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as in the case of Abyssinia, the people have had very little intercourse with strangers from other lands. This being premised, we now give Captain Cox's description, viz. :
"The Burmha name for the game of Chess is chit-thareen, a term applied by them either to a generalissimo, or warfare; an etymologist perhaps might trace it as a corruption of the Sanskrit Chatur-anga.
"The annexed drawing and diagram will best explain the form of the pieces, &c. and ordinary array of the battalia.
"No. 1. Meng, or the king, has the same moves and powers as in the English game, except that he cannot castle, neither do they admit of what we call stale mate.
"No. 2. Chekoy, or sub-general; he moves diagonally either way in advance or retrograde, but limited to one check or step at a move.
"No. 3. 3. Ratha, war chariot; they have exactly the same moves and powers as the English castle or rook.
"No. 4. 4. Chein, elephants; they have five distinct moves, viz. direct, one; diagonal in advance, two; and diagonal retrograde, two; but limited to one check or step at a move; they slay diagonally only; the move direct in advance being only intended to alter the line of their operations so that they may occasionally have the powers of our king's or queen's bishop.
No. 5. 5. Mhee, cavalry; they have exactly the same moves and powers as in the English game.
"No. 22.214.171.124.126.96.36.199. Yein, or foot soldiers; they have the same moves and powers as in the English game, except that they are limited to one check or step at a move, and that the right hand pieces only are susceptible of promotion to the rank of chekoy (in the event of his being taken). It is not necessary for this promotion that they should have advanced to the last row of the adversary's check, but to that check which is in a diagonal line with the left-hand check in the last row of the adversary's section; consequently, the right-hand Pawn or Yein, according to the diagram, will have to advance four steps to obtain the rank of chekoy; the second yein, three steps; the third yein, two steps; the fourth yein, two steps; and the fifth yein, one step.
Although the array of the battalia is generally as in
the diagram, yet the Burmhas admit of great variations; each party being allowed to arrange their pieces ad libitum; that is to say, they may strengthen either wing, or expose the king, according as they estimate each other's abilities, or as caprice or judgment may influence them. In some respects this is tantamount to our giving a piece to an inferior player, but the variation is only to be understood of the pieces, and not of the Pawns.
"This liberty, added to the names and powers of the pieces, gives the Burmha game more the appearance of a real battle than any other game I know of. The powers of the Chein are well calculated for the defence of each other and the King, where most vulnerable; and the Ratha or war chariots are certainly more analagous to an active state of warfare than rooks or castles."
In the Burmese, or as we may better term it the Budhist game, we find that the only deviation from the Shatranj consists in the additional power conferred on the Elephant or Bishop, which now becomes decidedly superior to the Farzin or Queen. The Elephant in the Burmese game can evidently cover the whole of the squares of the board, whereas in the regular Shatranj, as we have already shewn, he could cover only eight squares; hence his value now is somewhat intermediate between the Knight and Farzin.
We farther observe in Captain Cox's account of the array of the battalia," something closely resembling the Ta'biyat, or "battle array," of the mediæval game described in our tenth chapter. The gallant captain does not appear to have been aware of this peculiarity in the latter game; hence he has imagined the above arrange
ment of the men on the Burmese board, to have been the result "of caprice," whereas it is merely one of their favourite openings, ten to fifteen moves having been already played on each side.
Chess in Sumatra.
The people of Sumatra, Malacca, Java and Borneo, generally called the Malays, evidently received the game of Chess in the first place from India. In the course of time, on their adopting the Muhammadan religion, their language, like that of the Persians, became partially intermixed with words and phrases from the Arabic. Still their chess terms, with one or two exceptions, bear the impress of their Indian origin; as we shall see in the following extract from the "History of Sumatra," by the late Dr. William Marsden, a gentleman who was well versed in the language and literature of the Malayan people. He says, in speaking of the games, &c. of the Sumatrans
"They have also various games on chequered boards or other delineations, and persons of superior rank are in general versed in the game of Chess, which they term main gajah, or the game of the Elephant,' naming the pieces as follows: Rājā, 'King;' Mantri, 'Vizīr,' or Minister,' (our Queen ;) Gajah, Elephant,' (our Bishop ;) Kūdah, 'Horse,' (our Knight;) Ter, 'chariot,' (our Rook ;) and Bidak, 'Pawn,' or 'foot soldier.' For check they use the word Sah, and for checkmate, Māt or Māti. Among these names the only one that appears to require observation, as being peculiar, is that for the Castle or Rook, which they have borrowed from the Tamul language of the peninsula of India, wherein the word Ter (answering to the Sanskrit Ratha,) signifies a
'chariot,' (particularly such as are drawn in the processions of certain divinities), and not unaptly transferred to this military game, to complete the constituent parts of an army.1"
Here we see that the words Rajā, Mantri, and Gajah, are pure Sanskrit; whilst Kūdah and Ter are Tamul this proves the Indian source of the game. The word Bidak, as well as the terms Sah and Sah-mat, are Arabic, slightly modified. The captious critic will say that Sah is the Persian Shah. Well, I know all that, and something more. The Arabs, as I have already shewn, adopted the word Shah, when they received the game from the Persians, and they retain the term to this day. Bidak, the "Pawn," is pure Arabic and not Persian; hence we may safely infer that the Sumatrans received the game originally from India; and that more recently, they adopted a few Arabic terms since the period at which they became converts to the religion of Muhammad.
Chess in Java.
Our authority here is first-rate-that of Sir T. Stamford Raffles, who was Governor of the rich island of Java previous to its being restored to the Dutch, on the general pacification of Europe in 1815, which restoration by the way was a very stupid proceeding on the part of our ministry. The Javanese Chess, like that of the Sumatrans, is evidently of Indian origin, as we know by the very word Chatur, by which the game is denomi
1 Marsden's "History of Sumatra," third edition, 4to. London, 1811, p. 273.