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CHESS, Iranian or Indian Invention?

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  Quote Behi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: CHESS, Iranian or Indian Invention?
    Posted: 04-Apr-2006 at 06:20

Murray and van der Linde the two chess historians were almost certain that the birthplace of chess was Indian sub-continent, but most certainly it was invented in Iran for the following reasons: (To be brief I can outline the factors) .

1): Indian literature has no early mentions of chess but Persian literature does:
The first unmistakable reference in Sanskrit writings is in the "Harschascharita" by the court poet Bana, written between 625 and 640. On the other hand, pre-Islamic documents have solidly connected chess with the last period of the Sasanian rulers in Iran (VI-VII century). The "Kamamak", an epical treatise about the founder of this dynasty, mentions the game of chatrang as one of the accomplishments of the legendary hero. It has a proving force that a game under this name was popular in the period of redaction of the text, supposedly the end of the 6th century or the beginning of the 7th. Closely related is a shorter poem from about the same period entitled in Pahlavi "Chatrang-Nmag", dealing with the introduction of chess in Iran.

Master Ferdowsi wrote also about it in the 11th century, but his sources are solid and form a continuous chain of witnesses going back to the middle of the 6th Century in Iran. Mater describes chess as arriving from Hind. According to historical sources this name "Hind" was not used for India until after the 11th century. Here Hind means Eastern-Province of Iranian Empire including Baluchistan, and while others thers have extended Hind to Khuzistan . As some Russian chess historians claim, nobody could possibly generate the rules of chess only by studying the array position at the beginning of a game. On the other hand, such an achievement might be made by looking at Takht-I Nard (backgammon).

2): India has no early chess pieces but Iran does:
The presence of carved chess men in Iranian domains contrasts with the absence of such items in India. There are no chess men there from early times, and only in the 10th century appears an indirect mention from al-Masudi: "The use of ivory (in India) is mainly directed to the carving of chess- and nard pieces". Some experts believe that old Indian chess pieces may be discovered one day! So far, this is mere speculation. The three oldest sets of chess pieces closely identified as such belong to Iranian domains, not to India. The most important are the Afrasiab pieces. They were found 1977 in Afrasiab, near Samarqand, and have been dated by its Soviet discoverers as early as the 7th-8th century. Western experts accept at least the year 761 because a coin so dated belongs to the same layer. These seven ivory men, questionable as all "idols" may be, are Iranian, even if the territory was under Islamic rule since 712. Next group of chess pieces (three chessmen) comes also from the Greater-Iran. The so-called Ferghana pieces include a "Rukh" in form of a giant bird, and its antiquity should be not too distant from the Afrasiab lot. In Nishapur another ivory set was discovered though belonging to later times, 9th or 10th century. These are not idols anymore and are carved following the abstract pattern which has been characterized as "Arabic".

3): The Arabs introduced chess in India after taking "Shatrang" from Iran:
Games upon the "ashtapada" board of 8x8, with dice and with two or more players may have served as "proto-chess", but the two types of games already differ too strongly in their nature and philosophy to make the evolution of "Chaturanga" into "Shatransh" a simple question of direct parentage via the Persian "Chatrang". Arab writers stated quite frequently that they took the game of "shatransh" from the Iranians, who called it "chatrang". This happens in the middle of a political-cultural revolution, which has been analysed in historical texts. The ruling Umayyad dynasty was thrown out after a fierce civil war by a certain Abul Abbas, who initiated a new era, founding in Baghdad in the former Iranian territory, around the year 750 and translating there from Damascus the Islamic political centre. The Abbasid dynasty was culturally of Iranian origin. So Iranian influences became clearly dominant in the cultural renaissance which took place inside the Arabic trunk. A lot of the previous knowledge from classical Greece, Byzantium, early Egyptian and Middle East civilizations and even "from the country of Hind" was compiled and re-translated into Arabic and absorbed in a scientific body which followed its further path towards the West. Chess was only a part of this knowledge, packaged together with earlier mathematical, astronomical, philosophical or medical achievements.

However, we know that while chess flourished in Baghdad in the 9th century, the earliest reliable account of chess-playing in India date only from the 11th century.

4): Etymology is unclear:
Although, Murray shows that Pahlavi words in the game are adapted from Sanskrit, and the Arabic in turn from Pahlavi but Sanskrit closely-linked contemporary relatives such as Avestan. However, the roots of several chess terms may be so go further to India, but the fact is that the Sanskrit word "Chaturanga" means only "army", and it is unclear whether it referred to chess, to a possible form of "protochess" with four players, or to some strategically exercise with pieces over a board with military purposes.

In any case, to be on safer ground, we must remember the earliest solid evidences about the board game called chess belong to Iran. The Pahlavi word "Chatrang" means, even to- day, the mandrake plant, which has a root in form of a human figure. So, there is a good case in favour of a different etymological interpretation: Any game played with pieces representing figures may be compared with the "shatrang" plant.

Another hint is the nomenclature of the pieces, persistently related to different sorts of animals rather than to components of an army: In the "Grande Acedrex" of King Alfonso of Castile (1283) lions, crocodiles, giraffes etc. play over a board of 12x12 cases with peculiar jumping moves, and the invention of it is connected to the same remote period in India as normal chess. They are very atypical in any context referring to India. (See the reference "Hasb"(War) in "The Encyclopaedia of Islam", De Gruyter, Leyden-New York 1967). On the other hand, elephants are not at all exclusive from Indian origin (Sir William Gowers, "African Elephants and Ancient Authors", African Affairs, 47 (1948) p.173 ff. Also Frank W. Walbank, "Die Hellenistische Welt", DTV 1983 p. 205-6), not even in military campaigns: The Iranian were the first nation that introduced cavalry and they had also foot-soldiers, chariots and elephants as well as river and battle-ships. In Egypt, the Ptolemaic Kings obtained elephants regularly from Somalia. Strabo (16,4,5) mentions the foundation of several cities in Africa with the main purpose of hunting elephants. The hunters have even written dedications to Ptolemaios IV Philopator (221-204 BC). Polybios describes a battle with elephants between Ptolomaios IV and Antiochos III in 217 BC. Pyrrhus and Hannibal used it in the West. Modern research has confirmed all the details.

http://www.parstimes.com/sports/chess/chess.html



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  Quote Behi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Apr-2006 at 06:34
I read it in Asar ol-Belad v Akhbar ol-Ebad by Ghazvini
" Bozrgmehr (Bozajomehr) was minister of Khosorow I Anoshiravan,
he was scientist & Clever man, one of his rival, made a Shatrang ( Chess ) & Sent it to Anoshiravan court as challenge & asked Bozorgmeher to find method of the game.
Bozorgmehr find it & sent back method with Varagh=Ganjafeie game. (I don't know name in English SB writes it,plz)  "


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  Quote Maju Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Apr-2006 at 07:19
Wiki claims differently:

The earliest mention of Shatranj or alternatively Chaturanga, or any version of chess, appears in the Sanskrit epic Mahabharata, written circa 500 BC. The oldest known chess pieces have been found in excavations of Moen jo Daro in Sindh dated to 3000 BC. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chess#Origins_of_chess)

The earliest references to the game are found in the Mahabharata written circa 500 BC, while the modern version of Chaturanga has been played since 600 CE or earlier, hence Chaturanga is most commonly believed to be the oldest version of chess.
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaturanga)

There's even a theory that suggest a Chinese origin (Xiangqi) and notice of a strange chess-like game in Ancient Egypt.  Even the Irish hold some unclear claim to it!

Whatever the case it is very likely that Persians played a major role in its duffusion under Islamic rule. It's also significative how much the gameboard resembles the Manicheistic vision of a battle between light and darkness so deeply entrenched in Zoroastrian cosmogony.

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  Quote Behi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Apr-2006 at 08:00

The origins of chess is one of the most controversial areas of board gaming history. Countries which, at one time or the other, have been associated with invention of chess include Sindh/India, China, Persia, Egypt, Assyria, Arabia, Greece, Ireland and Uzbekistan.

Many countries claim to have invented the chess game in some incipient form. The most commonly held view is that chess originated in Sindh. As a matter of fact, the Arabic, Persian, Greek and Spanish words for chess, are all derived from the Sanskrit Chaturanga. The present version of chess played throughout the world is ultimately based on a version of Chaturanga that was played in India around the 6th century CE. It is also believed that the Persians created a more modern version of the game after the Indians. One ancient Persian text refers to Shah Ardashir, who ruled from 224241 CE, as a master of the game.

Another theory exists that chess arose from the similar game of Xiangqi (Chinese chess), or at least a predecessor, thereof, existing in China since the 2nd century BC. Scholars who have favored this theory include Joseph Needham and David H. Li.


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A Persian youth playing chess with two suitors. Chess was played in Persia as early as the 3rd century AD.

Origins of chess pieces


Chess-like pieces

Ever since the earliest times, and especially with regards to the most ancient of preliterate societies, chess-like pieces isolated from whatever boards they could have been played on were only simple figurines cut from stone, or made from clay and fired, and for their small size could have been used to help in accounting in trade and commerce. As some researchers have come to believe, some tokens represented goods or merchandise in transit; including them in a caravan made the trading trip that much more legitimate, and may have invested in them a degree of talismanic luck. Trading partners relied upon the tokens as representatives of the real thing: a cube could represent a crate, a tiny horse figure could represent a horse, and a pod on a stalk could represent a bushel of grain. Insofar as ancient commerce goes, this sort of thing has immense practicality when it comes to balancing one's ledgers, and indicating whether partial shipments are meant to be completed with future shipments. No less important is the matter of exacting tribute from a subject people, and keeping track of how much tribute has been arrived at. This becomes all the more important in an economic network having no common currency, and where debts are satisfied with payments in kind. (In the Near East, for instance, clay tokens have been found in archaeological digs, and some believe that is how man's earliest writing systems first began: from pressing these tokens and figures into clay or waxen tablets, and eventually shipping the tablets instead of the tokens, as an accurate statement of accounts is the easiest way to avoid ill feelings between distant trading centers. It is widely assumed that the cuneiform system of writing on wax or clay tablets followed very shortly after the practice of passing along the tokens.) But anyone who has had to deal with the drudgery of accounting knows that the tabulation and manipulation of tables of tokens is anything but fun, and ought to admit that that is a far cry from a game.


Chess pieces as talismans

An argument can also be advanced that chess pieces hewn from stone were miniature versions of totems, useful for representing and predicting the conflict of divine forces in nature or society according to scientific methods available to anyone curious enough to inquire. As did many other ancient people, the Romans kept little wood statues lares et penates by them in their houses and at work for good luck and good health, and considered spiritual power to be present in them, and emanate from them, wherever they were put. They were not merely placed on pedestals to repose there for general purpose veneration, they were brought and placed where they were believed to have the greatest effect: at the dinner table, the library, the bedroom, the business office, or the garden. Not all talismans were figurine in shape; many were cut or carved or minted in the shape of coins some with magic words inscribed on them and attached to chains for use as pendants; of course, attaching them to chains must render them less accessible to play on a chessboard. Regardless, the chess pieces of the game Shogi may have found their origin in a line of development similar to that. Even still, it is one thing to throw such pieces on a square grid, in a manner reminiscent to divination, as in the I Ching, counting perfect throws against those where pieces straddle dividing lines, and it is quite another thing altogether to have them start from fixed positions and wage war against each other.


Chess pieces as objects of art

In any case, it was not until mankind had advanced thus far in art and technology that little stone figures could be placed on a rectangular grid, and used for some kind of game pieces, whether as animals or men, or wagons or ships, or towers and castles, that chess came close to being invented. In fact, as artisans became more proficient in the manufacture of porcelain, glass, and brick, and were able to make castings in metal, noble families too poor to obtain and maintain private zoos for themselves could still amass beautiful collections of figurines of animals, highly suitable for games when not otherwise reserved for private viewing. (A man on a horse the knight of chess was, for example, one of the most common figures in puppet shows in the Middle Ages, and making a puppet was far more complex and elaborate than is the case today, with many of them having porcelain heads connected to segmented bodies and limbs capable of independent movement, including ability to mount and dismount from the steeds that they rode.) The existence of sets of miniature figures could well have made the invention of chesslike games inevitable, and a mere matter of time.


Further development of chess

Chess eventually spread westward to Europe and eastward as far as Japan, spawning variants as it went. From India it migrated to Persia, where its terminology was translated into Persian, and its name changed to chatrang. The names of its pieces were translated into Persian along the way. Although the existing evidence is weak, it is commonly speculated that chess entered Persia during the reign of Khusraw I Nshrwn (531-578 CE).

From Persia it entered the Islamic world, where the names of its pieces largely remained in their Persian forms in early Islamic times. Its name became shatranj, which continued in Spanish as ajedrez and in Greek as zatrikion, but in most of Europe was replaced by versions of the Persian word shāh = "king".

There is a theory that this name replacement happened because, before the game of chess came to Europe, merchants coming to Europe brought ornamental chess kings as curiosities and with them their name shāh, which Europeans mispronounced in various ways.

  • Checkmate: This is the English rendition of shāh māt, which is Persian for "the king is finished".
  • Rook: From the Persian rukh, which means "chariot", but also means "cheek" (part of the face). The piece resembles a siege tower. It is also believed that it was named after the mythical Persian bird of great power called the roc. In India, the piece is more popularly called haathi, which means "elephant".
  • Bishop. From the Persian pīl means "the elephant", but in Europe and the western part of the Islamic world people knew little or nothing about elephants, and the name of the chessman entered Western Europe as Latin alfinus and similar, a word with no other meaning (in Spanish, for example, it evolved to the name "alfil"). This word "alfil" is actually the Arabic for "elephant" hence the Spanish word would most certainly have been taken from the Islamic provinces of Spain. The English name "bishop" is a rename inspired by the conventional shape of the piece. In Russia, the piece is, however, known as слон = "elephant". In the Indian lingo however, the piece is more popularly known as oont = "camel".
  • Queen. Persian farzīn = "vizier" became Arabic firzān, which entered western European languages as forms such as alfferza, fers, etc but was later replaced by "queen". Incidentally, the Indian equivalent of "queen", rani is used for the piece by Indians.

Among other early literary evidence for chess is a middle-Persian epic Karnamak-i-Artakhshatr-i-Papakan which mentions its hero as being skilled at chess. This work is dated with some reserve, however, at 600 CE: The work could have been composed as early as 260 CE and as late as 1000 CE. The earliest evidence which we can date with some certainty is in early Arabic chess literature dating from the early 9th century CE.

The game spread throughout the Islamic world after the Muslim conquest of Persia. Chess eventually reached Russia via Mongolia, where it was played at the beginning of the 7th century. It was introduced into Spain by the Moors in the 10th century, and described in a famous 13th century manuscript covering chess, backgammon, and dice named the Libro de los juegos. Chess also found its way across Siberia into Alaska.

Chess with dice from romane epoch was found in France with Charlemagne figure sculpted on king pieces, and backgammon game.


Other theories


A seven-piece chess set made of ivory, dated to 762 AD and found at Samarkand

Many of the early works on chess gave a legendary history of the invention of chess, often associating it with Nard (a game of the tables variety like backgammon). However, only limited credence can be given to these. Even as early as the tenth century Zakaria Yahya commented on the chess myths, "It is said to have been played by Aristotle, by Yafet Ibn Nuh (Japhet son of Noah), by Sam ben Nuh (Shem), by Solomon for the loss of his son, and even by Adam when he grieved for Abel." In one case the invention of chess was attributed to Moses (by the rabbi Abraham ibn Ezra in 1130). However, this claim is opposed by some Muslims who consider chess forbidden in Islam.


India


China

Literary sources indicate Xingq may have been played as early as the 2nd century BC (see chess in early literature). Other battle-like board games played in antiquity without dice include the ancient Chinese game of Go, still popular even today. Although the origins of Go may extend as far back as 2300 BC [1], substantial supporting evidence dates no earlier than the 3rd century BC. The oldest surviving remnant of ancient Chinese Liubo (or Liu po) dates to circa 1500 BC. Nevertheless, Liubo, though sometimes considered a battle game, was played with dice. According to a hypothesis by David H. Li, general Han Xin drew on Liubo to develop the earliest form of chess in the winter of 204 BC-203 BC.


Iran

The Karnamak-i Ardeshir-i Papakan, an epical treatise about the founder of Sassanid dynasty, mentions the game of chatrang as one of the accomplishments of the legendary hero. It has a proving force that a game under this name was popular in the period of redaction of the text, supposedly the end of the 6th century or the beginning of the 7th. Closely related is a shorter poem from about the same period entitled in Pahlavi Chatrang-Nmag, dated around AD 600, dealing with the introduction of chess in Iran.

The oldest clearly recognizable chessmen have been excavated in ancient Afrasiab, today's Samarkand, in Iranian domains contrasts with the absence of such items in India. Afrasiab was under the Islamic rule since 712, but were essential an Iranian cultural domain of Persian origin.

As Bidev, the Russian chess historian pointed out, nobody could possibly generate the rules of chess only by studying the array position at the beginning of a game. On the other hand, such an achievement might be made by looking at backgammon (in Persian Takht-I Nard), which is another Iranian game-invention.


Egypt

There is evidence of two ancient Egyptian battle-like board games played without dice. Particularly, Plato attributes Egypt as the origin of petteia, played in the 5th to 4th centuries BC, but nothing more is known about the game (see reference page 261 at Greek Board Games). Another such ancient Egyptian game was seega (idem, pp. 270-271).


Greece and Rome

Yet another game described by Plato is the ancient Greek battle game poleis, a "fight between two cities" (see pp. 263-265 at Greek Board Games). Varro (Marcus Terentius) is credited with having documented our earliest record (1st century BC) of the Roman battle game, latrunculi (idem, p. 259), commonly confused with ludus latrunculorum (mentioned below). Varro's original reference, posted in Latin, appears at Varro: Lingua Latina X, II, par. 20.

When chess reached Germany, accidental coincidence of the imported word schach = "chess" and "check" with the old native German word schach = "robbery" led some people when writing in Latin to use the names latrunculi and ludus latrunculorum to mean "chess".


Ireland

The main claim for Irish origin is the claim that two chess tables were bequeathed in the will of Cathair Mor who died in 153 CE. The Celtic game of fidchell is believed to be a battle game, like chess (as opposed to a hunt game, like tafl or brandub), and possibly a descendant of the Roman game ludus latrunculorum. However, these games were completely unlike chess.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Origins_of_chess

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  Quote Behi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Apr-2006 at 08:03

The Origin of Chess

Western Chess Chronicle Vol. 1 July, 1936 No. 9

   Chess, as the world knows it today, has an ancestry clearly definable and easily established. The student of the game's history, indeed, can find a wealth of corroborative evidence to further his efforts in tracing its ancestry, in philology.

   "A Number of the mediaeval European chess terms," writes H.J.R. Murray in his voluminous work, A History of Chess, "can be traced back by way of Arabic to Middle Persian." For his authority Mr. Murray has utilized an elaborate compilation of data from chess literature both in printed and manuscript forms dating as far back as the Egyptian Dynasties.

   He continues: "The name of the game in most of the European languages (e.g. English, 'chess'; French, 'echecs'; Italian, 'scacchi') can be traced back, through the Latin plural 'scaci' ('scachi', scacci', meaning 'chessmen'), to the Arabic and Persian name of the chess King, 'shah'."

   We may find confirmation of this evidence in the fact that the name, "chess", in modern Spanish or Castilian is "ajedrez", and in Portuguese it is "xadrez". Further, we find these two forms in more ancient Castilian as "acedrix", which is nothing more than the Arabic "ash-shatranj", or the "shatranj" in European costume. To proceed one step further back we find "shatranj" to be an "Arabicized form of the Middle Persian 'shatrang'," which in turn is an adaptation of the Sanskrit "chaturanga". "All these terms are in their respective languages the ordinary names for the game of chess."

   To substantiate this process of derivations Mr. Murray makes a most interesting assertion: "This philological evidence derives some support from the documentary evidence. The earliest works which make mention of chess date from about the beginning of the 7th century A. D., and are associated with the northwest India, Persia, and Islam. It is difficult to assign exact dates, but the oldest of a number of nearly contemporary references is generally assumed to be a mention of chess in a Middle Persian romance --the 'Karnamak'-- which is ascribed with some hesitation to the reign of Khusraw II Parwiz, the Sasanian king of Persia, 590-628 A. D. The others belong to northwest India."

   Our game today, as the western world plays it, is one of the two main branches in which it may historically be divided. Our game is known as European chess, or Occidental chess. The second branch is known as Asiatic chess and includes those forms familiar to China and Japan. "Shon-gi" is the Japanese form of chess; "I-go, Wei-Ki" is the ancient Chinese game of chess. In 1904 a Japanese philosopher, Cho-Yo, wrote regarding these games:

   "The Chinese have been for many centuries acquainted with chess under a form not very unlike the Occidental branch of the Chessological game. Yet the rules for playing are very different from those of the Hindostanese and its descendants' modified offsprings, so that it gives us a strong suggestion to let it be a quite, though only apparently, independent origin on account of the peculiar feature of a central space or strip called 'The Sacred Barrier or River'.

   "The origin of the Chinese Chessological game is also of very great antiquity, and the reputation of the inventor of the game for the sake of getting clear riddance of brutal, bloodthirsty struggle.is generally yet fabulously attributed to the great sage Wei Wang, in 1120 B.C.

   "Japanese chess, or 'Shon-gi', is of a very great antiquity, and is a descendant of that which originated at least 5000 years ago."

   Referring again to Mr. Murray's writings, we read:

   "It is interesting to note that early Persian and Arabic tradition is unanimous in ascribing the game of chess to India. The details naturally vary in different works and the names in the tradition are manifestly apocryphal.

   "Chess is usually associated with the decimal numerals as an Indian invention, and its introduction into Persia is persistently connected with the introduction of the book 'Kalila wa Dimna' (the Fables of Pilpay), in the reign of the Sasanian monarch, Khusraw I Nushirwan, 531 A.D., and European scholars of Sanskrit and Persian generally accept the traditional date of the introduction of this book as established. The so-called Arabic numerals are well-known to be really Indian.

   "Finally, a comparison of the arrangement and method of the European game of the 11th and 13th centuries A.D. with the Indian game as existing today and as described in the earlier records supports the same conclusion.

   "We must accordingly conclude that our European chess is a direct descendant of an Indian game played in the 7th century with substantially the same arrangement and method as in Europe five centuries later, the game having been adopted first by the Persians, then handed on by the Persians to the Muslim world, and finally borrowed from Islam by Christian Europe."

   To substantiate the assertions as to the origin of the Asiatic branch of chess, as quoted above from Cho-Yo, Mr. Murray has this to say:

   "Games of a similar nature exist today in other parts of Asia than India, The Burmese 'sittuyin', the Siamese 'makruk', the Annamese 'chhoen trang', the Malay 'chator', the Tibetan 'chandaraki', the Mongol 'shatara', the Chinese 'siang k'i', the Corean 'tjyang keui', and the Japanese 'sho-gi', are all war games exhibiting the same great diversity of pieces which is the most distinctive feature of chess.

   "There is naturally far less direct evidence respecting the ancestry of these games than in the case of European chess, but there can be no doubt that all these games are descended from the sam original Indian game. The names 'sittuyin'' (Burmese), 'chhoen trang' (Annamese), and 'chandaraki' (Tibetan) certainly, and the names 'chator' (Malay) and 'shatara' (Mongol) probably, reproduce the Sanskrit 'chaturanga'."

   In respect to the arrangement of pieces and board in the Malay, Tibetan and Mongol games Mr. Murray points out that they are identified very closely with the Indian game, but he further comments that the relation of the Chinese, Corean, and Japanese games are "not so obvious." He leaves no doubt, however, that both the Corean and Japanese games are derivatives of the older form of the Chinese game. Mention is made of Chinese writings which refer to the introduction of modifications in their game about 1279 B.C. Such coincidental features as the Chariot with the move of the Rook occupying the corner squares, and the Horse with the characteristic move of the Knight occupying adjoining squares indicate, and not accidentally, that the Chinese games are of Indian origin.

   In summarizing, we find this salient and self-evident fact. To again use Mr. Murray's words: "The broad lines of the diffusion of chess from India are fairly clear. Its earliest advance was probably westwards to Persia; the eastward advance appears to have been rather later, and at least three lines of advance may be traced." The first group, we are able to clearly trace, carried the game by Kashmir to the far east via China, Korea, and Japan. The second line, and most probably the same by which Buddhism traveled, carried the game to Further India (where it took on dissimilar features to that of Indian chess). Somewhat later the game spread from the southeast coast of India to the Malay Peninsula. How the game may have reached Tibet and the northern tribes of Asia is yet in doubt. Very ancient Persian manuscripts have revealed that the Zoroastrians had meanwhile passed on chess to the Eastern Roman Empire, and, further documents also disclose that, resulting from the Mohammedan conquest of Persia, Islam acquainted herself with the game. Following this period the Muslims became the most prolific pioneers of chess, thus bringing into being the first concepts of the Occidental branch, and carrying their game as far west as Spain and as far east as India where they ascribed the Arabic nomenclature on the Northern and Central provinces of the peninsula. There is in existence pronounced evidence of the fact that Christian Europe took up the study of chess from the Moors as early as 1000 A.D. Upon gaining a foothold on the Mediterranean shores, it gradually spread northward over France and Germany to Great Britain, to Scandinavia, and to Iceland.

   Archeological discoveries have brought to light chess pieces and boards found in tombs as old as the pre-dynastic period which dates back to about 4000 B.C. At King's College, London, in July, 1909, there was on display at the annual exhibition of the Egypt Exploration Fund a clay gaming board, measuring 7 inches by 2 1/2 inches, with three rows of six squares and eleven conical pieces varying in height from one-half inch to one inch, taken from a pre-dynastic tomb at El-Mahasna, which lies eight miles north of Abydos. The tomb is presumed to have been the burial-place of a medicine man or magician.

   There have also been found in tombs of the Fifth Dynasty, about 3600-3400 B.C., paintings on which were depicted early inhabitants of Egypt playing at chess. Chess games are mentioned in the earliest Buddhist literature of India, which manuscripts date back to about 500 B.C.

   A wealth of archeological discoveries, and a vast collection of Sanskrit, Indian, and especially Persian literature conclusively prove that the origin of chess dates back to the beginning of civilization itself.

http://www.chessdryad.com/articles/wcc/transcribed/origin.ht m

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  Quote Behi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Apr-2006 at 08:29

The Persian Chatrang ( and the Indian Chaturanga) had already two armies of 16 pieces each, with a familiar set-up, on an uncheckered 64 cases board :

Each side has :
1 Shah, whose capture is the aim of the game and which moves 1 step in all direction as our King.
1 Vizier (Farzin, Firzan in Arab), close to the Shah and which moves 1 step diagonally.
2 Elephants (Pil, Fil in Arab) which moves diagonally 2 steps, leaping over the intermediate case if occupied.
2 Horses (Asp, Faras in Arab) moving obliquely exactly as our modern Knights.
2 Chariots (Rukh in Persian and Arab) which have exactly the orthogonal move of our Rooks.
8 Soldiers (Piyadah, Baidaq in Arab) which move 1 step straight ahead (never 2) and capture diagonally ahead as our modern Pawn. When reaching the last row, they are promoted to Farzin.

 

In China, the earliest description of Xiangqi, with all its pieces, are more recent. They are from Bei Song Dynasty, around 1000 A.D. and depicted the modern Xiangqi already. They are two armies, one blue and one red, with 16 pieces placed on the intersections of a 8 x 9 cases board, then 9 x 10 points :

1 General (Jiang for blue, Shuai for red) whose capture was here again the aim of the game and which moves 1 step, orthogonally only. It is confined to the 9 points of its citadel.
2 Advisors or Mandarins (Shi), also confined in the palace and which moves 1 step diagonally.
2 Ministers for blue, or 2 Elephants for red (both named Xiang but with different ideograms) which move 2 steps diagonally. They can not jump and are not allowed to enter the opposite half-board.
2 Horses (Ma) whose move is similar to that of our Knights with, maybe already, the impossibility of jumping over the first leg case if it is occupied.
2 Chariots (Ju) strictly equivalent again to our Rooks at the corners of the board.
. 2 Cannons (Pao) placed before most of the troops on the third row
5 Soldiers (Zu for blue, Bing for red) which step 1 case straight ahead as long as they are in their own half of the board, then which can also move 1 case sideways when they have penetrated the opposite camp. This is their only form of promotion. As all the other pieces, their move and capture are identical.

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  Quote Behi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Apr-2006 at 08:31

 
 7 pieces set, ivory , dated 6 to 8th c., found at
Afrasiab, near Samarkand, Uzbekistan State Museum of Samarkand
Earliest known Chess pieces.


Isolated Knight found in Afrasiab, bone, 6 to 7th c.


Ivory piece most probably dated from 11th c but Linder thinks that 7 to 8th c is more accurate. Found in Saqqizabad, Iran and very similar to the Vizier of the Afrasiab set. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

 
Chariot-rook(?) from Samarkand, 7-8th c, ivory. (British Museum)


Fil (Elephant/Bishop), origine unknown (Iran, Irak, India?), 7th-8th c.?, The Metropolitan Museum of Art


Rock crystal, 800 AD. Found at Basra, South Iraq.

 


Rukh, origin unknown, 8th-10th c., ivory
The Metropolitan Museum Of Art


Shah, Iran, 8th-10th c., carved jet
The Metropolitan Museum Of Art 

 


Iranian Rook from Nishapur, 9th c.


Chess piece (?) in glass, Lebanon, 10th c.

 


Shah / Shah / Rukh / Fil

Nishapur pieces, Tepe Madrasa, Iran, 9th-12th century
ivory with traces of green, The Metropolitan Museum Of Art. 


Anoth Nishapur set, Iran, 1th century, composite body, glazed
unique almost complete set from the Seljuk period
The Metropolitan Museum of Art


Rook, Egypt, Islamic period


Chess piece (King ?), Egypt, Islamic period


Rukh or Knight, origin unknown, 11th-12th c., carved ivory
The Metropolitan Museum of Art


Shah, Egypt or Syria, Mamluk period, 13th-14th c., glass
The Metropolitan Museum of Art 

 


Two Rooks, Byzantine art. The Elephant was found in Iraq and is from 10th c.
Museo Bargello, Florence, Italy


Pawn, Shah, Vizir, Knights and Rook, Arabic chess set, Rock-crystal and smoken topaz, 13th.c,
Topkapi Palace Museum, Istanbul, Turkiye
 


Elephant in ivory found in ancint Khazar fortress of Sarkel, dated 8 to 10th c.,
Ermitage, St Petersburg, Russia. Proves that Chess came in Russia by the Caspian-Volga route.

 


 King, ivory, 12th c, Slutsk, Belarus, Bielorussian Academy of Sciences, Minsk


Queen, ivory, 12th c, Lukoml, Belarus, State Museum of Belarus


 Boat (Rook), ivory, beg 12th c, Volkovysk, Belarus, Bielorussian Art Museum, Minsk


 Pawn, ivory, beg 12th c, Volkovysk, Belarus, Bielorussian Art Museum, Minsk 



Edited by Land of Aryan
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  Quote mamikon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Apr-2006 at 08:55
Indian

however it was spread by Persians. Actually checkmate in Armenian is a Persian word I believe.

Shaxmat: Shax - Shah
         &nbs p;      Mat - Death

thus Checkmate = Shaxmat (in Armenian) = Death of the Shah (or the Death of the King)


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  Quote Maziar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Apr-2006 at 11:45
Mat doesn't mean dead, it means numb. The earlier player have had full respect for chess, specially for the king piece.
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  Quote mamikon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Apr-2006 at 20:38
Oh really? My coach has told me mat means death, oh well, learn something new everyday.

what do you mean by "The earlier player have had full respect for chess, specially for the king piece"?
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  Quote Iranian41ife Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Apr-2006 at 20:54
he means that the players back then had more respect for the game and the pieces (which supposedly symbolised certain things, for example the shah piece (king)) unlike today, where we only play it for fun and the pieces dont really mean anything to us.
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  Quote malizai_ Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Apr-2006 at 21:05

Originally posted by mamikon

Indian

however it was spread by Persians. Actually checkmate in Armenian is a Persian word I believe.

Shaxmat: Shax - Shah
         &n bs p;      Mat - Death

thus Checkmate = Shaxmat (in Armenian) = Death of the Shah (or the Death of the King)


Nice insight mamikon

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  Quote Iranian41ife Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04-Apr-2006 at 21:07
the word check mate is also derived from the persian term used.
"If they attack Iran, of course I will fight. But I will be fighting to defend Iran... my land. I will not be fighting for the government and the nuclear cause." ~ Hamid, veteran of the Iran Iraq War
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  Quote Maziar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-Apr-2006 at 01:39

Originally posted by prsn41ife

he means that the players back then had more respect for the game and the pieces (which supposedly symbolised certain things, for example the shah piece (king)) unlike today, where we only play it for fun and the pieces dont really mean anything to us.

Yes , right. due to this respect they never dare to say the king is dead.

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  Quote mamikon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-Apr-2006 at 09:51
well why do you think Armenians gave a damn about the Shah of Persia?
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  Quote Maziar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-Apr-2006 at 14:07

I am sure they won't  they have their own king.

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  Quote mamikon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-Apr-2006 at 15:18
at times...lol
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  Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-Apr-2006 at 16:01
Ancient board games from which chess no doubt chess is a derivative have been fouind in Sumerian and Burnt city excavations. dice have even been uncovered at the burnt city.
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  Quote mamikon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-Apr-2006 at 17:14
yup! I have heard of that too, but I havent seen a comparison between
chess and those board games. I dont think its possible that the board
games spread from Sumer to India, however it is possible, that board
games were prevalent in both regions, and arose independently.
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  Quote Zagros Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05-Apr-2006 at 17:25
Burn t city is in Iran and the board game bears a marked resemblence to the Sumerian game.
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