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A selection of black and white chess pieces on a checkered surface.

Chess is a two-player strategy board game played on a checkered board with 64 squares arranged in an 8×8 grid. The game is played by millions of people worldwide. Chess is believed to be derived from the Indian game chaturanga sometime before the 7th century. Chaturanga is also the likely ancestor of the Eastern strategy games xiangqi, janggi, and shogi. Chess reached Europe by the 9th century, due to the Umayyad conquest of Hispania. The pieces assumed their current powers in Spain in the late 15th century; the modern rules were standardized in the 19th century.

Play involves no hidden information. Each player begins with 16 pieces: one king, one queen, two rooks, two knights, two bishops, and eight pawns. Each piece type moves differently, with the most powerful being the queen and the least powerful the pawn. The objective is to checkmate the opponent's king by placing it under an inescapable threat of capture. To this end, a player's pieces are used to attack and capture the opponent's pieces, while supporting each other. During the game, play typically involves exchanging pieces for the opponent's similar pieces, and finding and engineering opportunities to trade advantageously or to get a better position. In addition to checkmate, a player wins the game if the opponent resigns, or (in a timed game) runs out of time. There are also several ways that a game can end in a draw.

The first generally recognized World Chess Champion, Wilhelm Steinitz, claimed his title in 1886. Since 1948, the World Championship has been regulated by the Fédération Internationale des Échecs (FIDE), the game's international governing body. FIDE also awards life-time master titles to skilled players, the highest of which is Grandmaster (GM). Many national chess organizations have a title system of their own. FIDE also organizes the Women's World Championship, the World Junior Championship, the World Senior Championship, the Blitz and Rapid World Championships, and the Chess Olympiad, a popular competition among international teams. FIDE is a member of the International Olympic Committee, which can be considered as a recognition of chess as a sport. Several national sporting bodies (e.g. the Spanish Consejo Superior de Deportes) also recognize chess as a sport. Chess was included in the 2006 and 2010 Asian Games. There is also a Correspondence Chess World Championship and a World Computer Chess Championship. Online chess has opened amateur and professional competition to a wide and varied group of players.

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The Sicilian Defence is a chess opening that begins with the following moves:

1. e4 c5

The Sicilian is the most popular and best-scoring response to White's first move 1.e4. 1.d4 is a statistically more successful opening for White due to the high success rate of the Sicilian defence against 1.e4. New In Chess stated in its 2000 Yearbook that of the games in its database, White scored 56.1% in 296,200 games beginning 1.d4, but 54.1% in 349,855 games beginning 1.e4, mainly due to the Sicilian, which held White to a 52.3% score in 145,996 games.

17% of all games between grandmasters, and 25% of the games in the Chess Informant database, begin with the Sicilian. Almost one quarter of all games use the Sicilian Defence.


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FIDE world ranking

Rank Change* Player Rating
1 Steady Norway Magnus Carlsen 2875
2 Steady United States Fabiano Caruana 2816
3 Steady China Ding Liren 2805
4 Increase 2 France Maxime Vachier-Lagrave 2779
5 Decrease 1 Netherlands Anish Giri 2779
6 Increase 3 Russia Alexander Grischuk 2775
7 Increase 1 Russia Ian Nepomniachtchi 2775
8 Decrease 3 Azerbaijan Shakhriyar Mamedyarov 2774
9 Decrease 2 India Viswanathan Anand 2767
10 Increase 4 Russia Vladislav Artemiev 2761
11 Increase 6 United States Leinier Dominguez Perez 2760
12 Steady Azerbaijan Teimour Radjabov 2759
13 Decrease 2 United States Hikaru Nakamura 2754
14 Decrease 1 United States Wesley So 2754
15 Steady Russia Vladimir Kramnik 2753
16 Decrease 6 Armenia Levon Aronian 2752
17 Decrease 1 Russia Sergey Karjakin 2748
18 Increase 4 China Wei Yi 2741
19 Decrease 1 Bulgaria Veselin Topalov 2740
20 Decrease 1 China Yangyi Yu 2738
*Change from the previous month[1]

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  1. ^ Administrator (1 May 2019). "Top 100 Players May 2019 - Archive". FIDE.