Chess is one of the games that are played unanimously in all parts of the world. People of every region, religion, caste, creed, and gender show a keen interest in playing chess. Also, chess is suitable for people of every age group. Where on one hand, it is suggested that children should start learning to play chess from an early age as it triggers the development of the brain and makes it sharper, on the other hand, chess becomes a method to kill boredom and a way to recreation for elderly people as they get to involve their brains into something productive in the otherwise unpredictable old age. The frenzy for chess is not a new affair. The game has been played for centuries now. But with time, the sport hasn’t lost its essence and has rather gained more popularity and has become one of the most engaging games globally.
The exact and the earliest origin of chess is quite uncertain however the history of the game dates back to around 1500 years ago when chess was developed in India in its predecessor form. The game of chess then traveled to Persia and was further taken to Southern Europe by Arabs. Later in Europe around the 15th century, Chess took roughly the form in which it exists today. The oldest recorded chess game was, however, played in Valencia in 1475AD. The game remained unfound and unknown for almost five centuries. It was discovered much later in the year 1905 in some archives. The players called Francesco di Castellvi and NarciscoVinyoles competed against each other in the game.

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The manuscript is in the form of a Catalan poem dating back to the 15th Century with the title “Scachs d’ Amor.” The game played by Venus and Mars is said to be accompanied in this text and is believed to be the oldest recorded chess game ever additionally with the modern-day rules with which the game is played even today. Late Dr. Josep Miquel Sobrer of Indiana University played a significant role by translating the poem into English into a much easily readable form which is available in the present.
The poem is called ‘The Chess Game of Love.’ It has been collectively written by three people, Don Francí de Castellví and Narcís Vinyoles and Mossèn [Bernat de] Fenollar. It is notable to mention that they have written this under the disguise of names of three planets: Mars, Venus, and Mercury. A brief account of the influence with which the work has been devised is discussed below turn by turn for all the three planets:-
• Mars
The game of Mars has been carried by Don Francí de Castellví. He was the owner of a number of towns in his time and also served as the advisor to King Ferdinand in the Aragonese Court. It is believed that he was definitely a member of a distinguished Valencian family. He takes the name of Love and his standard is found to be red with pieces that are white in color. He has considered his King as reason; his Queen as will; his Rooks, desires; his Bishops, thoughts; his Knights, praises and his Pawns as services.
• Venus
The game of Venus was carried by Narcís Vinyoles. He was a politician and used to write. At the time when this game was played, Narcís was quite famous for his literary compositions and productions. It is said that he belonged to a lawyer’s family of that period. In the game, he takes the name of Glory. His standard has been green with the pieces that were black in color. Unlike Castellví, he has considered his King as honor; his Queen as beauty; his Rooks, reserve; his Bishops, sweet glances; his Knights, disdain; his Pawns as services.

• Mercury
The effects of mercury were spoken by Mossèn Fenollar. He was an arbiter or commentator by profession. Just like Castellví, he is also believed to have his roots in a celebrated Valencian family. There were a lot of fields and an arena in which he was quite efficient and popular. He was not only a priest and a mathematician but also a prominent organizer of cultural events and additionally, a literary patron. Experts say that being fervor about chess, he was the soul of the chess group. It is quite ambiguous to mention that he was the first-ever author of a chess book, which is unfortunately believed to have disappeared later from history.

He firstly scanned the board, compared it to Time, and counted the number of houses that were found to be sixty-four. Later, he penned down sixty-four stanzas to answer them. He put forward the pacts and laws that are mandatory to be followed by the chess players.

The poem has been written in such a way that the stanzas are in chain form [ABAB/BAB/CC]. Every stanza has nine lines each that are in sequential order. Four, three, and then two, and this are how they must all have been written and should be read. The first stanza talks about the white moves, the next represents the black ones, and the third mentions and comments about the rules and pacts that were and have to be followed. In the other inscriptions of the manuscript found later in history, one can find the sum of the literal sense they intended to make. Also, the rules and the pacts that are to be followed by the people who aim to play chess are also briefed in it.
The game gave some of the flamboyant moves that are put into use even today when almost five and half centuries have passed. For instance, the Center Counter Defense is one of the oldest asymmetric defenses and was first recorded in the game between Castellví and Vinyoles. The defense was later mentioned by Lucena in 1497. The poem holds that Castellví played with the modern-day white pieces while Vinyoles played with the modern-day black ones. It is noteworthy that green and red are still used as the color of chess pieces in Xiangqi.

Author's Bio: 

Noman Jahangir
Managing Partner
Saswath Academy - We provide Chess classes for kids in Bangalore as well as online chess coaching.