Prokofiev was born in Sontsovka (now Krasnoye in Donetsk oblast), Ukraine, then part of the Russian Empire. He displayed unusual musical abilities by the age of five. His first piano composition to be written down (by his mother), an 'Indian Gallop', was in the key of F Lydian (F major with a B natural instead of B flat) as the young Prokofiev felt 'reluctance to tackle the black notes'. By the age of seven, he had also learned to play chess. Much like music, chess would remain a passion his entire life, and he became acquainted with world chess champions Capablanca and Botvinnik.