These exclamations persisted in chess as it traveled to other lands. The game was taken up by the Muslim world after the Islamic conquest of Persia, with the pieces largely keeping their Persian names. The Moors of North Africa rendered Persian “shatranj” as sha? erej, which gave rise to the Spanish acedrex, axedrez and ajedrez; in Portuguese it became xadrez, and in Greek zatrikion, but in the rest of Europe it was replaced by versions of the Persian shah (“king”).
Thus, the game came to be called ludus scacchorum or scacc(h)i in Latin, scacchi in Italian, escacs in Catalan, echecs in French (Old French eschecs); schaken in Dutch, Schach in German, szachy in Polish, sahs in Latvian, skak in Danish, sjakk in Norwegian, schack in Swedish, sakki in Finnish, sah in South Slavic languages, sakk in Hungarian and sah in Romanian; there are two theories about why this change happened: 1. From the exclamation “check” or “checkmate” as it was pronounced in various languages. 2.
From the first chessmen known of in Western Europe (except Iberia and Greece) being ornamental chess kings brought in as curios by Muslim traders. The Mongols call the game shatar, and in Ethiopia it is called senterej, both evidently derived from shatranj. Chess spread directly from the Middle East to Russia, where chess became known as шахматы (shakhmaty, treated as a plural). The game reached Western Europe and Russia by at least three routes, the earliest being in the 9th century. By the year 1000 it had spread throughout Europe