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pose the Black King, on taking his station beside the Green monarch, becomes a Farzin, shorn of half the power he possessed when free and independent. Thus, by a very slight alteration in form, but none whatever in principle, we have the men drawn up on the side of the board next to us, the same as we at this day arrange our Black men. In a similar manner let the Red and Yellow forces unite on the further side of the board, so that King may be opposite to King, and Farzin to Farzin, &c., and we have what we now call the White men. This is the precise state in which the game was introduced into Persia, the powers of the pieces being the same as in the Chaturanga; and thus the game continued to be played in Asia and Europe for nearly a thousand years afterwards.
In this transition of the Chaturanga into the Shatranj, we see a curious instance of the tenacity with which the ancient names are still retained, although two of the pieces have changed places. Thus, the piece next the King is still called in Sanskrit, "Hasti," and in the Persian, "Pil," or "Fil;" which, among the Western nations, received various denominations, such as "Alphin," "Bishop," "Fool," "Leaper," &c. Again, the piece still retaining the power of the original Elephant when stationed in the corner, rejoices in the ancient name of the "Ship," or "Chariot;" in Sanskrit, Roka," or "Ratha;" and, in Persian, "Rukh." The latter term, as well as our own Rook, are evidently derived from the Sanskrit Roka; although neither the Persians nor ourselves, in all probability, have ever known or thought of its original meaning. Sir William Jones derives the Persian Rukh from the Sanskrit "Ratha," a chariot, pronounced Roth in Bengali. This derivation is inadmissible for two reasons; in the first place it is too far-fetched; and, secondly, the word Ratha is never mentioned in the
ancient account of the Chaturanga; add to this, that there is no proof that the Bengali dialect existed for centuries after the time of Naushirawan. I shall henceforth, for the sake of distinctness, continue to use the term Chaturanga for the ancient game of the Purānas, and Shatranj for the medieval game; but the reader will be pleased to bear in mind that in reality both of these, as well as our modern game, are the same in principle. When the Chaturanga was modified into the Shatranj, the powers of the pieces remained unaltered; it was merely a change of form. Again, at the end of a thousand years, when the Shatranj was modified into the modern game, the form of everything remained the same, but the powers of the Queen and Bishop were greatly extended. Hence, in the Sanskrit language, the game under all its phases is called Chaturanga, and nothing else; for, throughout all its varieties, "the four species of forces" are the same numerically, though changed in a few instances as to their names. Thus latterly among the Hindus, the Ship was changed into the War Chariot ;'
1 When I wrote the substance of the foregoing chapters a few years ago, for the "Illustrated London News," it did not occur to me that I ought to have quoted authorities in proof of all my assertions; a course altogether unusual if not inadmissible in newspaper writings. Soon after the above paragraph was printed a query appeared in that world-wide paper on this subject, which I shall here insert, together with my answer to it.
A CHESS QUERY.
In the very interesting papers of Dr. D. Forbes, on the "Origin of Chess," which he clearly proves to have been invented in India, he states that in the original Hindu game of "Chaturanga," the pieces consisted of Kings, Elephants, Horses, Ships, and Pawns; but that "latterly, among the Hindūs, the Ship was changed into the War Chariot." What proof is there of this change? Dr. Forbes adduces none; yet surely, if such a change took place before the game passed over to Persia, some Sanskrit works would be found to allude to it. The passage in the "Amaracosha," quoted by Sir William Jones, does not refer to the game of Chess at all, but simply to the component parts of an army.-ALPHA.
for the Chariot on dry land has the same importance as the Ship on the water.
On receiving the game from India the Persians changed the word "Roka" into Rukh, which in their language means a "Hero," or "Warrior;" also a swift and fierce species of camel; and, as we shall show in our next chapter, the first of these meanings seems to be the sense attached to the word by the poet Firdausi. From the Persians the game passed on to the Greeks and Arabs ; and, in the language of the latter, the word Rukh has but one meaning, viz., that of the celebrated fabulous bird so called. This bird, according to the best accounts of all who have not seen it, was furnished with two heads, and he could with ease carry to his nest by way of breakfast for his young ones, four full-grown Elephants at a time-viz., one in each of his two beaks, and one in each
ANSWER TO OUR LAST NUMBER'S CHESS QUERY.
Sir,-In your number of last Saturday there is a Chess Query, signed "Alpha," to which I hasten to reply. Alpha asks "What proof is there that latterly among the Hindus the Ship (of the old game) was changed into the Chariot ?" I answer, that the proofs are innumerable. To adduce a few :My principal authority is the great Colebrooke, undoubtedly the first Sanskrit scholar of his day. In a note to a paper on Chess, by Captain Hiram Cox, in the seventh volume of the "Asiatic Researches," 8vo edition, p. 504, Colebrooke says, "I find also, in an ancient Treatise of Law,' the Elephant, Horse, and Chariot mentioned as pieces of the game of Chaturanga." In the same paper Alpha will find that in the common Hindustanī game the piece which we call Rook is there called Rukh, or Rath-showing that the Indian people used at that time both the Persian and Sanskrit term: in all probability the former was in use among the Musalmāns, and the latter among the Hindūs. Furthermore, in the Burmese game, which was undoubtedly derived from that of the Hindūs, the Rook is called Ratha-the Sanskrit word itself, pure and unchanged. This proves two things at once, viz., that the Burmese game came from India; and that, at whatever period that event took place, the Hindūs had the Chariot, and not the Ship. Lastly, the Malays, &c., to this day have the Chariot in the place of our Rook; as may be seen in an extract from "Rajah Brooke's Journal," published in the ninth volume of the Chess-player's Chronicle. I may further observe that Colebrooke, in the same note, states that the people of Bengal, in his time, still used the Boat for the Rook; whereas those of the Carnatic used the Chariot.-D. FORBES.
claw. I think this belief in the two-headed bird among the Arabs gave rise to the older form of the piece, on its introduction into Europe, as shown by Sir Frederic Madden, in his "Dissertation on the Chessmen found in the Island of Lewis," p. 239, &c. Last of all, we call this piece a Rook," the meaning of which term is, I believe, very vague. Whether the chess-player imagines it to signify literally the pilfering black bird of that name, or figuratively the respectable character that is said to prey on pigeons, are points on which I am altogether unable to give a decided opinion. But to conclude, I think, from all the evidence I have laid before the reader, I may safely say, that the game of Chess has existed in India from the time of Pandu and his five sons down to the reign of our gracious Sovereign Queen Victoria (who now rules over those same Eastern realms)—that is, for a period of five thousand years; and that this very ancient game, in the sacred language of the Brahmans, has, during that long space of time, retained its original and expressive name of Chaturanga.
We have no means of ascertaining the exact era at which the Chaturanga passed into the Shatranj, or, in other words, at what period, as the Muhammadans view it, the Hindus invented the latter form of the game. The earlier writers of Arabia and Persia do not agree on the point-some of them placing it as early as the time of Alexander the Great, and others as late as that of Naushirawan. Even the poet Firdausi, the very best authority among them, though he devotes a very long and a very romantic episode to the occasion of the invention of the Shatranj, is quite silent as to the exact period: all that he lets us know on that point is that it took place in the reign of a certain prince who ruled over northern India, and whose name was Gau, the son of Jamhūr.