The Game of Kings. Chaining the timesby Boris Schipkov
The time is out of joint. O cursed spite
The ingenious game, passed through one thousand five hundred years of existence, is intended by gods for clever people, intellectuals,
commanders, chiefs, mages and kings, the elite of a civilization. The game of chess - a strategic game, teaches planning and accounting of various possibilities for oneself and contender, correct reasoning and logic, military strategy and tactics, disciplines the mind, enhances concentration of attention, strengthens intellectual and volitional abilities. It is entertainment which shows that much in the world depends not on chances or destiny, but on understanding and self-perfection.
The most ancient European monarch, who has learned to play chess, most
likely was the king of the Franks from 768 and emperor from 800 to
814, Charles the Great (Carolus Magnus, 742-814). He ruled a huge territory
including almost all Europe (modern France, Germany, Austria,
Switzerland, part of Italy and Spain). It is interesting that the slavonic word korol derives from his name Carolus. There was a general rise of culture in Europe during his reign.
Russian princes, tsars and emperors were always proud of their chess successes. The foreign envoys reported on high popularity of chess at the court yard and a high art of Russians in the game. Ivan IV the Terrible ("nicknamed for his cruelty Vasilyevich", as was written in one French encyclopedia) (1530-1584), grand prince from 1533, the first Russian tsar from 1547, regularly competed with the men close to him and even died behind a chess board. All subsequent tsars up to Peter I played chess: Fyodor Ivanovich (1557-1598), tsar from 1584, the last ruler of the Rurik dynasty, the second son of Ivan IV the Terrible and Anastasiya Romanovna Zakharina-Yureva (Romanova), he strengthened Russia's control over western Siberia; Boris Godunov (1552-1605), tsar from 1598; Vasily Shuysky (1552-1612), tsar from 1606 to 1610; Michael Fyodorovich Romanov (1596-1645), the first tsar from Romanov dynasty, a distant relative of tsar Fyodor Ivanovich, was elected by Zemsky Sobor ("assembly of the land") in 1613; Alexis (1629-1676, reigned 1645-76), father of Peter I. In imperial treasury there were plenty of various chess sets: crystal, amber, ivory, wooden.
The outstanding tsar from 1682, emperor of Russia from 1721, Peter I the Great (1672-1725) has left the brightest trace in domestic and world history. The victory of the Russians in the Northern war and the
transformations made Russia one of the strongest European Powers, gave a push to further development of the state in the next century. Chess was his most favourite entertainment, and Peter I took a chess set and his constant partner - the court priest Bitka - both in military campaigns and foreign travels. There had to be chess tables at all balls and
The words boyars, boyarin derive from a word "boevoi" (battle) and mean noble people with a high fighting spirit. The boyars were members of the upper stratum of Rus society in 10-17 centuries and occupied
leading roles in government, after the great prince. The word tsar derives from the Ancient Rome title of the emperor Caesar, from the name of one branch of gens Julii, to which Gaius Julius Caesar belonged.
Bibliography: M.Kogan "Ocherki po istorii shakhmat v SSSR" 1938, Å.Gizycki "S shakhmatami cherez veka i strany" 1964, "Bolshaya Sovietskaya Entsiklopediya", Britannica.
© 2000-2003 Boris Schipkov
© 2000-2003 Boris Schipkov