CHESS is called the royal game because practically every king, queen, emperor, maharajaj and tsar have played it.
Royals have been in the news lately–Charles 1 and Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge.
After their wedding, Prince William and Kate had allegedly planned to play a game of chess instead of a “balcony kiss” (as part of a tradition started by their parents Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana).
Prince Charles, Anne and the other royals were taught chess in their nursery. Queen Elizabeth II certainly does and her comment: “I play, but I am always losing. I learned my chess the hard way. ”
A chess board carried by King Charles I to his execution on Jan. 30,1649 has sold at auction for £600,000 last month.
The board, crafted out of amber and silver, was made in 1607 and had been given to Charles by his father James I.
Chess fanatic Charles’s final act before being beheaded in 1649 was to give it to his chaplain. Charles was such an enthusiast for chess that he was engrossed in a game when a messenger told him he had been betrayed by the Scots to the Parliamentarians during the English Civil War.
In India, the Mogul emperor Akbar played on a giant board with elephants and horses and Shah Jehan, who built the Taj Mahal, sponsored living chess with 32 virgins as pieces. The winner took the 32 virgins as prize. If the game had been played here, Cepca members Jun Olis and Dante Arguelles would be fighting for the slot.
King Muley Hassan of Morocco played live chess using prisoners from the royal dungeons. Captured pieces were executed on the spot.
King Canute, the first king in all of England, was playing Earl Ulf of Denmark when he tried to take a move back. But the Earl wasn’t about to agree. After a vigorous debate, the Earl knocked the board over. In chess parlance this was a fatal blunder and Canute had him slain.
William the Conqueror once broke a chessboard over a French prince’s head when he lost a game. The son of Pepin the Short, after losing to a Bavarian nobleman killed him with a rook.
It seemed that Prince Valdemar of Denmark had a good defense. When he was attacked by a rival king while playing chess, he used the board as shield.
The Emperor Charlemagne was given a present, a chess set, by his contemporary Haroun al-Rashid, and can still be seen in the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris today.
King Conchubair of Ireland divided his day into three parts–one third for drinking, one third for fighting and one third for chess.