12th century Islamic-style chess set from Iran. New York Metropolitan Museum of Art.
12th century chessmen from the Isle of Lewis in the National Museum of Scotland
A leaf from the Libro de los juegos, Alfonso X of Castile, c. 1283
The history of chess goes back more than 1000 years. The game originated in northern India in the 6th century AD and spread to Persia. When the Arabs conquered Persia, chess was taken up by the Muslim world and subsequently, through the Moorish conquest of Spain, spread to Southern Europe.
In Europe, the moves of the pieces changed in the 15th century. The modern game starts with these changes. In the second half of the 19th century, modern tournament play began. Chess clocks were first used in 1883, and the first world chess championship was held in 1886. The 20th century saw advances in chess theory, and the establishment of the World Chess Federation (FIDE).
Chess engines (programs that play chess), and chess data bases became important.