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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]
Mark Thompson wrote on 2011-03-03 UTC
I do have David Li's book, which I bought years ago. I had read a favorable review of it that led me to expect that he had interesting new evidence on the origin of chess, but I was disappointed to find that the book merely piled up a tower of unsupported speculations. The closest thing to evidence was an anecdotal account of Xiang-Qi's being invented by a figure from ancient Chinese history, who as I recall lived a few centuries before Christ, the anecdote being attributed to a Chinese document only a few centuries old. This is valueless as evidence of such a theory: it means only that someone about the time of Newton or Voltaire wrote down a legend about something that had happened about the time of Alexander the Great. Without earlier documents, how could the late author know anything about events so far in his own past? Maybe the 18th century Chinese author got the story from an earlier period, but there were plenty of earlier periods between the supposed events and our document when such a legend could have been composed. Besides this legend, everything I could find in Li's book was a seemingly endless parade of descriptions of how it MIGHT HAVE happened that way, and how it's really not so implausible that it COULD HAVE happened that way. Well, of course, it MIGHT have, as I didn't need Li's book to know. But that's what we call 'idle speculation', not evidence. Someone needs to find some much older documents, or dig up some very old equipment, or something, or this theory will remain negligible.