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This item is a game information page
It belongs to categories: Orthodox chess, 
It was last modified on: 2016-05-03
 Author: Fergus  Duniho. Chaturanga. The first known variant of chess. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Jason L. wrote on 2011-02-06 UTC
Please read that book yourself and not rely on just the wiki site. It's very persuasive, but I cannot vouch for any of his so-called sources. Also, his book does not talk just about the 2 B.C. thing, but others which are not mentioned on the wiki site for the origin of chess. Wikipedia on the chess games and their origin fit in line with the common Western thinking. The Li book looks at the arguments of writers in the West and in general, they say they can't really give good arguments for how it could have gone from India to China, but they say that India was the first is not refutable. i.e. basically using their authority to say they are right. When other writers or scientists proclaim that might not be so because of such and such reasons long before 7th century in India, the next writer just says, well, then India did it before that whether we have reason to believe so or not. The reasons to believe Xiangqi was developed well before 7th century A.D. are numerous and not just that little story during the civil war. I'm not a chess historian, so I'm not the person to talk to. The main point of my post was that it shouldn't be assumed that chess went from India to China just for the sake of it because that's what seems to be going on. We should consider the entire world and not what Europeans want the world to be. Also, it shouldn't be assumed that there were no elephants in China. Yes, elephants are big in India as we all know, but one has to be pretty knowledgable of Chinese history for thousands of years to make that kind of statement. I saw the posts on the Xiangqi page, and I don't agree with the 64 to 90 comment on the squares. That poster is basically saying that in order to make the awkward moving pieces move right, the Chinese developed a 90 point board from the 64 one. The boards are essentially the same, with the river removed and played in the middle of the squares instead of on the intersection points. 90 to 64 is reasonable and so it 64 to 90 depending on how you think about it. Since I have not examined the so-called documents, artifacts, and whatever else you want to call evidence of chess being in China like 700 to 1000 years before India, I can only look at the earlier version of the Indian game and as soon as I did that, it was obvious to me which game came from which. 1) If the Indian game came first, they wouldn't put the kings on opposite sides of each other. That looks like the configuration of the pieces was borrowed from Xiangqi and they changed it later to make it symmetric. 2) The counselor/queen piece is useless on the 64 square board and the elephant/bishop is also. The other poster thinks these problems were fixed in 2 ways. The Europeans made the pieces move more spaces, and the Chinese built a different board that fit those pieces and added a palace. Well, I can't say that that is definitely not what happened, but I don't think that it is that reasonable that the Chinese built a different board and added a palace to fit the awkward movement of those pieces. The counselors and elephant pieces move like that because that is how Xiangqi was originally designed. To protect the king that can't leave the palace. Taking awkward moving pieces to a new board is a rather difficult transition. The fact that those pieces move right in Xiangqi is because they were probably designed that way to fit the board, and that's why they still fit in the modern game. Making pieces move better on the same board is a much more logical development for a game. An elephant becomes a bishop. A counselor or whatever they call it, becomes a queen. Li's book mentions that chess pieces were found in Russia in the 2nd century along a trade route. That's an archeological find. This results in a writer proclaiming that no matter how old findings of whatever nature are, the Indian invention automatically predates is because we said so. That's 4 centuries before the so-called Indian invention, but Western writers don't care to question their thinking nor is trying to learn Chinese or at least consult with Chinese historians let alone other Asian countries is a priority to them. In fact one writer said that research in multiple languages is important for this topic. But then he says that only sources from India should be considered. In fairness to some writers and scientists from the West on this matter, Li's book also cites a few that don't think the Indian version came first but the other way around and they cite pretty logical reasons which of course just get shot down by the next guy writing an article or book. But those thinkers are in the minority. But its the points they make that count. If you want to debate with someone who has done the research who can at least read English and Chinese, read Li's book on Amazon. I don't agree with everything in his book, but if there is any merit to a lot of the points in it, it is highly unlikely that Indian version traveled to China. I live in Taiwan and travel to Hong Kong and mainland China sometimes. No Chinese person who plays Xiangqi thinks the Western version influenced their game through India via trade routes. Of course, they haven't done the research, but this is not common thinking among the Chinese crowd with any knowledge of Xiangqi and Western Chess. From a cultural standpoint, most Chinese people would think the game developed just before the Han dynasty was founded because of the names of the armies on the board. Those are the 2 armies that battled it out before the Han won out. Of course, they can be named that well after that civil war was fought, but considering that Weiqi or Go was developed a few centuries before that, it isn't much of a stretch for a Chinese person to think Xiangqi was developed around that time. But thanks for the tip on 'misnomer'. I won't forget that mistake.