Page images

position, ten squares. Of course he could cover only one half of the board; viz., those squares which (as we should say) were of his own colour.


1st. The Faras or Asp. These words simply mean "horse," but I retain the well known term "Knight" instead. Amidst the numerous attempts made for altering the Chess board, this piece has always remained the same both in name, and in the peculiar mode in which it is moved ever since its first appearance in the primæval Chaturanga of the ancient Hindūs. The Knight's move is the basis or primary of the mixed or composite moves. It is made up of the two primary moves of the two preceding classes, viz., that of the Farz combined with that of the Wazir; in other words, our Bishop's shortest move combined with the shortest move of our Rook. Its power on the Great Chess-board was somewhat diminished in comparison with that of the Rukh and the Scout; or, more correctly speaking, the powers of the latter pieces were somewhat extended, owing to the increased size of the board. Still, however, the Knight held the fourth place in value, even in the great game, as will be shewn immediately when we treat of the moves of the Camel and Giraffe.

2nd. The Jamal or "Camel." This piece had a move resembling that of the Knight, with merely this difference, that it consisted of the move of the Farz, combined with that of the Vineæ, i.e., the shortest move of our Bishop, combined with the shortest move but one of our Rook. Like the Knight, his move was no ways impeded by any piece or pawn standing in his way. From a central position, he commanded eight squares, like the Knight; but for several obvious reasons, we

shall find, on examination, that he was decidedly inferior to the latter in value. In the first place, the Camel, like the Bishop and several other pieces, could never change his colour, consequently one half of the squares at least were free from his attack. Supposing the board were chequered, we should find, that if a Camel originally stood on a white square he never could move to a black. Secondly, the two Camels on each side, like the Vineæ, moved on the very same squares. very same squares. Lastly, no Camel

could encounter a hostile Camel; and as a further drawback he was of little avail for defending the King, owing to the straggling nature of his moves. He was valuable only in giving the enemy an occasional long shot, when they came within his appropriate range.

3rd. The Zarafa, the "Giraffe" or "Cameleopard." The Persians have a still more complex name for this beast. They call him Shutur-gaw-palang, or the "Camelcow-leopard;" for in certain parts of his body he bears a resemblance to each of these animals. I have never heard of his being employed in actual warfare, and his introduction upon the Great Chess board is a little out of character. Our business, however, is with his moves and power and the rank he held among the pieces. We have seen that the Knight's move consisted of the shortest of our Bishop's and Rook's moves combined; and that of the Camel consisted of our Bishop's shortest move combined with that of the Vinea. Now, the Giraffe's move was a mere extension of this last in a straight direction, that is, he attacked or commanded, like a Rook, all the squares beyond that on which the Camel would have halted when moved from the same

central point. He was subject to the following restrictions, viz., he was not allowed to stop short by making a Knight's move, which was his primary; nor


could he confine himself to the move of the Camel, which was his medial; nor, lastly, could he move at all, if, as in the case of the Knight and Camel any pawn or piece occupied either the diagonal or the next straight squares where the Knight or Camel could have moved. The reason assigned for these restrictions is, that if the Giraffe were allowed to make the minor moves of his primary and medial pieces (the Knight and Camel), as well as his own more extended moves, his power would have been altogether out of proportion to that of the other extreme pieces. As it is, he could, from the most favourable position command sixteen squares of the board, and from the least favourable, the corner square, he commanded thirteen squares; so that upon the whole, toward the end of a game when the board contained but few pieces, he was nearly equal to the Rook. From the nature of his moves, it is obvious that he could easily cover all the squares of the board; but whether, like the Knight, he could do so without going over the same square more than once, is a problem requiring solution.

In further illustration of the oblique moves, the reader has only to cast his eye over Plate II., where he will see at once the precise nature, and the various moves of the Knight, Camel and Giraffe. Assuming the square marked with the cross+, as a common centre, we find that the Knight (represented by the letter K), can move, as we already know, to eight squares. The Camel also (marked C), moves to eight squares, viz., those im mediately beyond the Knight in a straight direction. Lastly, the Giraffe (marked G), moved to any square, in a straight direction, beyond that of the Camel. Had the board been coloured, we should have seen at once that the Knight changes his colour at every move-that the Camel always continued on the same colour-and

that the Giraffe may or may not have changed his colour according to circumstances. The elementary move1 in all of them is our Bishop's shortest move to begin with, and then one, two or more moves, in a straight direction outwardly, towards the side of the board.



We have seen that the pieces in the Great Chess are of nine different species, ten in all, when we include the King. Each species had one representative pawn stationed on the third row of squares in front of the pieces; and the left hand square of that row was occupied by a peculiar kind of pawn called by the Arabs

Baidaku-l-Bayādik," and by the Persians "Piyādai Piyadagan," that is "Pawn of the pawns," a sort of "Tribunus militum" in his way, which I shall here designate as the "Corporal." Each pawn was so carved and shaped as to form an exact miniature of the piece which he represented; what precise form the Corporal had, I have not been able to ascertain. All the pawns moved one square straight forward, and smote the foe obliquely as in the common game. When any of the pawns had reached the farther extremity of the board he immediately assumed the rank of the piece which he represented; that is the King's pawn became

1 In Mr. C. Tomlinson's valuable little work entitled "Amusements in Chess," we are told in a note (p. 47) that "This ingenious theory of the origin of the Knight's move is due to Teodoro Ciccolini, Marchese di Guardagrele, whose work 'Del Cavallo degli Scacchi' appeared at Paris a few years ago." Now, without wishing to deprive the Marchese of his due honours, I have only to remark to that gentleman, should these effusions of mine ever meet his eye, that the Orientals had anticipated him by some thousand years. I have no doubt however, that Mr. Ciccolini's theory is original on his part, though not the original. I have never seen this analysis of the Knight's move even hinted at in any work on Chess, Asiatic or European, with the exception of this very scarce and imperfect Persian manuscript.

a Prince; the Knight's pawn a Knight; the Wazir's pawn a Wazir, and so on of all the rest; for "nothing can be more proper (says the author,) than that the son should succeed to the honours, offices, and dignities of the father."

The "Pawn of the pawns" or Corporal had peculiar privileges of his own. He moved and captured precisely like the rest of the pawns till he reached the extremity of the board. Then he remained unpromoted till such time as his owner found it advantageous to call forth his services. This he could do in various ways. In the first place, should any two pieces of his adversary's have become so situated that the advance of a pawn from behind might attack both, or, as we say, fork them, the Corporal was brought up and placed in the square of such forking pawn and then moved forward, when one of the attacked pieces was sure to fall. In the second place, the Corporal might be brought to bear on any adverse piece which happened to be unable to move, so that the said adversary must fall next time; and in both these cases, if any piece, friendly or hostile, should happen to occupy the square suitable for the Corporal, such piece might be removed. Lastly, the Corporal might be employed to make the coup called Pil-band or Farzin-band (v. page 130), that is, to fork the adverse King and another piece.

After either of these feats the Corporal once more resumed his career as a pawn, and on reaching the opposite extremity a second time, he was promoted to the rank of King's pawn. Lastly, when under this rank he attained for the third time the extremity of the board, he became a Prince or Viceroy; the original term is "Shāhi Maṣnu'," that is an "Adventitious King." It appears, then, that there might possibly be three Kings

« PreviousContinue »