History -

The Game of Chess: Where Koala Chess Art Began

Our logo, and story, begins with two koalas playing chess. So it’s only right that we delve into the game a little further. How much do you know about chess? Where did it originate? What is the longest game ever played? How complicated is it really? Well let’s find out.

Koalas Playing Chess

Our Koalas Playing Chess T-Shirt is now reduced from £20 to just £15!

The history of chess stretches back almost 1,500 years to India and then Persia. When Persia was conquered by the Arabs, chess was brought to the Muslim world. Then, through the Moorish invasion of Spain, it was spread to Southern Europe.


Lemur Playing Cards

Our wise old Lemur still prefers the classic game of cards

Around 500 years after reaching Europe, new rules were introduced around how the pieces moved. These rules were put in place to make the beginning of a game quicker and to heighten conflict by having opposing pieces meet each other sooner. It wouldn’t be the human race if it didn’t seek out drama after all! These new moves included:

  • The pawn moving two squares forward in its first move
  • Making the queen more powerful (amen to feminism). Under the new rules, the queen gained the full range of movement.

And so the modern game was born. And it is still ever popular today! This is, in part, due to its complexity. Because, did you know, the number of potential unique games of chess is greater than the number of electrons in the universe? We’re not 100% sure what that means at Koala Chess Art HQ, but we know it means there are a lot!

Walrus Accountant

We bet out super-smart Walrus Accountant could explain the maths behind it!

One man understands this complexity though - and his name is Dr. Emanuel Lasker. This chess player is arguably the greatest of all time, holding the World Chess Champion title for longer than anybody else at a whopping 26 years and 337 days! Unsurprisingly, Dr Lasker was a good friend of our favourite Albert Einstein. In an interview with the New York Times, Albert said he “doesn’t play games”, having no time for it. He did, however, take up chess later in life. But we won’t hold this against him as it is a great game!

Hedgehog Gamer

We wonder whether Albert Einstein would have been ended up being a gamer like our Hedgehog

Another individual who changed the game of chess was a priest. As the Church forbid priests from playing chess, this priest, in particular, hid his chess board by making one that looked like two books lying on top of one another, and so the first folding chess board was created!

Squirrels Reading

Now we are wondering whether these Squirrels are really reading or whether they are disguising chess boards

And our final bit of trivia for you - the word ‘checkmate’ which indicates that a player has won the game as the opposition’s King cannot move without being taken, comes from the ancient Persian language. Deriving from the phrase ‘Shah Mat’, it means ‘the King is Dead’. But at Koala Chess Art we prefer the less violent English translation (unless we are feeling really competitive, then it’s absolutely Shat Mat!).

Happy chess-ing folks!

Koala King Kong

This Koala King (Kong) is definitely not dead

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