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Old December 4th 09, 08:27 AM posted to rec.games.chess.politics,rec.games.chess.misc,rec.games.chinese-chess,soc.culture.china,alt.chess
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Default Sam Sloan asked by WCF to investigate Chinese claim of invnetionof modern chess

There can be no doubt that Chinese chess and International chess share
a common origin. The games have too many similarities to have
developed independently by chance.

Both games have a rook, a knight and a king, which is called a general
in Chinese. Both have pawns. Chinese chess has an elephant that is the
equivalent of our bishop except that it can only jump two squares
diagonally and cannot cross the river. Chinese chess has two guards
that are very weak equivalent of our queens. Both games end in
checkmate.

Chinese chess has a few extra things that international chess does not
have, including a cannon than only captures by jumping, a river that
cannot be crossed by the elephants and a palace that the king and his
guards cannot leave.

There is also Japanese chess, or shogi, Thai chess or makrook, and
Korean chess that is played with a board and pieces similar to Chinese
chess but with different moves. There is Cambodian chess that is the
same as Thai chess except for some differences in the rules,
Vietnamese chess that is similar to Chinese chess except for some
differences in the rules and Indian chess that is the same as our
chess except for some differences in the rules, the main difference
being that the pawn can only go one square on the first move.

There is also a kind of chess played on the island of Sumatra in
Indonesia. An Indonesian chess grandmaster gave me the rules and I
wrote them down but unfortunately have misplaced them.

All of these games obviously have a common origin. The question is
where is that origin was and when did this take place.

I believe that the most likely place of origin is China, not India.

As to when, nobody can say but it seems that all of these varieties of
chess appeared at about the same time, which was around 1400-1500.
Thus, my best guess is that chess as we know it was invented around
1400.

As a chess player I would like to be able to say that the game is a
thousand years old, or more, but I have seen no evidence that this is
the case.

Sam Sloan

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