Everyone knows that the queen is the most powerful piece in chess, but few people know that the game existed for five hundred years without her. In India, Persia, and the Arab lands, where the game was first played, a general, or vizier (chief counselor to the king), occupied the square where the queen now stands. Not until the year 1000, two hundred years after Arab conquerors brought chess to southern Europe, did a chess queen appear on the board. Initially she was the weakest piece, moving only one square at a time on the diagonal, yet by 1497, during the reign of Isabella of Castile, the chess queen had become the formidable force she is today.
“Both chess fans and those unfamiliar with the game will enjoy this absorbing look at the evolution of chess.”
“An enticing portal into the past…. Yalom writes passionately and accessibly about this esoteric topic.”
-Los Angeles Times Book Review
“A well-researched and enjoyable book.”
“Marilyn Yalom has written the rare book that illuminates something that always has been dimly perceived but never articulated.”
-Cleveland Plain Dealer