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This item is a piececlopedia entry
It belongs to categories: Orthodox chess, 
It was last modified on: 1998-09-14
 Author: Hans L. Bodlaender. Dabbabah. Jumps two orthogonally.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
John Ayer wrote on 2004-03-24 UTC
Very well! The site http://www.goddesschess.com/chessays/calvognosis2.html has this to say about a conjectural parent of Chaturanga: <p>The German historian Johannes Kohtz (1843-1918) supposed that in the protochess the Rook was also a jumping figure, with a mobility limited to a third square. So the squares accessible to a Rook in h1 would be f1 and h3, and later in the game f3, d3, d1, b1, b3, b5, d5, f5, h5, h7, f7, d7 and b7. His theory makes a lot of sense (in spite of Murray's rejection after long arguments by post), because the three jumping pieces (Alfil, Knight, and Rook) represent a diagonal, hook-curved and rectilinear movement of the same range. It also expresses a perfect ranking order: The King and the Knight are the only pieces which can move to any of the 64 squares. The Firzan has half of the board, 32. The Rook half of that, 16 squares. And the Alfil, half of that, 8. <p> End of quotation. The goddesschess page cited above suggests that this protochess traveled to Persia, where the concepts of checkmate and check were introduced. The rook was invented to make checkmate more attainable, and the board was enlarged to ten squares by ten to accommodate it. This game is known to John Gollon and his followers as Shatranj al-Kamil Type I. The orthogonal leaper (0,2) in that game is called a Jamal, or camel. It has the same move as the dabbabah in Tamerlane's Shatranj al-Kabir. We are apparently to infer that the rook was so popular that players used it at the corners of the eight-square board instead of the old 0,2 leaper, and the game in this form traveled back to India and supplanted its predecessor as swiftly and thoroughly as modern chess did medieval chess in the late fifteenth century. My thought is simply that Shatranj al-Kamil I traveled along the Silk Road through Central Asia to China, where the camel/dabbabah became the cannon/catapult, extending its leap from two squares to any number. The game was transferred to a previously existing Chinese game-board, and with a few minor adjustments became Xiangqi.