Black People Have Been Tied To The History Of Chess For Centuries

black man playing chess
Via Picryl
Adé Hennis
March 14, 2024

There are many pieces on a chessboard, the most important being the king and queen. But the actual royalty lies within the minds of these Black geniuses who helped shape the culture of the game.

#1: Dr. James McCune Smith 

Fascinated with the game of chess, Smith wrote a research essay in 1859 on the game and recommended it to relieve stress and improve attention span. His ability to see the game through a medical lens allowed us to reimagine it.

#2: African Moors 

Throughout the eighth century, as the Moors trekked from Africa through Spain, they introduced Shatranj, a precursor of chess. The game became popular in Spain and eventually spread across Europe.

#3: Walter Harris 

In the 1950s, Walter Harris was denied privileges granted to white chess players, but he refused to have segregation prevent him from attaining greatness. The first Black U.S. National Chess Master, Harris broke through segregation barriers, helping pave the way for future Black chess players.

Our impact to revolutionize the game of chess expands much further than intelligence, it’s how we have the abilities to transform everyday life moments that have the power to inspire future generations.  What’s your next move?

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