A brief history of chess, intended as part of a general chess themed night.
Discussion group based around the following.
Chess is one of the most popular games in the world, for both adults and children.
Who's heard of it? In what way is chess different from, for instance, Snakes and Ladders?
In history, chess can be found as far back as 1400 years ago in India, where the pieces were infantry, cavalry, elephants and chariots- which have now become the pawns, knights, bishops and rooks. Even then, it seems to be based on earlier games from Afghanistan and Persia, now called Iran. It spread through Europe 1000 years ago, slowly changing, and by around 500 years ago was pretty much the game we have now. So as well as being very popular, it's also very old.
Chess is an officially recognised sport, according to the International lympic Committee. It became a sport in 1850, with the first modern chess tournament being held in London, in 1851. Now, there's the World Chess Championship every two years, and there's lots of other chess competitions and tournaments.
Because chess is a complex game, computer programmers have been working on making computers play it well. They started about 50 years ago, and at the beginning nobody thought it would be possible for a computer to beat a human. But in 1997, a computer called Deep Blue, by IBM, managed to beat Garry Kasparov, who was the world champion chess player of the time.
The current world champion is Viswanathan Anand, of India.