Talk:History of chess

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70% figure India[edit]

The introduction appears to state that 70% of the population in India plays chess but this doesn't seem correct since the source mentions that it's "70% among the 121m Indians considered ABC1 by advertisers". — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:01, 16 July 2019 (UTC)[reply]

Dear Wikipedia:

I believe that origin of chess should be stated as: "A Matter of Controversy, . . .. " Britannica.

It is very clear in the Encyclopedia Britannica that Chess history does NOT have a clear origin. Ref. Cite Pg. 1101, Vol 15. Macropaedia. "The origin of Chess is a matter of controversy." "Game pieces found in Russia, China, India, Central Asia, Pakistan, and else where that have been determined to be older than 6th century." All this said the Chess Article does state that Chess originated in India. It appeared around the 6th century AD. Thus, if one chooses to read beyond the first line in the first paragraph it is clear that the best answer to origin of chess is unknown or a matter of controversy.

Soltis, Andrew E.. "chess". Encyclopedia Britannica, 11 Jun. 2021, Accessed 11 October 2021.

I of course realize that this will be debated as see in the edits on the page. James Powell, P.E., MSME — Preceding unsigned comment added by James1024512 (talkcontribs) 20:16, 11 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Talhand and Gav[edit]

Is there any place in this article for the apocryphal origin of chess as an explanation of the battle between Talhand and Gav over the kingdom of Hind referenced in the Shahnameh? It's a nice story and is referenced in the opening of the Broadway musical "Chess". It could be under a heading like "legendary origins". — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:20, 7 June 2011 (UTC)[reply]

I'd say yes, that's a good idea. With some sources, a "Legendary origins" section would be a nice addition to the article. Quale (talk) 01:18, 8 June 2011 (UTC)[reply]
Ok, well, I saw that there was already a section in the Iranian section about the Shahnameh, so rather than create a new section I just added the bit about Talhand and Gav there.Knag (talk) 18:21, 26 June 2011 (UTC)[reply]

Reverts on Chinese origin theory and lead section[edit]

I have reverted the edit by MountainPriest of oct 13 for the following reasons:

  • That edit was in part a revert of my work on the china section in early history, in which I had neutralized the text and given an extra reference. Please give a good reason for that revert.
  • The reference to Murray in the lead section was changed. The reference to Murray should be 1913, not 1985 (Murray died in 1955. The book A History Of Chess was republished in 1985, but was first published in 1913).
  • I feel that the explanation about hasty-asva-nauka-padata does not merit mention in the lead section and should remain where it is (other material specific to the dynamics of chaturanga should go in the same section or should be on the Chaturanga page.)

HermanHiddema 08:25, 15 October 2007 (UTC)[reply]

The statement about the origin of Chinese chess in India is flawed ("As a strategy board game played in China, chess is believed to have been derived from the Indian Chaturanga.[16]"). It uses the reference of Britannia Encyclopedia, which in fact just makes a simple statement without any reference or proof, a typical case of the blind leading the blind.

The conclusion of the origin of chess in India according Persian and Arabic accounts is also ambiguous. The methodology is simply flawed. You cannot draw a conclusion about the origin of Chess by reciting accounts. The Persian and Arab accounts only mean that they got to know the game from the Indians, no more, no less. However, this has nothing to do with the origin of the game! Let's use an analogy, there is no dispute about the origin of the game of Go, an ancient board game invented in China. However, the game was introduced first to the west by Japanese, as can be seen from its English name Go, a transliteration of the Japanese word for the game. So, following that flawed logic, can the rest of the world draw a conclusion that the game of Go originated in Japan, because the Europeans attribute the game to the Japanese (before they were told the real origin of the game)?

The origin of chess is better put in this way "Just as chess is a difficult game, its origin is a difficult puzzle. We may never know the truth of its birth." (

See WP:NOR. The mainstream academic opinion should be properly reflected in the article. Note that this is Wikipedia, an encyclopedia, and not a magazine or an article somewhere which can take sides or muse about alternate theories at large. Havelock the Dane Talk 09:40, 10 November 2007 (UTC)[reply]
Neutral point of view policy. Without bias of significant views including that of the 'mainstream academic opinion' ChessCreator (talk) 16:37, 16 January 2008 (UTC)[reply]

Havelock the Dane, "mainstream academic opinion", you make me laugh. "As a strategy board game played in China, chess is believed to have been derived from the Indian Chaturanga.[16]" is this your so-called "mainstream academic opinion"? I suppose the "mainstream academic opinion" about the origin of Chinese chess in the place where it is mostly played is quite different from this "mainstream academic opinion". Who defines which is the "mainsteam"?

No supposing! Do you have any sourced material to present? whoever you are?
Does anyone know Chinese academic opinion on this point? J S Ayer 03:52, 11 November 2007 (UTC)[reply]
The Encyclopedia Britannica defines the mainstream. It is an encyclopedia considered to be more scholarly than most others and it has not attached any weight age to such a claim.

The Sinologist Joseph Needham is there for the Chinese origins theory, as is David H. Li. We already have an objectionable amount of kilobytes dedicated to this theory as encyclopedias, like the EB, don't give it such massive weightage to it as has been given here.

Keeping sensational theories out of it and including only material of knowledge, as has been done in EB, should be our main concern while writing for this encyclopedia.

Havelock the Dane Talk 08:21, 11 November 2007 (UTC)[reply]
Havelock, all that you say is true, but what I asked about is academic opinion in China. J S Ayer 02:40, 13 November 2007 (UTC)[reply]
Actually, I was talking to the user on the IP address who made contribs such as this.
Those comments were meant for him.
Havelock the Dane Talk 12:55, 14 November 2007 (UTC)[reply]

In reply to J.S. Ayers question about chinese scholarship, I suggest reading Facts on the Origin of Chinese Chess by Peter Banaschak, which sets out 5 theories proposed by chinese scholars and discusses the evidence for and against them.
As a brief summary, Banaschak lists 5 theories, these are:

  1. Origin in 28th century BC, proposed by a 14th century scholar
    • No evidence, probably an attempt to add status to the game by connecting it with a revered legendary emperor
  2. Origin in 27th century BC, proposed by a 11th century scholar
    • No evidence, probably an attempt to add status to the game by connecting it with a revered legendary emperor
  3. Origin in 12th century BC, proposed by a 16th sentury scholar
    • No evidence, probably a confusion between Zhou Wuwang (12th century BC) and Beizhou Wudi (6th century AD)
  4. Origin in 3rd century BC, proposed by 16th century scholar
    • Earliest mention of XiangQi in literature is from this time, but the game is not described and XiangQi can also refer to other games
  5. Origin in 6th century AD, proposed by 10th century scholar
    • There is significant evidence that a book called XiangJing about game called XiangXi was written at this time. This may have been a predecessor of XiangQi

Theory 5 (XiangXi) is also the basis of Joseph Needham's theory.
HermanHiddema 15:39, 14 November 2007 (UTC)[reply]

If the Chinese invented Chess, why would they name the game after an Indian animal, "The Elephant"? Chaturaji (talk) 00:00, 7 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

The Asiatic elephant is also known in China—still, to this day. Asian elephant#Distribution and habitat J S Ayer (talk) 01:16, 8 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

But it is not a native Chinese animal. Chaturaji (talk) — Preceding undated comment added 20:34, 19 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

It is a native Chinese animal! It is the Asian elephant, not the Indian elephant! Those in China are not as well known in the rest of the world, but last spring a band of 15 elephants left a nature reserve in southern China and wandered 500 kilometers before turning around; the story was spread around the world; here is a late account: ; there are many others. J S Ayer (talk) 01:03, 20 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Xiangqi includes an elephant (xiang). MaxBrowne2 (talk) 01:31, 20 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]
Well, on one side it is an elephant. On the other side it is a minister. Double sharp (talk) 22:07, 21 October 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Unsourced Edits[edit]

HermanHiddema, You made this edit on 12:39, 25 October 2007 with the edit summary "revert bad edit that removed properly sourced material"

I would like you to throw some light on the following questions:

1.) You claim that the lines "The oldest surviving remnant of ancient Chinese Liubo (or Liu po) dates to circa 1500 BC. Nevertheless, Liubo, though sometimes considered a battle game, was played with dice." constitute "properly sourced material."

Where are the sources for these lines in your revert ? If you don't have any sources for these lines then how is my removal of unsourced material a bad edit according to you ?

2.) You're using the German historian Peter Banaschak in the same lines as David Li, without mentioning what he has to say about Li's theories.

Do you not think that if you're mentioning Peter Banaschak in connection with David Li then it would be proper for you to mention this as well ?

As far as notability in an encyclopedia is concerned, Li made none I researched, and I still made sure he was represented in the article but representing Peter Banaschak in connection with Li will have to be done completely, not partially as has been done.

Of course then it would raise WP:UNDUE issues on why we're giving the Banaschak-Li connection such heavy place (in terms of kilobytes), so it's best to leave it only to what Li has to say, which again did not make any other encyclopedia of note.

3.) Why have you altered David Li's profession ? Why not let people know that he was an accountant who started writing books after he retired ?

Kindly refrain from making such colorful edit summaries,
With Regards,
Havelock the Dane Talk 20:13, 25 October 2007 (UTC)[reply]

  • If we keep our cool, I think together we can make this article better. It has suffered from having a lot of unsourced and just generally bad claims, and both of you have helped clean them up. Personally I think Li is just wrong. If he was a professor of accounting then I would say his professorship grants absolutely no added status as a chess historian. Claims of Chinese origin of chess need to be discussed in this article, and Li's theory should be mentioned. Havelock, I like your recent work on this article and think it has really improved it. We should be able to work out language that would be acceptable. Quale 20:36, 25 October 2007 (UTC)[reply]
I was in the middle of some re writing of my statement when your message came up. I have to ask one question:
What's so wrong with "An alternative theory contends that chess arose from Xiangqi or a predecessor thereof, existing in China since the 2nd century BC.[11] According to a hypothesis by retired accounting teacher David H. Li, general Han Xin drew on the earlier game of Liubo (or Liu po) to develop a Chinese form of chess in the winter of 204 BC–203 BC.[11]" ?[1]
It gives proper due, unnecessary due even, to Li's theories.
In my opinion, these lines are more than enough. The confusing Banaschak-Li connection added to already hefty mention will violate WP:UNDUE by adding unnecessary kilobytes to the section.
Havelock the Dane Talk 20:50, 25 October 2007 (UTC)[reply]
That seems very close to me, although maybe it would be better to not give Li any qualifications and simply let the reader click on David H. Li if they want to know more about him. Since Chinese origin of chess is a distinct minority view, a more detailed discussion of Li's theory probably belongs at his article rather than here anyway. Banaschak's views of Li's work should go there as well. We should see if anyone else has an opinion. User:HermanHiddema and User:J S Ayer may want to express their views. I have a reference or two to check that may pertain to this issue I will look up in a few hours. Quale 21:25, 25 October 2007 (UTC)[reply]
Li's career as an accountant has been successful, he has worked with the World Bank Group it seems, and his qualifications should be mentioned since a reader must know who is making these claims. I agree that a more detailed discussion of Li's theory belongs in his article. I wanted to expand the article today but got caught in the whole Banaschak-Li thing. If only Herman Hiddema could have waited till a discussion before just reverting well thought out edits , I would be using my time to try and build the article.
Thanks for your efforts,
Havelock the Dane Talk 21:45, 25 October 2007 (UTC)[reply]
Thanks for your remarks, I plan to edit Europe in the near future. The European contributions on WP are almost always less informative than one would expect, I expect to try and cover it to the modern times, if possible. Havelock the Dane Talk 20:53, 25 October 2007 (UTC)[reply]
This neutral description is good enough for the most part, but still retains "Literary sources indicate that xiàngqí may have been played as early as the 2nd century BC" by Peter Banaschak while the same man says "It remains a fact that the "Xuanguai lu ('Tales of the obscure and peculiar')" by the Tang Minister of State Niu Sengru (779-847) is the first real source on Chinese chess. Until now it has not been convincingly demonstrated that any text or archaeological find is of an earlier date." [2]
Havelock the Dane Talk 21:18, 25 October 2007 (UTC)[reply]
The full text was "Literary sources indicate that xiàngqí may have been played as early as the 2nd century BC. Without extra-textual references from archaeology, it is unclear whether these sources refer to an early form of chess or to other games, such as Luibo". This is, I think a very reasonable summary of the source quoted. It very simply states the fact that such literary mention exists but is inconclusive without extra evidence. HermanHiddema 22:21, 25 October 2007 (UTC)[reply]
Consider the following statements:
1) "Literary sources indicate that xiàngqí may have been played as early as the 2nd century BC. Without extra-textual references from archeology, it is unclear whether these sources refer to an early form of chess or to other games, such as Luibo"
2) "It remains a fact that the "Xuanguai lu ('Tales of the obscure and peculiar')" by the Tang Minister of State Niu Sengru (779-847) is the first real source on Chinese chess. Until now it has not been convincingly demonstrated that any text or archaeological find is of an earlier date."
Now, do you still think that Point 1 is a "reasonable summary" of Banaschak 's views ? Do the views not need to included in their entirety ? You did say that you were "aware of what Banaschak has to say about Li" ?
Havelock the Dane Talk 22:41, 25 October 2007 (UTC)[reply]
I still think that point 1 is a reasonable summary of the source quoted. The line you quote is from a different article. In my opinion, the article Facts on the Origin of Chinese Chess is a better source than A Story Well Told is not Necessarily True. The first is a good neutral overview of several theories on the origin of XiangQi and what literary sources there are to support those claims. It researches the validity of these claims, and is quite honest in its evaluation that the evidence is inconclusive. The second is an article that deals specifically with a single work, that of Li, and is mainly aimed at discussing errors in Li's work. Regarding Banaschak's view, we might also quote his article Chess Historians and their Definitions of Chess, where he says The hypothesis of an Indian origin of chess games is the most widely propagated and best researched idea on the origin of chess, but it is still unproven. but that is starting to look like quote mining. I think Banaschaks Facts on the Origin of Chinese Chess is a very good article and is a very appropriate source for the section discussing a possible Chinese origin. I think the approriate way to include A Story Well Told is not Necessarily True is to state Li's theory and then add something like 'other chess historians are critical of the quality Li's work' and put the reference there. HermanHiddema 09:11, 26 October 2007 (UTC)[reply]

1.) The date of 1500 BC is referenced on the Liubo page, and could be repeated here, though I personally do not see any particular need for that. The bad edit part mainly refered to the fact that you removed the reference to Banaschak as being a dubious source.

2.) I am aware of what Banaschak has to say about Li. An earlier version of the article gave (IMO) undue attention to Li, and I edited the section by adding material from someone other than Li. My intention was not to make it seem that Banaschak supports Li, and I do not think the text gave that impression.

3.) Regarding the profession of Li, I feel the current edit by J S Ayer is neutral enough. I don't know why Li gets such attention anyway, why not refer to eg Joseph Needham?

HermanHiddema 21:40, 25 October 2007 (UTC)[reply]

1) The 1500 BC date has to be referenced here and not on the Liubo page. Kindly mention the source in a verifiable manner so that this can be taken care of.
2) Regardless of the intention, writing "Literary sources indicate that xiàngqí may have been played as early as the 2nd century BC" while not writing "It remains a fact that the "Xuanguai lu ('Tales of the obscure and peculiar')" by the Tang Minister of State Niu Sengru (779-847) is the first real source on Chinese chess. Until now it has not been convincingly demonstrated that any text or archaeological find is of an earlier date." does make it sound like "Banaschak supports Li," especially since you were "aware of what Banaschak has to say about Li."
3) The Profession has been dealt with well enough, his profession as an accountant can also be included.
Havelock the Dane Talk 22:02, 25 October 2007 (UTC)[reply]
1) The proper procedure in this case then would have been to add a 'citation needed' to the text, not to remove it.
2) See my earlier comment on the same subject.
HermanHiddema 22:21, 25 October 2007 (UTC)[reply]
Actually, that particular edit has been unsourced since almost an year and there was no reason to keep an edit like that for another one just so someone might drop by and source it. In order to try and promote the article to a higher quality scale I'll have to further source the whole article and will do so once the Banaschak-Li discussion is over. Presently it reads "Category: Top-importance chess articles" along with "Category:B-Class chess articles," a very bad mix if you ask me.
Havelock the Dane Talk 22:45, 25 October 2007 (UTC)[reply]
Normally I would agree with HermanHiddema and say it's better to flag an uncited statement than to summarily remove it, but in this article I think removal of uncited claims is appropriate. This article has been plagued with so many junk edits that I would recommend that every claim be sourced before it is inserted. Also, I agree with Havelock that the previous wording falsely implied that Banaschak supports Li's views. That definitely needed to be fixed. Quale 00:25, 26 October 2007 (UTC)[reply]
I don't much care for the date of 1500BC anyway. There is no dispute that Liubo is an earlier game than XiangQi, and those interested can find out how old it is on the [[Liu po|Liubo] page. As said before, the reason I reverted the edit was because it claimed Banaschak was a dubious source. Had the edit summary said something else, I probably would not have bothered. HermanHiddema 09:11, 26 October 2007 (UTC)[reply]
The very reason I keep using <ref name=XYZ/> after every full stop even when a <ref name=XYZ>XYZ 19XX</ref> at the end ought to cover it is because I feel that we (the present set of editors) will leave WP in some time, and unless a footnote is placed next to every full stop (even in <ref name=XYZ/> format) some vandal will just insert POV of his choosing into the article and make it look like the footnote at the end covers simply everything. I will try and source every single line of this article so that every word is accounted for, and inserting unsourced material is made difficult. Havelock the Dane Talk 01:36, 26 October 2007 (UTC)[reply]
In these edits, I've added Banaschak's views on historic Chinese chess sources. The section looks good enough presently and I'll be moving towards sourcing the entire article and promoting it to a higher quality scale during my next round of edits,
Havelock the Dane Talk 23:22, 25 October 2007 (UTC)[reply]
I think actually that Joseph Needham also needs a brief mention in the paragraph about theories of Chinese origin of chess, since his ideas (Science and Civilization in China (1962)) are probably better established than Li's are. (Looking at his wikipedia page I see it doesn't mention his theory on the Chinese origin of chess at all. Should probably fix that.) I think Needham is also wrong, but a very brief description of his ideas and how they are viewed by mainstream chess historians would be appropriate. I don't have a proposed edit yet, but this can be worked on later. If we think that the discussion of Chinese origin of chess gets too long or involved for this page (undue weight to a minority view), it might be possible to use summary style and investigate it in more depth on a separate page. Quale 00:21, 26 October 2007 (UTC)[reply]
I think that we should mention Needham here as well simply because his works are more respectable than The Genealogy of Chess. I vaguely recall his works connecting Chinese divination with chess or something, but that's just a vague memory. Needham is available easily and I'll try mention him soon, probably as soon as my next round of edits. Havelock the Dane Talk 01:36, 26 October 2007 (UTC)[reply]
Needham is now in the article, and I'm taking a break that may put me off WP for the coming 24 hours or so. Just one more thing, with all the sources that we're pouring into the article it would a shame if it doesn't make WP:GA when we're done.
Havelock the Dane Talk 03:48, 26 October 2007 (UTC)[reply]

Look, regardless of the Li/Banaschak/XiangQi discussion, I think you're doing good work on an article which badly needed it. The only reason I reverted you was because I had recently made this edit and this edit, in which I tried to neutralize the text on Chinese origin and make it lean less heavily solely on the work of David H Li. I added (IMO) a good extra source on XiangQi. When someone the makes a change back to a text leaning only on the work of Li, with an edit summary that calls Banaschak a 'bad source', I think it is only natural for me to revert that edit, and I still think that makes it a bad edit among many good ones. As you state above about the text after your edit: It gives proper due, unnecessary due even, to Li's theories. I agree, Li gets to much attention when there are other source with (IMO) better credentials (Needham, Banaschak). HermanHiddema 09:11, 26 October 2007 (UTC)[reply]

This is good. Even if you don't feel that section is perfect yet, I think we can refine it to be acceptable to everyone (except Chinese origin of chess POV pushers, of course). It can be hard to judge intent based on the small amount of explanation that's available in an edit summary, but it sounds like everyone is agreed that we want balanced coverage, acknowledging minority views but without giving them undue weight. We can talk about adjustments again after the article settles down a bit, which probably won't be that long since Havelock seems to work quickly. This article has tended to frustrate conscientious editors because it attracts a lot of poorly sourced fringe theories and bad scholarship. It's been improving for a while now, and you've both made it better. Quale 18:33, 26 October 2007 (UTC)[reply]


Given that Havelock is currently heavily editing, I will try not to touch the text until his work is done. I would like to point out however, that the current text contains the following:

Chaturanga was a battle simulation game played by four people; two players aligned against the remaining two.

The reference given for this statement is Wilkins 2002. Now as far as I know, the theory that chaturanga evolved from a four to a two player game was already discredited by Murray in 1913. Looking on the internet, I suggest reading this text by Cazaux for a good treatment of the subject. —Preceding unsigned comment added by HermanHiddema (talkcontribs) 12:14, 26 October 2007 (UTC)[reply]

Thanks, that's a good link. I think we should include a brief discussion of 2-player vs. 4-player chaturanga in this article. Quale 19:30, 26 October 2007 (UTC)[reply]

Thank You[edit]

For letting me edit the article uninterrupted and for waiting to discuss the nitty gritty until I'm done composing a rough draft (which is what this version basically is). I will be composing a "To-do" list after this rough draft is done (which should not really take very long now) and I hope the other editors add everything that's stopping this article's transition to a higher quality scale to it. Havelock the Dane Talk 06:00, 27 October 2007 (UTC)[reply]

This rough draft should be ready as soon as the modern times are covered. I should be able to finish that in not too much time.
Havelock the Dane Talk 11:37, 27 October 2007 (UTC)[reply]
Does anybody mind if I move the article to History of Chess ? Origins of chess is a much limited subject and is relatively distant to the spread and development of the game when compared to "History of Chess."
Havelock the Dane Talk 11:49, 27 October 2007 (UTC)[reply]
Sounds like a good idea, go ahead HermanHiddema 09:03, 29 October 2007 (UTC)[reply]
Thanks ! The new image looks good BTW.
Havelock the Dane Talk 09:58, 29 October 2007 (UTC)[reply]
Changes during the modern times are now covered. Will compose a To-Do list later since the article is just a well sourced rough draft at best.
Havelock the Dane Talk 17:46, 27 October 2007 (UTC)[reply]

To-do list[edit]

Following is a list for things that can be done to further promote the article. I'll go ahead and add my concerns first, and will try my best to take care of them as soon as I find some time. I'll be signing above the list because this is meant for everyone so please add your concerns here before we nominate the article to WP:GA. Havelock the Dane Talk 14:08, 31 October 2007 (UTC)[reply]

  • Some coverage of Japanese Chess.
  • Extensive grammar/spelling checks.
  • Mention of Modern tourneys. I can't think of a way to do that which can also stop every fan from adding his favs as an important figure in the "History of Chess" resulting in a chain reaction style series of expansions of the later modern times/recent times section. However, some mention of FIDE or other organizations must occur.

Some points I would like to see adressed: HermanHiddema 15:07, 31 October 2007 (UTC)[reply]

  • Find another source on Chaturanga than Encyclopedia Britannica, because EB still erroneously presents chaturanga as a four player game (see also: Cox-Forbes theory).
  • Find some way to rewrite/relocate the first section under India so that it makes sense. Maybe move it down?
  • Find different sources for the India section, most of this is based on the erroneous Encyclopedia Britannica.
  • Incorporate Chinese scholarship into the Far East section.

I like both these lists. Mention of modern tournaments should be brief here, with possibly more extensive coverage elsewhere. We have list of strong chess tournaments, but that article could stand some improvement. Brief mention of FIDE is also appropriate. It has its own article (also could be improved) for more extensive coverage. History of the World Championship itself belongs mostly in World Chess Championship, which is in pretty good shape. As far as chaturanga goes, perhaps we could use Murray unless his discussion isn't sufficient. Quale 20:36, 31 October 2007 (UTC)[reply]

Murray is basically sufficient for almost anything with regard to ancient chess, his work is by far the most extensive there is. One of the only issues on which Murray is weak, is Chinese Chess, because Murray distrusted Chinese scholarship (and did not read Chinese, while access to good translations was much harder in those days) HermanHiddema 21:59, 31 October 2007 (UTC)[reply]
Regarding Shogi (Japanese Chess), I think we should do a brief mention and refer the reader to the Shogi page for a more detailed treatment. The Japanese pretty much went wild in creating new Shogi variants (see eg: Taikyoku shogi), so documenting that whole lineage is probably beyond the scope of this document. HermanHiddema 21:59, 31 October 2007 (UTC)[reply]


I think that we all agree to the following points:

1.) Japanese Chess needs a mention and then the user can/should check the many variants of the game for himself in the main article as it would provide him/her with details. I'll work to incorporate text pertaining to that view in the near future.

2.) The first section under India can be relocated. I'll get to it ASAP.

3.) A brief mention of the formation and rise of FIDE ought to suffice. Will do ASAP.

4.) I'll apply for a move to History of Chess and will attach a commons link as well.

I have been thinking about this, and perhaps it is not actually a good idea? Perhaps history of chess should be its own article? If we keep Origins of Chess as a separate article, Pages like XiangQi, Shogi, Janggi and Makruk can all refer there for their earliest history. An article by the name 'History of Chess' could then handle subjects like Introduction to Europe (through Italy/Spain), Evolution of the Rules (queen move, castling, etc), Setup of Competitions and Associations (FIDE, World Championship, etc). This way, we keep the option open to have articles like 'History of XiangQi/Shogi/Makruk', which would all refer to 'Origins of Chess' for treatment of the common origin of all chess variants. Including history of western chess in this article makes it a bit strange for XiangQi/Shogi/Makruk to refer here. HermanHiddema 12:56, 1 November 2007 (UTC)[reply]
We have to have 100% surety that everyone is on board when a thing like a move is considered. Since that is not the case here the move is off. Havelock the Dane Talk 14:29, 1 November 2007 (UTC)[reply]

I disagree on the following points:

1.) We have Joseph Needham and even the David H. Li + Banaschak mentioned in the main article and that's more than enough. These guys are seen as experts or popular proponents of the "Chinese origins" theory.
None of the other encyclopedias even care to mention what these sources have to say with regard to chess in such detail as this one currently does. An alternate theory is an alternate theory and that's it. No undue weightage, which would go on to undermine the mainstream theory, should be attached to it in any event. We're building an encyclopedia and not writing a magazine article; for better or for worse the mainstream views have to be represented as they are. Ditto for minority views which already have way too much space here.

2.) Making exclusive edits to source sections using regional scholarship is a bad idea. If such patterns are followed then one would not rely on academic libraries but would have to somehow find regional scholarship to source every line for every region. As far as "Chinese scholarship for China" is concerned I have to say that those familiar with Needham's work will know that he has no western bias whatsoever and is good enough on his own. David H. Li is there too.

3.) I have problems considering EB as "erroneous."

Evolved variations of Chaturanga were played by four people (as documented by Abu Rayhan al-Biruni) and the EB doesn't say that the two player version did not exist or when the game evolved. It just says that shatranj was a popular 2 player variant.

I don't know if the 2002 edition is different, but the 2007 online text reads:
One of those earlier games developed into a four-player war game called chaturanga, a Sanskrit name for a battle formation mentioned in the Indian epic Mahabharata. Chaturanga was flourishing in northwestern India by the 7th century and is regarded as the earliest precursor of modern chess
I don't see very much room for doubt here. EB is simply wrong, it seems. HermanHiddema 12:56, 1 November 2007 (UTC)[reply]
The 2002 version has the same text which still doesn't say that the two player version did not exist and still does not conflict with the "already existing 2 player version evolving into a four player one" stream of thought. It simply says that at some point a four layer version was developed. We must type out everything clearly and I intend to make sure that a 2 player version is covered in the article. Havelock the Dane Talk 14:29, 1 November 2007 (UTC)[reply]

Removing EB is something I'm not too comfortable with. However, we should make efforts towards promoting the "2-Handed game precedes the 4-Handed game for about four centuries" view by adding it to the article so no scope for confusion remains. I'll get to it but wholesale removal of EB is something I'm not too comfortable with.

Havelock the Dane Talk 04:49, 1 November 2007 (UTC)[reply]

It might take me longer to make the edits this time though. Maybe a day or two but I'll try to get there soon. Havelock the Dane Talk 04:51, 1 November 2007 (UTC)[reply]
I have some things to take care of before I can get back to my Wiki-affairs and make the edits. I've just been crazy busy so sorry for the tardiness. Havelock the Dane Talk 06:21, 4 November 2007 (UTC)[reply]
Much of the material given here is almost exactly found in a very old version of Encyclopedia Britannica. The version is very old so I'll try and find out about other sources. Havelock the Dane Talk 07:31, 4 November 2007 (UTC)[reply]
It gets better: the material can actually be found in the ninth edition of EB edited by Thomas Spencer Baynes. The ninth edition, published in 1875-89, is often remembered as the "scholar's edition." It embodied as no other publication of the day the transformation of scholarship wrought by scientific discovery and new critical methods.
Havelock the Dane Talk 08:19, 4 November 2007 (UTC)[reply]
I don't fully understand. What material exactly is from EB? The text that Cazaux criticizes? If that material is from 1875, it predates Murray and is only just after "Geschichte und Litteratur des Schachspiels" (1874). As such, it is very likely that EB 9th still contained Forbes' theory on the origin of chess. HermanHiddema 15:11, 14 November 2007 (UTC)[reply]
I suggest you find a public access copy of the EB ninth edition. It is available in some libraries for reading without having a paid membership and such. I never said that EB-9 covers Murray but it does touch on Sir William Jones and Râdhakant and Ravana and Duncan Forbes and Bhavishya Purâna and Hiram Cox and the four handed version and the use of Sir William Jones's work and such. Keep in mind that EB 9 is considered especially scholarly, and the text here is identifiably found in there. Murray, obviously is one of the other references used in the "Four-Handed Chaturanga" paper. Havelock the Dane Talk 17:43, 14 November 2007 (UTC)[reply]
I have to edit for a brief mention of FIDE, checking grammar etc. and perhaps add a short mention of the chess/AI connection ? I'll get to it in some time. Havelock the Dane Talk 15:34, 4 November 2007 (UTC)[reply]
Sorry for taking so much time. Trade Routes failed a GA nom so I tried to fix it. The article passed a second WP:GA review and now I'm trying for FA status. I'll take care of the above mentioned edits (a brief mention of FIDE, checking grammar etc. and a short mention of the chess/AI connection) shortly.
Havelock the Dane Talk 03:11, 10 November 2007 (UTC)[reply]

Chess in the nordic contries[edit]

From this article:

A variation of chaturanga made its way to Europe through Persia, the Byzantine empire and the expanding Arabian empire.[6] Chess appeared in Southern Europe during the end of the first millennium, often introduced to new lands by conquering armies, such as the Norman Conquest of England.[7] Chess remained largely unpopular among the North European people — who could not relate to the abstract shapes — but started gaining popularity as soon as figurative pieces were introduced.[7]

The source is apperantly

Riddler 1998

So I'd like to know if anyone can verefiy that source..

Althou I don't have any good enough evidences right now(and therfore can't edit this yet), I'm told chess where introduced in the nordic contries when vikings visited Mikligarðr, or Byzantium as it was realy named, during trading journeys. This was before the people of normandy invaded england if I'm not much mistaken.. Also there is atleast some mentions to vikings playing chess and there are some founds of chess from during the viking age... I'll try to find some more information about this later one, perhaps even some english sources that's good enough for this article.. Luredreier 00:33, 18 February 2008 (UTC)

Well, if chess didn't even arrive in Byzantium till 1100 I'd simply be wrong about chess arriving during the viking age by default as the viking age ended earlier. On the other hand there's some odd referances here.
In a book writen by Snorri Sturluson (1179-1241) a game is mentioned and atleast in this translation it's refered to as chess:
Heimskringla, or the Chronicle of the Kings of Norway (English)
Here is what it says:


When King Canute saw that the kings of Norway and Sweden steered eastward with their forces along the coast, he sent men to ride night and day on the land to follow their movements. Some spies went forward, others returned; so that King Canute had news every day of their progress. He had also spies always in their army. Now when he heard that a great part of the fleet had sailed away from the kings, he turned back with his forces to Seeland, and lay with his whole fleet in the Sound; so that a part lay on the Scania side, and a part on the Seeland side. King Canute himself, the day before Michaelmas, rode with a great retinue to Roeskilde. There his brother-in-law, Earl Ulf, had prepared a great feast for him. The earl was the most agreeable host, but the king was silent and sullen. The earl talked to him in every way to make him cheerful, and brought forward everything which he thought would amuse him; but the king remained stern, and speaking little. At last the earl proposed to him a game at chess, which he agreed to; and a chess-board was produced, and they played together. Earl Ulf was hasty in temper, stiff, and in nothing yielding; but everything he managed went on well in his hands; and he was a great warrior, about whom there are many stories. He was the most powerful man in Denmark next to the king. Earl Ulf's sister Gyda was married to Earl Gudin (Godwin) Ulfnadson; and their sons were Harald king of England, and Earl Toste, Earl Valthiof, Earl Morukare, and Earl Svein. Gyda was the name of their daughter, who was married to the English king Edward the Good.

This could offcourse be a referance to Hnefatafl or one of the other tafl games. Modern chess is still sometimes refered to simply as "tafl" in Icelantic after all.
At any rate, this still don't prove that chess existed there in Snorri's time. We'd need to verify that the translation is correct.
If Snorri is to be belived, and the translation is accurate, we'd have to assume that chess where played by atleast some vikings before the Norman conquest of England in 1066 because Cnut the Great died in 1035. How popular or unpopular the game might have been I can't say I'm afraid although I resent the claim that it was unpopular here because of it's abstract shapes.. Abstract shapes where used to some degree among vikings. They used them in religion among other things and I wery much doubt that a people trading with most of the costal nations of europe at the time where unfamiliar with abstract shapes. The vikings might have been pirates, but they where also merchants with a high degree of interaction with other peoples in europe. Anyway, sorry for the ranting, but I felt rather offended and found it hard not to rant a little.. Going to try to find more information later.
At any rate, that's all for now. Luredreier 21:35, 23 July 2009 (UTC)

Edward Pino[edit]

A recent edit has added Edward Pino to the list of twentieth-century leading players who were also leading analysts. I have never heard of him, and an Internet search does not turn him up as a chess-player. Can anyone substantiate this claim? If not, I suppose he'll have to be deleted. J S Ayer (talk) 02:09, 15 April 2008 (UTC)[reply]

Thanks for keeping an eye on this page—I reverted the edit. We don't need to search to know this is bogus. In the context of that sentence, only analysts who are famous enough to be known to all serious chess players qualify, and whoever Edward Pinot might be, he isn't that. Quale (talk)

Tafl is a predessesor[edit]

Should not Tafl be mentioned in this article as a predessesor? AWT (talk) 00:25, 30 June 2008 (UTC)[reply]

Tafl was a predecessor only in a very limited sense: it was the predominant board game in northern and northwestern Europe before chess displaced it. Medieval chess was already fully formed when it came into contact with tafl. As far as I can see tafl contributed nothing to the evolution of chess. It is of course an interesting subject in itself. J S Ayer (talk) 02:21, 30 June 2008 (UTC)[reply]
Yeah, it's two separate games... Luredreier (talk) 19:30, 23 January 2011 (UTC)[reply]

Noshir Jesung's Contribution[edit]

A new section was recently added to this article, in which one Noshir Jesung retold the story of the origin of chess as narrated by Ferdowsi so that the war between the princes Gau and Talhend results in the invention of MODERN chess, with the far-ranging bishop (camel) and queen (minister). This is an engaging piece of literature, but in a serious discussion of history is simply preposterous; those pieces were invented in Europe and grafted into chess in the last quarter of the fifteenth century. The passage also uses curved quotation marks and apostrophes, contrary to Wikipedia practice. It also says that "shah" is an Indian word for "king", although from what little I know of Indo-Iranian languages it is Persian, not Indic. For these reasons I have regretfully deleted the entire tale. J S Ayer (talk) 01:50, 2 July 2008 (UTC)[reply]

New Links[edit]

I think the external links added July 15 go to very weak pages; what does anyone else think? J S Ayer (talk) 01:22, 16 July 2008 (UTC)[reply]

There was once a link to the Goddesschess website, which contains several essays on the history of chess like those on the IGK website, plus essays on various other subjects. It was deleted; I don't think a reason was given. I didn't object because I wrote one of the essays; I suppose it has been up a year now. Should we link to the several chess essays? J S Ayer (talk) 01:32, 2 August 2008 (UTC)[reply]

That might be to J S Ayer (talk) 02:09, 3 August 2008 (UTC)[reply]

All right, everyone is on vacation. I have just deleted those two weak links and added one that contributes more. J S Ayer (talk) 02:42, 10 August 2008 (UTC)[reply]

Conflict here[edit]

". That is a conflict here isn't it? So I took what was put in the original chess article and applied it here. Everyone ok with that then ya? ARYAN818 (talk) 22:28, 25 September 2008 (UTC)[reply]

How is "originated in India" in conflict with "attributed to the Indians"? These statements mean roughly the same. The first is worded somewhat stronger, so given the discussion over this, the second one is preferable as being more neutral. HermanHiddema (talk) 12:58, 26 September 2008 (UTC)[reply]
Did you not understand what I said? In the Chess article it says Chess origininted from INdia if you go down to the history section. Do you understand that? Yet here it says that it has "been attributed to the Indians both by the Persians and by the Arabs". Which one is it? Is the main Chess article right that it originated in India? Or is this article right that says the latter?.......and by the way......another reason this is a conflcit because in the chess article it says it originiated in India. Here it says it has been attributed TO THE INDIANS BY THE PERSIANS AND ARABS, (as if there saying an older version is from the Persians and Arabs? How can you not understand what im saying? ARYAN818 (talk) 18:57, 26 September 2008 (UTC)[reply]
I'm sorry, you do not seem to be a native speaker of English, do you know the meaning of the word attributed? The text here is basically saying "Both the Persian and the Arabs claim that the Indians invented chess", which is not conflicted with "Chess originated in India" at all. HermanHiddema (talk) 19:05, 26 September 2008 (UTC)[reply]
Well I didnt understand cus it was a big confusing.....But thank you for the insult. Now if I would have done that I would have been blocked. But the dictators of wikipedia let people like u get a pass and insult the CHESS article, it says bluntly if u scroll down to the history section, that chess originiated from India. Here it doesnt come off that blunt. Why not? I mean obviously I got confused, so im sure there might be someone else who got confused as well. So why not just say Chess originated from India. Bam period. ARYAN818 (talk) 19:12, 26 September 2008 (UTC)[reply]
I'm sorry if you were insulted, that was not my intention. Your comment made it clear you misunderstood the meaning of text, and I tried to clarify it for you. HermanHiddema (talk) 19:22, 26 September 2008 (UTC)[reply]
To me it is just two different ways of saying the same thing. Bubba73 (talk), 02:09, 29 September 2008 (UTC)[reply]

It is just two different ways of saying the same thing and rather than be insulted, the poster implying there is a contradiction should just accept that he has remedial reading difficulties and do something about it, such as enroll in some sort of night school. Being insulted won't improve your reading comprehension skills. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:45, 21 April 2012 (UTC)[reply]

Well it's over a year now I think . Im not sure how many times, or if any times then, that I have come back and checked if the changes were made then. Maybe I came back maybe I didn't. But anyway it does say it better now!! So ha ha ha ha ha ha I won then!! lol lol ......

Alright im kind of just messing around then waterd . . . . . (talk) 06:20, 12 November 2009 (UTC)[reply]

A source?[edit]

The number 2 source on this article, is that even a source? ARYAN818 (talk) 22:31, 25 September 2008 (UTC)[reply]

What is wrong with Wilkinson? (note: when the above comment was made, the article was at this version. In the current version, Wilkinson is the number 1 source. HermanHiddema (talk) 13:01, 26 September 2008 (UTC)[reply]
Click the source. IT just has links called A, B, C, D, and when you click th0ose sources it takes you to different parts of the ariticle sometimes? ARYAN818 (talk) 18:57, 26 September 2008 (UTC)[reply]

This is because this article uses a different quotation style than you are used to, I think. The a b c d are indeed links back into the article, which is normal if someone uses named references of the form <ref name="Name">. The reference is to "Wilkinson 1943". This is a common style to reference books and academic articles, of the form "Author Year-of-Publication". The full reference can be found in the "References" section below, where you will find an entry:

  • Wilkinson, Charles K (May 1943). "Chessmen and Chess". The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin New Series 1 (9): 271–279. doi:10.2307/3257111

So this is an article by Wilkinson, published in 1943 in the Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin. The reference contains a link to a web version as well. HermanHiddema (talk) 19:12, 26 September 2008 (UTC)[reply]

Why so complicated? Why not just have a simple source, if possible, that takes you somewhere simply. I mean to the average person who clicks that link, the link just sometime's takes you to different part's of the aritcle. ARYAN818 (talk) 19:15, 26 September 2008 (UTC)[reply]

This is a very common citation style, in fact the wikipedia article on citation uses it. HermanHiddema (talk) 19:20, 26 September 2008 (UTC)[reply]
I thought a citation was supposed to take you somewhere outside of Wikipedia? I mean if you can use citations in the wikipedia, then I should do that for other ariticle's. But then again they might not allow it cus some people in wikipedia pick and choose what can be allowed an what can't be allowed ARYAN818 (talk) 19:33, 26 September 2008 (UTC)[reply]
Not necessarily. Citation can be to books, newspapers, academic articles or other printed media. There may not be a copy available online, in which case someone who wants to verify the reference will have to go to a library and borrow it. Your own citation for the Indian origin, for example, is H.J.R. Murray's "A History of Chess". Which is not available online. HermanHiddema (talk) 19:44, 26 September 2008 (UTC)[reply]

Map showing the diffusion of chaturanga from India to the world[edit]

I think the large map should be moved out of the section of East Asia because it shows the spread of the chess-like games, not only in East Asia, but even in Africa and Europe as well.PFlores3 (talk) 00:57, 4 November 2008 (UTC)[reply]

Yes, why not ? I placed it in the East Asia only for practical reason, as it was the only section without a picture. SyG (talk) 21:47, 4 November 2008 (UTC)[reply]

I think this map should be just removed from this page. This map is bearing too many wrong or unproved information, so it is very misleading. Most of the dates are wrong and not corroborated by historical facts. Most of arrows are mere speculations. Not to say that several names are wrong, for instance Senterej is not a North African variant of Chess. It is the name of Chess in Ethiopia and it was not attested before the end of 19th century. Let's forget this map.Cazaux (talk) 21:13, 6 March 2010 (UTC)[reply]

How do you know the information is wrong? Essentially the same map is in Henry Davisonson's A Short History of Chess, so it is referenced. Bubba73 (You talkin' to me?), 00:29, 7 March 2010 (UTC)[reply]
From this edit I was under the impression that is was NOT the map from 'A Short History of Chess'. What am I missing? SunCreator (talk) 00:34, 7 March 2010 (UTC)[reply]
That is where I asked Krakatoa if it was in A History of Chess by Murray (1913) - he said no. Essentially the same map is in A Short History of Chess' by Henry Davidson (1949) (I have that book but not the one by Murray). Bubba73 (You talkin' to me?), 00:38, 7 March 2010 (UTC)[reply]

I also think this map should not appear. It shows senterej in Libya rather than Ethiopia; it shows chess entering Germany about 1500, when Murray gives sources showing that it was known at least in southern Germany in the eleventh century; it gives no date at all for Central Asia, where the earliest definite chess pieces were found; it shows chess entering Russia from Byzantium, when linguistic and artistic evidence alike indicate that it entered from Persia; it shows a firm origin for chess in central India at 600 A.D. when modern scholarship favors the north of India and a date a number of centuries earlier; it shows no connection between Japan and south Asia, while Japanese scholars now take such a connection for granted. J S Ayer (talk) 02:48, 7 March 2010 (UTC)[reply]

Is there a good modern book on the history of chess? Bubba73 (You talkin' to me?), 05:41, 7 March 2010 (UTC)[reply]

I have deleted this article three times, giving reasons and asking anyone who wants it reinstated to give reasons. Three times it has been reinserted without discussion. I have therefore asked for arbitration. J S Ayer (talk) 04:35, 14 May 2010 (UTC)[reply]

Content fork[edit]

The last 2 sections (1850 onwards) a content fork from World Chess Championship. They should be trimmed to a bare minimum (a paragraph, maybe two), with a pointer to WCC. Peter Ballard (talk) 00:46, 12 December 2008 (UTC)[reply]

Things that should probably stay in are: informal matches in the first half of the 19th century; the emergence of national championships (nothing on them yet?) as well as the world championship in the second half of 19th century; FIDE; chess olympiads; womens chess; FIDE takes control of the world championship in 1948; FIDE establishes titles in 1950. It would perhaps be reasonable to end the article at 1950 and refer the reader to World Chess Championship. (Except perhaps the emergenece of computer and internet chess? And the explosion of chess theory also?) It's easy to confuse "History of Chess" with "History of the World Chess Championship", but they're two different things; including national, womens and teams championships helps add the balance. Peter Ballard (talk) 01:31, 12 December 2008 (UTC)[reply]

Placement of the images[edit]

Shouldn't the image of the Iranian chess set be moved to the section on Iran? And the image of the Knights Templar playing chess be moved to the section on Europe, Early History? And the image of the map showing the origin and diffusion of chess from India to Asia, Africa and Europe be enlarged a bit?FadulJoseA (talk) 12:00, 13 December 2008 (UTC)[reply]

Recently the file File:Chess players by Anthony Rosenbaum.jpg (right) was uploaded and it appears to be relevant to this article and not currently used by it. If you're interested and think it would be a useful addition, please feel free to include it. I'm not entirely sure who's who in this image, although the NPG site lists all their names - I'm sure some of them could be cropped out to form portraits for players who don't have images yet. Dcoetzee 06:31, 3 April 2009 (UTC)[reply]

I think that would be a good thing, especially if someone can produce a key to all those faces. The NPG site lists a dozen of the sitters, but there are more than that in the back row. J S Ayer (talk) 21:39, 3 April 2009 (UTC)[reply]

Here are they all:

Es sind: 1 Professor Wayte, 2 Mr Salter, 3 Mr Minchin, 4 Mr Cubison, 5 Earl of Dartrey, 6 Mr Woodgate, 7, 8 Mr Wyvill, 9 10 Mr Greenhough, 11 Mr Day, 12 Mr Donnisthorpe 13 ? waiter, 14 Mr Tinsley, 15 Rev Mr Macdonnell, 16 Mr Lowenthal, 17 Mr Bird, 18 Mr Blackburne, 19 Mr Vyse, 20 Mr Mason, 21Mr Lord, 22 Mr Walker, 23 Mr Hoffer, 24 Mr Steinitz, 25 Mr Zukertort, 26 Mr Potter, 27 Mr Horwitz, 28 Mr Murton, 29 Mr Studd, 30 Dr Ballard Sen., 31 Mr Hirschfeld, 32 Mr Chapman, 33 Mr Clark, 34 Mr Thomson, 35 Mr Walrond, 36 Mr Gastineau, 37 Rev Mr Pearson, 38 Mr Kunwald, 39 Mr Rabbeth, 40 Mr Eccles, 41 Mr Wagner, 42 Mr Gümpel, 43 Mr Coburn, 44 Dr Ballard Junr., 45 Mr Mackern, 46 Mr Rosenbaum, 47 ? waiter. Gerhard Josten —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:55, 25 April 2009 (UTC)[reply]

bishop and rook[edit]

This sentence was recently changed, giving a reference to Bird: infantry, cavalry, elephants, and chariotry (originally navy), represented by the pieces that would evolve into the modern pawn, knight, rook, and bishop, respectively. Davidson gives the elephant as the bishop. So does The Oxford Companion to Chess. So does Golombek's Encyclopedia of Chess. Bubba73 (talk), 20:24, 31 May 2009 (UTC)[reply]

I got it from Bird who states quite clearly that the elephant is cognate with the rook in several different passages. I also checked with one of the other references already in the article (don't remember which one but I can look it up if you need it) which seemed to agree. The "navy" part, also from Bird who makes the statement that the Chariot is also the Boat. SpinningSpark 01:28, 1 June 2009 (UTC)[reply]
Yes, please confirm that because the first three references I checked had it the other way. Bubba73 (talk), 01:34, 1 June 2009 (UTC)[reply]
I'll get on it right away, meanwhile, here is a quote from page 46 of Bird,

The moves of all the pieces employed in the Chaturanga were the same as those made in Asia and Europe down to the close of the Fifteenth century of our era. The Queen up to that time was a piece with only a single square move, the Bishop in the original game was represented by a ship, the Castle or Rook (as it is now indiscriminately called) by an elephant, the Knight by a horse, the two last named have never at any time undergone the slightest change, the alteration in the Bishop consists only in the extension of its power of two clear moves, to the entire command of its own diagonal.

SpinningSpark 01:39, 1 June 2009 (UTC)[reply]
I have Duncan Forbes, The History of Chess says this,
  • The Elephant then, in the game of Chaturanga had precisely the move of the Rook
but I am beginning to suspect from his description that he is talking about what Wikipedia calls Chaturaji rather than Chaturanga and it may be that Bird is using the same terminnology (although I am not reading it that way). SpinningSpark 02:04, 1 June 2009 (UTC)[reply]
The encyclopedia by Anne Sunnucks doesn't say and I can't think of any other book that I have that would discuss it. Bubba73 (talk), 03:15, 1 June 2009 (UTC)[reply]

Bird was probably mistaken. The google books link is On page 48 Bird gives a translation of a passage from the Bhavishya Purana: "Let each player place his elephant on the left of his King, next to the Horse, and last of all the Ship..." This contradicts what he wrote just two pages earlier in the quote given above. [Sorry, I see that this could be Chaturaji as suggested above]. Murray explains that rook=elephant was mistaken speculation by some early European writers on the history of chess, A History of Chess, p. 159:

Rukh is less simple. The European dictionary statements that the word means "an elephant bearing a tower on its back", or "a camel", are based upon guesses suggested by the modern carved Parsi pieces, and have no Persian authority whatever behind them. ... There can be no doubt that the chess-term Rukh means simply chariot.

Bird reported the work of Duncan Forbes, which was discredited perhaps 20 years later (see Cox-Forbes theory). We should explain this somewhere, certainly at Bishop (chess)#History and possibly in this article also. Quale (talk) 05:19, 1 June 2009 (UTC)[reply]

Thanks for the information! Bubba73 (talk), 05:30, 1 June 2009 (UTC)[reply]
My apologies for the error. I also found An Introduction to the History and Study of Chess (1804) while searching which has much information. The link in the Chaturanga article to Chaturaji also seems to be perpetuating the Forbes theory without contention. The Chaturaji article mentions Murray but fails to make clear that this is the modern consensus. At the risk of more odium being heaped on me, I will put that right. I will also remove the bit I put in that originally chariot=ship as it is now clear that this is a consequence of making Chaturanga=Chaturaji.
I also have a mind to redo the diagrams in the Chaturaji article which use chess icons and thus tend to perpuate this error. I would appreciate some feedback on this as it is a non-trivial task and I would not want to put in the effort only to have it reverted. I propose icons for "elephant" and "ship", the rest the same as chess. The four sets of pieces to be coloured red, green, yellow and black at East, South, West and North respectively as described in Bird (quoting the Bavishya Purana).
SpinningSpark 10:17, 1 June 2009 (UTC)[reply]
  • Bishop, Knight, Rook were originally Elephant, Horseman, Chariot. But in some parts of India now, and in Russia, the rook became a boat or ship. And in some parts of India they became Camel, Horse, Elephant. Anthony Appleyard (talk) 06:42, 12 November 2009 (UTC)[reply]

Dead External Link[edit]

The last external link, to, is dead, and I can't find a new location with a search engine. Can the person who originally contributed this link (or anyone else) help? J S Ayer (talk) 03:00, 3 January 2010 (UTC)[reply]

Kshatranj... not chaturanga[edit]

Kshatranj is sanskrit for 'battlefield'

New claim of antiquity in China[edit]

Some nameless contributor has inserted yet another unsupported claim of great antiquity of chess in China, taking it back to the Warring States Period. It is buttressed by one link to a document in Chinese and one to Sam Sloan's essay. It contradicts Peter Banaschak's statement that the earliest definite reference to chess in Chinese literature is in an essay by a Tang Dynasty government minister in the ninth century C.E. I have therefore called for references at three points, and I hope someone who reads Chinese will evaluate the Chinese document. Failing support, these claims must go. J S Ayer (talk) 02:29, 4 October 2010 (UTC)[reply]

We have been through this before. I recently got Pritchard's Encyclopedia of Chess Variations, and it agrees with the non-China version. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 02:32, 4 October 2010 (UTC)[reply]

The king is not dead[edit]

According to Checkmate, the phrase "Shāh Māt" means literally "the King is ambushed" (or "helpless", "defeated", or "stumped", but not "dead").[1] I suggest that this common misconception that it means "the King is dead" be corrected in this article. It would be nice if these two articles agreed on the translation. EdwardSabol (talk) 18:23, 10 January 2011 (UTC)[reply]

I agree. I made the change. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 19:06, 10 January 2011 (UTC)[reply]
I would go with "Helpless" as in "There's no way he can get out of this one!" The confusion apparently arose because "mat" means "dead" in Arabic. J S Ayer (talk) 04:45, 11 January 2011 (UTC)[reply]
OK, since New Oxford American Dictionary says "helpless". Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 05:16, 11 January 2011 (UTC)[reply]


  1. ^ Harper, Douglas; McCormack, Dan. "Online Etymology Dictionary". Archived from the original on September 29, 2005. Retrieved May 29, 2010.

New claim of extreme antiquity in India[edit]

"Findings in the Mohenjo-daro and Harappa (2600–1500 BCE) sites of the Indus Valley Civilization show a prevalence of a board game that resembles chess." I don't know when I will be able to find a copy of the cited source. Please: how, exactly, does it resemble chess? J S Ayer (talk) 05:06, 22 January 2011 (UTC)[reply]

I would see some examples of these games. There are chessboard ? I am interesting of this. --Andriolo (talk) 10:59, 14 March 2011 (UTC)[reply]
Try an image search on Google. I also found a nice image in the following source in the local library: Angelillo, Maria (2007). India: history and treasures of an ancient civilization. White Star ISBN 8854403067. 208 pages. Wiki-uk (talk) 16:42, 14 March 2011 (UTC)[reply]
it resembles chess because one piece is shown as a horse. (talk) 07:06, 19 December 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Someone uploaded an image on Wiki Commons in 2014, categorized under "Art of Mohenjo-daro" and now as well under "History of chess". See on the right here. If not chess, where should it be categorized? Wiki-uk (talk) 08:07, 8 April 2020 (UTC)[reply]

Games on draughts board with military tactics in Classical Antiquity.[edit]

About etimology of italian "Alfiere", eng. Bishop it is not sure that came from Arab language.

It is plausible that also the Arabs have taken the word from Latin Ferens the soldier who carries the flag. In Italy the word "alfiere" means the bearer of flag. Example in medieval Palio. During Roman Empire was called Aquilifer. So the word is returned in Italy from Arabs as in English much latin words are returned with Normans conquest. See

Indeed can not to be two sets of knights. (Arab: Al-Faris means knight). In western world the Bishop is represented with an Partian catafratta armor. Which suggests also a possible derivation from war games on the board already present in classical antiquity as the roman Ludus latrunculorum war game played almost certainly in 64 squares chessboard. It is arrived perhaps from Ancient Greece, Anatolia, Egypt or Mesopotamia or born locally or born in other parts. We don’t know. The Indian chess probably is only a local variant of game already widespread in the world since immemorial time. Howewer modern rules are established in mediterranean world during medieval period. In medieval Italy, as in ancient Greece, for the things that it haven't clear knowledge about the origin. The origin was attributed to a mythical Orient (Indie). Indeed for medieval Europe Indie means generally Orient, could to be Persia or China to see Cristoforo Colombo that thought to arrive in Indie (plural word).

--Andriolo (talk) 11:22, 3 March 2011 (UTC)[reply]

Central Asia Origin, and mediterranean board games influences.[edit]

I would only to throw the stone in the pond. Indeed the english articles of history of chess, is too much categorical. Some more “perhaps”…… it will make it better. The hypothesis of the subcontinent (not Asia), is British and was born with the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and is based on Indian legends written, however several centuries after the facts. (The first indian source of chatrang are witten in XII century). In the sameway why not in Ancient Babil ? (An italian legend in Jacopo Cessole book say about Nabucodonosor. However the chess until the Italian Renaissance, in Latin, were called Ludus latrinculorum so we are unable to say if gothic Teodorico il Grande (500CE) played chess or latrunculorum. The mention of latruculorum as chess appared in Europe in sources of c.a. 900-1000 CE with the end of dark age. This mix of terminology has caused lot of problems.

Archaeology tells us two things: 1) the most ancient findings of boards that we use in chess are in the Mediterranean area (8x8 chessboard with two colors diagonal squares used probably for Dama). File:scacchiera2-300x231.jpg This is only one of innumerable examples. It is in pubblic area in Brescia in some roman ruins on Foro. The black is X. 2) the first discoveries of chatrang that we have are in Uzbekistan (c.a. 700 CE Uzbekistan was India at wide sense, in this period) I remember that Scythian kings was considered Indians for Greeks and also for the hellenized Parthians and Sassanids. As for Alfonso X.

The central Asia origin, in the Silk Road, between Caspian Sea until Afghanistan (in area influenced from Parthian or Sassanid empire), I think can explain lot of things and the possibility for other steppic tribe as the germanic Goths to play chess before the Arabs. About latrunculi type see also see Tafl games. About latrunculi archeological findings in this book

Only the beautiful examples of Mohejodaro can resolve the temporal contradictions with mediterranean chess or lantruculi and sustain the Indian Origin. The Egyptians and Knossos zachitrion are indubitely too much different table games. Gupta origin is too much recent. Jacopo Cessole has reason, it must be know well before than Arabs. Howewer that modern chess with mediterranean 8x8 board could be born only in Central Asia with a mix.

(this is a fragment of a discussion open in chess article)

--Andriolo (talk) 08:36, 15 March 2011 (UTC)[reply]

Mohejodaro board games resemble germanic Tafl and nordic versions Latrunculi with a central king  ??? ....... —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:33, 15 March 2011 (UTC) [reply]

VENAFRO CASE There is also an OOPART chess pieces in roman tombs, the range of dating of the chess is controversial, 700-1000CE, 95% 850-1000CE 68% c.a. radiology on the material but the discussion is open. There are scolars that say it is an example of pre-islamic chess in Europe. And there are scholars that say that came in Italy during islamic incursion and Sicily invasion, but the style is different from sicilian pieces. And it is open the question, how these chess are finished into the roman tomb. Howewer they are serious claim that they are very old contemporary Uzbekistan.

There are other controversial findings in Butrint 600-700 CE during Byzantine Empire. The two colored chessboard are common in roman empire for Dama, and there isn't mystic interpretations. I think that Murray is too much old book. Gupta thesys is unsustainable. If you want Indian thesys, the chess must be older. --Andriolo (talk) 00:00, 16 March 2011 (UTC)[reply]

I think it is well documented how Chess was taken up by Persians first from India (there is even a manuscript with a pic showing an Indian explaining the game to a Persian emperor on the History page itself) and then Arabs. If I am not mistaken, there are book written about Chess during those times. ..असक्तः सततं कार्य कर्म समाचर | असक्तः हि आचरन् कर्म.. Humour Thisthat2011 19:47, 26 June 2011 (UTC)[reply]

I do not know if it is born in India (subcontinent today) or not, because “India” in medieval time was an ambiguous word often meant East Asia in general.

Murray is an old book. he didn’t know modern archeological and archival sources.

The manuscript with the image that you are referring is very recent at time the venetians sold chess “in cristallo di rocca” to Mongols long the Silk Road. In medieval time, the cosmopolitan people of Silk Road (Westerners, Persians, Arabs, Greeks, Jews, Slavs, Mongols) played together in the caravanserrais and in the brothels.

Contacts between the North Africa and Spain Arabs and Western worlds until the thirteenth century were quite limited for religious and war reasons. The Arabs do not set foot in western cities. The Italian merchants could not leave the “fondaci” in the muslim harbours. If an infidel merchant left Alexandria to move down the Nile could be killed. The contacts were limited and left to Jews intermediaries.

Things were much easier in Terra Santa, Asia and around the Black Sea. The directly asian way is more valid, at least for italian city-states and Byzantium.

The questions are still open... — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:04, 7 December 2011 (UTC)[reply]

Central Asia origin and Murray colonial thesis[edit]

About central Asian syncretistic origin:

The thesys of Murray is old, and is based on the opinion in vogue in the British Empire but no on archeological sources and archival sources. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:53, 8 December 2011 (UTC)[reply]

That excellent essay is already accessible through the link to the IGK's other website. J S Ayer (talk) 16:58, 8 December 2011 (UTC)[reply]

Section on Persian history of the game[edit]

Persian section[edit]

The Persian section is a cut-and-paste from this website:

I thought Wikipedia had rules against that.

  • That blog acknowledges that that excerpt is taken from Wikipedia. I have established by backtracking that this is so. J S Ayer (talk) 01:50, 12 May 2012 (UTC)[reply]

Persian Origin of Chess[edit]

Chess Talk Page

Professor Lewis is a prominent scholar in middle eastern studies so when he says that chess was invented by Persians his opinion should be considered. Please note the most reliable sources in Wikipedia are: [peer-reviewed journals and books published by university presses]. Iranic (talk) 09:55, 27 June 2012 (UTC)[reply]

It's reliable source, of course but he is not an expert in chess. Most of chess books used to support in this article states chess came from India. There's no consensus between where exactly chess came from but majority states India so I believe another theories should be cited carefully to avoid confusion.OTAVIO1981 (talk) 18:57, 27 June 2012 (UTC)[reply]
His statement is a single unsupported sentence in which chess is lumped in with backgammon. Lacking any backing, it cannot override facts. J S Ayer (talk) 19:38, 27 June 2012 (UTC)[reply]
The book is not a "history of chess". Books solely focused on the topic take precedence. --NeilN talk to me 21:48, 27 June 2012 (UTC)[reply]
The most authoritative book on chess history is the one by Murray, which I don't have. But based on A Short History of Chess by Davidson and Chess: A History by Golombek, the game that became modern chess went from India to Persia, where it underwent significant changes. But it didn't get close to modern chess until about 1500 in Europe. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 02:18, 28 June 2012 (UTC)[reply]
Perhaps we should say that the first known ancestor of chess was played in India. I don't know that we should even call it chess at that point. J S Ayer (talk) 23:28, 7 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]
That makes sense. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 23:43, 7 July 2012 (UTC)[reply]

Indeed, as one can't neglect that Ferdowsi is simply writing a tale which may not be based on historical fact. In fact, the oldest known reference points to Shah Ardashir as being a master of the game, his rule was from 224 - 241 AD. This would indicate that chess was invented some time before his rule, and long before Ferdowsi. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2601:882:100:DCB0:EDCE:F987:85F4:6DF6 (talk) 20:43, 27 April 2016 (UTC)[reply]

That would indicate that chess was invented before his time only if the document dated from Ardashir's epoch. Since it dates from several centuries later, it only proves that chess was well established when the document was written. Edison Marshall in his novel The Conqueror has Alexander the Great mention chess. This does not prove that chess was known to Alexander, it proves that it was known to Edison Marshall. J S Ayer (talk) 00:59, 28 April 2016 (UTC)[reply]

If a late document stated that Alexander played chess, that can indeed be evidence that chess existed in Alexanders time. But Edson marshall is only an example. And one can be used to make the point that there is no reason for the assertion that Ferdowsi's reference to 'Hind' should be regarded as a reliable reference to historical origins of chess, rather than a tale meant to inspire Persian natioanlism. Mind that the oldest verifiable chess pieces have been uncovered in Persianate regions, and 'Hind' actually referred to parts of southeast iran up until the 11th century. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2601:882:180:6548:6126:BDE3:6138:240 (talk) 03:15, 24 August 2017 (UTC)[reply]

Slideshow of pictures of chess[edit]

A link to chess paintings was added, and immediately removed as spam. I took a look at it, and see no reason why it should be considered spam. It isn't advertising anything. It is a large collection of paintings of people playing board games, and of chess pieces, and perhaps other things (I didn't look at all fifteen hundred images). There may be reasons to oppose linking to it, but I think "spam" isn't one. J S Ayer (talk) 00:40, 27 October 2012 (UTC)[reply]

Do I have the permission to put this link again ? JMRW67 (talk) 09:09, 27 October 2012 (UTC)[reply]

It is a link to a personal website added by the owner of the website - that is spam. It is also inappropriate due to WP:ELNO criteria 11. noq (talk) 10:03, 27 October 2012 (UTC)[reply]

I checked the reference; it deprecates links to personal websites because those generally contain material only of interest to the author and his family and friends. This does not appear to me to come under that heading. Does anyone else have an opinion? J S Ayer (talk) 00:12, 28 October 2012 (UTC)[reply]

It is not just because the information may only be of interest to the author and family and friends but also because they are not WP:reliable sources. noq (talk) 09:43, 28 October 2012 (UTC)[reply]

Meaning of Shāh Māt[edit]

Concerning this section:

Chess was introduced to Persia from India and became a part of the princely or courtly education of Persian nobility.[1] In Sassanid Persia around 600 the name became chatrang, which subsequently evolved to shatranj, due to Arab Muslim’s lack of ch and ng native sounds[2], and the rules were developed further. Players started calling "Shāh!" (Persian for "King!") when attacking the opponent's king, and "Shāh Māt!" (Persian for "the king is helpless" – see checkmate) when the king was attacked and could not escape from attack. These exclamations persisted in chess as it traveled to other lands.

I find it suspicious that "Māt" in Arabic (مات) is connected to Māta, "he died". Astabada (talk) 09:14, 2 January 2013 (UTC)[reply]


  1. ^ Cite error: The named reference Meri was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
  2. ^ Shenk, David. “The Immortal Game.” Doubleday, 2006.

Chinese theory of origin of chess[edit]

Hello all! Have you ever heard about Sam Sloan theory about origin of chess in china? Some material was added to portuguese article and I removed because it used a poor reliable source. But I read it and it seems tha Sloan wrote a book about it and have debunked Murray theory in some way. For example, that Murray couldn't speak pahlavi and used another paper of H.J. Raverty as source to say chess is indian by origin. Seems that Raverty is not an expert in pahlavi neither. Anyway, I'd like to know if you guys mind to point out some source about this theory. Nowadays, I'm using this source to sustain that chinese theory it's not completely accepted by scholars. Regards!OTAVIO1981 (talk) 17:58, 10 January 2013 (UTC)[reply]

Why, yes, we have. The discussion is in the archive. The second paragraph in the article's section on China mentions the theory of Chinese origin, and points out the lack of textual or archeological evidence of chess in China earlier than a century after the earliest solid evidence of chess in India. J S Ayer (talk) 21:54, 10 January 2013 (UTC)[reply]
Thank you very much!I just read this discussion and it seems portuguese article handle this matter properly. I added a link to Banashak's article that pointed out what you said. Regards, OTAVIO1981 (talk) 18:57, 11 January 2013 (UTC)[reply]

JS Ayer, you know the rules of Wikipedia. You need to refute the claim that references to xiangqi precede refs in India. The warring states claim is fully referenced on xiangqi page. Refute it please. Luan Hanratty (talk) 02:34, 30 November 2014 (UTC)[reply]

No. Chinese origin of chess is considered unlikely by most chess historians and lacks evidence, as stated by J S Ayer. Quale (talk) 03:12, 30 November 2014 (UTC)[reply]

Quale, your point is a logical fallacy: argument from authority and does not address the merits of the claim. Please refute the facts stated above and in the article. Luan Hanratty (talk) 09:44, 30 November 2014 (UTC)[reply]

The Xianqi article simply doesn't say what you claim it says. There's no evidence whatsoever that the supposed mention of a Chinese game called xianqi in the first century BC refers to a precursor of chess. Read the article again, carefully. Quale (talk) 10:18, 30 November 2014 (UTC)[reply]

The Xianqi article says this: "References to a game called xiangqi date back to the Warring States period; according to the first century BC text Shuo yuan (說苑), it was one of Lord Mengchang of Qi's interests." The reference for this claim has five BCE sources all referring to a game called Xiangqi. We don't know the rules of this ancient xiangqi but your insistence on completely excluding it from the article despite it sharing the same name as the modern game is unreasonable. All these ancient references to the game with the same name as Chinese chess, which far predate the earliest Indian references, deserve a mention at the top of the article because they are not just relevant but absolutely critical to the history of chess and its origins. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Luan Hanratty (talkcontribs) 10:47, 30 November 2014 (UTC)[reply]

There seem to have been at least three games named Xiangqi, making the relevance of a name with no description quite questionable. J S Ayer (talk) 02:25, 1 December 2014 (UTC)[reply]

Exactly. Without the rules there is absolutely no evidence that this is a precursor to chess. In fact I think we also don't know what the board looked like or what pieces were used, so the claim that this was an ancestor to chess is entirely speculative. There is also ample reason to believe that it was not, and this is the conclusion of most chess historians. The Li theory is already given appropriate weight in the article in a paragraph in History of chess#China. Quale (talk) 03:49, 1 December 2014 (UTC)[reply]

Common sense and Occam’s razor would suggest that because the ancient game and the early-medieval game share the same name, they are linked in other ways and share some of the same features. Two of those sources on the xiangqi page say that the pieces were the same — having scholars, elephants, horses, catapults etc. Other sources in that reference say it was a strategy and fighting game. You obviously have not read the reference. Here it is: Given this information and given Occam's razor, it would be less likely that the ancient and early-medieval games of xiangqi share only the same name but none of the same features. Luan Hanratty (talk) 10:04, 1 December 2014 (UTC)[reply]

Banaschak agrees that there is no way to ascertain whether the various ancient games had anything in common with Chinese chess as we know it. He agrees that the first mention of a game that is clearly in this family is by Tang Minister of State Niu Sengru, just as the article says. As for games with the same name being the same game, the Chess Variants website lists two very different games called Martian Chess and two very different games called Courtyard. In Germany, both chess and latrunculi have been known by the same name.
The early history of chess is indeed obscure, and I regret that, and hope for the discovery of solid evidence that will cast light on the subject. J S Ayer (talk) 01:22, 2 December 2014 (UTC)[reply]

This is spurious. ludus latrunculorum may be called chess but it has almost nothing in common with chess. Xianqi and international chess on the other hand clearly share so many features that either one came from the other or they share a common ancestor.

Regarding Niu Sengru, he was referencing the ancient emperor Shennong who supposedly played xiangqi as we know. So it is a secondary source but then in the study of history since when are secondary sources rejected? Murray uses plenty of them. Luan Hanratty (talk) — Preceding undated comment added 11:32, 2 December 2014 (UTC)[reply]

Wikipedia is not about common sense and Occam's razor, it's about reliable sources and avoiding undue weight for minority theories. The Banaschak paper you refer to says this: "Although I will refrain from speculations on the connections between Chinese Chess and the Indian and Persian chess-games, the reader is invited to draw whatever conclusions himself." You are invited to draw whatever conclusions yourself, but you can't put them in a Wikipedia article. Please read the policy prohibiting original research. You are not permitted to make claims that are not found in the sources. Quale (talk) 03:46, 2 December 2014 (UTC)[reply]

Granted the first line of my edit could be construed as original and I'll remove that particular sentence. However, it's ironic that you mention reliable sources. The sources in the Banaschak paper regarding ancient xiangqi, provide far more evidence than the sources references backing the claim that: "Precursors to chess originated in India during the Gupta Empire.” I’ve looked at these references and they do not provide better or even good evidence.

1. Leibs (2004) p 92 — “The game was invented in India during the 6th century” This is all it says regarding the origins. No explanations or anything.

2. Forbes (1860) — refers to this “long-debunked theory” by a colonial professor who claimed chess was invented in 3000 BC The theory is soundly refuted in the article as well as in the Oxford Companion to Chess (1992).

3. Robinson, Dindy, Estes, Rebecca (1996) — “Two popular games, chess and badminton, come from India, as well as gambling with dice.” Again, this provides nothing to support the assertion. It’s not even a chess book, it’s a book on art.

4. The Murray book, A History of Chess published in 1913, is a credible reference yet only cites two seventh century texts. The book does not mention Chinese chess at all which seems a large oversight considering the the popularity of Chinese chess and its similarities to international chess. But this is an understandable oversight as Murray would not have had access to Banaschak's sources, Murray lived at time when China was still very much inaccessible to Westerners, he may not even have played Xiangqi or even knew of it. India however had been colonised for nearly three centuries and thus was far more accessible and familiar to western historians.

The first three references are so weak that I’m suggesting they are removed. These, and even Murray’s sources, are far weaker than the references on the origins of xiangqi. Luan Hanratty (talk) — Preceding undated comment added 10:55, 2 December 2014 (UTC)[reply]

Murray discusses Chinese chess in some detail (pages 119–134) and cites far more than two seventh century Indian texts, as you would know if you had actually read A History of Chess rather than just repeatedly claiming things that aren't true. (It's a 900-page tome, so it would be a little stretched out and thin if it didn't contain a little more research than you state.) I don't see anything in Banaschak that claims that the earliest games called xianqi were substantially similar to chess. In fact Banaschak notes that it is difficult to ascertain whether some of the earliest recorded uses of "xianqi" even refer to a game. In other cases the nature of the game is unknown, so claiming that it is clearly an ancestor to chess is entirely speculative. Murray wrote this in A History of Chess, p. 122: "But Siang-k'i can also mean the Astronomical Game, and in early times it was the name of an astronomical game. This makes it necessary to examine early references to the game Siang-k'i with great care, in order to discriminate between this game and chess." He then gives a Chinese reference to the Astronomical Game that claims it was invented by Wu-Ti in the 6th century, when the pieces were "called after the sun, the moon, the planets, and the star-houses (sin-t'shen). This does not agree with the present time." So for xianqi to have been an ancestor of chess in the 1st century BC, it would have had to have become a very different astronomical game that was not an ancestor of chess six centuries later, then at some later point become an ancestor of chess again. This last bit would have to happen very quickly since the oldest references to Indian chess are found near the 6th century. But in fact xianqi was not a single game. San-ku-siang-king (Manual of the three siang-k'is) that Murray states is from the Tang dynasty (618–970), demonstrates that siang-k'i was used to describe more than one game. Murray states (p. 123) that the earliest certain reference to Chinese chess is in the Huan Kwai Lu (Book of Marvels) from near the end of the 8th century, and then quotes a passage that describes the pieces and moves, which are clearly related to chess. There's more, but I can't type it all in here. Quale (talk) 09:40, 3 December 2014 (UTC)[reply]

I'd like to see what Murray wrote about Chinese chess. I do not have a copy.

You wrote that Banaschak does not show that the earliest games of xiangqi were similar to chess. You are wrong here. We do know from the Banaschak sources that ancient xianngqi was a strategy game using elephants and other animals (sources 2 & 4) and that in Tang times the old pieces were replaced with the ones in the modern game (source 1). They key word is replaced. This is a fair and worthy source for inclusion in the article and I will write a new edit to reflect this precisely. This information, in addition to the very fact that the ancient game and the medieval game share the same name and far pre-date the Indian references in the article, makes xiangqi not just worthy but essential for inclusion in the origin section. Luan Hanratty (talk) 17:56, 3 December 2014 (UTC)[reply]

Well if you haven't read Murray, why did you write that he "cites two seventh century texts. The book does not mention Chinese chess at all"?? We are supposed to assume good faith, and I'd really like to work with you to improve this and any other chess article that you are interested in, but we can't collaborate if you're just going to make wild claims with reckless disregard for the truth.
In fact we simply don't know for certain whether chess originated in India or China. We can't even definitely say that chess didn't start in Afghanistan, since although Afghan origin is definitely a fringe theory lacking any real evidence there is also no absolute evidence to refute it either. Mainstream chess historians favor Indian origin so I think it is correct for this article to primarily report that expert opinion. Chinese origin is a minority view of note. I have read some of Banaschak's writings on the web in the past, but I haven't studied them in detail.
I'm going to try to step back here for a bit to let this settle down and to see if J S Ayer or others have anything to add. I will leave you with the note that repeating over and over that "the ancient game and the medieval game share the same name and far pre-date the Indian references" is not a winning argument. Chess historians have already examined this issue. The medieval game does not pre-date the Indian references, and I haven't yet seen any evidence that the ancient game is at all related to chess. (Banaschak may offer some of this evidence, I will try to examine it when I have time.) Also, the games don't really share the same name since at least three if not more games were referred to by the same name, and at least one of them was not related to chess. It's as if you claim that because Alexander the Great is reported to have found apples in Turkey that Apple and Apple are more than 2000 years old. They have the same name, but they simply aren't the same things. In the case of xianqi it is really more akin to three different names that are spelled the same. Quale (talk) 00:25, 4 December 2014 (UTC)[reply]

Address the issues please Quale. I wrote that Murray cites two Indian sources because I was looking at an excerpt from Murray. I forgot to mention that it was an excerpt, but that was where he made his main justification. You haven’t provided anything to the contrary yet. How about a quote from him. If you have it. Prove it.

You wrote: "Mainstream chess historians favor Indian origin so I think it is correct for this article to primarily report that expert opinion. Chinese origin is a minority view of note." Can't you see the shortcomings of this point. You are simply appealing to authority — an anonymous authority at that, and this is fallacious. Knowledge of logical fallacies is a basic part of arguing. It’s not a strong point because we still don't know a) who are these people? b) what they wrote to refute the Chinese origin theory? c) if these anonymous authorities have properly researched the Chinese origin theory? d) why is Banaschak not getting credit for his research and evidence? And so on

You also ignored the important points I made in the last comment. Luan Hanratty (talk) 19:06, 8 December 2014 (UTC)[reply]

Hanratty, you wrote, and I quote exactly: "4. The Murray book, A History of Chess published in 1913, is a credible reference yet only cites two seventh century texts." That's a blatant lie, and you should be ashamed of your dishonesty. If you are going to continue to dissemble, then this discussion is pointless.
Murray examined the possibility of Chinese origin of chess in detail and found that theory lacks evidence, and that the evidence instead favors Indian origin for chess. I can't summarize a 900 page book on this talk page, and I won't write a complete summary of the 44 pages he devotes to chaturanga and early references to chess in India or the 14 pages he wrote about chess in China. If you are not familiar with Murray's work then you are in absolutely no position whatsoever to make claims about what Murray did or didn't do. It has already been explained to you multiple times by two people that "xianqi" does not refer to a single game. Even Banaschak agrees on this point. In fact Chinese writers have used "xianqi" to refer to at least three different games, possibly more, and if there is evidence that these games are closely related in anything other than their names I am not familiar with it. One of the games is Chinese chess, but one of the other games called "xianqi" is the so-called Astronomical Game, which does not seem to be an ancestor to chess. It is also Murray's conclusion the oldest references to xianqi refer to the Astronomical game or something similar, which in his view makes those oldest citations not related to modern chess. At least one Chinese text written c. 1085 takes pains to emphasize that an early reference to xianqi around 600 refers to a game that is not similar to (modern) xianqi (i.e. Chinese chess). It is not enough to simply claim that there is a first century reference to xianqi, it also has to be shown that the thing that was referred to is an ancestor to chess.
The evidence that chess came to Europe from India via Persia is essentially irrefutable, so if an older ancestor to chess originated in China it must have traveled to India some time before the sixth century. Of course if chess originated in India then it is also clear that it must instead have traveled the opposite direction from India to China around or after the sixth century. Unfortunately even though chess traveled from one area to the other I don't think there is any good evidence demonstrating in which direction that transfer occurred, or when or how. If any such solid evidence were found I think it would go a long way to resolving the questions concerning possible Chinese origin of chess.
As far as who the people are who hold the majority theory that chess arose from chaturanga in India, you already know some of them. In 1913 Murray literally wrote the book on the origin of chess, but three quarters of a century later Hooper & Whyld wrote "The earliest evidence of a recognizable form of chess, CHATURANGA, is around AD 600. Before that, all is speculation." Since you mentioned The Oxford Companion to Chess in an earlier comment, I assumed you were familiar with its entry on "History of chess". Hooper & Whyld mention Needham's speculation that early Chinese divination games were developed later into chaturanga and Chinese chess, but I don't think there is any evidence that this is true aside from guesswork. The bulk of the Oxford Companion entry discusses early Indian writings and the movement of chaturanga to Persia and finally to Europe. Harry Golombek also has written supporting the Indian origin of chess, although he mostly adopts Murray's work and I wouldn't consider it a fully independent view.
Richard Eales, "Chess, The History of a Game" (1985), has the advantage of being published after Needham's work, so he can examine Needham's arguments. (Murray wrote a half century before Needham published his theories around 1962.) Eales devotes about three pages to examine the evidence that early ancestors to chess were first developed in China. Some quotes: p.33 "This so-called 'Chinese origin of chess' raises a number of problems. .... The earliest reference to its [Chinese chess] existence occurs in the Yu Kuai Lu of Niu-Sung Ju, written around the year 800. ... The problem with Chinese chess is that it differs more from the Indian forms of the game than any of the other Asiatic derivatives, in Burma, Indo-China or Malay. Only the Japanese chess, shogi, is more distant and that was a later derivation from China." Later p. 33 "Unlike the Persians, the Chinese do not preserve any tradition of receiving chess from India, so there is no positive documentary evidence to resolve the issue. ... the central fact that Chinese chess can only be proved to be in existence by c. 800, almost two centuries after its appearance is documented in India and Persia." Eales discusses some specifics of Needham's theory, writing on p.34 "Needham's theory at this point requires a leap of faith" and "Thus, to consider the divination theory unproven it is only necessary to believe that chess might have been invented independently, as a game of military symbolism from the beginning. No one has shown that this could not have been the case." He then goes on to discuss dating problems, as Needham requires that Wu-Ti's "image-game" be invented in 562, then modified into chess (chaturanga) and established as far away as Persia by 600, an impossibly short time. Needham argued that chess arose from a Chinese divination game and that astronomical symbolism clung to it throughout its later centuries, but it is not true that chess is associated with astronomical symbolism. Almost all chess legends have military or political meanings, and almost none of them have any connection with divination or astrology. On p. 35 Eales sums up with "Unless further evidence is forthcoming, it remains probable that chess was devised, as Murray thought it was, in northern India. Since the earliest evidence cannot be placed prior to 600, the provisional date of its invention must be in the sixth century; it could have been earlier, but to propose earlier dates is mere guesswork in the present state of knowledge." Eales finishes the section by disagreeing with Murray's contention that chess was the invention of a single individual, saying that gradual development by many people seems more likely, although we will probably never know for certain. (Golombek also criticized Murray's claim of single invention.) Quale (talk) 06:38, 9 December 2014 (UTC)[reply]

Mobile phone?[edit]

"A player whose mobile phone rings, thereby loses." Could we have a source, please? J S Ayer (talk) 01:11, 11 May 2014 (UTC)[reply]

External links modified[edit]

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Semi-protected edit request on 14 June 2018[edit]

Please change

A manuscript explaining the rules of the game called "Matikan-i-chatrang" (the book of chess) in Middle Persian or Pahlavi still exists.[citation needed]


A manuscript explaining the rules of the game called "Matikan-i-chatrang" (the book of chess) in Middle Persian or Pahlavi still exists. [1]

which provides the proper citation. Bbradt (talk) 02:09, 14 June 2018 (UTC)[reply]

 DoneIVORK Discuss 03:15, 14 June 2018 (UTC)[reply]

Greco-Roman origin of chess[edit]

There should be a link to this Wikipedia article: — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:47, 4 July 2019 (UTC)[reply]

This should be the very first sentence in this Wikipedia article, History of Chess. (talk) 18:16, 4 July 2019 (UTC)[reply]

Why are these two Wikipedia articles not directly linked ? It is Censorship to hide the connection. (talk) 14:21, 5 July 2019 (UTC)[reply]

If you feel strongly about it and given that you have already made several edits as a guest, why not become a member? Once you complete the initial qualification period of ten edits in four (I think) days, you will be able to edit protected articles. No Great Shaker (talk) 14:58, 5 July 2019 (UTC)[reply]

Could you do it for me please ? One sentence will do it. Simply insert the above link into the Origin section where it begins Precursors.. Thank you in advance. (talk) 17:44, 5 July 2019 (UTC)[reply]
Okay, how does this look:
Precursors to chess may have originated in the Roman Empire and the Gupta Empire. The Romans had a two-player strategy board game called ludus latrunculorum which is said to have resembled chess but may have been a game of military tactics. It is first mentioned by Varro in his De Lingua Latina (“On the Latin Language”), where he mentions the game in passing, comparing the grid on which it was played to the grid used for presenting declensions. In the Gupta Empire, its early form in the 6th century was known as chaturaṅga, which translates as "four divisions (of the military)": infantry, cavalry, elephantry, and chariotry. These forms are represented by the pieces that would evolve into the modern pawn, knight, bishop, and rook, respectively.
If you would like anything added, deleted or amended, please just use the above extract for demo. Btw, I was a guest editor myself for 15 years before I became a member this year, after I retired (bliss!) from work. There are definite advantages to being a member and one of them is being able to edit all articles. In a very short space of time, I became a reviewer and a rollbacker which give me considerable clout in my on-site capabilities. It's worth considering and I think you would do well once you understand the community mindset. All the best. No Great Shaker (talk) 19:17, 5 July 2019 (UTC)[reply]
At best the Roman game deserves a passing mention since the rules are not documented and no reliable sources consider it a major precursor of chess. Thanks for the lesson in wikipedia community values. MaxBrowne2 (talk) 00:13, 6 July 2019 (UTC)[reply]
The content is reliably sourced and it has received only a passing mention. No Great Shaker (talk) 00:38, 6 July 2019 (UTC)[reply]
Your edit attempts to give equal emphasis to the well documented connection to Chaturanga with a very tenuous and speculative claim to a link to an ancient game with unknown rules. Beyond being vaguely related to military strategy we known nothing about the Roman game and connecting it with chess does not fit with what is known about chess history. MaxBrowne2 (talk) 00:53, 6 July 2019 (UTC)[reply]

In that case, reword the paragraph so it is clear that the Roman game was a potential precursor and the Gupta game a likely one. The facts are that the Roman game existed and has been likened to chess so it is relevant, especially as it is reliably sourced. I'm signing off for now and will leave it with you to restore and suitably revise the wording. No Great Shaker (talk) 01:14, 6 July 2019 (UTC)[reply]

Consensus required[edit]

The inclusion of the Roman game as a potential precursor, suitably and reliably sourced, has twice been removed by an editor who apparently doesn't like it despite the reliable source and relevant usage of the same information in another article. Would other editors please comment? Thank you. No Great Shaker (talk) 00:57, 6 July 2019 (UTC)[reply]

I would begin the History section like this:

The history of chess can be traced back at least 1500 years, and the earliest origins are uncertain. The earliest predecessors may have been Greco-Roman board games which were brought to India through the remnants of Alexander's empire, see Ludus latrunculorum. Early predecessors of the game evolved in India before the 6th century AD; a minority of historians believe the game originated in China. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:26, 6 July 2019 (UTC)[reply]

No. Ludus has no known connection to Chaturanga or any other game in the chess family. It is pure speculation and mentioning it right at the beginning alongside the well known and documented Chaturanga/chess connection is WP:UNDUE. MaxBrowne2 (talk) 02:36, 6 July 2019 (UTC)[reply]
Ludus used the same 8x8 chessboard as today, and the Ludus wikipedia article is well sourced by scholars. It is certainly a possibility which is well described in wikipedia already, and a link to it definitely belongs here. (talk) 02:49, 6 July 2019 (UTC)[reply]
Wikipedia is not a reliable source, so referencing other articles is not a valid argument for inclusion. MaxBrowne2 (talk) 02:53, 6 July 2019 (UTC)[reply]
I correct you, Wikipedia is not the source; well referenced scholarly sources are there provided. Do you want to remove the Ludus article from Wikipedia too ? It is a form of censorship to try to isolate the Ludus article to which there should definitely be a link here. I above propose a minimal one sentence link to Ludus. (talk) 02:59, 6 July 2019 (UTC)[reply]
There is no sign that latrunculi was known in the eastern longitudes where chaturanga evidently originated. We do not know what board latrunculi was played on; it looks as if that my have varied. We have already rejected an attempt to connect chess to the tafl games. We might want to mention that chaturanga is now suspected of being a fusion of the little-known Greek game petteia or poleis with Indian elements, possibly a race game played on the ashtapada, perhaps also influenced by the Chinese liubo. J S Ayer (talk) 03:26, 6 July 2019 (UTC)[reply]
I correct you, we know Ludus was played an 8x8 board. The simple one sentence link to Ludus which I propose above, would allow wikipedia readers to see for themselves what scholarly experts have published on the possibility of its being a precursor to chess. It must not be censored and it definitely belongs right here. (talk) 04:13, 6 July 2019 (UTC)[reply]

The article about Ludus latrunculorum is interesting and it was all new to me. It is in a way reassuring to see that board games with a generic resemblance to Go, checkers, etc. were played in the Roman empire.

The source that made the most serious attempt to connect it with chess was Samsin. But Samsin explicitly admits that there are serious missing links. That is, ludus was played before chess, and it has some superficial physical resemblance, but that's all he has got. He doesn't, for example, have evidence that ludus spread to what is now Persia, though he evidently thinks it was possible.

One can't prove a negative in archaeology. Perhaps, indeed, chess existed hundreds of years before the oldest evidence that we know of, in regions where we have not yet found it, etc. (I saw the same difficulty in reading the article about Backgammon.) But Wikipedia is for summaries of current knowledge, not for speculation about what might have happened. Bruce leverett (talk) 04:57, 6 July 2019 (UTC)[reply]

We know that several RECONSTRUCTIONS of latrunculi specify a board of 8x8 squares. R. C. Bell mentions surviving boards from Roman Britain of 7x8, 8x8, 9x10, and 10x11. The Stanway board has been reconstructed as 8x12. J S Ayer (talk) 11:27, 6 July 2019 (UTC)[reply]
The origin of chess is uncertain, and scholarly theories should all be mentioned and not ignored. There must be a direct link added here to the Ludus wikipedia article. I have proposed above a simple minimum one sentence link to Ludus, which should be used here. China gets a mention and so should Ludus. (talk) 12:50, 6 July 2019 (UTC)[reply]
The policies and guidelines for writing Wikipedia articles make it clear that, where there are multiple theories in play, they should not "all be mentioned and not ignored". Another contributor to this discussion has already mentioned WP:UNDUE, which is probably the most important such policy. WP:FRINGE is a guideline that is helpful for interpreting this policy in some situations. In a nutshell, one must be careful about what theories one presents and how one presents them. Bruce leverett (talk) 01:47, 7 July 2019 (UTC)[reply]
I am simply asking for a link to a very pertinent and informative wikipedia article, that of Ludus. There is no question that at least a link to Ludus belongs here. Ludus is even recognized on the first page of Philidor's classic 1774 work. (talk) 02:11, 7 July 2019 (UTC)[reply]
Actually there is a valid question as to whether a link even belongs. Here's the Philidor book: . Where's the ludus latranculorum reference? MaxBrowne2 (talk) 03:49, 7 July 2019 (UTC)[reply]
It is in the first sentence Ludus Latrunculi. It has for hundreds of years been considered the origin of chess. This belongs here in wikipedia. (talk) 03:48, 7 July 2019 (UTC)[reply]
OK, "I will not venture to give my opinion on the conformity with the Latrunculi of ancient Rome". Several other writers have specifically disavowed any connection with the Roman game, e.g. Duncan Forbes in the Chess Player's Chronicle. . So at the moment if the game is to be mentioned at all it should say that it is *not* connected to chess. MaxBrowne2 (talk) 03:55, 7 July 2019 (UTC)[reply]
You are not reading it closely, Forbes is pooh-poohing any and all claims to the origin of chess. He proposes nothing. Forbes says he thinks he can show that chess was invented in India but admits he cannot say where or when. Also, note Forbes was not a historian. Philidor, in contrast, writes that scholars considered Ludus latrunculi to be the origin of chess. Regardless, it is an open question, and there should be a link in this wikipedia article to the wikipedia article regarding Ludus, for readers to see all scholarly opinions. (talk) 04:03, 7 July 2019 (UTC)[reply]
Philidor's book enjoyed a great run of popularity (it was in print for more than 100 years), but it has been out of print for about a century and a half. Not only do we not get any points by citing Philidor, but many, or perhaps most, of our readers don't know who Philidor was. (That's why they're looking things up in Wikipedia.)
To get some more perspective on this, look at the one-sentence mention of David Li's theory of the Chinese origin of chess in our opening section, and the whole subsection that we devoted to discussing that theory later on. This was in spite of the fact that Li's theory, as one critic politely put it, "is based on nothing at all". But we had to mention it, because it was featured in an interview of Li in Chessbase in 2005, and so a fair percentage of our readers will have heard of it, and will expect to see a discussion of it, yea or nay. We don't have total control over what material to use; we have to deal with what readers have seen while reading reliable sources.
By comparison, Ludus is obscure. For us to bring it up, when none of our readers have ever heard of it, can serve no useful purpose. Uncountably many implausible theories about the origin of chess have come and gone over the years, but, mercifully, we are allowed to ignore most of them. Bruce leverett (talk) 13:34, 7 July 2019 (UTC)[reply]
@Bruce leverett: It is true that multiple theories should not all be mentioned and, equally so, should not all be ignored. I see nothing in WP:UNDUE that completely rules out all mention of Ludus latrunculorum in this article, only that it should receive minimal coverage as a minority viewpoint. The main criterion, as in everything else, is that the information is reliably sourced. I have no problem with HOW the information is presented in this article but it should be included, as a "passing mention" if nothing else, for the sake of completeness. You cannot blandly state that chess originated during the Gupta period. Other possibilities must be mentioned. For example, I have a book called World of Chess (1974) by Anthony Saidy and Norman Lessing, which mentions the claim for a chess-like game found in Tutankhamen's tomb. They go on to Alexander the Great and the idea (admitting there is no hard evidence) that he introduced a game like chess to northern India which ultimately became chaturanga, first dated c.600 CE. They do not, however, mention Rome.
I think a history article must consider possibles, even if only lightly, but must make clear that they are minority views. Being in the minority does not mean being wrong. The origins section should briefly mention Tutankhamen, Alexander and Ludus latrunculorum. Re the latter, I certainly think the views of Philidor should be taken into account. No Great Shaker (talk) 08:22, 7 July 2019 (UTC)[reply]

Would all participants please note that I have invited a sysop to join this discussion as adjudicator given the breach of WP:CANVAS that has taken place on top of earlier concerns around reversion of content that was already under discussion here. Thank you. No Great Shaker (talk) 10:42, 7 July 2019 (UTC)[reply]

How was Maxbrowne2's post at WT:CHESS a "blatant breach of WP:CANVAS"?? (He expressed a clear concern & opinion at a Project board. Nothing manipulative about that.) --IHTS (talk) 11:48, 7 July 2019 (UTC)[reply]
Instead of an invitation using the recommended Template:Please see, he is stating his own case while seeking to denigrate the opposing case by talking about "fringe theories" and asserting that there is a "complete lack of evidence", which is untrue. He is therefore seeking to influence potential attendees ahead of them seeing the discussion and that breaches WP:CANVAS. You will note that I changed his message to the template invitation without offering any opinion or seeking to influence people before they read the discussion, as is required by WP:CANVAS. I see my correctly worded invitation has been reverted and I have been told to piss off. No Great Shaker (talk) 11:58, 7 July 2019 (UTC)[reply]
Things don't exist in a vacuum, editors post for a reason. He clearly stated his concern & opinion. (If having an opinion is a "blatant breach" of policy, we'll all be banned.) Chill! --IHTS (talk) 12:20, 7 July 2019 (UTC)[reply]
Perhaps we should agree to disagree. The policy and the template are there for good reasons and have been drafted accordingly. No Great Shaker (talk) 12:51, 7 July 2019 (UTC)[reply]
I see that indeed, WP:CANVAS discourages one from: "Campaigning: Posting a notification of discussion that presents the topic in a non-neutral manner." So perhaps it would have been more judicious for him to use the template. But this cuts both ways. Perhaps you should have posted the template before he got there. At any rate, WT:CHESS was the right place to go. If you are disappointed at the response from denizens of WT:CHESS, it isn't because of any problem with WT:CHESS. Bruce leverett (talk) 12:29, 7 July 2019 (UTC)[reply]
@Bruce leverett: I have no problem with anyone from WP:CHESS. Your responses are constructive and welcome. I don't believe you were influenced by the non-neutral invitation. Perhaps I should have beaten him to it in posting the template but it wasn't immediately apparent that this would escalate, given that it began as a friendly discussion between the IP and myself. Funnily enough, a friend said to me only the other day that you should never help anyone because it always backfires. Ha! No Great Shaker (talk) 12:51, 7 July 2019 (UTC)[reply]

Just add a mention and link to ludus latrunculorum so wikipedia readers can see it and judge for themselves all scholarly viewpoints. That is all I ask. I suggested above how to write it. (talk) 12:45, 7 July 2019 (UTC)[reply]

Support suggested opening by providing that reliable sources are cited. No Great Shaker (talk) 13:50, 7 July 2019 (UTC)[reply]

Reliable sources are already cited in the wikipedia article ludus latrunculorum (talk) 15:08, 7 July 2019 (UTC)[reply]
There isn't much to say. Everything in Ludus latrunculorum#Chess is pure speculation and based on no evidence. It's more plausible in my opinion that Chaturanga developed from earlier Indian board games that had no connection to latrunculi. Board games were independently developed several times in history by different cultures, and not every early board game has a connection to chess. H.J.R. Murray rejected the idea that the Roman games were precursors to chess for several reasons: insufficient documentation of those Roman games (the board sizes are not known with conflicting examples in evidence, pieces and piece movement unknown, rules unknown), no documentary evidence of transmission of latrunculi to India, and linguistic evidence indicates chess was a game of Indian and Persian origin. (The bit "ludus latrunculorum was often used as a medieval Latin name for chess" uses A History of Chess as a reference which might suggest that Murray supported the idea that latrunculi is an ancestor of chess, but he did not. Piece names, terms used for check and checkmate, etc. are all of Persian origin.) That said, Averbakh is important and his views might deserve a brief mention even when they are not mainstream. But fringe views have to be carefully presented as such. Quale (talk) 04:00, 8 July 2019 (UTC)[reply]
Averbakh and Samsin are two excellent references and both form the core of the thesis of the Greco-Roman origin described in the link Ludus latrunculorum which definitely belongs here. Also, Philidor wrote that learned experts agreed on the Greco-Roman origin. (talk) 04:44, 8 July 2019 (UTC)[reply]
The "thesis" is pure speculation based on nothing, with no supporting evidence whatsoever. Latrunculi was a two-player board game with the board configuration unknown, pieces and moves unknown, rules unknown. A few people have speculated that it might have traveled to India based again on no evidence other than it could have happened. If it wasn't related to chess, and there's no evidence it was, then the thesis is false. If it didn't travel to India by about 500 CE, and there's no evidence it did, then the thesis is false. It's speculation piled on top of speculation with no evidence at any level that suggests that it's true. Quale (talk) 06:13, 8 July 2019 (UTC)[reply]
You need study the Wikipedia article, the sources cited are not stupid people, and you are ignoring their reasons. Ludus latrunculorum (talk) 12:56, 8 July 2019 (UTC)[reply]
As noted earlier by User:MaxBrowne2, Philidor explicitly refuses to endorse the idea of Greco-Roman origin.
As I explained earlier, Samsin, presumably because he is a careful scholar, doesn't claim to have proved Greco-Roman origin either.
How are you getting past all this? What are we missing? You can't add up a bunch of No's and get Yes. Bruce leverett (talk) 14:46, 8 July 2019 (UTC)[reply]

Chaturanga is the earliest known game in the chess family, and I think speculations about its origin belong there, not here. Philidor wrote several centuries ago, and expert knowledge has shifted noticeably since then. Murray's History, admittedly a century old now, is still substantially unchallenged. J S Ayer (talk) 14:34, 8 July 2019 (UTC)[reply]

Philidor said that he himself did not know, but he continued and added that scholarly authors had studied it and believed chess was indeed traceable to Greco-Roman. Samsin did not claim to have proven it but he continued and added that the possible origin of chess was indeed Greco-Roman and gave reasons. Chaturanga might have been a predecessor but no one knows the origin, and the origin is the subject of interest here, so this link definitely belongs here Ludus latrunculorum . (talk) 17:52, 8 July 2019 (UTC)[reply]
You descriptions of what Philidor said and what Samsin said do not match the copies of Philidor and Samsin that I have on my screen. I have to conclude that we can't have a useful discussion of this. Unfortunately, I cannot be of any further assistance to you. Bruce leverett (talk) 20:08, 8 July 2019 (UTC)[reply]
You don't read plain English the way I do. (talk) 01:22, 9 July 2019 (UTC)[reply]

I think a large problem, unaddressed until now, is that the article Ludus latrunculorum urges that the Greek game variously called petteia, psephoi, or polis is one of the sources of chaturanga, and that latrunculi is the same game. That last leap is one too many for me. According to our article History of games, it is, but the reference is to Homo Ludens 1994, and an essay by Ulrich Schädler, which I have not seen and cannot evaluate. J S Ayer (talk) 21:06, 8 July 2019 (UTC)[reply]

Alexander's Empire profoundly mixed with and influenced India for centuries. It is inconceivable that common popular Greco-Roman board games did not have a lasting effect in India. Pettiea and latrunculi board games certainly were brought into India. The link Ludus latrunculorum is perfectly plausible and belongs here as a viable origin of chess. (talk) 01:29, 9 July 2019 (UTC)[reply]
There is discussion of the origins of Chaturanga in Chaturanga#Origin. My reading of that section suggests that this is not a settled matter, and that there are different opinions based on scant evidence. Most of it seems to be conjecture, "it could have happened this way", "it makes the most sense to me that it happened this way". Unfortunately compelling evidence to decide these questions does not seem to be available. I should note that that section was just added by J S Ayer. If another editor has WP:RS material to add to that section, it would be welcome. Quale (talk) 02:50, 9 July 2019 (UTC)[reply]
Good, Yes, there we have it again, the Greeks brought it to India. Ludus latrunculorum definitely belongs here. Please now go ahead and use the opening wording that I had suggested above. (talk) 04:45, 9 July 2019 (UTC)[reply]

OK Who will now go ahead and write the opening as I suggested, or will Wikipedia continue trying to censor and hide all this ? (talk) 13:38, 10 July 2019 (UTC)[reply]


Please note that the IP who initiated this discussion has been blocked as a sockpuppet of a banned user. MaxBrowne2 (talk) 17:16, 10 July 2019 (UTC)[reply]

Undue weight in other articles[edit]

It's interesting to look at the editing history of ludus latrunculorum. A series of good faith edits led to chess being given undue prominence in that article. This appears to have appealed to those who have what may be politely described as Eurocentric views. MaxBrowne2 (talk) 05:11, 11 July 2019 (UTC)[reply]

Chess isn't given an enormous amount of attention in ludus latrunculorum. I think one problem in several articles is that we have no article on petteia, perhaps because so little is known about it; it would amount to a stub with a lot of learned guesswork. J S Ayer (talk) 00:34, 12 July 2019 (UTC)[reply]
I have to disagree. Giving a whole section titled "chess" and name dropping Philidor, Ruy Lopez and Averbakh is most definitely undue weight in an article which is supposed to be about ludus latrunculorum. MaxBrowne2 (talk) 07:45, 12 July 2019 (UTC)[reply]

Verifiability of Ivan the Terrible banning chess[edit]

Looking into the claim that Ivan the Terrible banned chess reveals a handful of forum posts making this claim with no evidence to back them up. The book, Ivan the Terrible by Kazimierz Waliszewski is the source of the claim that he died playing chess (at least in the Ivan the Terrible Wikipedia article), but makes no mention of him banning chess in the book. I have a hunch that this claim is a apocryphal legend that makes his death ironic. I would love to see a reliable source for this or this claim removed. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Brandonharrisoncode (talkcontribs) 23:18, 14 January 2020 (UTC)[reply]

That claim was added in an edit by User:BrownieBrown. Bruce leverett (talk) 02:45, 15 January 2020 (UTC)[reply]
Ivan the Terrible would get you killed for looking at him funny, so it's certainly possible that he banned chess at some point. I'd look into the biographies to see if any of them confirm this claim. MaxBrowne2 (talk) 05:34, 15 January 2020 (UTC)[reply]
From my research the claim seems to stem from the Stoglav of the Russian Orthodox Church. This included a ban from playing games, dancing, playing musical instruments or basically doing anything fun. For the most part this only applied to clergy or exceptionally religious people, I doubt that an ordinary citizen would have been arrested or made to answer to an ecclesiastical court just for playing chess. For the status of the Stoglav in 16th century Russian law, the relationship of religious law to secular law, Ivan's status within the church, etc I'm way out of my depth, you'd have to ask a Russian historian. In any case it's an oversimplification to say that "Ivan the Terrible banned chess". The story that he died while playing chess with Bogdan Belsky (or at least while setting up the pieces) seems to be well attested, so it appears he didn't think the ban on games applied to himself. MaxBrowne2 (talk) 01:18, 16 January 2020 (UTC)[reply]

Unclear parts[edit]

First, the shogi part mentiones the 'independently invented rook, bishop and queen of modern Western chess', which arose in dai shogi and the first two of which were transferred to regular shogi. It remains unclear which actual shogi pieces these are. It's especially puzzling why the rook had to be independently invented, since it seems that it acted essentially like a modern rook already in the earliest chaturanga and never stopped doing so in xiangqi.

Also, while the Chinese and Japanese varieties are presented in some detail, some others are either not mentioned at all, not even with a wikilink, or only in passing - the Korean one, the Burmese one, the Vietnamese one, the Ethiopian one, etc. Again, this seems like an inconsistency, for which I see no reason. -- (talk) 13:27, 2 January 2021 (UTC)[reply]

One more thing - the article Courier chess mentions that it played a part in the evolution from medieval to modern chess, with the so-called Courier being the first piece to move as a modern-day bishop (which, I suppose, is why the bishop is called a courier or runner in many languages). However, Courier chess is not mentioned in the section on the 'Origins of the modern game' in this article.-- (talk) 14:25, 2 January 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Supposed Arabic etymology of Shah mat[edit]

The sources presenting an Arabic etymology seem outdated, and the statements implausible, given the obvious Persian origin of shah (and not sheikh).-- (talk) 13:34, 2 January 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Confusing wording about Indian names[edit]

'In some parts of India the pieces in the places of the rook, knight and bishop were renamed by words meaning (in this order) Boat, Horse, and Elephant, or Elephant, Horse, and Camel'

As the article explains elsewhere, the Bishop was originally called the Elephant, so it's not that it was originally called Bishop and then renamed to Elephant, but vice versa - the name 'Bishop' is a European innovation, whereas the parts of India where it's called the Elephant are the ones keeping the original name. I don't know if there are any parts of India where it's called something like a Bishop even now, anyway.-- (talk) 14:36, 2 January 2021 (UTC)[reply]


In two places we are citing something called "The History of Chess", from a website called ChessZone. One of them is the diagram of the supposed starting position of chaturanga in the Origin section.

The ChessZone website is gone, and I cannot find "The History of Chess" or any parts of it online. It was a collection of articles by various authors. They were, as far as I could tell, not peer-reviewed and generally appeared to be works in progress. (This is also discussed in Talk:Chaturanga.) Other sources (reliable ones this time) will have to be found, or if not available, material that cited ChessZone may have to be dropped. Bruce leverett (talk) 03:59, 4 February 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Secondary sources[edit]

This article has dozens of citations of Encyclopedia Britannica. This is scandalous. Instead, we should be using secondary sources, per WP:SECONDARY. Bruce leverett (talk) 05:30, 8 February 2021 (UTC)[reply]

Chess Semi-protected edit request on 21 January 2022[edit]

Chess Page: The Edward Lasker sentence in section: 'Persia' is not a proper source. His presumption was pure speculation, based on zero information/sources, centuries after the fact. This subjective addition lowers the validity of an otherwise good article, into a seemingly lopsided opinion piece. 2A00:23C5:2710:8A01:25E5:21C7:2778:DDCA (talk) 02:33, 21 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Our unknown interlocutor has a point. Lasker's comment is offered simply as a comment, based on the objective impossibility of determining the moves of the various pieces simply by studying the equipment, but perhaps it should go, or be removed to a footnote. J S Ayer (talk) 04:04, 21 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
The cited source is Bell's book. The relevant part of that book does not mention Edward Lasker, but after the translated passage, Bell adds, "Perhaps the twenty-four hours were spent in bribing the Indian ambassador rather than in heavy thinking." Another cited source, Wilkinson (1943), writes of the same story, "Buzurgmihr, the Persian counselor, aided somewhat by the indiscretions of the envoy, solved the problem within a week." Murray has other versions of this anecdote (pp. 151-7), which do not mention anything about indiscretions of the envoy.
Murray notes that the strongest objection to the literal truth of the story is the near impossibility of figuring out the rules of the game from looking at the equipment (board and pieces). Perhaps this is what twentieth-century writers have had in mind when the talk about "indiscretions of the envoy" or "bribing the ambassador". Perhaps we should take an approach closer to Murray's, rather than that taken by Bell and Wilkinson. Bruce leverett (talk) 04:27, 21 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]
 Note: Closing request while under discussion, per template instructions. ScottishFinnishRadish (talk) 12:40, 21 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Further on Wajurgmitr[edit]

I apologize; I own both The Adventure of Chess by Edward Lasker and Richard Bell's two books in one, and was confused. Lasker did not say that possibly the Indian ambassador had been plied with liquor. J S Ayer (talk) 03:26, 23 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Feel free to make an appropriate correction to the article, of course. Thanks. Bruce leverett (talk) 04:48, 23 January 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Makruk the most archaic?[edit]

We can easily document each of the archaic features of Makruk, but who wants to take responsibility for saying that it is the most archaic surviving form of chess? At the moment someone is demanding a citation for that. J S Ayer (talk) 03:28, 1 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]

Here is a link to the edit in which this claim was first made, by User:IanOsgood: [5]. He cites Murray, without giving a page number.
Murray's discussion of Siamese chess is on pages 113 to 117. It does not explicitly support the claim. Bruce leverett (talk) 16:44, 1 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
Thank you both! J S Ayer (talk) 22:20, 1 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]
I'm rereading my copy of Murray and also can't find the reference that originated the statement. I admit, that statement is probably synthesis (though self-evident, in my opinion). I'll try to find a better reference or milder statement that would allow Makruk to be linked here. --IanOsgood (talk) 01:10, 2 April 2022 (UTC)[reply]