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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 2011-02-09 UTC
Have you guys looked at this site suggesting Egypt as an earlier place where 'chess' like games have been played? I'm not insistent that Xiangqi is the first board game that has 'chess' merits in the world myself, but am mostly annoyed that there is a Western claim that the early Indian version is the first and only one and that all others must have come from it when the reverse could easily be true. I don't know the details about literary references in Chinese potentially meaning different games and that was not my point about the gameplay between Xiangqi and Chaturanga. I was saying that the pieces move in a very similar fashion but they happen to fit the Xiangqi board naturally as if that kind of movement was designed for a 9x10 board with a palace for the king. I think that is a very common sense observation of the counselor and elephant. They fit in that game and they protect the king. Moving 1 space for the counselor and 2 spaces for the elephant is all that is needed to protect the king, but in the 8x8 board, the queen moving 1 space and the elephant moving 2 spaces don't really seem to do anything defensively or offensively, suggesting that those moves were not designed for that board and set up. i.e. possibly taken from a different game. Meanwhile, in most of the Western analysis of the game play differences, the observation that there are stark similarities are there, but its assumed that China copied India and therefore copied the West once again because India is a part of the British empire. Of course those words are not spoken directly, but the author's bias is clear. If there were other board games representing war developed all over the ancient world, then our discussion gets even more complicated, but I feel that the Chaturanga vs. Xiangqi argument is really just head butting between Western Europe and China. That's why in the Li book you see the authors making very strange statements like Chess pieces become better or more liberated moving West, but become more constrained when moving East. That's not the only explanation and its not necessarily even logical from a cultural standpoint. I can't believe no one until now has noticed that 2 boards are just the same thing with the river removed and the pieces being played within the squares or on intersection points. But anyone is entitled to their own opinion as far as which game influenced the other. But I do think that reasons given by Western writers for how it could have gone from India to China, don't seem logical to me from any standpoint and that they never thought about it happening the other way around which does in fact make sense to me from the standpoint that the original game would have pieces that move better on its board. Is that assumption too much to make? If you were developing a game, you would make the pieces move with a sense of purpose.