Castling. Since the pawns were given the chance to move two squares during the first move, the en passant rule was consequential. More so, the pawns gained the capability to be promoted to a higher rank if they were able to reach the eighth rank.

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Aside from those rules, there are other three guidelines that were introduced, which eventually changed through the years. Firstly, there was the stalemate rule that forever changed the outcome of chess games several times. Secondly, the threefold repetition was also added. Lastly, the fifty move rule was also added, in which a draw can be claimed if there has been no evident pawn movement and capture of any piece during the last fifty numbers of moves.

Since then, the rules of the chess game have been slightly altered until the early 19th century, during which the game reached its current form. Nowadays, the fundamental chess rules are widely accepted among both international and national chess governing bodies, like the USCF or the United States Chess Federation and the FIDE or the World Chess Federation.

However, even if the rules of the chess game has evolved, the basic objective of the game remains the same – to threaten the opponent’s most valuable piece, the king, with a checkmate.