« PreviousContinue »
King's square; but on the Queen's side the operation is peculiar, and requires two moves. First, the King goes to Queen's second square, and then making a Knight's move to Queen's Knight's square, if you don't wish to shut up your Queen's Rook, therefore, before castling on the Queen's side you must move it to Q. or Q. B. square."
"V. A plurality of Queens is not admitted. If I recollect rightly, you cannot win in the Indian game after stripping the adverse King of all his forces. In the Persian game this is not the case, for if at the end of the game either King is left alone, against the adverse King, with any force, however small, he must surrender instantly, the game being considered lost."
Chess in Hindustan.
The modern Hindustani game agrees, upon the whole, with that of the Arabs and Persians, and, in some degree, with our own game of the present day. This is easily accounted for from the intercourse of the natives with Europeans, especially French and English, for more than a century back. We have seen in page 162 that in the time of Hyder 'Ali Captain Lucas "was highly honoured by the black men on account of his skill in Chess." Some ten years later, we have the following amusing and characteristic account of a partie played by Lieutenant Edward Moor, a distinguished Oriental scholar, against four Bramins at Changerry in the Deccan.
This is incorrect, as we shall immediately see in Shastree's description of the modern Hindoostanee game-p. 252, par. 2.-where we are told that "there are three modes of winning," &c.-F.
2 This, as I have already shewn, was uniformly the rule in the Shatranj or mediæval game.-F.
3 A narrative of the operations of Captain Little's detachment, &c., by Edward Moor. 4to., London, 1794, pp. 138 and 139.
"On the hill before mentioned, near half a mile northward of Changerry, is a neat little pagoda, which afforded a social retreat from the noise and bustle of the camp; and perhaps few of the gentlemen of our line will read this account without recalling to mind a happy day or two spent in this pagoda. As the utmost decorum was always observed, it did not hinder the Bramins from paying their devotions in it as usual.
"One day, after dining here, a small party of us were amusing ourselves at play, when four Bramins came in, and after their religious ceremonies were over, entered into conversation with us, and looked over at our game; spying a chess-board, they proposed a game, and as the writer of this anecdote was the only player of the party, he accepted the challenge, conscious, however, of want of skill and practice. It was curious to see their earnestness at the game; the same circumspection so conspicuous in all their actions was visible here; even in the trivial contest at a game of Chess, might an observer have perceived in these sober sons of caution, a characteristic trait of Braminical deliberation. On the chess-board, as on the theatre of life, no move was made, no step taken, without maturely weighing its propriety, and taking into the scale of consideration, the effect, however distant, it might produce.
"An objection was made to their consulting on every move, as by such means there were four to contend with instead of one; which objection was over-ruled as repugnant to the laws of the game, and an equal advantage offered in the advice of their adversary's companions; the objection, indeed, was made for little else than to enhance the importance of their victory, for it was clear they must in the end gain it, as any one of them would, perhaps, at any time be more than a match for their op
ponent. By good fortune their antagonist seemed to have gained a superiority; but this, instead of making them loosen the reins of caution, served as a spur to their diligence, which was doubled, their equality retrieved, and the event for a while stood trembling on the point of uncertainty. Address at length prevailed, and the odds were evidently in their favour; but apparent security could not lull the acute eye of watchfulness, and their conquest was confessed. Shāh mat (check mate) was pronounced, not with the exultation of casual conquest, but with the moderate gratification arising from a foreseen event, which a consciousness of superior information authorised them to expect.
"The discomfited antagonist not feeling the aggravations of defeat, forgets his inferiority in the clemency of his victors. It furnished us with an opportunity of complimenting them, by saying such must ever be the lot of those who daringly venture to oppose the address and superior acquirements of the Bramins. A suitable answer was returned, and we parted, as may be supposed, mutually satisfied.
Chess is played all over India in much the same manner as in Europe, with some difference in the names of the pieces. This noble game was beyond all doubt invented in India, where are extant in several languages, treatises explanatory of the method of playing. A very curious account of the Indian game of Chess,' by Sir William Jones, will be found in the second volume of Asiatic Researches, page 159."1
The most authentic account, however, of the modern Hindūstānī game is that given by Trevangadacharya Shastree, in his now rare work, entitled "Essays on Chess," 8vo, Bombay, 1814. The following extract
1 This account will be found in our eighteenth and concluding chapter.-F.
from his preface will show wherein the Indian game of the present day differs from ours. The aforesaid learned gentleman with the long name, thus speaks on the subject :
"The Hindoostanee game of Chess varies so much from the European that, in the following work, the author has only adhered to the former as far as it agrees with the latter in order to make this book generally useful. The several points in which these two differ are here enumerated, and it is left to the judgment of the experienced player to decide which is the preferable and which the most scientific game.
"1st.-In the Hindoostannee game the King is placed to the right' hand, so that the King of one party is opposite the Queen of the other.
"2nd.-There are three modes of winning the game -The first called Boord, when the losing party has no piece left on the board. The game is then discontinued. This mode of winning is reckoned the least creditable, and in many parts it is deemed a drawn game. The second is by checkmate with a piece, when the losing party must have one or more pieces remaining. The third is by checkmate with a Pawn (Piedmât). The losing party having one or more pieces remaining. This last shows the greatest superiority.
"3rd.-Stalemate is not known in the Hindoostannee game. If one party get into that position the adversary must make room for him to move. In some part of India he that is put in this predicament has a right to remove from the board any one of the adversary's pieces he may choose.
1 The author's meaning is clear enough, though not very neatly expressed. Each player places his King on the right of the two central squares, and his Queen on the left. This is the general rule all over the East; and when we see a contrary statement, as in the description of the modern Persian game, p. 248, the probability is that the author has made a mistake.-F.
"4th. No party can make a drawn game by an universal check; he that has the option must adopt some other move.
" 5th.—The 5th. The Pawns on reaching the last square of the board are transformed into the master piece of that file, except the King's Pawn, which becomes a Queen. If the Pawn be on the Knight's file, the Knight, immediately on being made, takes one move in addition to the last move of the Pawn, unless some other piece command the square to which the Pawn was advancing.
"6th.-No Pawn can be pushed up to the last square of the board, nor take any piece on that line, so long as the master piece of that file remains.
"7th.-The King does not Castle, but is allowed the move of a Knight once in the game; not, however, to take any piece, nor can he exercise this privilege after having been once checked.
"8th. The two royal Pawns and those of the two Rooks are allowed to move two squares each at first, so long as their master pieces remain at their squares. The other Pawns move only one square at a time.
"9th. At the beginning of a game, four or eight moves, as may be determined, are played up on both sides. This, in a great measure, prevents unnecessary exchanges till a general disposition is adopted and the pieces brought out.
"10th. The first move at the beginning of a match is arbitrary; afterwards, he that has won most games moves first.
The following are still more recent accounts of Chess and Chess-players in our Indian empire, communicated a few years ago to the editor of the "Chess Player's Chronicle," viz.
"I have now played a great many games of Chess