Fact File about the Invention of Chess: Invention: Chess *** Date of Invention: 200 B.C. *** Name of Inventor: Han Xin *** Lifespan of Inventor: c. 231 - 196 BC *** Nationality of Inventor: Chinese *** Historical Period: Ancient World (3500 BC - 600BC) *** Country of Origin: Ancient China *** Facts about the Inventor, Han Xin, and the invention of
Fact 1: Who invented Chess? Chess was invented by Han Xin in 200 B.C. during the Ancient World era of inventions (3500 BC - 600BC)
Fact 2: Who invented Chess? Prior to the invention of Chess in 200 B.C.,
there were many other board games. The oldest board game, called Senet, dates
back to the Ancient Egyptians and the game was found in the tomb of Tutankhamen.
The ancient game of 'Snakes and Ladders' originated in India.
Fact 3: Who invented Chess? Strategic Board games, similar to chess, were
also played in Ancient Times. A Celtic strategy board game, a wargame, called 'Tafl'
was played in the 4th century on a checkered board with two armies of uneven
numbers played with black and white pieces. The objective of the king was to
escape, or capture, the attackers who try to capture the king.
Fact 4: Who invented Chess? The Vikings played a similar version called
Hnefatafl, which spread across all the countries visited by the Vikings. The
word 'Tafl' derives from the Latin word 'tabula' meaning "board".
Fact 5: Who invented Chess? In the 6th century an ancient Indian
strategy board game, called Chaturanga, was played on an uncheckered board in
the Gupta Empire, India. The objective in chaturanga, was the same as in chess,
to checkmate the opponent's Raja (king).
Fact 6: Who invented Chess? The game of chess is a variant of the board
games 'Tafl' and Chaturanga. The Chinese inventor of Chess, Han Xin, was born on c. 231 in Huaian, Jiangsu Province, China and died on 196 BC.
Fact 5: Who invented Chess? The early years of Han Xin were spent in Huaian, Jiangsu Province, China where he was raised by his
poor, impoverished family. Han Xin aspired to leave his world of low status and
poverty to become employed in the wealthy surroundings of the Imperial royal
Fact 6: Who invented Chess? The only way a man could achieve his ambition
to gain employment in the Imperial service was to either become a eunuch or to
join the military. Not surprisingly, Han Xin chose the military and spent his
spare time practising sword techniques and learning about the tactics and
strategies of Chinese generals and commanders.
Fact 7: Who invented Chess? In 209 BC, Han Xin took his chance at
achieving his ambition by joining a rebel army led by Xiang Liang, a leader of
the common people, who aimed to overthrow the Qin dynasty (221 to 206 BC). The
military career of Han Xin started from humble beginnings as he undertook sentry
duty and helped with preparing meals.
Fact 8: Who invented Chess? Disillusioned, Han Xin left the camp to join
Liu Bang, who also supported the rebellion against the tyranny of the Qin
Dynasty. Liu Bang was born of peasant stock, just like Han Xin, but was destined
to become the first emperor of the Han Dynasty (202 BC - 220 AD).
Fact 9: Who invented Chess? Han Xin had a rocky start with his new
commanders but was eventually raised to the position of a general in the army.
His tactics and strategies were recognized as some of the greatest employed in
the history of the Chinese military and were described in the influential
'Thirty-Six Stratagems', a series of stratagems used in politics, war, and civil
Fact 10: Who invented Chess? Han Xin played a significant role in
victories at the Battle of Jingsuo, the Battle of Jingxing, the Battle of Wei
River and the Battle of Gaixia. It is therefore not surprising that his vast
knowledge of strategy and tactics led him to devise the game of chess which is
also filled with military symbolism. Han Xin died on 196 BC, but his named is
remembered as the inventor of chess.
Fact 11: Who invented Chess? The objective of Chess was to capture the
opponent's king, known as "general" on one side and "governor" on the other.
Fact 13: Who invented Chess?
This first chess game
was called "The game to capture Xiang Qi" in
Han Xin's early experiences
when Xiang Qi had shunned his ideas on military tactics and strategy.
The name given to the game became known as 'xiangqi'.
Fact 12: Who invented Chess? The Chinese chess pieces of 'xiangqi' were
different to the modern pieces being flat, resembling those used in checkers,
whose pieces were differentiated by writing their names on the flat surface.
Fact 13: Who invented Chess? The original chess game of 'xiangqi' was
taken from China to Persia and India and then on to Europe where the Chinese
method of using inscribed pieces to play the game were replaced by actual
figures to represent the roles of the pieces. The European form of Chess was
only introduced in China during the 19th century was never been as popular as 'Xiangqi'.
Fact 14: Who invented Chess? The game of Chess reached Europe via Silk
Road traders during the Medieval era in 1300 and evolved into the modern game of
chess during the 1500's.
Fact 15: Who invented Chess? The names of the European pieces reflected
the history of the times when Kings and Queens warred against different
countries, attacking or defending castles that were critical to the outcome of
Fact 16: Who invented Chess? The word 'pawn' is a derivative of the Old
French word 'pan' meaning "pledge" and 'pehon'or 'pedonem' meaning "foot
soldier. At the time French was the common language used in many royal courts,
including England. The word 'pledge' was highly significant, and a key element
of Medieval feudalism, when a promise of faithful service to a lord, called the
Oath of Fealty was made by all knights. Medieval knights were expected to
provide trained foot soldiers to fight for the King and Queen. So the 'pawns' in
chess referred to the common foot soldiers who were often the first to be
sacrificed in battles.
Fact 17: Who invented Chess? The roles of the chess pieces reflected the
Medieval pyramid of power in the Feudal system consisting of the King, the
Queen, the Knights, the Bishops, the Vassals and the Serfs (foot soldiers).
Fact 18: Who invented Chess? The chess checkerboard represented the
battlefield upon which the pieces fought on. The defence or attack using a
castle was often key to winning a game of chess.
Fact 18: Who invented Chess? The term 'Rook' is the alternative name for
the Castle in chess. The word 'rook' derives from the Medieval Latin word 'rocca'
meaning "fortress or stronghold".
Fact 18: Who invented Chess? Symbolism: The symbolism of modern chess
pieces therefore reflect Medieval feudalism, people, warfare and battles. The
King is the most important chess piece and also the most prominent, tallest
piece, represented by king's crown with an orb surmounted by a cross, an emblem
of the monarchy and a Christian symbol of authority.
Fact 18: Who invented Chess? Symbolism: The Queen as the second most
prominent chess piece, represented by a smaller queen's crown or coronet.
Fact 18: Who invented Chess? Symbolism: The bishop represented the church
and religion, so often defended in battle. The chess piece is in the shape of a
mitre, a traditional, ceremonial head-dress that rises to a peak that is worn by
Fact 18: Who invented Chess? Symbolism: The well armed Knight supported
their liege lord in battle riding a warhorse called a Destrier, hence the symbol
of the head of a horse as the chess piece to represent a knight.
Fact 18: Who invented Chess? Symbolism: The lowly rook, or pawn, is the
smallest and the most numerous of the chess pieces. It is the foot soldier in
the front line on a chessboard, easily sacrificed and represented by a low,
plain, rounded top.
Fast Info and Fact File: Country of Origin: Ancient China *** Name of Inventor: Han Xin *** Nationality of Inventor: Chinese *** Date of Invention: 200 B.C. *** Invention: Chess *** Lifespan of Inventor: c. 231 - 196 BC *** Invention Era: Ancient World (3500 BC - 600BC) *** The Inventor and Invention of