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Chess is a two-player board game played on a chessboard, a square-checkered board with 64 squares arranged in an eight-by-eight grid. Each player begins the game with 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 or defend it from attack on the next move. The game's present form emerged in Europe during the second half of the 15th century, an evolution of an older Indian game, Shatranj. Theoreticians have developed extensive chess strategies and tactics since the game's inception. Computers have been used for many years to create chess-playing programs, and their abilities and insights have contributed significantly to modern chess theory. One, Deep Blue, was the first machine to beat a reigning World Chess Champion when it defeated Garry Kasparov in 1997.

Organized competitive chess began during the 16th century. The first official World Chess Champion, Wilhelm Steinitz, claimed his title in 1886; the current World Champion is Viswanathan Anand from India. In addition to the World Championship, there is the Women's World Championship, the Junior World Championship, the World Senior Championship, the Correspondence Chess World Championship, the World Computer Chess Championship, and Blitz and Rapid World Championships (see fast chess). The Chess Olympiad is a popular competition among teams from different nations. Online chess has opened amateur and professional competition to a wide and varied group of players. Chess is a recognized sport of the International Olympic Committee, and international chess competition is sanctioned by the FIDE. 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. Some other popular forms of chess are fast chess and computer chess. There are many chess variants that have different rules, different pieces, and different boards. These variants include blindfold chess and Fischer Random Chess/Chess960.


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