Back to Square One
"Back to square one" means returning to the beginning, or starting again, generally as a result of a failure.

The phrase "back to square one" has an uncertain origin. There are theories that state it originated with early BBC football (what we call soccer) commentaries where the announcers described the field in a grid pattern so that listeners could visualize where the players were. This theory isn't fully compelling because in English football there really is no beginning square, nor do any of the early commentaries actually use this phrase.

A second theory revolves around the game hopscotch, where the players start at square one and hop from square to square avoiding the one containing their thrown stone, and ultimately returning to the starting square or square one. This theory seems likely although there are many who advocate for the origin being in the game Snakes and Ladders, more commonly known now as Chutes and Ladders, where one starts at square one and sometimes through unfortunate dice rolls have to lose progress. Here the theory seems strained because this game in either version does not generally have a snake or chute that returns the player to the starting square. However, supporting this theory is that the earliest printed usage of this phrase is from the Economic Journal in 1952 where it states: "He has the problem of maintaining the interest of the reader who is always being sent back to square one in a sort of intellectual game of snakes and ladders."

It seems the best we can know is that this phrase originated in connection to a game.

Use Example - "Well after all our careful planning, it seems we are back to square one."

Source Tags : Sports  Games