Chess

 

Chess is one of the most popular board games in the world and probably the most well-known. Chess is a battle of the mind, with two players competing against each other using wit, strategy and tactics with nothing left to chance.

Played on an eight-by-eight square board with 16 pieces per side, chess is deceptively simple but as mathematical analysis shows, the number of potential games is enormous - in fact, greater than the total number of atoms in the universe.

Chess requires the ability to think many moves ahead, but also a high level of intuition, which is why humans can still compete with computers. This is particularly the case in speed chess and blitz chess, when there is a restriction on the time allowed for a move.

 History

Chess is believed to have originated in ancient India, with the earliest pieces excavated by archaeologists dating back to 3000BC, although a competing theory traces the game back to China.

The game gradually spread west through the Muslim world, reaching Europe by the 10th century. There were many different variations, so players had to make a gentleman's agreement on the rules before a match could start.

By the end of the 15th century, the modern rules were almost all in place after the Europeans extended the power of the queen and the bishop. The list of unofficial world champions goes back to this time, as there was usually one player regarded as the best (or at least the most famous) in the world, with the title passing from champion to challenger.

The World Chess Federation (FIDE - after the French language Federation Internationale des Echecs) was founded in Paris in 1924 and formalised the world championship in 1946 where Mikhail Botvinnik was the first official world champion. In 1993, FIDE organised the first knockout world championship, replacing the old challenge system.

FIDE was recognised by the International Olympic Committee in June 1999. Chess was made its Asian Games debut at Doha 2006.

 Rules

Each player has 16 pieces: a king, a queen, two rooks, two bishops, two knights and eight pawns. Pieces are either white or black.

The object of chess is to force a position where your opponent's king cannot escape capture, a position known as "checkmate".

The players take turns moving their pieces, with the "white" player always moving first. By moving on to a square containing an opponent's piece, it is possible to make a capture and remove that piece from the game.

When making a move that threatens the opponent's king, a player must inform his opponent by saying "check". When the king cannot escape, that is "checkmate" and the game is over.

Championship games rarely get this far. Top players can analyse the position so far ahead they usually either force a resignation or agree to a draw.

The 15th Asian Games features a mixed team competition played over nine matches in two different formats: classical (with a time limit of 90 minutes for each player's moves, and 30 seconds added after every move) and rapid (where the limit is 25 minutes with a 10 second addition).

The three-person team comprises two males and one female player.