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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 2011-12-24 UTC
@ Charles Gillman Have you seen the pre-cannon version of Xiangqi? It does not resemble the earliest known version of 8x8 chess in India or Persia which are basically the same. The earliest pre-cannon version of Xiangqi has less pieces (12) per side with only 1 counselor and 1 minister on each side with the general in the middle which does not resemble the first known version of 8x8 chess anywhere. It's assumed that the earliest known version of chess in India is the first game and all games are derived from that, but why are there already 16 pieces in that game with 2 ministers/elephants? The game is more modern looking than the first version of Xiangqi which suggests that it comes after Xiangqi and not before. If something looks older and has less pieces in its setup, it probably predates a more modern looking formation, not the other way around. The first version of 8x8 chess in Persia and India looks like a modern version of Xiangqi with 2 minister and 2 counselors in it. The position of the pieces is more similar. That suggests that the first version of 8x8 chess is derived from a more modern version of Xiangqi. That means 8x8 came after the first known version of Xiangqi. This assumption that the Chinese drastically changed a game that was developed in India by moving to intersection points and putting in a palace, river, and cannons goes against common sense if you look at the timelines of the 2 games. If Xiangqi's earliest known version had slow moving pieces like a 1 space diagonal counselor (fers in 8x8 chess) and a 2 space moving minister (elephant in 8x8 chess), then that means those pieces had to have come from one game or the other originally. The fact that there was no improvement needed for those 2 pieces in Xiangqi means that those pieces come from that 9x10 board to begin with. That is not radical change. That means origin. If one is to argue that the 1 space moving counselor and 2 space moving minister came from 8x8 and were moved to 9x10, then this a more hard pressed argument, because those pieces never fit that game well to begin with which is why it took longer for those pieces to evolve into the long range bishop and long range queen. That is why Xiangqi's development ends around the year 800-900 A.D. and Chess does not finish its development until 15th Century A.D. in Europe. That means that those pieces were NOT developed for that 8x8 board no matter how simple that board looks with the 64 squares. That means they were borrowed from another game and needed to be altered to fit the new board. Therefore, based on the movement of the original chess pieces which had 1 or 2 counselors, and 1 minister with a 2nd being added later, the 9x10 board appears to pre-date the 8x8 board and it looks like the pieces on the 9x10 board were simply moved from the intersection points to the squares and the river was not counted. If you take out the river in Xiangqi and just count squares, you get 8x8. Easy enough. It would be harder for someone or a group of people to take the 8x8 board and add a river in between as well as a palace. Shogi which plays more like FIDE Chess or actually like Makruk, is obviously a descendant of South East Asian Chess which is played in squares on the 8x8 board, but the Japanese used a 9x9 square board instead. Shogi finished its development in the 1600's. Therefore, games that are based on another game, generally will finish its development at a later date than its predecessor. This is not contrary to common sense. Xiangqi finished its development 500 years before 8x8 Chess in Europe, and Shogi finished its development about 100 years after Chess in Europe. Therefore, it is likely that 8x8 Chess comes from 9x10 Xiangqi, and 9x9 Shogi comes from 8x8 Chess or Makruk specifically.