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Chess is a recreational and competitive game for two players. Sometimes called Western Chess or International Chess to distinguish it from its predecessors and other chess variants, the current form of the game emerged in Southern Europe during the second half of the 15th century after evolving from similar, much older games of Indian and Persian origin. Today, chess is one of the world's most popular games, played by millions of people worldwide in clubs, online, by correspondence, in tournaments and informally.
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The game is played on a square chequered board with 64 squares. At the start, each player (one controlling the white pieces, the other controlling the black pieces) controls sixteen pieces: one king, one queen, two rooks, two knights, two bishops, and eight pawns. The object of the game is to checkmate the opponent's king, whereby the king is under immediate attack (in "check") and there is no way to remove it from attack on the next move.
The tradition of organized competitive chess started in the sixteenth century. The first official World Chess Champion, Wilhelm Steinitz, claimed his title in 1886; Viswanathan Anand is the current World Champion. Theoreticians have developed extensive chess strategies and tactics since the game's inception. Aspects of art are found in chess composition.
One of the goals of early computer scientists was to create a chess-playing machine, and today's chess is deeply influenced by the abilities of current chess programs and by the possibility to play online. In 1997, a match between Garry Kasparov, then World Champion, and a computer proved for the first time that machines are able to beat even the strongest human players.