1: Introduction | 2: India| 3: China| 4: Egypt| 5:Myths, legends| 6: Cultural syncretism
At this point of the investigations on the origin of chess there are things we know, things wesuppose we know and thingsthat we ignore. Lets list them one by one:
We know that the game arose in the Orient.
We know that there are only three theories that present valid sources to support their stance onthe original source of the game: the one that locates the origin in India; the one that focuses onChina, and that of cultural syncretism.
We know that a variant of proto-chess entered Persia in the sixth century AD coming from a region of India.
We suppose thatthis game was chaturanga, in its two-player modality, which was taken to Baghdad, the capital of the Persian Empire.
We know that the first precise mentions to a variant of proto-chess, coming from diverse literary sources, appear inthe fourthcentury AD, the first of which refers tothe Chinese xiang-qi and the second one to chaturanga.
We know that bothxiang-qi andchaturanga had their respective transformation processes.
We know that there are two previous games that were born in these cultures, which had been recorded in literary works since ancient times: the Chinese liubo and the Indian ashtpada.
We suppose thatxiang-qi if it came exclusively from theChinese culture could have been conceived fromliubo.
We suppose that chaturanga if it came exclusively from the Indian culture could have been conceived from ashtpada or chaturaji.
We ignore the sequence in which chaturaji and chaturangacame to be(although the predominant theory is that the latter came first), or even if chaturaji is a mere position of chaturanga.
We know that a version ofxiang-qi has survived to the present day (it is currently played in China and, at least, also in Vietnam) while chaturanga disappeared as a practice at some distant moment in time.
We ignore under whichprecise circumstanceschaturangaabandoned the use of dice.
We ignore whether the evolutionary process ofchaturanga went from the four-player version to the two-player one or the other way around.
We suppose thata synthesis of several previous games was generated on the Silk Route, appearing a new prototype thatlater turned into chess.
We ignore if, at the end of that process, only one game arose or, if on the contrary, both chaturanga andxiang-qiappeared simultaneously.
We suppose that the games that were part of the process of cultural syncretism wereliubo, ashtpada and the Greek petteia, andpossiblythe process took place underthe influence of an old astrolabe of Babylonian origin.
We suppose that this symbiosis occurred in a period of time between the second century BC andthe third century AD.
We suppose that the process took place ina vast region occupied successively by the Kingdom of Bactria and the Kushn Empire
We know that the oldest archaeological findings of pieces that were used insome variant of proto-chess which correlate perfectly with the geographical zones linked to the Silk Route existed approximately in the sixth century AD.
We suppose that in the future other important archaeological elements will be discovered that, depending on theirlocation, characteristics and antiquity, will strengthen our knowledge regarding thismatter.
We know that it is necessary to deepen the analysis with regard to the theory of games, establishing greater precision and causal relationships between the various variants of proto-chess and linked practices namelyashtpada,chaturanga,chaturaji,liubo,xiang-qi, petteiaand others.
We know that there is much yet to be investigatedon the origin of chess.
We suppose thatwe will eventually find an answerthat, without becoming an absolute certainty, at least will allowus to find a majorconsensus, thus establishing a uniform explanatory paradigm on the origin of chess.
Master Class Vol.9: Paul Morphy
Learn about one of the greatest geniuses in the history of chess! Paul Morphy's career (1837-1884) lasted only a few years and yet he managed to defeat the best chess players of his time.
Statuettes probably from the first to the second century of the Christian era representing two players disputing a game of liubo. | Photo: Wikimedia Commons
Chess might be the product of a cooperative process and we would prefer it to be this way, to show that Humanity has the capacity to bevirtuous at times (although it is known that it usually favours quarrels, often bloody, between people who seem to forget that they come from a common origin). The game could also have been an invention/creation/discovery of a single culture. Anyway, there is only one thing that is entirely certain: as Borges correctly pointed out, chess comes from the East.
In that sense, we have presented the different protohistoric versions regarding the origins of thegame, focusing onthat geographical space (India, China, Persia and other undetermined spots within the Silk Road), with physical or literary records that refer to a few centuries before and after the arrival of Christ.
There are quite exact records of many specific episodes, such as the time when one of the versions of the game entered Baghdad from India, which happened exactly in the sixth century AD. From that moment on, everything is quite clear, in terms of the diffusionof chess; before this event, however, everything is much less clear.
In this context of uncertainty, there are conflicting theses on the origin of chess, some of which have empirical support while others can only be recognized as myths or legends. All of them, with the inevitable omissions born out ofthe vastness of the analytical field, were compiled in this work.
After all, there are mainly three possibilities with a high degree of truthfulness and verisimilitude: two of them correspond to particular cultures those that consider that chess comes from the Indian chaturanga or the Chinese xiang-qi; the third possibility, on the other hand, recognizes the existence of a syncretic civilizing effort, postulating a confluence of practices from different civilizations.
Beyond the validity of this trio of hypotheses, which are often each seen as independent efforts, we believe that an effort can be made to integrate theperspectives.
All the theories present elements that can be interconnected, in their complementarity, leaving aside, or perhaps reinterpreting, the divergences between them. The fact that the different variants of proto-chess have emerged in a wide but interconnected geographical space, and that this has happened in temporal synchrony, gives strong clues to a fact that we believe is incontrovertible: we are in the presence of a single family of games, with interconnected processes of evolution, which have yet to be fully discerned.
By extending the analysis, it would be possible to trace not only the interrelationship of the various proto-chess variants but also their origins in even older games. We could even go back to the Egyptian senet and, reconstructing the sequence from there on, arrive at chess as it was redefined in medieval Europe.
Under these conditions, it would be possible to work no longer from univocal, fragmented perspectives, but rather by proposing a holistic theory, integrating the evidence of each singular hypothesis, in such a way as to construct a unique, all-encompassingexplanation.
Thus, instead of giving pre-eminence tochaturanga or xiang-qi aninitial prototypes, it could be believed that at least one game appeared on the Silk Road from which these were derived, either concomitantly or sequentially. Therefore, in that case, the formerwould not derive from ashtpada and the latter from liubo rather,these earliergames, probably together with the Greek petteiaandwith the contribution of an ancient Babylonian astrolabe, produced a variant ofproto-chess via cultural syncretism. This game, from then on, would expand through different routes, to the East and to the West.
So there are very interesting lines of exploration still to be developed. Although the possibility of testimonials appearing from ancient manuscripts on the subject is increasingly remote (although not entirely impossible), therecould appear new archaeological findings that provide newclues, particularly inregard to the dating of games vestiges, which couldbetter establishinterrelationships and sequential information about thesepractices.
It is also possible, and indeed necessary, to continue to deepen structural analyses, based on the intrinsic characteristics and aetiology of the various games, in order to determine more precisely their correlation according to historical, geographical and cultural variables. This question is central to the design of the common evolutionary tree discussed above.
In any case, it is necessary to deepen the understanding of the practices that would have served as inputs of the proto-chess petteia, liubo, ashtpada so that it will be possible to evaluate with more certainty, from the study of their particularities, the degree in which they could have had an effect in the subsequent modalities:xiang-qi andchaturanga.
Master Class Vol.4: Jos Ral Capablanca
He was a child prodigy and he is surrounded by legends. In his best times he was considered to be unbeatable and by many he was reckoned to be the greatest chess talent of all time: Jose Raul Capablanca, born 1888 in Havana.
A senet board that may correspond to the 14th century B.C.
In short, where did chess originate and under what circumstances?
We could simply reproducesome well-knownlegendary stories, such as the ones thatattribute the invention of the game toSissa the Wiseor the queen of Lanka or even to the battle in which asovereign lost one of her sons in confrontation with his brother.
We could focusondivinities, on the esoteric worldor onfictional literature.
We could, without analysing the whole, but observing only the parts, attribute the creation of the game to Indians, Chinese or other culture.
We could say, so as not to be mistaken, although falling into an obvious imprecision which we can only admit in poetry that chess appeared at a distant moment in time somewhere in the East.
What I said at the beginning. The restless Humanitywants to know everything. We will never be satisfied with simple and insufficient explanations; and less so with inaccurate ones.
A holistic theory about the origin of chess can perhaps help explain the steps that were taken for the emergence of the most influential and metaphorical game ever conceived.
In any case, we believe we are closer to discovering the key that will allow us to determine the initiating moment when the game appeared. And, from that, determine with much greater certainty how the whole sequence of subsequent diffusion took place.
For now, it might be better not to knoweverything yet.
Thus, there is a powerful incentive to further research this topic.
In this way, a suggestive and primordial mystery continues to haunt us: when did the magical and millenary game of chess appeared on Earth.
See the original post here:
- How The Queens Gambit Made Its Chess Scenes Believable and Exciting - Vulture - October 24th, 2020
- Asian online chess championship: Top-seeded Indian mens and womens teams reach final - Scroll.in - October 24th, 2020
- Gibraltar To Host Womens FIDE Grand Prix Instead Of Its Annual Chess Festival - Chess.com - October 24th, 2020
- TV review: You don't have to know how to play chess in order to enjoy 'The Queen's Gambit' - Gwinnettdailypost.com - October 24th, 2020
- Israelis and Sudanese promote solidarity and peace through game of chess - The Jerusalem Post - October 24th, 2020
- Enzo On Chess - Big Brother Live Feed Highlight - Yahoo Entertainment - October 24th, 2020
- Durga Puja in 1930s: When theatre, music, chess contest played out in Patna - Deccan Herald - October 24th, 2020
- 14 Things to Watch This Week: Anya Taylor-Joy Plays Chess, the Real 'Amityville' House and Top Secret Videos - Parade - October 24th, 2020
- The Queen's Gambit: A Netflix Series Where The Chess Is Done Right - Chess.com - October 23rd, 2020
- On The Money: Power players play chess match on COVID-19 aid | Pelosi bullish, Trump tempers optimism | Analysis: Nearly 1M have run out of jobless... - October 23rd, 2020
- SDAFF Review: The Chess Game of the Wind is a Long-Lost Iranian Film That Bristles with Brilliance - The Film Stage - October 23rd, 2020
- Chess players take to the turf for 2020 Halloween Chess Tournament - The Madison Record - themadisonrecord.com - October 23rd, 2020
- COVID-19 Is Driving The Uptake Of Chess -- And Of Surveillance Tools To Stop Online Players Cheating - Techdirt - October 21st, 2020
- TV review: You dont have to know how to play chess in order to enjoy The Queens Gambit - Kewanee Star Courier - October 21st, 2020
- Photos/Video: First Look at the Russian Premiere of CHESS The Musical - Broadway World - October 21st, 2020
- Irish Seeking to Win Power Play Chess Match in Red Zone - 247Sports - October 21st, 2020
- A young chess grandmaster leads the game of kings to a glorious future on Twitch - Yahoo! Voices - October 21st, 2020
- Ladies Knight with guests Robin and Sarah Ramson [PODCAST] - uschess.org - October 21st, 2020
- GM Joey Antonio still the king of online chess tourneys - Manila Bulletin - October 21st, 2020
- The chess frontage of Simpsons in the Strand - IanVisits - October 21st, 2020
- Andover 17-year-old competing in national chess championship - Boston 25 News - October 21st, 2020
- Cebuano journo Jobanie Tabada wins National Executive Chess Online tilt - PhilBoxing.com - October 21st, 2020
- Asian Online Team Chess: India finishes 6th in preliminary round, qualifies for quarterfinals - The Indian Express - October 19th, 2020
- Chess vs football: the vital distinction in lockdown strategy - Spectator.co.uk - October 19th, 2020
- Chess and bees - TheArticle - October 17th, 2020
- Asian Online team chess: India women in joint lead - The Tribune - October 17th, 2020
- What Anya Taylor-Joy Learned About Chess and Alcoholism for The Queens Gambit - Observer - October 17th, 2020
- Asian Online Chess: Indian men in 4th position after six rounds - The Bridge - October 17th, 2020
- Asian Online Team Chess: Indian men in 4th spot after six rounds - The Indian Express - October 16th, 2020
- Nominating Committee Announces Call for Interest for Executive Board Candidates - uschess.org - October 16th, 2020
- Boston Artisan Launches App to Revolutionize the Game of Chess - Yahoo Finance - October 16th, 2020
- What's Going On With The Chess Piece? - The University News - October 16th, 2020
- In the press - Turkey's Chess Game, QAnon in Europe and Nadal the Great - FRANCE 24 - October 14th, 2020
- Anti-Chess: The Most Exciting Moment In Karpov Vs Korchnoi - Chess.com - October 11th, 2020
- Chess site chooses ten best moves of all time - Stabroek News - October 11th, 2020
- Indias Nihal Sarin wins Junior Speed Chess Championship - The Indian Express - October 11th, 2020
- Growing with golf and chess - Chessbase News - October 8th, 2020
- Archive, 1990: Garry Kasparov is ready to pounce - The Guardian - October 8th, 2020
- Chess Tournament Winner Banned, Says Opponent "Was Doing Pipi In Their Pampers" - Kotaku - October 8th, 2020
- 2020 U.S. Amateur Team Championship Goes to the South - uschess.org - October 8th, 2020
- Trump just kicked over the chess board: GOP faces an election with more pain - POLITICO - October 8th, 2020
- Checkmate, quarantine: Chess Club thrives in the Zoom era - The Williams record - October 8th, 2020
- Abdusattorov Wins 19th Speed Chess Grand Prix - Chess.com - October 8th, 2020
- Lyricist Tim Rice Thinks CHESS Could Make a Broadway Comeback - Broadway World - October 8th, 2020
- The Check is in the Mail: October 2020 | US Chess.org - uschess.org - October 8th, 2020
- Ravens News 10/7: Chess Match and more - Baltimore Beatdown - October 8th, 2020
- Chess success with one team leading Andalucian First Division - Euro Weekly News - October 5th, 2020
- Pictures of people playing chess in Hampshire through the years - Daily Echo - October 3rd, 2020
- Hit traps and peel switches: The two chess moves that ended a Rockets era - The Athletic - October 3rd, 2020
- In the News: WebsterVOTES, Woody Cooper, Kaiser, chess alumni - Webster University Newsroom - October 3rd, 2020
- Gone too soon: Brimfield teen remembered as jokester and expert chess player - Pekin Daily Times - October 3rd, 2020
- This is not a game of chess, it's a war! - Grenfell Record and Bland Advertiser - October 1st, 2020
- 'Audiences wont have seen anything like this': how Iranian film Chess of the Wind was reborn - The Guardian - September 30th, 2020
- Harry Potter and the Uncredited Creator of That Chess Scene - The Film Magazine - September 30th, 2020
- Thames Water vows action to prevent sewage discharges at River Chess - Watford Observer - September 30th, 2020
- Executive Board Nominating Committee Election | US Chess.org - uschess.org - September 29th, 2020
- Top female chess referee who fled Iran reveals her Jewish roots - The Jewish Chronicle - September 29th, 2020
- The best chess websites for playing, watching, and keeping up with the news - Financial Times - September 28th, 2020
- 'I couldn't tolerate it any longer': how Iranian chess referee with secret Jewish heritage was forced to live a 'fake' life - Telegraph.co.uk - September 28th, 2020
- Pendragon review: chess and Arthurian legend collide to generate stories both beautiful and tragic - NME - September 26th, 2020
- Playing chess with the Pearl Royale is the ultimate flex of extravagance - Men's Gear - September 26th, 2020
- This is not a game of chess, it's a war! - The Young Witness - September 26th, 2020
- IM Shahade to Lead Girls Club Zoom on Opening Preparation. - uschess.org - September 24th, 2020
- Full list of EVERY character in Auto Brawl Chess: Battle Royale - Pocket Gamer - September 24th, 2020
- Will Trump play checkers or chess with nomination? - al.com - September 24th, 2020
- Local chess ace targets top spot - The Voice Online - September 24th, 2020
- Is the ban on WeChat the first move in a diplomatic chess game? - MercatorNet - September 24th, 2020
- Road To The PCL Finals: China Pandas - Chess.com - September 23rd, 2020
- Russias Post-Covid Economic Policies Will Be a Game of Chess - ETF Trends - September 23rd, 2020
- CHESS Health Selected by Next Step Community, an Addiction Recovery Program Located in Terre Haute, Indiana - PR Web - September 23rd, 2020
- Ten Years of Chess Innovation. How Lichess grew from a simple tech | by Samuel Sullivan | SUPERJUMP | Sep, 2020 - Medium - September 20th, 2020
- 24th wedding anniversary online chess tilt - PhilBoxing.com - September 20th, 2020
- Road To The PCL Finals: Armenia Eagles - Chess.com - September 20th, 2020
- 2020 Collegiate Rapid & Blitz - Sept 26-27, and it's free! - uschess.org - September 19th, 2020
- Road To The PCL Finals: Canada Chessbrahs - Chess.com - September 19th, 2020
- The ongoing online Renaissance in the world of Chess - Sportskeeda - September 16th, 2020
- John Leguizamo on bringing the 'intellectual hustle' of chess to life - Page Six - September 16th, 2020
- John Leguizamo Plays a Round of Chess in N.Y.C., Plus Mindy Kaling, Justin Bieber and More - PEOPLE - September 16th, 2020
- An interview with Ben Johnson, the perpetual podcaster - Chessbase News - September 15th, 2020
- Chess masters make all the smart moves - IOL - September 15th, 2020