Evidence of the existence of curling in Scotland goes back to the 1500s with the discovery of stones dated 1511 and 1551. These stones appeared when a pond was drained at Dunblane. The parish church of Paisley Abbey has in its records the first ever reference to the game with the mention of a contest using stones on ice. Often also known as ‘the roaring game’ because of the noise the stones make as they move across the ice, the word curling first appeared in print in 1620 in Perth, Scotland. The early stones were taken from rivers or countryside and had a flat bottom and being of different sizes and shapes, the direction of travel was often erratic. Outdoor curling was very popular in Scotland between the 1500s and 1800s. The game was taken to Canada after many Scots immigrated there.
The modern sport of curling is where players slide stones across the ice to a target area of four coaxial circles. The stones are polished granite with a handle attached to aid control of the initial movement. The stones are often referred to as rocks. A team consists of four players and each team has eight stones, with each player receiving two opportunities to play. The four-circular marked area is called the house. As a player moves a stone from a particular point toward the house, the pathway can be changed by causing the stone to turn slowly as it moves. In addition, two members of team can sweep the ice in front of the stone with brooms or brushes. This helps the stone travel in a straighter path. The overall purpose is to accumulate the highest score once both teams have thrown all their stones. The stones nearest to the centre of the house score the most points.
In 1966 the International Curling Federation (ICF) was established from a committee of the Royal Caledonian Curling Cup in Perth, Scotland. In 1990 the name was changed to the World Curling Federation (WCF) to aid the inclusion to the Winter Olympic program. Curling is now firmly part of the Olympic Games. WCF has over 60 member associations. Curling or ‘chess on ice’, will continue to grow and gain further popularity as the sport builds to the future.