I saw at one chess site an individual thought that because chess is so complex he does not think it was invented by one person. However, I offered this food for thought:
Because chess is so complex you do not think that one person invented it...?
Ernő Rubik, Hungarian inventor, architect and professor of architecture was the sole inventor of Rubic’s Cube. It is rather complex, is it not? The designing of a multi-faceted cube with rotating rows that can move in 4 directions alone is a monumental achievement (if you don’t realize this, try making your own—without taking a Rubic’s cube apart to see how it works; or try making your own wind-up clock, without taking a real one apart to see how it works; try building anything that can be moved around thousands of times without falling apart). Then add to that whatever mathematical formulae upon which each of the 8 sides of a cube has its own color, and how after all the colors are randomly skewed, there can be some mathematical pattern by which the cube can be restored to complete segregation of all the colors of the rainbow, as they should be).
Have you ever studied geniuses like Sir Issac Newton to see all that he did alone, inventing calculus and part of the foundation of physics, and many other complex sciences...? Study the accomplishes of Newton and others like him.
Study philosophy, specifically, logic, and see that logic is actually all mathematics, algebra; with intricate, complex data test algorithms. Who invented / discovered all that complexity? It was probably a singular individual, and others then built upon it, as more truths were discovered
It is possibly the same with chess.
One question is:
Is it merely a game, an invention — or a discovery around which a game was made?
The more apropos question would be: Did the “inventor / discoverer” of chess actually understand the depth and complexity of the game (and how many possible move combinations are possible) and was he even good at it? Or did someone in his mind stumble upon idea a “fun game”, not even understanding its complexity, and it was later after him, that others developed the different strategies—like many mathematicians individually, not even knowing each other, working on a complex problem (as Newton and all the mathematicians of Europe often did, independently), and once many strategies and understanding of the science were discovered, notes were compared, and others began compiling them into books...?
All that we know is that we do not know. But some of those thoughts may hold the answer, though we will never knew it in this life.
By the way, I may have made chess history last night, without fanfare (and not really something to be that proud of). I was playing a guy and doing well, in a timed game, 1 minute moves. I got sloppy and got down, significantly. All I had was a king, and he had all the advantage... but he got greedy... he had his king, of course, and a rook, and 1, 2, 3... queens—and then he got greedy and though he could have checkmated me 20 moves earlier, he had a queen-fetish and wanted 1 more queen, but where I moved before he went for the last Lady caused the game to end in stalemate: a king, versus a king, rook, and 4 queens...! —and I was able to have the game end in a stalemate, which, of course, was not due to any great skill on my part, or I would not have been in that position*... but because his greed clouded his discernment. There is an Aesop’s Fable in there somewhere.
[* I grew up playing chess with my parents and brothers. My dad was an M.D., (Christian) psychiatrist, and virtuoso classical pianist, chemist, scholar, mathematician. I was on the chess team in high school a year or two. However, I have not played for about 4 decades, and I never read any book on chess. I am not much for owner’s manuals or instruction sheets. I just like to dive into something and figure it out on my own. Now that I am finally off dial up (now with hi-speed cable 425x faster than my dial up of 48 kbps) after 20 years...! I decided to play a game on line every now and then.]
That, of course, brings us to the question of whether all the rules were made at one time by the inventor, or if new rules (like if your pawn makes it all the way to the other side of the board it can become any other piece; except a king. Of course most players (who merely want to win as easily as possible) want a queen, who is most powerful piece on the board.
This raises another question. Was the queen originally the most-powerful piece or the board or was that changed? It would certainly make sense, especially medievally and anciently, that the king was originally the most-powerful piece, and the queen, was the one who was most-carefully guarded (and as weak as a pawn; but not as expendible). That the king was originally the most-powerful piece, would make most sense, especially since anciently kings were the most-powerful warrior and led into battle.
Other questions, of course would be:
Did the knight originally move in an L / N / Z shape (depending on perspective)...? It seems a rather odd movement for a horse. Maybe the bishop and knight at some point in history swapped roles / movement. Try tracing in the air an L or Z in front of you, and that seems more like what a Bishop might have done, making the sign of the cross. Of course, in real life castles don’t move at all; so we really can’t put too much analogy into theory. However, due to the rook’s movement, it would seem logical that originally the rook was a cannon; and it would make much greater sense; but for some reason, the cannon was changed to a rook / castle. Cannons often shoot from atop castles (though they are also used in the field).
Rejecting the word “evolved” in nearly every application, I would suggest that the game was repeatedly refined and developed, from simple to complex, and depending upon individual preferences: for if you remove the rules, the direction and space of movement, the game becomes less complex, like checkers. Checkers itself shares the concept of being “crowned” once you get any piece to the other side of the board, and then that piece can move forward and backward, but still only in the same manner, diagonally. Maybe chess developed out of checkers? Maybe checkers developed out of chess for a more-simple game...?
Thus like basketball, baseball, football, and other popular games, those ideas that were in greater popularity became established as the “official rules” — or some super-wealthy individual said: “It’s my bat, my ball, my ball field. We play by my rules or everyone goes home.”
Nothing “evolves” from simple to complex—all is designed. Nothing cannot “magically” come into existence. All is created. There is one Creator. All is masterminded by His Plan and all is governed by His Rules for the game, and the world is His Stage, His Gameboard. We are His pawns, fulfilling His Strategy. He never changes the rules.
There is some food for thought. Bon Appetit! Robert