Bite-sized knowledge for the hungrily curious

Which came first – chess or checkers?

The Answer

Checkers came first with roots that date back about 5000 years. The modern form of the game dates back to the 16th century.

Chess, is relatively new by comparison. The earliest forms arose in the 6th century, with the modern form dating back to the 19th century.

I almost didn’t pursue this topic because it seemed obvious that chess was the older game, but it turns out that this assumption was incorrect. Both chess and checkers evolved over the years (millennia) to become the games we know today.

How old is Chess?

The roots of chess began in India around the 6th century AD in the form of a game called chaturanga.

The game spread throughout Asia and Europe over the coming centuries, and eventually evolved into what we know as chess around the 16th century.

History of Chess | From Early Stages to Magnus –

The rules of chess have remained largely unchanged since the 19th century when the game became popular in Europe with the first World Chess Championship in 1886.

How old is Checkers?

The game of checkers (or draughts, as it’s known in Europe) has ancient roots that date back much farther than chess. Archeological evidence from ancient Ur in modern-day Iraq reveals that a precursor to checkers was played there as early as 3000BC.

Another precursor to checkers called Alquerque was played in ancient Egypt as far back as 1400BC.

About the 12th century AD an early form of the game was adapted to the 64-square chessboard, and by the 16th century the rule compelling capture had been added, producing a game essentially the same as modern checkers.

Checkers | game | Britannica
“Man, I’m really good at checkers…” – Demetri Martin

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