Skip to content

31 Facts about the Game of Chess

Persian Chess Board

Chess is a game that has been played for centuries and continues to fascinate people of all ages and backgrounds. It is a game that requires intelligence, patience, and strategic thinking. Here are 31 chess facts that will impress you.

  1. Chess is believed to have originated in India in the 6th century AD.
  2. Chess is one of the oldest games in the world, with its origins dating back over 1500 years to ancient India.
  3. The word “chess” comes from the Persian word “shah,” which means “king.”
  4. Chess is played on a board consisting of 64 squares, with each player starting with 16 pieces: one king, one queen, two rooks, two knights, two bishops, and eight pawns.
  5. The queen is the most powerful piece on the board, able to move in any direction as far as she wants.
  6. The knight is the only piece that can jump over other pieces on the board.
  7. The bishops are limited to moving diagonally and can only move on squares of the same color they start on.
  8. The rooks can only move horizontally or vertically but can move as far as they want in a straight line.
  9. The word “checkmate” comes from the Persian phrase “shah mat,” which means “the king is helpless.”
  10. The king is the most important piece on the board, and the objective of the game is to put your opponent’s king in “checkmate,” meaning it is under attack and cannot escape capture on the next move.
  11. The game of chess has a staggering number of possible moves, estimated to be around 10^120, making it one of the most complex games ever created.
  12. The highest-rated chess player of all time is the Norwegian Magnus Carlsen from Norway. As of May 2023, Carlsen’s official rating is 2859.
  13. The highest-rated female chess player of all time is Hou Yifan, with a peak rating of 2686.
  14. Chess has been used in studies on cognitive psychology, with research showing that playing chess can improve memory, problem-solving skills, and creativity.
  15. In 1997, a computer program called Deep Blue defeated world champion Garry Kasparov in a match, marking the first time a computer had beaten a human in a chess game.
  16. The longest recorded chess game in history took 269 moves and ended in a draw. This game was Ivan Nikolic vs. Goran Arsovic and lasted over 20 hours.
  17. The shortest recorded chess game in history took just two moves, known as the “Fool’s Mate”.
  18. The first chess-playing robot was developed in 1770 by Wolfgang von Kempelen and was named The Turk.
  19. The world’s most expensive chess set is Jewel Royale is worth more than $9.8 million, which uses 146 diamonds and 73 rubies studded in 165.2 grams of 18-carat gold.
  20. The bishop was originally called the “elephant” in India and the Middle East.
  21. The first recorded chess game played in space was between Soyuz 9 spacecraft cosmonauts Andrian Nikolayev and Vitaly Sevastyanov on June 1, 1970.
  22. The first known female chess player was the 12th-century queen of Georgia, Tamar the Great.
  23. The oldest chess piece in the world is a 5.5-centimeter ivory king discovered in the ancient city of Afrasiyab in Uzbekistan, dating back to the 8th century.
  24. The world’s first chess tournament was held in London in 1851, and the winner was Adolf Anderssen of Germany.
  25. The “Sicilian Defense” is the most popular opening move in chess.
  26. The first chess manual was written in Arabic in the 9th century, titled “The Book of Chess”.
  27. The youngest person to become a chess grandmaster is Abhimanyu Mishra, who achieved the title at the age of 12 years, 4 months and 25 days.
  28. The oldest person to win the world chess championship is Wilhelm (William) Steinitz, who was 56 years old when he won his final title in 1894.
  29. The most famous chess tournament in history is the 1972 World Chess Championship, which was held in Reykjavik, Iceland, and featured the legendary match between Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky.
  30. The game of chess has inspired many movies, including “Searching for Bobby Fischer,” “The Luzhin Defense,” and “Queen to Play”.
  31. The game of chess has been featured in many famous paintings, including “The Chess Players” by Thomas Eakins.


  1. – History of Chess
  2. Master Class – Who Invented Chess? Learn About the History of Chess
  3. Chess Journal
  4. Chess House
Bogdan Kravets

Bogdan Kravets

Bogdan Kravets is the founder of FactsID. He has over 7 years of experience in collecting facts, SEO, and Digital Marketing. In his spare time, he studies psychology and sociology.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *