Fun Facts About Chess

by Milica Knezevic on December 25, 2021
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Facts Chess 2


The number of possible unique chess games is much greater than the number of electrons in the universe. The number of electrons is estimated to be about 10^79, while the number of unique chess games is 10^120.


The longest chess game theoretically possible is 5,949 moves.

Facts Chess
Facts Chess


The longest time for a Castling move to take place was the match game between Bobotsor vs. Irkov in 1966: 46. 0-0


As late as 1561, Castling was two moves. You had to play Rook on one move and King on the next move.

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Facts Chess 4


The word “Checkmate” in Chess comes from the Persian phrase “Shah Mat,” which means “the King is dead.”


Blathy, Otto (1860-1939), credited for creating the longest Chess Problem, mate in 290 moves.

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The longest official chess game lasted 269 moves (I. Nikolic – Arsovic, Belgrade 1989) and ended in a draw.


From the starting position, there are eight different ways to Mate in two moves and 355 different ways to Mate in three moves.

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Facts Chess 10

The new Pawn move, advancing two squares on its first move instead of one, was first introduced in Spain in 1280.


Dr. Emanuel Lasker from Germany retained the World Chess Champion title for more time than any other player ever: 26 years and 337 days.

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Facts Chess 12

In 1985, the Soviet player Garry Kasparov became the youngest World Chess Champion ever at the age of 22 years and 210 days.


The first Chessboard with alternating light and dark squares appears in Europe in 1090.

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The folding Chess board was originally invented in 1125 by a Chess-playing priest. Since the Church forbids priests to play Chess, he hid his Chess board by making one that looked simply like two books lying together.


The first mechanical Chess Clock was invented by Thomas Wilson in 1883. Prior to that, Sandglasses were used. Sandglasses were first used in London in 1862. The present day push-button Clock was first perfected by Veenhoff in 1900.

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Initially, the Queen could only move one square at a time, diagonally. Later, she could move two squares at a time, diagonally. It wasn’t until Reconquista Spain, with its powerful queen Isabella, that the Queen became the strongest piece on the board.


During World War II, some of the top Chess players were also code breakers. British masters Harry Golombek, Stuart Milner-Barry and H. O'D. Alexander were in fact on the team which broke the Nazi Enigma code.

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Facts Chess 18

Rookies or, players in their first year, are named after the Rook in Chess. Rooks generally are the last pieces to be moved into action, and the same goes for Rookies.


A Computer Program named DeepThought beat an International Grand Master for the first time in November 1988 in Long Beach, California.

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Facts Chess 20

There are well over 1,000 different openings, including variations within larger openings/defenses that one can learn.


The record of moves without capture is of 100 moves during the Match between Thorton and M. Walker in 1992.

Funny Story About Chess

A Handicap for a Grandmaster

On the first day of an Atlantic crossing, while walking through the smoking saloon, Lasker saw a man seated alone at a chess table, pondering a position, the stranger asked him whether he played chess.

'Oh, once in a long while,' Lasker replied truthfully.

'Well, sit down and play a few games ... we can make up for your lack of experience by a handicap. I'll give you Queen odds in the first game. If you win, we'll make it rook odds, and so on ...'

'That's all right with me,' Lasker replied, planning to give the man a little lesson.

He let him win the first game quickly ... then managed to lose a second game ... When it came to the third game, Lasker said:

'There must be some advantage in playing without the Queen. Perhaps because the King has more freedom of movement when the space next to him is not occupied. Let me give you the Queen this time.'

The other laughed ...

'That really would be too ridiculous!'

But Lasker was stubborn, and the man had to give in. Naturally, Lasker beat him. Somewhat flustered, his opponent explained:

'Well, I did not really pay very careful attention ... Let's play an even game now.'

However, Lasker insisted on giving him Queen odds again, and again he won. This time his opponent no longer knew what to say.

Funny Chess Story

An Unexpected Burn

"I was once traveling by train to Kerala after I turned professional and an elderly gentleman asked me what I did. I told him that I make my living playing chess. He advised me that sports is not a rewarding career."

"Though he did not know my name, he said 'You can't make good money unless you are Viswanathan Anand,' and broke into a laugh."

Apparently, the passenger did not know that he was talking to Vishy himself.

Learning facts about chess gets you excited about entering the world of chess! Once you start playing it is impossible to forget the little details that paved the way, we hope our facts helped you on the way to becoming a chess lover!

For chess to be fun for you it might help to know a few funny stories about it beforehand, hopefully you enjoyed the two provided. Play chess in order to create your own anecdotes someday.

Among these 20 facts find one that is the most impressive for you and research as much as you can! In the comments below feel free to share your funny chess playing stories and facts! We are always open to hearing what kind of blogs you would like to read in the future and look forward to you feedback!

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