Sunday, September 19, 2010

Fun Chess Facts

Fun Chess Facts:

  • The number of possible, unique chess games is far greater than the number of electrons in the universe! The number of electrons is estimated to be a mere 1079, while the number of unique chess games is 10120.
  • Chess is called the game of kings, because for many centuries it was played primarily by nobility and the upper classes.
  • The world's oldest known surviving complete chess set was found in the Isle of Lewis. The pieces are made from walrus tusks.
  • The rook is named from an Arabic word "rukh", meaning chariot. This reflects its ability to move quickly in straight lines, but not leap over obstacles. During the Middle Ages, when chariots were no longer in use, the rook was gradually modified to look more like the turret of a castle.
  • Some believe the word 'checkmate' comes from the Persian phrase 'shah mat' which means 'the king is defeated'.
  • Lewis Carrol's book Through the Looking Glass was based on a chess game. In the same way, Alice in Wonderland was based on playing cards.
  • The folding chess board was originally invented in 1125 by a chess-playing priest. Since the Church forbade priests from playing chess, he hid his chess board by making one that looked simply like two books lying together.

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