Although the exact origins of the game are not known, historians believe that chess originated in India, known at the time as Chaturanga. After that, it migrated to Persia and then on to Europe and China.
The original terms and rules changed with each country to which chess spread. For instance, checkmate is the English version of "shah mat," which is Persian for "the king is finished." Additionally, the original English rules restricted the movements of many of the pieces. It wasn't until the 15th century, and Italy's influence, that pawns had the option to move two spaces on their first turn and queens turned into the most powerful piece on the board. Other changes followed from Italy's influence to create the modern version of chess known today.