Ancient European chess piece discovered

8/1/2002 – Chess was probably invented in the fifth century in northern India and came to Europe in the 12th century. At least that is what scientists have assumed. Now a team of British archaeologists has unearthed evidence in the ancient city of Butrint suggesting that Europeans were playing chess as early as the sixth century. More

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The ivory chess piece was excavated in Butrint (southern Albania), on the site of a Byzantine palace. It appears to be more than 500 years older than any chess piece previously discovered in the European cultural centres. Leaders of the University of East Anglia expedition said it proved the game had a much longer history in Europe than was previously thought.

Until now chess historians had agreed that the game only became popular with the European elite during the 12th Century, 700 years after it was invented India. It probably came to Europe when the Moors invaded Spain and Sicily in the 7th century.


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