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Chess

The game of chess is the #1 ranked board game in the world. This ranking is made by both casual players, of which there are countless millions, and serious aficionados, which number slightly less. The popular game of chess has been around a long time, but still draws new fans every day. Chess is played everywhere, by all ages and nationalities, and chess sets come in a variety of styles and options, even in sets that include other popular games. What does the game involve? And, what is the history of chess?

Chess, described
The way that chess is played, like its history, can take many turns. Played on a chessboard, which has 64 squares arranged in an eight-by-eight grid pattern, with eight numbered rows (or “ranks”) and eight lettered columns (called “files’). The game uses 32 pieces, with 16 for each of the two players. Each player’s pieces include one king, one queen, two rooks, two knights, two bishops and eight pawns; pawns all look the same, but the other pieces have different, meaningful shapes. One side uses all black pieces, the other all white ones, and there is a specific arrangement of pieces on the board, that does not vary, as well as a unique style for each piece’s movements.

The objective of each player is to trap their opponent’s king in “checkmate,” a position from which no move will provide escape. This ends the game, as does the “resignation” of a player, and there are also “stalemate” endings, which leave both players in a draw. Clock-timed games can end when a player does not move in time, and games with limited numbers of moves or other rules will also determine the loss of one side. Excitement is palpable from the “opening” moves (which can determine the game’s end, actually), builds during the “middlegame” and peaks as final moves occur during the “endgame.”

Popularity of chess
Children and teens, like adults, love the game for its endless ongoing strategies and the fun, skill and intellect it entails. There are endless turns the game can take as planned moves are countered by an opponent. Chess can be played against others online, against a computer, or over time via other communications techniques - since each position and move is denoted by its rank & file location. But, having the physical pieces in hand, on the board, with the variety of piece shapes and types of boards available makes it especially fun to have your own set.

Chess origins
The pieces themselves were the first chess elements seen by Europeans. King-piece tokens were carried by Muslim traders before the game itself was introduced there around the 9th century. Believed to have originated in the 6th century in India and known as Chaturanga, chess had military divisions represented by game pieces that evolved into today’s well-known ones, and used dice. Writings and revisions of rules and pieces appeared over the centuries as the game, growing more popular, was seen and played in Spain, then France, and on to London. There, in the 19th century, chess competitions between clubs, and then between cities developed, as did more publications, further popularizing the game.

Modern chess
England saw the first modern-times tournament for chess in 1851, organized by well-known player Howard Staunton. Two years earlier, in 1849, John Jaques II - one of the early creators of today’s renowned games manufacturer, Jaques of London - had already won rights to produce the first chess set available for popular purchase, using the designs for chess pieces still popular today. It was called the Staunton Chess Set, and became the official international standard for chess sets, which still applies. Jaques sells dozens of unique chess sets, from simple to ornate, many named after famous events and players, all made with unmatched quality. The company is truly a creator of chess history, as well as its best representative.

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