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TABLE OF CONTENTS.
INTRODUCTION—Three periods of Chess-The Primæval-The Mediæval,
CHATURANGA, or the Primeval Hindu Chess-Ancient Writings of the
CHATURANGA CONCLUDED-Gradual Change into the Shatranj, or Me-
CHATURANGA CONTINUED-Translation of the Sanskrit Text-Moves
CHATURANGA CONTINUED-Theory and Practice of the Game-Cases of
SHATRANJ, OF MEDIEVAL CHESS-Introduction of the Game from India
SHATRANJ CONTINUED-On the Invention of Chess in India-according
SHATRANJ CONTINUED-Account of Oriental Manuscript Works on Chess
SHATRANJ CONTINUED-Theory and Practice of the Shatranj, or Me-
SHATRANJ CONCLUDED-On the Openings or Battle Array-End Games
Enlargement of the Indian or Primeval Chess Board-Various Altera-
Introduction of Chess from Persia into Arabia—Art of Blindfold Play-
On the Introduction of Chess into the Lower Empire by the Persians
On the Introduction of Chess into Western Europe by the Arabs
Early References to the Game of Chess in Europe-Chess in France and
Modern Oriental Chess-Chess in Abyssinia-Chess in Syria and Arabia
F. "Chess among the Araucanians," by James Mill, Esq., with Notes
Chess to the Eastward of Hindustan-Chess in Burmha-Chess in Su-
Essay on the Chaturanga, by Sir William Jones-On the Burmha Game
A. Review of Mr. N. Bland's "Essay on Persian Chess," by D. Forbes.
C. Description of Dr. Lee's two Arabic MSS. on Chess, by Mr. Bland . xxxiv
E. "Chess among the Welsh," by D. P. F., Esq., with Remarks, by
HISTORY OF CHESS.
It was acutely observed by the late Ensign O'Doherty' in his ninety-eighth maxim, that "the reason why many important matters remain in obscurity and doubt is, that nobody has adopted the proper means for having them cleared up." This judicious remark on the part of the philosophic standard-bearer, appears to me to be most applicable to the present state of our information respecting the origin and progress of the game of Chess. Modern writers on the subject, with a few distinguished exceptions, merely repeat the puerile legends handed down to us by Carrera, Ruy Lopez, and Salvio-men who, undoubtedly, were first-rate Chess-players, but rather deficient in general scholarship and antiquarian accuracy. Since the times of those early luminaries of the South, two of our most eminent Orientalists of this country,2 Dr. Hyde and
1 This was written shortly after the death of Professor Wilson of Edinburgh, the Author of the far famed "Noctes Ambrosianæ." v. Blackwood's magazine.
2 Hyde- "De Ludis Orientalibus," 12mo. Oxonii, 1694; also an edition in 4to. by Dr. Gregory Sharpe, forming the Second Volume of Hyde's whole works. The 12mo. edition is the more correct, and is the one to which I always refer.
Sir William Jones,1 both of Oxford, arrived at the conclusion, which I hold to be the correct one, that Chess was invented in India, and thence introduced into Persia and other Asiatic regions during the sixth century of our era. This view has been adopted, solely on its own intrinsic merits, by Mr. Francis Douce and Sir Frederic Madden,3 in their more recent communications on the subject to the "Transactions of the Archæological Society."
In the following Chapters, it is my intention to advance still farther on the path already pointed out by the Orientalists of Oxford. I happen to possess sources of information which to the latter were either altogether inaccessible or imperfectly known. I think I can clearly show that the game originated in India, and nowhere else. I do not mean to say that I can intimate anything like the precise time when, or the exact spot where, the invention took place; nor is this at all requisite for the investigation. In fact, many of our noblest discoveries, even of comparatively recent date, are still involved in obscurity. We know not to a certainty who it was that first applied the magnetic needle, so as to serve as a guide to the adventurous mariner across the pathless surface of the "vasty deep." The art of printing with moveable types—an art by which the secrets of the remote past are transmitted to the remotest future-is little more than four centuries old, yet are we still in a state of uncertainty as to the precise time when, the place where, and the person by whom this divine discovery was made. This much, however, we may safely say, that the art had its birth somewhere in the Rhineland, either at Strasbourg or Maintz, or still lower down at the city of Haerlem. On the other hand,
1 "Asiatic Researches," London edition, 8vo. 1801, page 189, &c.
2 "Archæologia," 4to. London, vol. xi. page 397, &c.
Archeologia," &c., &c., vol. xxiv. page 203, &c.
if any one were to assert, as some shallow-brained visionaries do, in the case of Chess, that printing originated among the Scythian shepherds or the Arabs of the desert, the idea would at once be scouted by all people of sense.
Precisely in like manner we have ample historical evidence, native and foreign, that Chess was invented in India, but not a single reliable scrap tending to prove that it was either invented or known in any other country previously. It may be asked, then-how came so many writers to ascribe the invention to so many other countries? The answer is simple: it resulted from sheer error of judgment on their part, and the causes of such error are worth noticing. In the first place, the Greeks had a rude and primitive game played on a board, by means of pebbles, called TеTтeiα or Tеσσо which bore no resemblance whatever to Chess. Then the Romans had two distinct games, something like our draughts and backgammon, derived, as is believed, from the Grecian, and respectively called "Ludus Latrunculorum," and "Ludus Calculorum," neither of which had the least affinity to Chess.1 Now, during the middle ages, whilst Latin was the literary language of Europe, when a writer had occasion to mention the game of Chess, we find that, to save himself trouble, he employed the unwarrantable term, "Ludus Latrunculorum," taking it for granted that Chess was identcial with the game of the Romans.2 Bye and bye, when the modern
1 Since this Chapter was written for the "Illustrated London News" about the middle of 1854, a series of valuable papers on "Greek and Roman Chess" appeared in The Chess Player's Chronicle, for the months of March, &c., in 1855. In these the reader will find all that can be said on a subject on which our information is so scanty. The author modestly signs himself H. C.; but assuredly he has no occasion for withholding from us his full length name He is a most sound reasoner, deeply read in classic lore; and I am proud to say that the results of his able researches amply verify what I had previously stated. 2 For instance, Burton, in his "Anatomy of Melancholy," page 349, Edition