“Sheikh” (شيخ) is the Arabic word for the monarch. Players would announce “Sheikh” when the king was in check. “Māt” (مات) is an Arabic adjective for “dead,” “helpless,” or “defeated.” So the king is in mate when he is ambushed, at a loss, helpless, defeated, or abandoned to his fate.
The history of chess goes back almost 15 centuries. The game originated in northern India in the 6th century AD and spread to Persia. When the Arabs conquered Persia, chess was taken up by the Muslim world and subsequently, through the Moorish conquest of Spain, spread to Southern Europe.
Buddhist pilgrims, Silk Road traders and others carried it to the Far East where it was transformed into a game often played on the intersection of the lines of the board rather than within the squares. Chinese chess and the Japanese game, Shogi, are the most important of the Eastern chess variants. However, it was the changes made in medieval Europe which led to the Western game known as Chess.