Board games are not, as a rule, known for historical longevity. The Irish used to be mad for a board game called “fidchell,” but that was back in the 8th century. “Senet” was a backgammon-like game adored by the ancient Egyptians, and “hnefatafl,” a 10th-century Viking concoction in which a king has to escape a series of enemies to reach safety at the edge of the board.
Chess, on the other hand, has not only survived but flourished for the past 1,500 years, its basic rules and structure essentially unchanged. The way players approach the game, however, has undergone seismic shifts. Through much of history, contestants played in the so-called Romantic style, trying to outwit opponents move-to-move, which is how novices continue to play the game. All tactics and intuition, it reigned at competitive levels until the 1880s…..
Enter Bobby Fischer, the eccentric former world champion who, since his 1972 triumph, has mostly made headlines for his reclusive nature and anti-American, anti-Semitic outbursts. Ten years ago, Fischer unveiled Fischer Random Chess, aiming to take the game back from computers and their like-thinking human competitors.
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