Birth of the Chess Queen: A History by Marilyn Yalom

By Marilyn Yalom

We all know that the queen is the main dominant piece in chess, yet few humans understand that the sport existed for 5 hundred years with out her. It wasn't until eventually chess grew to become a favored hobby for eu royals in the course of the center a while that the queen was once born and was once steadily empowered to develop into the king's fierce warrior and protector.Birth of the Chess Queen examines the 5 centuries among the chess queen's timid emergence within the early days of the Holy Roman Empire to her elevation throughout the reign of Isabel of Castile. Marilyn Yalom, encouraged by way of a handful of surviving medieval chess queens, lines their starting place and unfold from Spain, Italy, and Germany to France, England, Scandinavia, and Russia. In a full of life and interesting historic research, Yalom attracts parallels among the increase of the chess queen and the ascent of woman sovereigns in Europe, featuring a layered, attention-grabbing heritage of medieval courts and inner struggles for strength.

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2 One chess bequest is of special interest, as its donor was a notable woman—Countess Ermessenda, sister-in-law to Count Ermengaud, and widow of his elder brother, Ramón Borrell. 3 When he died in 1017, Ramón willed his property and authority to her, rather than to their son, who was still a minor. Ermessenda held on to the reins of government for the next forty-one years, and oversaw her own affairs as well as those of her son and grandson. In her testament of 1058, Ermessenda followed the lead of her brother-in-law by leaving her rock crystal chessmen to the church of Saint Giles, which had received Ermengaud’s set fifty years earlier.

Church Opposition to Chess C Betting on chess became a subject of heated controversy during the eleventh century and was one of the main reasons that the Church opposed the game. Another reason was that dice were frequently used to determine which piece should move next, making it a game of chance rather than skill, and such games were frowned upon by Church authorities. For example, if the number six was thrown, the king had to move; if five was thrown, it was the queen’s turn. Dice became popular because they made the notoriously slow game of chess move faster.

4 And from the start of their marriage, Adelaide, too, played an important role in German and Italian affairs. On the political level, she was influential in crushing the revolt of Liudolf, Otto’s son from his first wife. Like most queens, she was anxious to eliminate rivals to her own children, only two of whom survived into adulthood—Mathilda, a future abbess of Quedlinburg, and Otto II, his father’s successor. On the cultural level, she helped turn Otto I’s court into a center for the revival of classical learning and the promotion of literature and the arts.

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