Page images

except the Knight. 2nd. A Knight against a Queen can only draw as a general rule, unless the Queen happens to be at a distance from her King, and near the side or corner of the board, in which case the Knight wins, as shewn in a variation of Problem IX. 3rd. A Knight wins against a Bishop or against a Pawn. 4th. A Queen can only draw against a Bishop. 5th. A Queen against a Pawn wins, if she and her King get in front of the adverse Pawn. 6th. A Bishop can only draw, as a general rule, against a Pawn.

When more pieces than one are engaged on each side the following are the principal decisions-viz.: A Rook and Queen against a Knight and Queen make a drawn game; but if the Queens run on different colours, he who has the Rook wins if he play carefully, for otherwise, as one of our authorities very properly observes, "a game won by its nature may end in a draw; and also a game naturally drawn may, through inattention, be lost." A Rook and Bishop can only draw against two Queens of the same colour; but a Rook with two Bishops, in such cases wins. Four Queens, provided two of them run on white squares and the other two on Black, win against a Rook; but if three of the Queens be of the same colour and the other different, the Rook draws, even if one or both of the Bishops be on the side of the Queens. This last situation, however, is one of extreme difficulty. Two Rooks can only draw against a Rook and Knight; but, if on each side there be a Bishop. in addition, he who has the two Rooks will win.

The following situations are so difficult that the greatest masters have been unable to decide whether they be won or drawn, viz.: A Knight and two Queens of the same colour, against a Knight and one Queen of a different colour from that of the adverse Queens, is,

according to some, a won game, while others of very high authority declare it a draw. Two Rooks and a Bishop against a Knight, a Queen, and a Bishop may win, but many eminent players have pronounced it a draw. It is yet undecided whether a Rook and two Queens of the same colour against the two Knights and two Bishops be a won or a drawn game.

There are many more decisions of this kind stated in the books, but as I am not writing a special "Handbook" on the subject, I have deemed the preceding instances sufficient for illustration. With regard to those end-games in which one of the parties might win, though with great difficulty-such, for example, as our Rook and Bishop, in many cases, against Rook-I have nowhere been able to discover that the winning party was restricted to a limited number of moves, as with us. One would think that some such rule would be expedient, unless we suppose that in this case also, the players submitted to the authority of the books. It is probable that, as the people of the East have always had a great reverence for authority, when the game resulted in any of the situations declared by the old masters as drawn, or decidedly won, the higher classes of players would, in that instance, courteously abide by the decision.

The following curious position is well calculated to shew us some of the anomalies or defects of the Mediæval game. For example, let us suppose that White remains with his King and King's Bishop only; and that Black has, on his side, his King, his two Bishops, and five Queens-the latter all running on a different colour from that of White's Bishop, that is, all on Black squares. Well, here the Black has a numerical force equal to two Rooks and a Knight against a Bishop, which last is valued only as one quarter of a Rook ;—

and yet, notwithstanding all this decided superiority, the Black can only draw the game. The White has merely to place his King on any square of a different colour from that of the adverse Queens,' and not within the range of the adverse Bishop of that colour, and then the solitary White Bishop will draw the game by hopping round or over, his own King, setting all pursuit at defiance.

Now this strange anomaly becomes still more glaring when we consider that if, instead of a Bishop, White had a Rook or a Knight, he would have lost the game in the above instance, for the King, together with the Queens and Bishops, would have ultimately secured the Rook or Knight. If we further suppose that Black has the whole eight Queens, together with his two Bishops, his numerical force is fully fourteen times greater than that of White, and yet the latter can easily draw the game; hence the propriety of what the author stated at page 96, viz., that "occasionally it may so happen that a weak piece is better than a strong one.'

It is needless to give a diagram of this curious position, which, after all, is more imaginary than probable. The reader, however, may easily satisfy himself of its accuracy, by employing Black Pawns instead of Queens, always bearing in mind the peculiar moves of the Oriental Farz and Mediæval Regina.

1 The best square for White King to occupy in this case is his own fourth square, which, as may be seen by the diagram, p. 93, cannot be touched by any Bishop, adverse or otherwise. Here he rests secure, for none of the hostile Queens, which all run on Black, can disturb him; then his own Bishop running on white has a choice selection of safe moves; he has only to avoid the path of Black King; but the simplest of all is to move to White Queen's third square, and then vault over his own King to his fifth square and back again to his Queen's third, and so on, ad infinitum.


[merged small][graphic][subsumed][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

1 If Black King return to his Bishop's 6th, then Knight checks as before, and if this continues, the game is drawn by perpetual check.


3. As before

4. King takes Rook

5. King takes Pawn- -a draw.

3. King takes Queen

4. Queen must move

Instead of moving away his Queen, Black might push on his Pawn to Queen and give check. In that case White would take the old Queen (on his Knight's third square), and would ultimately win the game; for it will be found that the new made Queen can never escape from the corner. By proper play, White will capture her, and so finish the game, in six moves at furthest. As this variation forms a neat problem of itself, I here append the solution. The pieces now stand thusBlack King at his 7th square, and Black Queen at King's Rook's 8th; White King at his Knight's 3rd, and White Knight at King's 4th square.


1. K. to his B's 8th square 2. K. to his 7th square1

3. K. to his B's 8th

4. K. to his Kt's 8th

5. K. to his B's 8th



1. Kt. to Q's 2nd check
2. Kt. to K. B. 3rd square

3. Kt. to R. 5th square

4. K. to his R's 3rd

5. K. to his R's 2nd, and next

move the Queen falls, and the game is won.

1 He may move on either of the Black squares on his right or left, but it all comes to the same thing. This furnishes us with a fair example of one of those cases in which Knight wins against the Queen. On the other hand, Black by moving the original Queen to her King's Bishop's 5, letting the Pawn go, will draw easily for the Queen on the middle of the board, with her King at hand, is a match for the Knight at all times.

The term Shah-rukh, alluded to in our last page, was nearly equivalent to what we call, (I suppose incorrectly,) "a divergent check." To give a more precise as well as a more general definition, it consisted of a check given to the adversary's King by a Knight, Queen, Bishop, or Pawn, the checking piece at the same time attacking an adverse Rook. The notion formed by Hyde (page 143 of his learned work), of the term Shāh-rukh is, simply, "a check to the King by a Rook." Now,

« PreviousContinue »