Chess is certainly the oldest intellectual game. There are many legends among which the best known is the one with a checkerboard and wheat grains. Among archaeological remains of old civilisations wooden plates similar to that of chess were found, but it was still not the chess in today’s sense of the word. The oldest findings of chess game originate from India (from the middle of the 6th century).
Chess has developed and changed throughout centuries and its modern history reaches into the 15th century when Juan Ramirez Lucena in 1497 in Spain (Salamanca) published the first book on chess. This game acquired global popularity as an art and skill, since with equal success the rich as well as the poor, old and young, professionals and amateurs could practice it.
There are three basic ways of playing and competing in chess: the first is classical chess played between two players (over-board chess), the second is correspondence chess and the third is problem chess. Croatia has got a rich chess tradition. There are legends about Croatian coat of arms, which is often in error called checkerboard; however, chess is not played on it, chess is played on the real chessboard with the total of 64 fields (8×8). The story about the King Držislav (which mentions also the King Suronja) tells us how the king was captured by Venetians and about the chess games he played with the Doge of Venice, Pietro II Orseolo who lost three games and liberated Držislav giving him the power over Dalmatian towns.
Držislav inserted a part of chessboard into his coat of arms. English historian Thomas Hyde in his book De ludis orientalibus (On Oriental Games) from 1694 mentions correspondence chess games played between Venetian and Croatian merchant in 1650. In the 19th century chess became increasingly popular owing to students who attended universities in Vienna, Brussels and Paris. First chess column appeared in 1875 in the weekly Hrvatska lipa and in the same century began organised occupying with chess. Thus, it is mentioned that the first chess club was founded in 1879 in Dubrovnik and according to preserved documentation in 1886 also Zagreb Chess Club was founded by the academician, and Dean of the University of Zagreb, one of the most prominent Croatian chess players, Prof. Dr. Gjuro Pilar and his co-workers: Dragutin pl. Šram and Dr. Slavko Wolf.
The Club was registered according to legal regulations of that time and had its own regulations officially approved on 22 March 1886. In January of the same year first chess tournament was organised in Zagreb under the name „Trial Tournament“. It was organised by Gjuro Pilar according to the experience that he acquired during his stay and study in Brussels where he was in touch with some of the most famous chess players of the time. There were nine participants at the Tournament and the winner was Dragutin Šram.
Title: 100th Anniversary of Croatian Chess Federation
Date of Issue: 12 May 2012
Denominations: 4,6 kn