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it was the modern game; and that a few years subsequent to the same period the mediæval game still lingered in Germany; hence we may say that, in round numbers, our present mode of play dates from the commencement of the sixteenth century.
Enlargement of the Indian or Primaval Chess Board, alterations in its form, and in the manner of playing the Game.
THE wise men of the East, like their occidental brethren, did from time to time attempt sundry improvements on the original Indian game. Among these innovations the following are mentioned, and more or less described, by Arabian and Persian authors:
1st.-Board of a Hundred Squares, No. 1.
This is the earliest deviation we meet with from the common board of sixty-four squares. It is mentioned in the works of 'Adali, and consequently must have existed as early as our tenth century. They call it the Shatranj al Tammat, or, "The Full Chess." The author of the Arabic MS. in the British Museum, No. 7,515, gives a very brief, but satisfactory, account of it. "It has an addition of two Dabbabas or Vineæ, together with two Pawns on each side, all the rest remaining as before. The Dabbabas are placed between the King and Bishop on the one side, and between the Farzin and Bishop on the other. The Dabbaba had the moves of the King, and its value was one half, together with one third of a
diram, that is, gths of a diram, or five dangs, being an intermediate value between the Knight and the Rook, as the author of the Arabic MS. in the British Museum distinctly states, and experience amply confirms. I believe that a King and Dabbāba could always mate an adverse King when left alone on the board. This cannot be effected by our King and Knight, or King and Bishop, in the modern game.
2nd.-Board of a Hundred Squares, No. 2.
Another board of 100 squares is mentioned in Firdausi's Shāhnāma. I believe this has arisen from the blunder of some copyist who confounded the Indian board with that described by 'Adalī, or a similar modification of the same then used in Persia. Here the additional pieces are two Camels, together with two Pawns on each side; the Camels being placed between the Bishops and Knights. Their powers and moves were the same as that of the Dabbāba or Vineæ in Timur's Great Game, as we shall see immediately; that is a straight leap, like that of the Rook, over one square, but not commanding the intermediate square. Their value, though not stated, is easily ascertained, being intermediate between that of the Farzin and that of the Fil or Bishop, the latter being in all the varieties of oriental and medieval Chess the weakest piece on the board.
1 Mr. Bland, in his Essay, briefly alludes to this variety of the game. I think, however, that he has not caught the exact meaning of the expression, "one-half together with one-third of a dirhem;" as he there suggests that "probably their value was proportioned to the side on which they stood." He evidently supposes that one of the Dabbābas was one-half and the other onethird of a dirhem, whereas the author clearly means that each of them was of the value of +}=§ of a dirhem. As for the mere side of the board on which they stood, it could have made no material difference, for it is evident from the nature of their movements that they might have very soon changed places.
3rd.-Board of a Hundred Squares, No. 3.
Another variety of this game on a board of a hundred squares is mentioned in the "Nafa,isu-l-Funūn” (v. chap. viii.). It is called Shatranji Huşun, or "Chess Board with Citadels," because at each of the four corners there is an additional projecting square, into which,' if a King, when hard pressed, can manage to enter, he is safe from all further pursuit, and the game is then considered to be drawn. The additional pieces here are two Dabbābas or Vineæ and two Pawns on each side. The power of the Dabbaba is different from what it was in 'Adali's game; here it has a "move like that of the Rook, but obliquely," that is, precisely the move of our Bishop. As the Rook moved straight as far as the board was clear, so the Dabbaba, in this variety of Chess, moved diagonally in a corresponding manner.
4th.-Round Board of Sixty-four Squares.
Another species of the game is called the "Shatranji Mudauwira," or "Round Chess Board," of sixty-four squares. A diagram of this variety is given in "Strutt's Sports and Pastimes," said to be from a manuscript in the Cotton Library, as old as the thirteenth century. The only peculiarity about this Chess was, that, as the board had no end, the Pawns in consequence could not be promoted to the rank of Farzin, or Queen.
1 Here the author's description is rather vague. We are not told whether ach of the four citadels was open to either King indifferently, or, which is most likely, two of them belonged to one King, and two to the other. Reasoning according to the analogy afforded us by the citadels in Tīmūr's game, we are warranted to conclude that the two citadels opposite to each King were those in which he was allowed to seek shelter, as in that case he would be obliged to have "shewn some fight" before he became entitled to the benefit of the asylum.
5th.-Game of the Astrologers, or Ouranomachia.1
Another circular board is briefly noticed in the Nafa,isu1-Funun, which would appear to resemble the "Ouranomachia, seu Astrologorum Ludus," mentioned very vaguely by Hyde (tom. 2, p. 276). In the oriental
game the seven planets on the one hand contend against the twelve constellations of the zodiac on the other. Hyde says that the game he alludes to is played "in abaco rotundo cum calculis, ubi duo planetarum ordines pro mundi imperio decertant." Now I have no doubt that by the "duo planetarum ordines," (which I take to be nonsense,) he means the seven planets and the twelve signs or constellations of the zodiac, as the oriental author has it. This variety of the game, in all probability, came to us from the Arabians, our preceptors in astrology as well as in Chess.
6th.-Oblong Board of Sixty-four Squares.
Another perversion of our noble game is called the "Shatranji Mamdūda,' or Tawila," in which the board is sixteen squares in length and four in breadth. Here the moves are regulated by a throw of the cubic die, where if ace is thrown a Pawn must move; if two, the Rook; if three, a Knight; if four, a Bishop; if five, the Farzin; if six, the King. This appears to be a retrograde tendency towards the ancient Chaturanga.
Of all the variations and pretended or intended improvements made in the Oriental Shatranj, by far the most celebrated and the most scientific is that commonly called "Timur's Game," so styled, not because Timur was
1 I have here followed Hyde's orthography; but the proper spelling is Uranomachia (Ougavouaxia), i.e., "Battle of the spheres, or Heavenly bodies."