Whitcomb Chess Castle

History of Chess

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Western chess, also called International Chess, evolved a few centuries ago in Europe, but the roots go back over a thousand years, with a somewhat similar game existing around northern India.

 

Wilhelm Steinitz became world chess champion in 1866 and reigned until his match with Emanuel Lasker in 1894. In 1873, he revealed a new approach to chess playing: a system that would become known as modern chess strategy. From the middle of the 19th Century until around the end of it, the romantic chess style was most popular, but the theoretical contribution of Steinitz revolutionized master competition strategy.

 

Romantic chess strategy consisted of attempts to create opening lines for attacking an opponent. One of its chief proponents was the American Paul Morphy, perhaps the strongest chess player in the world in the mid-19th Century.

 

Modern chess strategy, proposed and practiced by Steinitz, involved applying principles of both defense and attack. Even in cramped positions, proper application of modern strategy prevents an attacker from succeeding. When the pieces are placed correctly, an attack will probably fail. An example of one principle is using pawns to prevent enemy knights from getting too close or obtaining key squares.

 

Hypermodern chess was introduced in the early 20th Century. One of its proponents was Aaron Nimzovich. An important aspect of hypermodern play consists of allowing an opponent to occupy the center of the board with pawns, then attack those pawns, eliminate them, and occupy the center with pieces (modern chess includes the practice of trying to control the center by occupying it with pawns).

 

By the middle of the 20th Century, modern and hypermodern strategies merged into one unnamed system of approach, used by grandmasters until the present. Particular applications of modern and hypermodern principles depend mostly on the opening.