Chess was invented in India before the 6th century AD during the Gupta empire. It was called Chaturanga and was used as a tool for military strategy. The army comprised of Elephants, Horsemen, Chariots and Foot soldiers. Along with the King, the Minister also was an important chess piece.
The game travelled to Persia, then to Arabia and subsequently to Europe. Sometime during the 15th century, the current rules came to existence.
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Origin of Chess in India
Detailed History and Evolution