The game of chess and the majority its many precursors originated in Asia and Asia Minor, as early as the 6th century. Most historians put the origins of chess in India during the Gupta Empire (320-550 CE) where the game was known as chaturanga, which means something akin to “army”. Chess’s earliest incarnation led to the development of other strategy games all across Eruasia, including xiangqi and go in China as well as shoji in Japan. Chess owes its modern adaptation to the Europeans, introducing the black and white board and as well as the modern accepted movement of individual pieces.
Chaturanga spread to the rest of Asia and Asia Minor along the Silk Road, where it became a favorite game of the Persians, which led to it becoming popular by the Muslims who inhabited Persia and then North Africa. The Persians spread chess through Russian trade routes until it hit Europe as well as pushing it through Greece and Spain.