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Does playing chess require a great mind, or are great minds formed by playing chess? Chess is the seemingly simple game that contains infinity and which has had a profound effect for centuries on societies all over the world. Chess involves thirty-two figurative pieces, moving over sixty-four black and white squares according to simple rules. Yet, it has driven its greatest players to madness and has been the driving force behind the intellectual development of mankind. The rules and pieces of chess are a metaphor for society, they have formed the basis for military strategy and acted as an influence on mathematics, literature, the arts and artificial intelligence. Popes, rabbis and imams have condemned it is as the devil's game; Caliph Muhammad al- Amin lost his throne and life trying to checkmate a courtier while Benjamin Franklin used chess as a cover for secret diplomacy. Ranging from chess's invention in India in A.D. 500, its spread across the world by Islamic warriors to its role as a moral guide in the Middle Ages and its political use in the Enlightment, its key role int he development of twentieth-century Modernism and its twenty-first century importance in the development of artificial intelligence.
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