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the inventor, but because he was fond of playing it. Ibn Arab Shah, his courtier and biographist, says of him -"Timur was devoted to the Game of Chess because he thereby whetted his intellect; but he possessed too lofty a mind to content himself by playing at the common game. He therefore constantly played at the "Great Chess," the board of which consists of 110 squares, or eleven squares by ten. This game has an increase of two Camels, two Giraffes, two Scouts, two Vineæ, and a Wazir, together with other matters; and the common game, in comparison with this, is a mere nothing."

The anonymous author of the Asiatic Society's MS., already alluded to, has given us a full and clear account of this game which he calls the "Shatranji Kamil," or "Perfect Chess." Fortunately this portion of his manuscript is quite complete, and, as it is, in all probability, the only account of the game we possess in Europe, I shall here give the description without any abridgement, that is, in all essentials, eschewing most religiously the author's pithy but empty moralities, which strongly resemble those attributed to Pope Innocentius, who occupied the chair of St. Peter about the end of the 12th century. The earliest allusion to this "Great Game," (or "Perfect Chess," as the eccentric author of the Asiatic Society's MS. calls it), occurs in the Nafa,isu-lFunun, which was composed in the early part of Timūr's lifetime, about which period we may presume that the game was invented (if I may apply that term), though not necessarily by Timur himself.

As nothing is perfect, or anything near it, among us mortals, I shall here denominate the game as "Timur's Great Chess." It was played on a board containing eleven squares from right to left, and ten squares from top to bottom (see plate 1st); thus forming in

the first place one hundred and ten squares. But in addition to these, there were two extra squares that projected from the rest, one on the right hand of each player, being a continuation of the second rank of squares. Thus, the whole number of squares amounted to 112; and the use of the two projecting squares was simply this, that when a player perceived that he had decidedly the worst of the game, he endeavoured, as a last resource, to convey his King to the extra square on his adversary's right hand, and if he succeeded in so doing, he drew the game.

The number of the superior pieces on each side was seventeen, eight of which, viz., the King, the two Rukhs, the two Knights, the two Elephants, and the Farz or Farzin, had precisely the same moves and powers that we have already described in the common game, of which this is a mere extension. The extra or superadded pieces were two Giraffes, two Camels, two Scouts, two Vineæ, and a Wazir. Hence, setting aside the King, the species of pieces were nine in number; and they thus stood in the scale of merit. The highest was the Rukh, next the Giraffe, then the Scout, the Knight, the Wazir, the Farz, the Camel, the Vineæ, and the Elephant. Each of these nine species of pieces, as well as the King, had one representative Pawn, which had a particular station allotted to it in front on the third row of squares from each player; and on the extreme left of that row stood a Pawn styled by the Arabs "Baidaku-l-Bayadik," and by the Persians "Piyāda,i Piyādagān," or "Pawn of the Pawns," to which belonged certain distinct privileges hereafter to be detailed. Hence the whole number of pieces and Pawns on the Great Chess-board amounted to fifty-six, being twenty-four in excess of those of the common game, as may be seen in the plate.

The nine species of pieces were divided, according to the nature of their moves, into three classes, each class consisting of three pieces, viz., the Wazir, the Vineæ, and the Rukh, were of the straight class; the Scout, the Elephant, and the Farz, of the oblique; and the Knight, the Camel, and the Giraffe, of the mixed or composite class. Again, each of the three pieces constituting a class was denominated either primary, medial, or extreme, according to the mere extent of its range on the board; but not according to its precise value. Hence the Wazir, the Farz, and the Knight, were primary; the Vineæ, the Elephant, and the Camel, medial; and the Rukh, the Scout, and the Giraffe, extreme. It was a law with the three extreme pieces that they were never allowed to leap over another piece like the medials, as we shall see hereafter.


1. The Wazir, or Generalissimo. He moved straight, only one square in each of the four directions; in fact he possessed merely the shortest move of our Rook. It is evident, however, that he could, "slowly, but surely," cover all the squares of the board, hence his value was greater than that of the Farz, which could cover no more than one half of the board.

2. The Dabbaba. This term corresponds to the Pluteus or Vinea of the Romans, a moveable shed or pent-house that rolled upon wheels, and was thrust forward against the wall of a town or castle, so as to screen the besiegers in their operations of undermining the same. I have retained the Latin term Vinea or Vineæ as more convenient than the somewhat lengthy oriental name, and less ludicrous than our own homely

word Sow. The move of this piece was straight, like that of the Rukh, but it extended only to the square next to it but one. Like the Elephant it leaped over the intervening square, but did not command it. Its power was greater than that of the Elephant, as it could cover twenty-nine squares of the board, in addition to that on which it originally stood. The two Vineæ of each player ran upon the same squares. They could not touch any square on the 2nd, 4th, 6th, 8th, or 10th ranks of the board from either player's side, and never could encounter the Vines of the adversary. All this does not savour much of perfection.

This Rukh

3. The Rukh, i.e., the Rook or Castle. had precisely the same move as with us. He was the most powerful of all the pieces on the Great Chess-board as he had previously been in the common game. Placed anywhere on the board, he commanded nineteen squares, which no other piece could do. Of course he could easily cover all the squares of the board, like the Wazir.


1st. The Farz or Farzin. In the common game, the terms Farz or Farzin and Wazir are applied indifferently

The Sow was employed by the Earl of Salisbury when he besieged the Castle of Dunbar, just about the time of Tīmūr's birth. This castle was defended by the celebrated Black Agnes, the Countess, who, according to Hollinshed, "used many pleasaunt words in jesting and tawnting at the enemies' doings, thereby the more to encourage her soldiers. One day, it chanceth that the Englishmen had devised them an engine called a Sow, under the pretence or cover whereof they might approach safely to the walls. The Countess perceiving this engine, merrilie said that she would make the Englishmen's Sow to cast HER PIGS, and so she afterwards destroyed it." Tradition hath it that Black Agnes in person called out from the castle wall to the Earl of Salisbury

"Beware thee, Montagou,
For farrow shall thy sou;"

and immediately the machine was crushed by a mass of rock hurled upon it from above.

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to denote the piece which we now call "Queen." the great Chess, however, the Farz and Wazir were quite distinct pieces which must never be confounded, their functions being altogether different. I therefore translate Farz "Sage," or "Counsellor ;" and the Wazir I translate General," or "Generalissimo," as he frequently discharges that office under Oriental sovereigns. The Farz moved obliquely or diagonally, one square, having precisely the shortest move of our Bishop. He could cover only one half of the board; and, as in the common game, he was one of the weakest of the pieces.

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2nd. The Pil or Elephant. His move remained the same as it had been in the common game, only the station allotted to him was in each corner of the board, as had formerly been the case in the Chaturanga when he was called the Ship. He still continued to be the weakest of the pieces, as he could never command more than four squares, nor could he cover more than fourteen squares besides that on which he originally stood. Out of the whole hundred and ten squares of the board, there were fifty which no Elephant of either side could touch.

3rd. The Tali'a. This word has so many significations that it is difficult to fix upon the best English term to represent it. It means both a "secret spy or scout," and, collectively, the "vanguard" of an army, also a "reconnoitring party," and lastly, what we call the "out-posts." It corresponds on the whole, as an individual, to the Roman speculator or explorator, and so I use for it the term "scout." His move was precisely that of our Bishop, being the extreme of the oblique moves. His power, owing to the extension of the board, was proportionately greater than that of our modern Bishop. From a central position, he commanded fourteen squares, and from the least favourable

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