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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 2011-02-07 UTC
I think that anytime we say that one thing came from another, the converse also needs to be considered because there is usually another line of thinking the person has not considered just like I would have never have thought anyone would think that Xiangqi could have come from Chauturanga because the pieces in that game just don't move right. Shatranj is just a better version of that game, but I am mostly looking at things from a common sense standpoint. I don't know anything about how games in different places influencing each other or any of that because it doesn't appear there is any definite way of confirming that in history, but it's just logical to me that Xiangqi developed after Weiqi in China and that the Chinese are strong in boardgames. To say that Xiangqi developed Tang dynasty which is quite late in history seems like this was stated just to be after the 6th century 'invention' in India. From a Chinese point of view, if Weiqi developed 5xx B.C. or much earlier, it is not much of a stretch to think Xiangqi developed a few hundred years later. Also, both games are played on intersection points and have similar tactics with blocking pieces in so they can't flee. It's easy for a Chinese person to believe that Xiangqi (without the cannon) was developed around the Qin/Han dynasty. The pieces, the cultural aspects, and the tactics seem to be from that period. Whether we are overseas Chinese growing up in N. America or in Asia somewhere, the Qin and Han dynasty period are very clear to us as far as what was going on in China and what kind of warfare was used. Xiangqi shows a civil war between 2 Chinese armies. Since Qin and Han dynasty was all about civil war, we would think the game developed around that time or a little after to represent what was going on at that time. We would not think that just because several British/European thinkers proclaimed that India was the origin in the 7th century or so and we wanted to be some 800 years earlier to be superior. We would think that Qiangqi was from Han/Qin, independently of what the Western world would think. So to us, its not even a debate. We are not proclaiming that the Indian/Persian versions were influenced by Xiangqi for sure, we just think Xiangqi came from around that period of civil war. If one says it was developed in the Tang dynasty, we would think it was strange because the Tang dynasty was well organized and expansive. The Tang dynasty was invading other regions of Asia and was not a period of civil war. Or at least, that's what our impression of that period is. It's the golden age of expansion and not Chinese fighting amongst Chinese as it always is. I know I gave a lot of reasons why I think the Indian version was developed from Xiangqi, but my main point is that among a very large population of Chinese people, if you were to ask them when Xiangqi most likely developed whether it was an original invention or borrowed from India like Buddhism, they would not say Tang dynasty. They would think Qin/Han dynasty. Problem is, the Indian version only traces back to the 7th century, so there's a discrepancy of 800 years or so implying that it might be the other way around if the 2 are related. I feel like this argument was really started by the West and Chinese people are getting sensitive about it because we don't appreciate Westerners assuming everything originated from there and nothing Chinese is really Chinese. That may be true of nuclear and stealth technology, or a great deal of technology developed from the 17th century and afterwards, but China was technologically advanced up until the end of the Ming dynasty, so we wouldn't automatically assume anything worth a grain of salt must have come from the West before that period. Plus, in regards to the issue at hand, China happens to be strong in board games while India is strong in divinity and Chinese people acknowledge that. I haven't read through all of Li's book, but I think this issue is worth delving further into on my own. Of course, even if I found some kind of historical document that appears to be dated like several hundred years before 600 A.D., that seems to be referring to something like Xiangqi, I am sure that it would be automatically refuted by the West because the exact word 'Chess' wasn't written there. Of course, it wouldn't be. Chess is an English word, and Chinese would just write 'qi', which means chess or a board game of some sort, but that requires a translation into English and it isn't a precise translation. It seems that because there isn't a precise word in Chinese that means 'Chess' therefore, no document or historical etc., can be counted as evidence because its a matter of semantics. If anything, the summary of logic from the Western writers shows a definite bias towards Indian documentation and not anywhere else. If we want to say Int'l. or Western Chess is clearly derived from these earlier Indian versions, that is fine with me, but it isn't necessary to automatically proclaim that other forms of chess in other parts of the world are all derived from that same version also. I feel this debate that has been going on for centuries or whatever isn't even totally necessary. Why can't we just look at how chess was developed in different parts of the world instead of proclaiming that any one version was the mother of them all? That's like making comments on another country's history and culture and making judgments for the sake of making a world claim on a board game in another country as being the true one and all others are modified from it. We should just leave Chinese history to the people who can read the language and study it. There's no reason to tell another group of people that they are 'incorrect' about their own estimations to when their board game was developed. If the Chinese don't make assertions about Indian history or any other country or region's history, then why can't the same be done for the Chinese or Han region too?