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A chess project: Two medieval Islamic men playing chess

Playing a game of chess

Chess is an game that was very popular in the Islamic Empire. The game of chess has not changed very much since the time of the Mamluks and Fatimids. Chess was probably invented in India, and comes from earlier games that people played in China, but it was super popular in the medieval Islamic Empire.

Ancient India’s games
Games in Ancient China
Medieval Islamic games
All our Islamic Empire pages

white women playing chess

Medieval women playing chess

What about a human chess game?

You could do a simple chess project just by teaching the rules of chess and playing some games of chess. Or, for something more exciting (but it would take a lot longer!), you could hold a life-size human chess game. It doesn’t have to be fancy. You could use chalk to draw the board on the playground.

More about chess
History of board games
The story of wheat on the chessboard

Other activities:

*Bicycle polo

Bibliography and further reading about medieval Islamic games:

Birth of the Chess Queen : A History, by Marilyn Yalom (2004). How the game of chess changed from West Asia to Europe.

Arab Falconry: History of a Way of Life, by Roger Upton (2002).

Al-Mansur’s Book on Hunting, by Sir Terence Clark and Muawiya Derhalli

A day in the Islamic Empire
More about the games people played in the Islamic Empire

Islamic Empire articles home