With more than 400 illustrations, and detailed maps, this immense and deeply researched account of the history of chess covers not only the modern international game, derived from Persian and Arab roots, but a broad spectrum of variants going back 1500 years, some of which are still played in various parts of the world. The evolution of strategic board games, especially in India, China and Japan, is discussed in detail. Many more recent chess variants (board sizes, new pieces, 3-D, etc.) are fully covered. Instructions for play are provided, with historical context, for every game presented.