Chess is one of the oldest games in the world still played today, and can be traced back almost 1500 years to its origins in India.

We wanted to take a look at this extraordinary game, and how it earnt its place as the favourite game of Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin and Stephen Fry – and of our own wonderful Chess Club members! 

The earliest known form of chess was played in India and was called “chaturanga”, a word that means “four divisions.” The name came from the fact that the pieces were supposed to represent the four divisions of an army: infantry, cavalry, elephants and chariots. No, you’re not misreading that – elephants were a crucial part of early warfare in this part of the world! 

Over time, the infantry became pawns, the cavalry became knights, the elephants became bishops and the chariots became rooks. The game moved into Persia, and from there spread through the Muslim world under the name “shatranj”. It finally reached Europe through Spain in the first century, and eventually became the game we know today. 

One of the biggest reasons for the enduring popularity of chess it that it is at once extremely easy to learn, and extraordinarily difficult to master. Learning the moves is simple – the rook moves this way, the knight moves that way, easy enough. But with an infinite combination of moves, there is always more to learn and new ways to challenge oneself. 

This mental work-out is one of the reasons we’re so happy our Chess Club is returning, as it’s a fabulous way to build your brain’s muscles. Chess pulls on all sorts of cognitive skills, including pattern recognition and problem solving. 

Chess is also wonderful for your memory. Studies have shown repeatedly that people who play chess have better memories than those who don’t, as well as being better at creative, outside-the-box thinking. 

And best of all, chess is fun! It’s a challenging, interesting game that has been bringing people together all over the world for over a millennium. 

Whether you’re an old hand or looking to learn, you’ll be welcome at our Chess Club. For more information, check out our website or get in touch with David by email at or by telephone at 01457 514654.

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