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counter the same player has another move if by it he can effect another capture; and he may continue to do this as long as he can enclose and capture an opponent's piece at each move. The winner is the player who captures all his opponent's counters.
CHOKō is the only form of the game found in the Gambia Valley.
This game is played on sand or loose earth by the Mandinkō and Fulas, on diagrams of 25 holes made with the finger; bits of stick about five inches long called Kala, and others three inches long called Bonō are used as counters. It differs slightly from the Egyptian game.
The sticks are set upright in the loose soil of the holes, one at a time, by the two players alternately, and play usually begins before the last two sticks have been put down. In that case either player may put this last stick into a hole at any stage of the game, the opponent putting down his own last one immediately afterwards. Sometimes play is begun while each player has two or more sticks in his hand; it may be commenced at any time.
The players have only one move at a time, and capture the opponent's sticks by jumping over them, and not by enclosing them. At each jump over the enemy's stick they remove both that and a second stick belonging to him, selecting one that will most benefit their own play. This soon ends the game, which only lasts for a quarter of an hour or less. The winner is he who captures all his opponent's sticks.
A similar form of Siga is played in Cairo, on a 'board' of 25 holes made in the ground. The players lay down their pieces called Dogs' alternately, two at a time, until only the central hole is unfilled. They then play as in the Senegambian game, capturing those of the opponent by jumping over them, and continuing to capture at one move as many as the Dog' can jump over, like Kings at Draughts. This form of capture shows that the game is allied to the Ceylon and Indian game already described as Hēwākam Keliya, which may have been developed from it, or a game resembling it.
A diagram of 25 squares is drawn on the side stone of a cist
at Aspatria, near St. Bees, Cumberland.1 Fergusson attributed the articles found in the cist to at least the Viking Age'; but the diagram being on the side of the stone may have been cut at an earlier date, and may have been intended for some form of Siga game.
GAMES WITH DICE.
SATURANKAM or CHATURANGA.
This game as played in Ceylon and Southern India is called Siga by the Indian Arabs and Muhammadans; but it is a totally different game from the Siga of Arabia. It is played by Sinhalese and Tamils on a board of 81 squares, 9 being on each side. The middle square (katti) of each side, and the central square (tachi) are marked by two diagonal lines. The plain squares
called kōḍu in Tamil or
a peculiar shape, being 24 inches long, 1 inches wide in the middle, and narrow at each end, where they are less than half an inch wide. They are rolled between the palms and then along the table or floor. Each is marked thus, by holes through the shell, on the four sides:- :, :, :: Each player has two nearly barrel-shaped counters, called Top
1 Fergusson, Rude Stone Monuments, p. 157. Col. Wood-Martin, Pagan Ireland, p. 569.
2 From Skt. kshema, 'prosperity' + dita, pp. of √da, to give ' or 'bestow.'
parei, with round tops on which is a little knob, one pair being coloured red and the other black.
The game may be played by two, three, or four persons, each one playing for himself, and beginning at one of the Katti; if there be two they sit on opposite sides of the board. The aim of each player is to get his counters into the central square.
At the commencement, each player's counters are placed in the Kaṭṭi on his side of the board. The players then roll the dice in turn. The numbers uppermost are added together, and the sum may be used as the distance for moving one counter, or it may be divided in any way for securing suitable moves for both. When both dice show the same number uppermost the player has an additional roll. No one can refuse to move his counters; one or both must be moved to the extent regulated by the dice if there be room for them. The counting goes round to the right, excluding the Kaṭṭi from which the counters start. The arrows on the diagram show the direction taken by the counters of one side; those on the other sides move in the same manner.
While in the crossed squares they are safe from attack, but in the plain ones it is the aim of the opponent to 'chop' them, as it is termed. This is done by passing one of his counters into or over their square, upon which they must begin afresh from the first Kaṭṭi. To permit them to do this their owner must obtain two ones on the dice, even when only one counter is required to enter. This puts them into the first Katti, ready for moving onward at his next throw.
For getting into the central Tachi, the exact number of pips required must be obtained; therefore it is advisable to bring the two counters up to it together, and not to pass one out before the other is close to it. When both are near it any score on the dice can be divided, so as possibly to enable both counters to pass out together, or one can be passed out alone, if necessary. A further difficulty arises owing to a rule that if the number required be I this figure must be obtained on both the dice at one roll, even when there is only one counter left. In the same manner both dice must show threes or fours for passing out either a single counter or both if they be only
three or four squares off the centre. Up to this distance both counters pass out as easily as one. Of course any considerable delay in getting into the Tachi gives the opponent an opportunity, which is almost certain to be utilised, of 'chopping' the player's counters.
THE INDIAN SIGA.
As played in Colombo by two persons on a diagram marked on the ground, or worked on a piece of cloth which is laid on a mat placed on the ground, this is a similar game to the last; but only 25 squares are
employed, 5 being on each side. The middle square of each side and the central square are marked by two diagonals, and when in these positions the counters cannot be attacked. The arrows show the direction of the moves from one Kaṭṭi. When the game is played on a cloth diagram, each player has two counters like the Topparei of the last game; but if it be played on a diagram drawn on the ground he has two distinctive pieces of stick, of a different length or colour from those of his opponent, which are set upright in the square as counters.
FIG. 260. Siga Diagram.
Instead of dice, four cowries are thrown down on a mat or on the ground, after being shaken in the closed hands. They are counted as follows:-When all the mouths are upward they count 4; for three, two or one mouth upward, 3, 2, or I is counted; and no mouth upward counts 8.
No throw counts until the player has thrown I; this permits one counter to be placed in the first Kaṭṭi, ready for moving forward at the next throw. The second counter may be put on the same square after another I has been thrown. In this game the numbers thrown are neither subdivided nor added together excepting as stated below; each throw gives the length
of the move of one of the counters. Each player has an additional throw and move of either counter on throwing 1 or 8, or on cutting out or 'chopping' an opponent's counter. When 'chopped,' the counters must begin afresh and cannot reenter until the player has again thrown I.
On coming up to the central square the exact number required to bring one or both counters into it must be thrown; and at this point, only, it is permissible to divide the amount of the throw, so as to bring one or both counters into the centre.
Caillié described, but not very clearly, a completely different form of Siga which he saw played with dice by the Moors of Senegal. The dice were six flat oval pieces of wood, black on one side, and white on the other; they were shaken in the hand and thrown on the ground. When all, or all but one, had the same colour upward the throw was called 'Siga'; the player who obtained it counted a score of 1, and had another throw after each Siga. In all other cases nothing was counted and the turn was ended. One colour belonged to each side; it is stated that the number of dice which fell with the player's colour upward gave the score for each throw, this being only counted when Siga was thrown.
The players may number two, four, or six persons, who form two opposing sides. Seventy-two holes in three rows, each consisting of twenty-four, are made in the sand. Each party owns one outside row; across these holes straws of distinctive colours are deposited by the players. At each score of Siga the player who threw it moves forward a mark or straw along the central row of holes, beginning at one end; on reaching the other end he moves it along the opponent's outer row, taking away the opposition straws as he captures the holes across which they were placed. The winner is the side or person who first captures all the holes. Holes are recaptured when the opponent's throw of the dice brings his straw into them.1
EARLY INDIAN GAME.
In the gambling scene inscribed Citupada Sila, which is illustrated in Plate XLV of Sir A. Cunningham's The Stupa of
1 Travels through Central Africa to Timbuctoo, 1830, Vol. i, p. 127.