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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 2012-01-01 UTC
To Charles G.: When I say 'finished in development', what I mean is that the fact that 8x8 Chess could be improved at least 500 years after Xiangqi's last improvement before it was 'finished', suggests that the original 8x8 game comes after the original Xiangqi game. It's not full proof, but generally if 2 games come from the same source, it should be faster for the original game to finish its development first because there should be less changes necessary. And my point is that there were less changes needed to be made from pre-cannon Xiangqi to cannon Xiangqi as opposed to 8x8 Chess with 1 space moving counselor and 2 space moving minister and 1 space moving pawns and no castling and obviously no en passant. Chess' complexity is approximately the same as Xiangqi (state-space) and Xiangqi would have been more complex than Chess before the bishop and queen were made long range and the pawns 2 spaces. In Xiangqi, pawns only move 1 space, the 2 counselors only move 1 space in the palace, and the minister still moves 2 spaces exactly. That means all they did was add an additional minister, counselor and the 2 cannons in the only place they can fit on the board. That's an easier development process than what happened with 8x8 Chess in Europe. So if both games have those same moving pieces and they come from the same game, then Xiangqi is more likely the first game because those pieces still move the same on the board. I'm not making a strong argument about which board comes from which. Just that the in terms of game development, a game that does not need to change the movements of its pieces is probably precedes another game with the same pieces on a different board and different setup. In order to say logically that the original moving pieces are borrowed from 8x8 Indian Chess in its first known form, the Chinese would have had to take the one space moving counselor and 2 space moving minister and change the board dimensions to make those pieces work properly. That is not impossible, but it is less likely. Generally, a civilization would change the movements of pieces and rules of the game when developing a game and not the board. When I say 'finished its development' I know it is a matter of opinion what 'finished' means, but I am saying that the fact that the minister and counselor needed improvements for 8x8 Chess to be as good as Xiangqi with the cannons, suggests that the game came later and the movement of the pieces are borrowed. Logically speaking, if 8x8 Chess came first, the Indian/Persian civilizations would have put in the long range bishop/minister to begin with and not made a 1 space moving counselor which does not make much sense next to the king. If the king can move to all of its 8 spaces around it, why would you want to put a piece right next to it that can move 1 space diagonal only? It seems out of place and not logical. And the minister or bishop moving exactly 2 squares seems silly also because that piece can only reach 25% of the squares on the board. If Xiangqi came from 8x8 Persian/Indian Chess, then there would probably be changes to the movements of the pieces and not the other way around to fit the different 9x10 intersection board. Instead, we have the same moving pieces on both games and they need to be changed on 8x8 and not 9x10. The 1 space moving counselor in Xiangqi makes sense because the general or emperor moves only 1 space orthogonal and therefore the counselor(s) moves differently than it. The 2 compliment each other. In 8x8 Chess, the 2 pieces in the center do not compliment each other. I am not pointing fingers at anyone on this board, but the general attitude of most Western sources that say with authority that Chess comes from India at a certain time without doing any research into how related chess games were developed in other parts of Asia. That seems like the European world wants their version of Chess to be the first one. The original one and arguably the best. I often read in places, that Shogi and Xiangqi are not as good and appealing as Chess. It looks like bigotry to me or at least ethnocentric thinking which all cultures are like to a certain degree. However, I have noticed that Asian cultures like Japan and China don't automatically say that FIDE Chess is junk and should be disregarded because its just copied from Xiangqi or Shogi. That kind of attitude is not as prevalent although the Japanese and Chinese also have their own superiority issues. You guys say that no one on this board has any stake in whether the game comes from Persia, Afghan, India, China or any other place, but I think there is something at stake. Maybe not necessarily with everyone on the board here, but with the Western world in general. Since the Western world plays the best and most commonly accepted form of Chess on an 8x8 board with Staunton pieces, if it were to be said that the birthplace of Chess comes from China and not India, it would in a way damage the image of the game as being the original and best one. The concept being sold is that India is the birthplace and Europe improved the game to what it is today. If people start saying the Indian version is borrowed from the Chinese version on a different board, then Chess loses its mystique and 'credibility' almost. If you love 8x8 Chess or any form of chess, you naturally do not want to say it is just copied from another game because it hurts your pride as a person who plays that game as well as to perhaps your culture too. I talk to Westerners, Chinese, Korean, and Japanese people and none of them want to say that their game was from another game. They all like saying their game is original to their culture and they came up with it on their own. Since we know for sure 8x8 Chess doesn't come from Europe, it has to be linked to some where and India/Persia are the earliest known places the game comes from which is fine. What is not fine is to say that other related games are assumed to be copied from the first known cases of 8x8 Chess. That's an assumption that should not automatically be made because as in the case of the Chinese civilization, the Western world is telling the Chinese world that they cannot make certain conclusions or estimations based on their own history without proper evidence. I'm saying that its wrong for people to demand evidence from a civilization that they have proof that their own game comes from their region. If they want to say it comes from their region, that's their business. You don't have to agree with it, but it seems that for Chinese Xiangqi historians, they are automatically wrong to think Spring and Autumn period or Warring States period without sufficient evidence.