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A brief history of chess - Alex Gendler

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The attacking infantry advances, their elephants already having broken the defensive line. The king tries to retreat, but the enemy flanks him from the rear. Escape is impossible. This isn’t a real war— nor is it just a game. Over the 1,500 years of its existence, chess has been known as a military strategy tool, a metaphor for human affairs and a measure of genius. Alex Gendler shares its history.

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About TED-Ed Animations

TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Alex Gendler
  • Director Remus Buznea, Kyriaki Kyriakou
  • Narrator Adrian Dannatt
  • Animator Remus Buznea, Kyra Kupetsky
  • Art Director Remus Buznea, Kyra Kupetsky
  • Sound Designer Stephen Eugene Larosa
  • Composer Stephen Eugene Larosa
  • Music Stephen Eugene Larosa
  • Director of Production Gerta Xhelo
  • Editorial Producer Alex Rosenthal
  • Associate Producer Bethany Cutmore-Scott
  • Associate Editorial Producer Dan Kwartler
  • Fact-checker Brian Gutierrez
  • See more
Additional Resources for you to Explore
H. J. R. Murray’s authoritative masterwork on the history of chess remains highly regarded more than a century later, while David Shenk provides a more personalized account. The Oxford Companion to Chess contains hundreds of entries on strategies and biographies of famous players. Several books and articles examine chess’s role in civilization and its connection to warfare. And for a vision of the computerized future of chess, read about Kasparov’s legendary game against Deep Blue and the emergence of all-computer chess leagues.

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About TED-Ed Animations

TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Alex Gendler
  • Director Remus Buznea, Kyriaki Kyriakou
  • Narrator Adrian Dannatt
  • Animator Remus Buznea, Kyra Kupetsky
  • Art Director Remus Buznea, Kyra Kupetsky
  • Sound Designer Stephen Eugene Larosa
  • Composer Stephen Eugene Larosa
  • Music Stephen Eugene Larosa
  • Director of Production Gerta Xhelo
  • Editorial Producer Alex Rosenthal
  • Associate Producer Bethany Cutmore-Scott
  • Associate Editorial Producer Dan Kwartler
  • Fact-checker Brian Gutierrez
  • See more