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Chess is a recreational and competitive game played between two players. The current form of Chess (sometimes called Western chess or international chess) has an international pedigree which evolved from similar, much older games in India and Persia. The modern form of the game emerged in Southern Europe during the second half of the 15th century. Today, chess is one of the world's most popular games, played by millions of people worldwide at home, in clubs, online, by correspondence, and in tournaments.

The game is played on a square chequered chessboard with 64 squares arranged in an eight-by-eight square. At the start, each player (one controlling the white pieces, the other controlling the black pieces) controls sixteen pieces: one king, one queen, two rooks, two knights, two bishops, and eight pawns. The object of the game is to checkmate the opponent's king, whereby the king is under immediate attack (in "check") and there is no way to remove it from attack on the next move.

The tradition of organized competitive chess started in the sixteenth century and has developed extensively. Chess today is a recognized sport of the International Olympic Committee. The first official World Chess Champion, Wilhelm Steinitz, claimed his title in 1886; Norwegian Grandmaster Magnus Carlsen is the current World Champion. Theoreticians have developed extensive chess strategies and tactics since the game's inception. Aspects of art are found in chess composition.

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Wilhelm Steinitz, who in 1889 claimed chess is a draw with best play

The first-move advantage in chess refers to the inherent advantage of the player (called "White") who makes the first move in chess. Chess players and theorists generally agree that White begins the game with some advantage. Statistics compiled since 1851 support this view, showing that White consistently wins slightly more often than Black, usually scoring between 53 and 56 percent. Statistics show that White's winning percentage[1] is slightly lower in rapid games and in games between weaker players. The advantage is about the same, however, for tournament games between humans and games between computers.

Chess players and theoreticians have debated whether, given perfect play by both sides, the game should end in a win for White or a draw. Since at least 1889, when World Champion Wilhelm Steinitz addressed the issue, the overwhelming consensus has been that a game of chess should end in a draw with best play. Some players have expressed fears of a "draw death" as chess becomes more deeply analyzed, and World Champions José Raúl Capablanca and Bobby Fischer both proposed chess variants to renew interest in the game. A few notable players, disagreeing with the general consensus, have argued that White's advantage may be sufficient to win: Weaver Adams and Vsevolod Rauzer claimed that White is winning after the first move 1.e4, while Hans Berliner argued that 1.d4 may win for White. It is possible that computers will eventually resolve the debate by determining the correct outcome of a perfectly played game of chess.

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For chess news, see 2015 in sports, the 2015 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 May 2015.

Rank Player Rating
1 Norway Magnus Carlsen 2876
2 India Viswanathan Anand 2804
3 United States Fabiano Caruana 2803
4 United States Hikaru Nakamura 2799
5 Bulgaria Veselin Topalov 2798
6 Russia Alexander Grischuk 2780
7 United States Wesley So 2778
8 Russia Vladimir Kramnik 2777
9 Netherlands Anish Giri 2776
10 Armenia Levon Aronian 2776
11 China Ding Liren 2757
12 France Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 2754
13 Russia Sergey Karjakin 2753
14 Czech Republic David Navara 2751
15 Russia Evgeny Tomashevsky 2749
16 China Li Chao 2748
17 Poland Radosław Wojtaszek 2746
18 Israel Boris Gelfand 2744
19 England Michael Adams 2740
20 Russia Dmitry Jakovenko 2738

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  1. ^ White's overall winning percentage is calculated by taking the percentage of games won by White plus half the percentage of drawn games. Thus, if out of 100 games White wins 40, draws 32, and loses 28, White's total winning percentage is 40 plus half of 32, i.e. 56 percent.
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