The History of Chess and Paralells with Technological Advancement

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In the last few decades, technology has advanced to the point of being able to compete and cooperate with humans in completing daily tasks (Surry & Baker III, 2016). This is also seen as abstract strategy games like Chess and Go, where the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) machines are competing with world renowned human players and beating them (Barriga, Stanescu, & Buro, 2018). Chess has influenced important things throughout human history, like poetry, the arithmetic sciences and the art of heraldry. It is also important to research the origins and advancement of chess throughout the last few decades and in the years to come (MacDonell, 1898).

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Back in 530 A.D., a chessboard was made with half the pieces being made of emerald and the others out of red ruby. In India, during the 6th century A.D., chaturanga or catur is the translated word for chess in Sanskrit, meaning transparent. In the 6th century A.D., Bana mentioned Sriharsa, the king of Kanyakubjaa and ruler of Northern India at the time. He mentioned that under the monarchy of this king, feet shouldn’t be cut off, that chessboards are the only instance in which to decide the position of the four members. Around 826 B.C. This phenomenon is also seen in two Hindu poems called the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, where the word means army (Deshmukh, 2018). There were also mentions of an army of elephants, chariots, horses and soldiers being split into sections and strategizing the best way to utilizing them (Barriga, Stanescu, & Buro, 2018; MacDonell, 1898).

The words that describe the chess pieces were even influenced by both the Indian and Persian languages but were made mainstream by the Arabs. The chess piece rook for example comes from the Persian word “rukh”, yet it would have had a different name if the Arabs adopted the word “ratha”, meaning chariot. This showed that there was an earlier and greater Persian influence on the Arab culture than Indian influence (Cazaux & Knowlton, 2017). This brings us to the result of a game with pieces that are directed by opposing political leaders. Back then this relates to kings, such as King Yudhisthira, capturing or killing the opposite leader (MacDonell, 1898).

The chessboard itself comes from the Sanskrit word ashtapada, meaning eight square, where different games were played on an eight-by-eight board. Chess is related to a dice-based game called Nardashir or as we know it today, backgammon. There were two popular forms of backgammon, Pachisi and Chaupur, which were played on a checkered board like the astapada (Deshmukh, 2018). As a result, it has been inferred that the astapada has been used in the past for various types of games, including chess. It wasn’t until the tenth century A.D. during which Indian literature known as the Halayudha directs the reader of the text to sketch table with sixty-four squares, alluding to the game of chess (MacDonell, 1898).

During 850 A.D. the poet named Ratnakara, refers to a helper of a God, Siva, which turned the enemy and their abundant army, regardless of a foursquare force but influenced by a chessboard, into someone with never ending defeat. A Kashmirian author named Rudrata also talks about various objects, like swords and spears, that are related to the movement of pieces on a chessboard. There are also puzzles describing syllables that coincide with chess pieces, like the Indian horse having the same movement on the chessboard as the knight that we use today. In 880 A.D., Yaq’ubi indicated that abstract strategy games such as backgammon and chess were created for the Indian king, King Kisra (Barriga, Stanescu, & Buro, 2018). The Indian king at the time preferred playing chess over backgammon as it was a war based game. He also decided to assign each piece a distinct shape and rank. As the game was played, the Indians were able to determine the game’s arithmetic progression (MacDonell, 1898).

Arabs acquired knowledge through their understanding of numerals and arithmetic from the Indians and applied it to chess. Both backgammon and chess were a way to train and prepare for a war (Daryae, 2016). A king asked the inventor to name his reward for the amazing war training game and the inventor asked for an exponential amount of corn related to doubling the sixty-four squares on the chessboard. The king realized that the sum was unfathomable and that the mathematical knowledge of the inventor was even more advanced than the inventor’s ability to create the chess game. In early Europe, the doublings of the square tiles on the chessboard made arithmetical sequences a popular way to calculate. Doubling the squares of the chessboard was used as a symbol of an infinite sum when it came to themes in poetry such as love and sorrow (MacDonell, 1898).

In the eleventh century, a variation of chess could also be played by four people where two dice were used with each player having the control of a king, an elephant, a horse, a chariot and four foot soldiers. This game was then named “The four king game” based on the type of kings such as the aggressor, his foe, the neutral and the middlemost. The use of dice in this game of chess is seen to come from the game backgammon, where the four player version is called Indian Pachisi (Wiese, 2016). In 1106, Moses Sefardi from Spain, wrote “The Clerical Discipline” where he states that chess proficiency was one of the seven achievements knights were expected to have. Around the year 1180, Alexander Neckam described the rules of chess in his book “The Nature of Things”. Chess was also influenced by gambling in the middle ages and was played for money and valuable resources (MacDonell, 1898).

This once complex game became an addiction and as a result was banned in various places in Europe the in the years 1212, 1254 and 1255. In the year 1202, Leonardo Pisano, introduced what he called the chessboard duplication in Italy, which was later presented by poets during the Middle Ages. Although chess was understood as the game of war, Nard, a variation of backgammon, was created to represent the way humans depended on the astronomical bodies and the Zodiac signs. Unlike chess, the Nard board depicted the earth and the pieces representing the thirty days in a month. As addictions to abstract strategy games, such as chess, became apparent, they were investigated and countries in Europe found about 1300 problems. During the 15th century, there were some changes done to various aspects of chess (MacDonell, 1898).

The shape of some pieces changed as well as how a chess player would open by sacrificing a piece. The elephant piece was changed to the bishop, the horse piece to the knight and the chariot piece to the rook. Although the shape changes of pieces did not impact the game, the new strategy of sacrifice created by Polerio, impacted the overall advantage Italian players had over Spanish players. After mane decades of changes, the movement of the knight, the king and the pawn has not changed. Before the queen was only able to take a single step diagonally, which matched both the movement and power of the king. In 1500 A.D. the move of the queen was changed and as a result it increased the power the queen had on the board. Although the most famous type of board to play chess on had 64 squares (8 by 8), there was a 100 squared (10 by 10) board that was also mentioned with new camel pieces and more “pawns” were added, totaling forty chessmen. In the year 1899, from the Indian word catur, Henry Temple created a variation called Kriegspiel, translated as war game, where opponents do not know where the opponent’s pieces are (MacDonell, 1898).

In 1997, the artificial intelligence machine, Deep Blue, won against, Garry Kasparov, the World Chess Champion, people have criticized it for using computer brute force to win (Campbell, Hoane Jr, & Hsu, 2002). Today, there’s a new version of chess being introduced called quantum chess since artificial intelligence machines are now on par with human players. Before explaining how quantum chess creates a solution to the brute force problem, it is important to define the difference between regular chess and quantum chess. Unlike chess, quantum chess is a chance-based game that shows incomplete information and follows the quantum laws of physics such as Superposition, uncertainty, interference and entanglement. Every piece on the board is in a state of quantum superposition with another piece. Each piece can behave in more than one of its possible states and therefore allowing for several superpositions based on the Copenhagen interpretation. With each move, a piece can choose to act as one of its many components. Each square on the 8 by 8 board represents a quantum circuit that contains quantum gates. Each circuit can transform the superposition of a number of entangled states between 0 and 15. A simple way to understand this is that four qubits are equal to two standard chess pieces and as a result, one quantum chess piece. As the opponent player’s piece(s) is touched or observed by the one’s piece(s), one’s pieces can move in relation to the state function:

The touch or observation of one piece by the opponent’s piece causes a collapse of one of the states that are in superposition. One important factor is that neither player knows the superposition states of any piece yet all locations are acknowledged. These new complex factors would then equalize and bring about questions related to the type of playing strategy, the type of artificial intelligence machine used and many other factors (Barriga, Stanescu, & Buro, 2018). Quantum computers can play Quantum Chess and they can navigate a superposition without having to “touch” a chess piece. They navigate the superposition by using the evolution of a quantum circuit. Quantum physics has helped humans and computers to be on a more equal playing field.

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