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Birth of Modern Chess & The Romantic Era
Compiled by SirChrislov

<"The game is so ancient that, by that distinction alone,
seems taken beyond the category
of games altogether, and it has been said
that it probably would have perished
long ago, had it not been destined
to live forever.">
-Henry Edward Bird

The God Euphron created the game of chess, and Ares presented it as a gift to the forest nymph Caissa in an attempt to win her affection, tells one greek-mythology inspired story. Centuries before that, Damiano believed and wrote in his book that the game was invented by King Xerxes I of Persia.

Chess has a deeply rich history but truth is, its precise origins remain a mystery. It is impossible to say when the game was first brought into this world for none of these stories have any solid foundation for their support. It is a pastime of very remote antiquity. Most historians agree it first made its appearance in 6th Century India, a game then known as Chaturanga played between four individuals, moves decided by dice. Chaturanga was possibly inspired by an even older Indian dice-playing game called Ashtapada. For the Indians, the game was invented by a queen of Ceylon (Lanka). The game then spread to Persia (now Iran) where it was modified into a two player game called Shatranj; and southern Europe, where it evolved in 15th century Spain into the style we play it today.

The Birth of Modern Chess, A brief history

Before chess was chess, it was this:

1220- Chess is no longer played with dice to determine moves.

1275- Option of pawn two-square advance first introduced in Italy.

1422- Manuscript states that stalemate is a draw. Before this time, it was considered a loss for the side being stalemated.

1455-1600(?)- Castling is played as two separate moves, later introduced as single-move by Ruy Lopez in his mid-16th century manuscript.

1475- Beginning of modern chess takes place in southern Europe: Vizier replaced by Dama (Queen) and Elephant replaced by Alfil (Bishop). Bishop promoted to advance/retreat any number of diagonal cells & Queen obtains power of moving along all lengths of diagonals, ranks and files.

1490- Special pawn capture "En Passant" is introduced.

1497- Lucena publishes the modern rules in 'RepeticiĆ³n de Amores y Arte de Ajedrez con cl Iuegos de Partido' Salamanca, Spain.

Early 1500(?)- Pawn promotion to higher power takes effect. Before this time, upon reaching the 8th rank, a pawn was only allowed promotion to bishop.

The Romantic Age

Although Ruy Lopez de Segura-born circa 1530-was the first analyst, it is said that the modern age began with Philidor, the first profound thinker.

I leave you with what is perhaps Philidor's best known game followed by some historically interesting 19th century romantics-(In playing over these games, it is best not to ask too many questions about the defender's play, for defensive technique was in the dark ages and little understood even by the best players.)

A Smith vs Philidor, 1790 
(C24) Bishop's Opening, 33 moves, 0-1

Edinburgh CC vs London, 1826 
(C44) King's Pawn Game, 60 moves, 1-0

McDonnell vs La Bourdonnais, 1834 
(B32) Sicilian, 37 moves, 0-1

La Bourdonnais vs McDonnell, 1834  
(C23) Bishop's Opening, 39 moves, 0-1

Bledow vs von der Lasa, 1839 
(C53) Giuoco Piano, 27 moves, 1-0

Saint-Amant vs Staunton, 1843 
(B21) Sicilian, 2.f4 and 2.d4, 39 moves, 0-1

Saint-Amant vs Staunton, 1843 
(D32) Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch, 34 moves, 1-0

F A Hoffmann vs A Petrov, 1844 
(C53) Giuoco Piano, 20 moves, 0-1

Anderssen vs Kieseritzky, 1851  
(C33) King's Gambit Accepted, 23 moves, 1-0

Anderssen vs Dufresne, 1852 
(C52) Evans Gambit, 24 moves, 1-0

Paulsen vs Morphy, 1857  
(C48) Four Knights, 28 moves, 0-1

Morphy vs Anderssen, 1858  
(B44) Sicilian, 17 moves, 1-0

Morphy vs Duke Karl / Count Isouard, 1858  
(C41) Philidor Defense, 17 moves, 1-0

Bird vs Morphy, 1858 
(C41) Philidor Defense, 29 moves, 0-1

G MacDonnell vs S Boden, 1861 
(C51) Evans Gambit, 28 moves, 1-0

Zukertort vs Anderssen, 1865 
(C60) Ruy Lopez, 12 moves, 1-0

Anderssen vs Steinitz, 1866 
(C65) Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense, 43 moves, 0-1

J Matschego vs Falkbeer, 1853 
(C39) King's Gambit Accepted, 25 moves, 0-1

K Hamppe vs Meitner, 1872 
(C25) Vienna, 18 moves, 1/2-1/2

Bird vs J Mason, 1876 
(C11) French, 50 moves, 1-0

Blackburne vs J Schwarz, 1881 
(C01) French, Exchange, 28 moves, 1-0

Chigorin vs Zukertort, 1883 
(C67) Ruy Lopez, 29 moves, 0-1

Zukertort vs Blackburne, 1883 
(A13) English, 33 moves, 1-0

Zukertort vs Steinitz, 1886 
(D32) Queen's Gambit Declined, Tarrasch, 35 moves, 0-1

Blackburne vs Lipschutz, 1889  
(D37) Queen's Gambit Declined, 36 moves, 1-0

Chigorin vs W Pollock, 1889 
(C51) Evans Gambit, 37 moves, 1-0

Lasker vs J Bauer, 1889 
(A03) Bird's Opening, 38 moves, 1-0

Steinitz vs Chigorin, 1892 
(C65) Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense, 28 moves, 1-0

Tarrasch vs G Marco, 1892 
(C66) Ruy Lopez, 18 moves, 1-0

Chigorin vs Tarrasch, 1893 
(A07) King's Indian Attack, 62 moves, 0-1

B Fleissig vs Schlechter, 1893 
(A00) Uncommon Opening, 18 moves, 0-1

Lasker vs Steinitz, 1894 
(C68) Ruy Lopez, Exchange, 55 moves, 0-1

Lasker vs Steinitz, 1894 
(C62) Ruy Lopez, Old Steinitz Defense, 46 moves, 1-0

Pillsbury vs Tarrasch, 1895 
(D63) Queen's Gambit Declined, Orthodox Defense, 52 moves, 1-0

Steinitz vs Von Bardeleben, 1895 
(C54) Giuoco Piano, 25 moves, 1-0

Chigorin vs Pillsbury, 1895 
(C30) King's Gambit Declined, 51 moves, 1-0

Pillsbury vs Lasker, 1896 
(D50) Queen's Gambit Declined, 30 moves, 0-1

Lasker vs Steinitz, 1896 
(C64) Ruy Lopez, Classical, 41 moves, 1-0

Steinitz vs Lasker, 1896 
(C54) Giuoco Piano, 39 moves, 0-1

Tarrasch vs G Marco, 1898 
(C42) Petrov Defense, 34 moves, 1-0

Lasker vs Blackburne, 1899 
(C62) Ruy Lopez, Old Steinitz Defense, 46 moves, 0-1

Janowski vs Pillsbury, 1899 
(C42) Petrov Defense, 47 moves, 1-0

42 games

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