EntertainmentGamesThe first chess video game in history

The first chess video game in history

The old languages say that chess was the gift of a wise Indian adviser to his lord , who enjoyed military strategy and dedicated their lives to combat. To quench that passion for battle, he invented a board game that would serve as a simulator of an armed confrontation. Historically, chess is believed to be a variant of chaturanga , a game originating in India from which others such as janggi also derive. In any case, chess is a hobby that has been with us for a long (long) time and in many ways. Such is its popularity and the addictiveness of its operation that it succeeds even in the world of video games .

And it can be said that it is relatively easy to transfer a game like chess to the world of programming and video game development . The board and pieces offer numerous customization options in terms of graphics, from the simplest imaginable to authentic works of art, and can be adapted to play against the machine or other players, either locally or online . Each game is different because in each one it is the player who will have to decide how to attack, defend himself or how many steps he is able to anticipate his rival.


But what if we said that chess video games even preceded the video consoles themselves? Well, we would not be going too misguided since it was in 1912 when the Spanish engineer Leonardo Torres Quevedo created El Ajedrecista , the first automaton that worked without any type of human interaction and whose purpose was, exclusively, to play chess. Technically we are talking about the first computer game in history and, by chance in life, this automaton was created the same year that Alan Turing was born. When it was shown to the public in 1914 during the Paris Fair, it became the center of attention.

The chess player played the game through electromagnets, sensors and a mechanical arm that allowed him to determine where his opponent’s pieces were and to move his own. Although he was only capable of playing a king and rook endgame against the rival king, he was unbeatable, since his simple algorithm allowed him to analyze the position of the pieces to win in the minimum number of moves and with a maximum of 63 . At that moment a metallic “Checkmate!” that came out of this predecessor of artificial intelligence. In 1920 Torres Quevedo completed a second version, more sophisticated and just as effective.


… but not the last

Much has happened since those first victories of the Chess Player but chess has always been linked to the world of technology. More than mythical is the triumph of Deep Blue over Gary Kasparov in 1996 but that is talking about the first division. The rest of us mortals who are not Kasparov must face artificial intelligence on our own devices and in very varied formats .

Along with Minesweeper, chess is one of the most abundant games among the computers of the late 80s and 90s and is a more than acceptable option to kill those boredom times in public transport or waiting rooms through the smartphone. Video games based on this pastime have given rise to numerous variants, among which those that include combat kinematics in the movements or when one piece eats another can be highlighted. You can also mention the case of Chess 2 , a 2014 title in which developer David Sirlin included five extra armies with different properties and objectives than the original.

In fact, chess has so influenced the world of video games that it has created its own genre and a variant: Auto Chess and Auto Battler . The first takes the chess board and the troop distribution and adds the charm of a gladiator fight through automatic combats between the pieces that really decide which pieces fall. The second one is even closer to a real battle by removing the restrictions from a board and being based on the choice of different types of troops and formations that the player places as he prefers to, later, see his soldiers run towards certain death or a glorious victory .

Either with the touch of the pieces between the fingers and the sound of the clash on the boards or based on clicking and pressing buttons, chess is a game that continues to accumulate checkmates .

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