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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]
Charles Gilman wrote on 2012-01-04 UTC
Let me see if I've got your 'pre-pre-Cannon' Xiang Qi right, on the basis that a picture paints 1000 words. If modern Xiang Qi is
and its immediate predecessor was
, was the one before that

I see what you mean that if the 'finished' version of one is later the 'original' is later too, but that pre-supposes that the two have no common 'original'. That would mean that pieces with similar moves in similar positions were created independently in India and China. Most contributors (apparently including yourself) consider this unlikely.

I have already acknowledged that FIDE Chess is a bigger change from Chaturanga than post-Cannon Xiang Qi is from pre-Cannon Xiang Qi, but I do not see it following that the game that needed more change had already been greatly changed from another game. Surely it is more likely that the game that needed less change was the one that had the most prior change.

To call Xiang Qi an improvement on Chaturanga is not to put down China compared to Europe, which also improved on Chaturanga. To call Chaturanga a worsening of Xiang Qi is to say that India cannot even improve a game, let alone create one from scratch. Why should anyone change a game to make it worse? Repositioning pieeces to 'make them work properly' seems far more likely than repositioning pieces that already work properly so that they do not.

A better argument for Chatruranga being derived from Xiang Qi is the Pawn, which does look like an improvement. I concede that this strengthens the case for Chaturanga being derived from Xiang Qi, as does your evidence of pre-pre-Cannon Xiang Qi. How did you find out about that game? On the other hand, does anyone know whether there was a pre-Pawn Chaturanga with a front rank more like Xiang Qi or Shogi? I have read discussions on the Rook having a precursor (the Dabbaba - and where would that come from in a Chinese-origin theory) but never the Pawn.