A World of Chess

Its Development and Variations through Centuries and Civilizations

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About the Book

With more than 400 illustrations, and detailed maps, this immense and deeply researched account of the history of chess covers not only the modern international game, derived from Persian and Arab roots, but a broad spectrum of variants going back 1500 years, some of which are still played in various parts of the world. The evolution of strategic board games, especially in India, China and Japan, is discussed in detail. Many more recent chess variants (board sizes, new pieces, 3-D, etc.) are fully covered. Instructions for play are provided, with historical context, for every game presented.

About the Author(s)

Jean-Louis Cazaux of Toulouse, France, is an accomplished author of chess and board game history. A scientist by profession, his breadth of knowledge and careful research bring chess history to its highest level.

Rick Knowlton of Sarasota, Florida, has both studied and recreated historic chess sets from an early age. With a background in fine arts, he uses the Internet to bring chess variants and novelties to a worldwide audience.

Bibliographic Details

Jean-Louis Cazaux and Rick Knowlton

Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 408
Bibliographic Info: 71 photos, 297 diagrams, 9 maps, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2017
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9427-9
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2901-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments  vi
Introduction  1
Chess of the World  2
About This Book  3

Part I. Chess of the Arabian Nights  7
1. Shatranj  8
2. Muslim Chess Variants  21
3. Timur’s Great Chess  30
4. Shatar  39

Part II. Chess in the Land of Monsoons  47
5. Chaturanga  47
6. Chaturaji  59
7. Large and Giant Indian Chess  64
8. Ouk and Makruk  77
9. ­Sit-Tu-Yin  85
10. Catur  93

Part III. Gunpowder on the Chinese Board  98
11. Xiangqi  98
12. Janggi  109
13. Qiguo Xiangxi  116
14. Sanguo Qi  120
15. Banqi  123
16. Doushouqi  125
17. Luzhanqi  131

Part IV. Generals and Mercenaries of the Rising Sun  142
18. Shogi  143
19. Chu Shogi and Dai Shogi  154
20. Tenjiku Shogi  163
21. Giant Shogis  167
22. Wa Shogi  177
23. Tori Shogi  180
24. Dobutsu Shogi (Let’s Catch the Lion!)  183
25. Ko Shogi  188
26. Taikyoku Shogi  194

Part V. Evolution and Revolution in Europe  198
27. Medieval Chess  199
28. Rithmomachy  211
29. King Alfonso’s Games  223
30. Courier Chess  232
31. Gala  237
32. European Chess  240

Part VI. Chess Out of the Box  250
33. Knighted Chess Variants  251
34. Fairy Pieces on Board  265
35. Chess and War  280
36. Round Chess  284
37. Hexagonal Chess  288
38. ­Four-Player Chess  295
39. ­Three-Player Chess  300
40. 3-D Chess  307
41. Extraterrestrial Chess  314
42. Chess960  319

Part VII. The Origins of Chess  326
43. Legends of the Creation  327
44. The Modern Search Begins  330
45. Approaching the Question from Several Angles  334

Timeline  355
Notes  359
Bibliography  385
Index  391

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “The definitive work for those who want to learn how not only the modern game of chess has evolved, but its many variants which date back 1500 years and are still played in various parts of the world”—IM John Donaldson (JeremySilman.com)
  • “Impressive account of the history of chess…. Certainly one of the most interesting reads on the history of chess!”—Chessbook Reviews
  • “A thoroughly researched work that not only introduces a wide variety of chess variants, but will act as a wonderful and unique reference to the field of chess and game history”—Mind’s Eye Press