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1 If he does not check, Knight's Pawn threaten's mate next move, if he moves R. to his own third square, then Q. moves as above, and next move Black Rook must either move away or take Pawn, which in either case finishes
2 From what I have stated a few pages back, the reader will, I think, concur with me in concluding that no restrictions on the King ever existed. Hence the beautiful simplicity, and scientific contrivance of the moves and powers of the King, Rook, Knight, and Pawns, as displayed in the ancient Chaturanga, have remained unaltered since the days of Vyasa Muni and his pupil Yudhishthira down to the present time. The moves and powers of the Bishop and Queen have been merely extended, but no ways changed, in modern times.
We may here observe, that all the Oriental problems which are solved by giving checkmate, provided there be no Queen or Bishop on the board, are precisely the same as ours of the present day. For example, the following neat position from the old Arabic MS. 7,515, is believed to have been the composition of Damiano,3 though in reality it existed and had even been booked more than three hundred years before the latter was born. I have no doubt that both Lucena and Damiano are, in like manner, indebted to the Arabians for most of their problems, either in an unaltered state, or slightly modified so as to suit our modern game.
3 In Lewis's translation of "Carrera," page 218, the problem is given as Damiano's. It is also found in Stamma, who is sometimes given out as the author. Both Damiano and Stamma have altered the form of the problem, and cumbered the board with a number of useless pieces. The Arabian original is in far better taste.
PROBLEM VII., FROM THE OLD ARABIC MS. OF THE
1 I suppose the authors of the Essays would here say that because Black King moves and captures Rook in a straight line, he was not then allowed to move or capture otherwise. The real cause, however, for his moving as above is a much more rational one-he cannot possibly move otherwise.
On End-Games Drawn by Force.
We have just seen that in the Shatranj a player might lose the game in three different ways-viz., by receiving checkmate, by being stripped of all his forces except the King, and by receiving stalemate under certain conditions. Even with this licence, we find that in the Oriental game the probabilities in favour of its ending
PROBLEM X.-FROM THE OLD ARABIC MS., 7,515 IN THE
1 This problem appeared in the "Chess Player's Chronicle," for June, 1859. In the following month appeared what is called the solution, which, either through the carelessness of the printer, or the want of supervision on the part of the editor, is altogether incorrect and unintelligible.
and thus wins doubly according to the laws of Medieval Chess. In our modern game it requires three moves more to give checkmate, the only species of victory to which we are accustomed to submit, thus
9. R. to K. R. 2nd square 10. R. to K. R. square (check) 11. R. takes Kt. mate.
9. Anything he pleases 10. Knight interposes.
In the preceding solution it will be seen that Black's main object is to separate the White Knight from his King: hence the latter is in a manner forced to move as he does, so as to keep near his King. The position is well worth the reader's attention, as among the generality of Chess players it would be called a drawn game; or what comes to the same thing, the player of Black would have failed to give White checkmate within the restricted legal number of fifty moves. As I have already stated, I am not warranted to say that the Orientals tied themselves down, in such cases, to a limited number of moves; still the man who could not here mate in fifty moves, could not, very likely, do it in a hundred.
I now conclude this part of my task, viz., "The Theory and Practice of Medieval Chess in the East;" and as the same system of play prevailed in Western Europe till the beginning of the sixteenth century, I think I may assume the credit of having laid a foundation on which the historian of the royal game, during the middle ages, will be enabled to rear a solid superstructure. Our modern game appears to have originated in Spain, at least the earliest records of it that we possess are found in the works of Vicent and Lucena, about A.D. 1495. An interesting account of the works of these writers is given in the "Chess Player's Chronicle," for 1852.
Both of them are now very scarce, especially
by one dexterous move he manages to draw, thus. White moves his Rook to his Queen's Rook's square; and if Black Rook takes it, the White Queen mates by moving to her own seventh square. It is clear, then, that Black Rook must keep moving on the file on which he now stands, either to his Queen's 7th, or 6th, or 5th squares, for he has none else to go to; and the White Rook keeps moving in a parallel direction either to his own 2nd or 3rd or 4th squares accordingly; hence the game is drawn. If Black Rook allows himself to be taken, and moves one of his Queens to his King's 2nd square, he will lose the game, for his two Queens and Pawn have no chance against White Rook and Queen, especially in the situation in which the game now stands.
The second Oriental maxim respecting a drawn game which agrees with ours, is, that a Knight generally draws against a Rook, although, as we shall hereafter see, there are occasional cases in which the Rook wins.1 With regard to what we are about to state respecting Won and Drawn Games, the reader must always bear in mind the Oriental significance of these terms; otherwise he will feel rather startled, when, for instance, he is told that a Knight always wins against a Bishop, whereas with us, a Knight and Bishop combined find it somewhat difficult to gain the victory. Remember also that the Orientals had three ways of winning the game, viz.-1st. by a checkmate, as is the case in our own game; 2nd. by stripping the adversary of all his forces; and lastly by giving the adversary stalemate under certain restrictions and limitations.
The following are the principal decisions, respecting Won and Drawn games, as laid down by the Oriental 1st. A Rook wins against any piece or Pawn
An instance of this kind will be seen in Problem X.