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A selection of black and white chess pieces on a chequered surface.

Chess is a two-player strategy board game played on a chessboard, a checkered gameboard with 64 squares arranged in an 8×8 grid. The game is played by millions of people worldwide. Chess is believed to have originated in India sometime before the 7th century. The game was derived from the Indian game chaturanga, which is also the likely ancestor of the Eastern strategy games xiangqi, janggi, and shogi. Chess reached Europe by the 9th century, due to the Umayyad conquest of Hispania. The pieces assumed their current powers in Spain in the late 15th century; the rules were standardized in the 19th century.

Play does not involve hidden information. Each player begins with 16 pieces: one king, one queen, two rooks, two knights, two bishops, and eight pawns. Each of the six piece types moves differently, with the most powerful being the queen and the least powerful the pawn. The objective is to checkmate the opponent's king by placing it under an inescapable threat of capture. To this end, a player's pieces are used to attack and capture the opponent's pieces, while supporting each other. During the game, play typically involves making exchanges of one piece for an opponent's similar piece, but also finding and engineering opportunities to trade one piece for two, or to get a better position. In addition to checkmate, the game can be won by voluntary resignation, and there are also several ways a game can end in a draw.

The first generally recognized World Chess Champion, Wilhelm Steinitz, claimed his title in 1886. Since 1948, the World Championship has been regulated by the Fédération Internationale des Échecs (FIDE), the game's international governing body. FIDE also awards life-time master titles to skilled players, the highest of which is grandmaster. Many national chess organizations have a title system of their own. FIDE also organizes the Women's World Championship, the World Junior Championship, the World Senior Championship, the Blitz and Rapid World Championships, and the Chess Olympiad, a popular competition among international teams. FIDE is a member of the International Olympic Committee, which can be considered as a recognition of chess as a sport. Several national sporting bodies (for example the Spanish Consejo Superior de Deportes) also recognize chess as a sport. Chess was included in the 2006 and 2010 Asian Games. There is also a Correspondence Chess World Championship and a World Computer Chess Championship. Online chess has opened amateur and professional competition to a wide and varied group of players.

Selected article of the week

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Stalemate is a situation in chess where the player whose turn it is to move is not in check but has no legal moves. One of the rules of chess is that stalemate ends the game, with the result a draw. Often during the endgame, stalemate is a resource that enables the player with the inferior position to draw the game. In more complicated positions, stalemate is much rarer, usually taking the form of a swindle that is realized only if the superior side is inattentive. Stalemate is also a common theme in endgame studies and other chess problems.

The outcome of a stalemate was standardized as a draw in the 19th century, but before that (and depending on the location), it was sometimes deemed a win for the stalemating player, a half-win for that player, or even a loss for that player. In some times and places it was either not allowed or the stalemated player missed a turn.

Some regional chess variants have not allowed a player to play a stalemating move. In different versions of suicide chess, another chess variant, stalemate may or may not be treated as a draw.

The word "stalemate" is also used for a metaphor when a conflict has reached an impasse and resolution seems difficult or impossible, i.e. a no-win situation.

Read more about Stalemate...


For chess news, see 2018 in sports, the 2018 in chess category, the current sports events portal, or the Wikinews sports portal. Below is the FIDE rating list of the top 20 players as of February 2017.

Rank Player Rating
1 Norway Magnus Carlsen 2843
2 Azerbaijan Shakhriyar Mamedyarov 2814
3 Russia Vladimir Kramnik 2800
4 United States Wesley So 2799
5 Armenia Levon Aronian 2797
6 France Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 2793
7 United States Fabiano Caruana 2784
8 United States Hikaru Nakamura 2781
9 India Viswanathan Anand 2779
10 Netherlands Anish Giri 2777
11 China Ding Liren 2769
12 Russia Alexander Grischuk 2767
13 Russia Sergey Karjakin 2763
14 Russia Peter Svidler 2760
15 China Yu Yangyi 2760
16 Russia Ian Nepomniachtchi 2751
17 Bulgaria Veselin Topalov 2749
18 Azerbaijan Teimour Radjabov 2748
19 Czech Republic David Navara 2745
20 India Pentala Harikrishna 2745

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