06 October 2009

Chess History by John McCrary

The series that I ran on the rules governing the initial position and castling, summarized in Chess960 Is an Evolution of Chess, omitted one good reference. It was 'The origins of the castling move' by John McCrary, a former USCF President, and appeared in the 'Winter 2004' issue of Chess Life.

What was the 'Winter 2004' issue? It was sandwiched between the issues of February and March 2004, 'so that the magazine issue date will correspond to the month it comes out'.

McCrary's article summarized material found in Murray and made the further point that the castling rule served two different purposes over the evolution of chess. Before the introduction of the modern Queen and Bishop, when a game was considerable slower, castling served to speed up the game by getting the King into play more quickly. After the introduction of the modern pieces, when the game became markedly faster, castling served to move the King into safety, out of range of the powerful diagonal pieces.

The article was one of a series on chess history, all by McCrary. Since the title of this blog implies an interest in chess history ('For All Ages'), here's a summary of those Chess Life (CL) articles. Each entry starts with the CL publication date of the issue containing the particular article.

2003-01: 01 - The beginning of chess
2003-02: 02 - The middle ages
2003-03: 03 - The chess of the mad Queen
2003-04: 04 - Books, magazines, and tournaments
2003-05: 05 - Chess becomes organized
2003-06: 06 - Chess helps lead the way
2003-07: 07 - The 19th century chess scene
2003-08: 08 - The modern world championship begins
2003-09: 09 - The growing pains of the world championship
2003-10: 10 - The three ways USCF transformed world chess
2003-12: 11 - The first known chess players in the future U.S.
2004-WI: 12 - The origins of the castling move
2004-07: 13 - The evolution of pawn promotion
2004-11: 14 - The evolution of special draw rules
2005-03: 15 - The evolution of chess notation
2005-06: 16 - The world championship - past and present

Taken together, the articles present a useful structure to an organized survey of chess history.

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