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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]
Fergus Duniho wrote on 2011-03-02 UTC
Okay, first I don't own a copy of David Li's book. So I can't follow your references to it. Since you keep invoking Occam's Razor, I will point out that it favors my theory, not yours. To account for why other regional Chess variants are more like Shatranj, your theory supposes that they are descended from a descendant of the original game that lost its similarities to Weiqi. My theory is simpler than this, and it goes like this. (1) Shatranj, Malay Chess, Thai Chess, Burmese Chess, and Xiang Qi all share a common ancestor. (2) This common ancestor was played on an 8x8 board with 16 pieces per side, these being 8 Pawns, 1 King, 1 Counselor, 2 Elephants, 2 Horses, and 2 Chariots. (3) This game was probably invented in southwest Asia, spreading to China and southeast Asia through trade routes. (4) In China, someone familiar with Weiqi modified the game to take on a very different form, whereas in southeast Asia, the game stayed closer to its original form. (5) Since Korea is in northeast Asia, and its only neighbor by land is China, it got only the Chinese version instead of the original. (6) Japan, relying more on sea travel due to being an island nation, may have picked up versions from southeast Asia, as well as Korea. The Korean influence on Shogi is seen mainly in the name, which is identical when written with Chinese characters. Let me add that we are not arguing about whose culture is superior. When it comes to India vs. China, both cultures are renowned, and it matters little which is the birthplace of Chess. Even if India is the birthplace of Chess, China still has much in its favor. It is the birthplace of Go, and more importantly, its culture has been much more egalitarian than India's. Indian culture has been dominated by the caste system of Hinduism, whereas China accepted Buddhism, a reform of Hinduism that rejected the caste system, and its promotion of Confucianism led to an egalitarian society in which education mattered more than birth. On a personal note, I am neither Chinese nor Indian, but I'm close to some Chinese people, and I don't currently have any Indian friends. So, if anything, I have a slight preference in favor of China being the birthplace of Chess. For me, this is about facts and evidence, and what I know tends to favor the Indian origin of Chess. What I've read of David Li's theory hasn't convinced me.