Chess returns to India

by Frederic Friedel
8/4/2022 – The game was invented in the 6th century in north-western India, from where it migrated to the west and conquered the world. The country of origin, however, descended into mediocracy – until it in the 1980s it suddenly produced its first grandmaster and World Champion. Now India is on the verge of becoming the ultimate super-power of chess. Our report includes a nice video summary of the performance of the Indian teams at the Chennai Olympiad so far.

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The Origin of Chess

When I talk about the origin of chess I often say something outlandish, like “Chess was invented on the first weekend in September of the year 568, by a counselor at the court of the regional king, in the north-western part of India.” This is of course a flippant statement – I say it just to provoke historians who, for decades, have been trying to trace the origins of chess to Russia, China, India, Central Asia, even ancient Egypt.

There is an often-shown picture that seems to show an Egyptian lady clearly engaged in playing chess.

It is a picture of the celebrated Egyptian queen Nefertari, the favourite wife of Pharaoh Ramses II, who reigned from 1279 to 1213 B.C.

But is she really playing chess? She could be rearranging bottles of perfumes, but more likely she is playing Senet (or Senat), a board game that was known at the time. It looked like thisIt had 30 squares, arranged in three rows of ten, and two sets of pieces, probably five for each side (the rules of the game are not completely clear).

I say the game of chess was invented by a single person (or a small group of people) in a short period of time because I can vividly imagine them sitting around designing it. I can imagine them saying: “We need a king who rules everything, and his counselor. And how about elephants and horses and chariots as part of his army? Of course he must have foot soldiers he can move into combat…” They devised the rules and came up with a game they called “Chaturanga,” which is Sanskrit for “four limbs,” the branches of the army.

Chaturanga is very clearly an early version of chess. If you saw the game being played in the 6th century you would immediately identify it as chess – even though some of the rules were slightly different. The elephant (bishop) and the counselor (queen) had very restricted mobility. The rules evolved over the centuries, during wwhich time Chaturanga, which changed to “Shatranj”, and then to chess, migrated to the West to become one of the world's most popular and beloved games.

Today it is estimated that over 800 million people around the globe, or around 8% of the world population, play it regularly. In western countries like the US, UK, Europe and Russia, around 70% of the adult population has played chess at some point in their lives. The inventor of the game could not have imagined how popular it would become and how long it would endure. It was pure luck.

The names of the pieces changed. The elephant stayed elephant (slon) in Russian-speaking countries (where you can witness a brilliant sacrifice of elephant takes h7!), but became the runner (Läufer, loper, leefer, etc.) in central Europe, a bishop in the English-speaking world, a gunner (alfil) in Spain and a fou (fool or jester) in France. Here’s a nice overview provided by Danial A in Wiki (click to enlarge):

After its invention chess spread from India to Persia, and entered the Muslim world when Arabs invaded and conquered Persia. Chess subsequently spread to Spain and the rest of Southern Europe. The rules were modified and it slowly evolved to its current form, by about 1500 AD.

In China, a millinium ago, people started playing a strategy game derived from chaturanga. It turned into the game xiangqi, which is played today. We call it Chinese Chess or Elephant Chess. It borrowed from the game of Go, which had been played in the country since the sixth century BC. The pieces are placed on the intersection of the squares, and not within them. The object of xiangqi is similar to chess: to trap the opponent's king.

Chess was brought to Old Russia in 9th and 10th century. It enjoyed a very high status and was played in the court – Ivan IV the Terrible, who ruled the country from 1530 to 1584, is said to have died while playing the game. In the 20th century chess. became a school subject in all primary schools in Russia, which rapidly became the super-power of the game. Today it has well over 200 grandmasters, followed by Germany and Ukraine with around 70 each. Incidentally, the highest density of GMs is to be found in Iceland, where around 0.000035% – 35 per million – of the population have the title.

Chess returns to India

While all this was happening, things moved slowly in India. There were many strong players, but only a few made IM norms, let alone a GM norm. Opportunities for playing in international tournaments were few and encouragement was wanting. This explains why there was no Sultan Khan rising on the Indian scene, even when there was a wealth of talent in the land.  Only the dedicated efforts of veteran players and organizers kept it going and in the years to come made the phenomenon of Anand possible.

I remember how in the 1970s I was invited to stage a clock simul in Bangalore, India. I asked (German) GM Helmut Pfleger if he would do it, and he readily agreed. “What must be the maximum strength of your opponents?” I asked him. In clock simuls it is normal to keep restrict the level of the opposition. “Oh, don’t worry,” said Helmut. “They can select anyone.” He knew that he would be able to stand up to even the strongest eight Indian chess players.

That has changed radically over the last decades. “Helmut,” I said recently in a phone conversation, “I have a 12-year-old here. Would you like to play a game against him?” He knew I had Gukesh in the house and replied: “Oh, that could be really tough for me.”

The big change for India came when a boy from Tamil Nadu, India, Vishwanathan Anand, showed extraordinary skill in the game. In 1988 he became the first Indian grandmaster, and went on to win five World Championship titles. Anand galvanized his compatriots to take up the game.

This they did with a vengeance. Kids all over the country started playing, studying hard “to become like Anand.” And they started to get really strong. Grandmasters kept popping up, and today there are around 70 players who have the full GM title. Anand – now in his early fifties, is still playing in top tournaments, cheered on by over a billion fans.

Training camp with Kramnik and Gelfand in Chennai, 2020. I have marked five players (Vaishali, Gukesh, Raunak, Pragg, Arjun) who are going for Gold at the current Olympiad.

India, I predict is on its way to becoming the ultimate super-power of chess. I recently attended two training camps in which Vladimir Kramnik, and then Kramnik and Boris Gelfand, worked with young Indian talents, 12 to 16 years old, all with GM titles or at least GM norms. It was breath-taking to watch how a boisterous 13-year-old, at one moment, is running around the playground, chasing a football, and then suddenly engages in discussion with a former World Champion, on the lines: “In yestereday’s analysis what if White plays this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this, and then launches a kingside attack?” To which Kramnik replies, “that is very interesting. We should look at it in this evening’s session.” All without a chessboard in sight.

During my visit in Chennai I was interviewed by a news portal who wanted to know my opinion on the future of chess in India. I told them that I believed that in five to ten years at least 25% of all international tournament players would be from India; that 25% of the top 100 players would be Indian; that there would be three Indian grandmasters in the top ten of the world. “Aren’t you exaggerating?” the host said. “Three in the top ten? How can you predict that?” – “I’m pretty sure I’m right,” I said. “In fact I can give you their names today!”

In January 2019 I visited one of the soon-to-be top ten player, 12-year-old Gukesh...

... who in April that year, together with two other young talents (Savitha and Siddarth) got endgame training with Dr Karsten Mueller in the ChessBase office in Hamburg.

Since that time, January 2020, young Indian super-talents, who are apparently grown in paddy fields, have done everything they could to bolster my prognosis. As I write these lines I see that Gukesh has won his sixth game at the Olympiad in Chennai, against a 2700  grandmaster, who is a three-time Olympiad gold medalist, and has climbed to a live rating of 2719. And the Indian Women's team has just beaten the very strong Georgian team to lead their section with a 12/12 dry score. 

Let IM Sagar Shah of ChessBase India how things are going for his country

China is another country that is doing fairly well in chess. They have a current challenger for the World Championship, and have had a number of Women’s World Champions in the past. Hou Yifan, was the youngest female player in history to earn the title of grandmaster and the youngest to win the Women’s World Championship. So will China, which has an even larger population base than India, and are currently doing their best to support chess talent, generate competition for Indian chess?

No, they will never catch up. There are two specific reasons for that. On the one hand they do not have a chess god (India has Anand); and they have a rival game. A vastly greater majority of the population play Elephant Chess than the western game, the one that is played by all Indians who are drawn to strategic games. India has a much bigger population base for chess than China.

So what we can do is to sit back and watch Indian chess unfold. In some ways it is justified: that the country that invented the game so many centuries ago should take the lead in this wonderful game.

Also read: The ‘Origins of chess’ series by Sergio Ernesto Negri

 


Editor-in-Chief emeritus of the ChessBase News page. Studied Philosophy and Linguistics at the University of Hamburg and Oxford, graduating with a thesis on speech act theory and moral language. He started a university career but switched to science journalism, producing documentaries for German TV. In 1986 he co-founded ChessBase.
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shivasundar shivasundar 8/6/2022 08:06
On a positive note, I am glad that Indian chess in growing leaps and bounds; first of all big congratulations to the Westbridge Anand Chess Academy - this is just a response to "deeply disheartening" by Frederic - hope it reaches EVEN greater heights Frederic.

You say "25 out of top 100 would be Indian" - I wanted to congratulate you for SUCH a daring prediction... I sincerely hope SUCH a prediction comes true... here's to Indian chess :-) :-) (LOVED that line in your article)
shivasundar shivasundar 8/6/2022 07:58
Frederic,

Since you are taking a personal interest in this post of yours, I am glad to hopefully have a conversation with you finally!

In the recent past, I had sent a comment to CB when Anand's profile in a CB-authorized webpage was indicated as a "4-time world champion" (he is a 5-time world champion) and by the same token "Kramnik as the world champion in 2000". Thanks for never respecting my comment then/as last I checked it was never corrected. I also disagree with the first line in your article that says India "descended into mediocracy" over the last 1000-1500 years! (That could come across as bigoted, but I am willing to take that as ignorance if you care to explain yourself). Thanks for what you are doing for Indian chess in general, by authorizing CBI to sell cheaper CB products for the Indian subcontinent.
I also heartily thank you for helping Anand initially in the late eighties with initial versions of CB, and all the way to now when you give trainings with Dr Mueller and the rest... (I am not listing everything you are doing obviously)

Coming to whatever you have written in this post, I find it deeply frustrating to have discussions like this in general - when non-white people make comments - that are facts - that we are somehow are "bigoted", "hyper-aggressive" (even though in my 2nd comment I gave clear quotes of how the relevant people have tried to minimize India's role in the creation of chess). As for my comments against white people and western culture in general, that is the way I feel the more I read about history (which I am an ardent student of) - it is fact based and not based on any bigoted notions. So I stand by them.

I hope you and everybody take all of my comments in totality and see them for what they are instead of branding me as a "frustrated person"....

Expecting more from you Frederic as always.

Sincerely,
Thanks.
PS: I can stop with this comment since I do not want to be seen as "taking over" a discussion.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 8/6/2022 01:53
@Frederic

"You know how many times the remarkable dominance of the Indian teams in Chennai, the breathtaking performance of young Gukesh (who is now on 7/7!) or reasons for the dramatic rise of Indian chess in the 21st century were mentioned in the discussion below? Zero times."

Quotes from my comments:

"I would even then find it strange to speak about such a bleak topic when the article gives us plenty of reasons to celebrate the fantastic results of the Indian teams so far."
"We have an article which praises the fantastic results India has currently in the Olympiad and Frits Fritschy made some remarks according to which there are some inaccuracies."
Frits Fritschy Frits Fritschy 8/6/2022 09:51
Frederic,
My apologies for starting this. It was not intended.
Frederic Frederic 8/6/2022 09:43
I am experimenting with switching feedback comments back on, especially for reports that in my opinion warrant discussion. If every time I do it, the section immediately descends in all-out warfare between deeply frustrated individuals, I'm afraid I will have to consider my experiment a failure. There are hundreds of forums on the Internet where the hyper-aggressive discussion of racial subjects is hosted and encouraged. Must we open our feedback to opprobrium and unrestrained personal insults? You know how many times the remarkable dominance of the Indian teams in Chennai, the breathtaking performance of young Gukesh (who is now on 7/7!) or reasons for the dramatic rise of Indian chess in the 21st century were mentioned in the discussion below? Zero times. All this is very disheartening.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 8/6/2022 04:21
@shivasundar

"It is hard to explain all this even more to a white person, if they do not get it... "

Previously you complained about microaggressions, some gestures patronizing or humiliating you. I find it racist and hypocritical that you are applying the same patronizing manners you complained about earlier from the "safety" of your non-White skin. This is an assymetrical situation, when you can allow yourself such obviously racist and bigoted remarks, while you cry racism whenever a White disagrees with you. But trust me: I have no issues with your skin color. It is you who have issues with a certain skin color:

"White people have generally been harmful not just to Indians, but to the whole world in general in the last 400 years"

And you say things like this while you complain about the racism of others. Or, in other words: while you commit macroaggressions, you complain about others' microaggressions.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 8/6/2022 04:21
@shivasundar When someone complains about microaggressions, I view that as a sign of insecurity. Do you know how many times people around me were ignorant about my culture and how many times I was prevented from the free use of my own language? You have no idea. Why? Because I'm not complaining, nor am I focusing on "microaggressions", but on how I can be a constructive person, how can I show my gratefulness for the services my society fulfills, so I can find food in the store, can heat my place, I am protected by the police against criminals and I have access to healthcare if I need it. My nationalism consists in building constructive projects to the benefit of all and the hope of leaving a heritage my brethren could be proud of. My nationalism respects the nationalisms of other people and I see it desirable to channel nationalistic sentiment into constructive projects and peaceful coexistence with the constant aim of outclassing other groups. I don't waste energy into hating innocent people for the historical events that still effect in a bad way all my days. I refuse to be bitter and remain constructive, even though I experience the wrong end of the proverbial stick of history, while you are bitter and resentful, even though both you and I know that you have not experienced first-hand the problems that define your behavior here.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 8/6/2022 04:20
@shivasundar

Why not? Because everyone is innocent in any crime they did not perpetrate. Hungary, in its aim to recover its lost territories ended up being forced into WWII and all its inhumane experiences. So, are all Hungarians today guilty for WWII? Of course not. My nation has been where you personally are heading. If you are so hateful for long past events, then there are two possibilities. The first one is that your anger will never be fed, in which case you will become bitter. The second possibility is that your anger will be fed, which either turn you into a resentful person or a monster. So, this is where you are heading if you hate people based on their skin color. And trust me, I'm not saying this because I also happen to be White. The reason is deeper. I would say the exact same thing if I would have a different skin color or your collective hate would target a different racial group.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 8/6/2022 04:20
@shivasundar

Also, there is a high probability that you were not alive then, not forced into labor by colonizers. Which means that you are angry due to historical problems. There are many White nations that had nothing to do with colonization and even the now living members of the formerly colonizing nations are (probably) all individually innocent about what happened centuries ago, ending with the de-colonization of your country in 1947. A perpetrator in 1947, let's say, a 20-year-old perpetrator would now be 95 years old. How many (at least) 95-year-old Englishmen are alive today, who are also perpetrators in the colonization of your country?

A little history for you: my country was hammered by the Mongol Empire, which killed 50% of its population. Then it fought a defensive war against the Ottoman Empire, which lasted 4 centuries, with some pauses. And then it was a colony of the Habsburg Empire for quite a long time and fought many revolutions for independence. And then, just a few decades after gaining independence (except military and foreign affairs), it was drawn against its will into WWI. And, at the end of WWI it was punished for a war it never wanted and was dragged into by stripping 66% of its territories and 75% of its people. Hundreds of thousands were displaced by a northern beneficiary state, tens of thousands were killed by a southern beneficiary state, while the eastern beneficiary state did everything it could to forcibly assimilate them, even demolished many villages. So, are all Mongolians, Turks, Romanians, Serbians, Slovakians, Ukrainians guilty for the problems of millions of Hungarians today? Of course not.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 8/6/2022 04:19
@shivasundar

A crime has one or more perpetrator, identifiable by the act of the crime. The vast majority of Brits today are innocent in the colonization of your country, due to physiological reasons, so blaming people by the mere fact of speaking their language, having their skin color is the application of collective guilt on a group of people, whose majority had no part in perpetrating the crime you are speaking about. If you would only blame the decision-makers and the perpetrators of the colonization of your country, I would be in full agreement with you, yet, I would even then find it strange to speak about such a bleak topic when the article gives us plenty of reasons to celebrate the fantastic results of the Indian teams so far. But the way you are speaking people based on skin color is a road I strongly oppose with. I firmly opposed the collective guilt some people applied on Russians here earlier because of the Russian invasion on Ukraine. Similarly, I oppose the application on Brits based on colonialism and I oppose the application of collective guilt in general. All individuals have a right for a fair trial before being held responsible for any problems attributed to them.

"When people ENSLAVE, DOMINATE, CUT-OFF your hands, DE-INDUSTRIALIZE, FORCE YOU INTO manual labour in YOUR OWN LAND... change the land-use of entire farms to grow different crops for 200 YEARS, we take the liberty to say "WHITE people"... semantics be DAMNED!"

You advised another commenter to stay woke and you also had some egalitarian remarks. Do you know that wokeism, critical race theory and socialism in general are originating in the ideology invented by a White, called Carl Marx, who emigrated due to his free will to England while that country colonized yours? It seems to me that your thinking is highly influenced by ideologies rooted in Marxism. So, is he also guilty in the colonization of India?
lajosarpad lajosarpad 8/6/2022 04:19
@shivasundar

Slovakians, Hungarians, Serbians and Croatians were never part of a Russian-speaking country, such as the Soviet Union. They were part of the Soviet block back in the Cold War - true -, but they were separate countries. Note that I did not call you racist for being wrong about that, because it would be lame to assume racism around any corner of disagreement. To be more exact, from these examples nowadays Serbia and Croatia were part of the then-existent Yugoslavia, Slovakia was part of the then-existent Czehoslovakia, Hungary existed in its present form. Now all these countries are part of the Western block, yet, they are still not part of the USA.

Actually I know some things about the colonization India had to endure due to the greed of European colonizers. I am not researching this topic and would not call myself an expert in it, but saying that I am lacking any knowledge about this is a premature assumption, the kind of which leads to blunders in chess. I do not see Frits Fritschy's remarks as racist. He pointed out that the region where chess was invented is not India these days. I do not see any reason to assume racism behind his remarks. I accept the mainstream position about this, according to which chess was invented in India, since Pakistan was not existent yet when chess was invented.

I understand the pain and remorse you feel because of the fact that your country is much smaller due to the politics of Great Powers. In fact I understand this much more than you would think, given the fact that my country was torn apart as well by the same Western powers that colonized your country. But I would never go to the depths of blaming people based on skin color or nationality just because the perpetrators of some crime happened to share those traits.
shivasundar shivasundar 8/6/2022 02:12
I'd accept that - last comment typo
shivasundar shivasundar 8/6/2022 02:12
Also Frits Fritschy,

Thanks for agreeing that Chess was invented in India - thanks for defending the Iranian claim as well. I do not want to bother with the detailed linguistic and other obvious evidence.

If you were not "trying" to be racist, I's accept that - please be aware that we brown people tend to get very angry when people "sow doubt" into obviously accepted facts. Like all of the math stuff I mentioned as well...(Pythagoras Theorem was known to Indians long before him, etc. etc. as well).
shivasundar shivasundar 8/6/2022 02:05
lajorsarpad,

On Slovakians, Hungarians, Serbians, Croatians - we Indians have had and will always have friendly relations with the countries of the former USSR. We have not had a tiff with Russia so far.

However, you do not know any of the history of colonization and imperialism in India which lasted around 250 years (and started a little before when the british came to our richest province of Bengal that by the way included the current country of Bangladesh). FOUR WHITE POWERS colonized India - granted the british were the worst! Dutch, French, Danish (yes!)...

When people ENSLAVE, DOMINATE, CUT-OFF your hands, DE-INDUSTRIALIZE, FORCE YOU INTO manual labour in YOUR OWN LAND... change the land-use of entire farms to grow different crops for 200 YEARS, we take the liberty to say "WHITE people"... semantics be DAMNED!

However, let me add a coda to clarify: there is also "white parochialism" and "white supremacism" - for example read through the 7 links Friedel has put and go to the link on India. Quote: "four are the faces that the god Brahma has (to be able to see his beautiful wife on all sides)"... there is nowhere in our scriptural or mythological texts or commentaries of even an interpretation that the creator God has 4 faces to "see... his beautiful wife"!! This is called "Hinduphobia" and that is a result of a "white mind" if that helps - since the writer is a South American one Sergio Ernesto Negri. I think THIS is called cultural appropriation that specifically belittles and is another form of racism. Even if somebody says "how exotic - he has 4 heads" that is a microaggression. As you can see, this, coming OSTENSIBLY from a "researcher" (Ph D student?!)

It is hard to explain all this even more to a white person, if they do not get it...
shivasundar shivasundar 8/6/2022 01:48
Frits Fritschy,

I think there is no need to get snippy or defensive. Your last line in the first comment said "I would say an alien origin is not very likely"!!! That's like saying "America did not really invent the light bulb or the telephone"... so you would agree it came across as racist!

You also said "If we may believe Murray, that would be the area called Hind in nowadays Pakistan. We could have long discussions whether the word 'Hind' doesn't imply that that part of Pakistan is the original India..."
You are finally accepting your ignorance about the fact that there are many lands that were part of India, TORN asunder by the - you guessed it - british white people!

So all in all, thanks for accepting your ignorance but NOT that you were putting down an entire civilization AND history-washing (also called "whitewashing" - please look that up as well).
Frits Fritschy Frits Fritschy 8/5/2022 03:20
bdshahab,
In the book Chatrang-namak, written in the days of Khusraw I, ruler of the Sassanid empire (which included nowadays Iran but which was, as I wrote before, ruled from the city of Ctesiphon in what is now Iraq), it is written that chess was invented in India (as Murray described it; Pakistan was then still part of British India). Why would a 'Persian' writer attribute the invention of the game to an 'Indian' ruler? (Apologies for the racist quotation marks.)
The problem with the popularity of chess is that every nation wants to feel connected with the invention of it (if there was an invention and not something like a slow development). That makes a discussion on the basis of established science instead of convenient opinions rather difficult. Which is quite sad.
lajosarpad lajosarpad 8/5/2022 12:22
@Shivakundar the only racist person I see here is you. We have an article which praises the fantastic results India has currently in the Olympiad and Frits Fritschy made some remarks according to which there are some inaccuracies. I have no reason not to assume that Frits Fritschy simply aimed to constructively criticize the article in what he thought to be inaccurate/incorrect in it.

And then you came and started to rant about White people, considering them collectively guilty for some ill deeds committed by some (long dead) White people in India. Yes, colonization was bad for India and it was morally bad. But it is racist to hold all White people morally guilty for things committed by some White people.

For starters: none of the White people alive today were colonizing India. So, on what grounds and what foundation do you stand when you hold all Whites collectively guilty?

Have you heard about Slovakians, Hungarians, Serbians, Croatians? Members of these nations are white as snow, yet, none of them colonized your people. You still hold them guilty. Also, none of the British people alive today did harm to your nation. So, maybe you could calm down instead of inciting hate against a group of people because of their skin color.
bdshahab bdshahab 8/5/2022 07:41
India never invented anything in that historical period, so they could not have created "chess" either!
But we know that there was an advanced civilization in Iran. However, the Iranians themselves were not interested in recording the events, and in the attack of Alexander the Great, the Arabs, and the Mongols, Iranian libraries were burned many times!
So, the possibility that chess was invented in Iran is very high; As in this video, chess is known to have been created in Iran (in 551 AD!)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6Wu0Q7x5D0
shivasundar shivasundar 8/5/2022 05:36
Keshava,

Thanks brother, I hope you got the overall thrust of my arguments though. Point is simple: the british deliberately enslaved us by converting fertile cotton fields and spice fields into tea, coffee plantations, and poppy cultivation. My broad points were about "british got/gave us only negative things" - you have to see how native people were enslaved and forced to work on tea plantations IN CHAINS! (Not to mention, I have at least 3 people in the family who get migraines due to coffee - not addicts).

Read more, and try to understand more deeply of what I originally wrote brother. White people have generally been harmful not just to Indians, but to the whole world in general in the last 400 years - slavery, exploitation, de-industrialization, conflict, divide-and-rule and not to mention a HUGE transfer of wealth that created 5 countries: Australia (famously a "jail for negroes" originally), NZ, britain, canada and the USA. (Latest estimates are 35-70 TRILLION USD siphoned off in current USD - in fact the word "loot" was borrowed from Sanskrit or Hindi don't remember which to describe exactly this). AND they cut off hands of all our artisans to create "Manchester" for cotton!.....

etc., etc. .....

Point is, again coffee and tea may not be "positive or negative" just neutral - and is NOT a benign thing the british "gave" us - definitely they clearly had an ulterior motive into "making us work more hours/create more 'sepoys' for the army or increase drudgery with more manual labour hours". Imagine a Wakanda when people were happy NOT doing slave labour, "mazdoor kaam" or obscene hours.

Point also is how white people give us "backhanded/soft" comments - it's called "microaggression" - when they don't directly say something racist or obviously obnoxious, but "work it into a sentence" like this guy says "oh you know there is doubt" "oh it's not politically safe"... it's their language.... stay woke, stay careful my friend.
Keshava Keshava 8/5/2022 04:51
shivasundar, to say that tea and coffee enslave and control people is like saying that food enslaves and controls people because a bad diet may be the #1 cause of ill health. However, caffeine has probably saved more lives than it has lost (think how truckers depend on it to stay alert) and it boosts chess performance by 20%! ref: https://en.chessbase.com/post/proven-performance-enhancing-drugs-for-chess ... Properly used (not abused) coffee is a health beverage and green tea even more so! ref: https://nutritionfacts.org/?s=tea
shivasundar shivasundar 8/5/2022 01:15
Frits Fritschy: Thanks for putting in some obviously racist viewpoints about India; that way white people can continue saying things like India "slid into mediocracy" (!!), and also say things like: "India never invented zero, or calculus or trigonometry or Chess; they are only great at snake-charming and are generally smelly people" while they are at it!!

(In case it was not clear abundantly - India invented all 4 things I mentioned.)

The persians used to refer to the area east of the river Indus as "al-Hind" - it is about common misconception about the word "Hind" - what people do not understand is that the europeans took THAT word when they conquered India (the 3rd largest economy in the world at the time - to proceed and plunder!) In fact the europeans came to India precisely because of the riches of the trade, and the merchants (spices, silk, cotton, fabric, iron and steel - were best made by India then for the best prices - go check out "wootz steel")

All poor India got in return was english, tea, coffee (caffeine!), poppy (the latter 3 which was used to enslave and control the population with!!

What India also got was eternal enmity with their moslem brethren in the form of "partition" when the british successfully convinced them to tear the nation into THREE parts (2 muslim parts on either side - now Pakistan and Bangladesh)

Get OUT of Eurocentrism, get out of White Supremacism, get out and read some books to know history. India never had intellectual "Dark Ages", nor did it have "crusades" for 100s of years...

And guess what else whites have invented: climate change, the patent-copyright regime that creates oligarchs and increases inequality (while continuing slavery) etc, etc. ...haha!

Hmpffff - "politically safe" - my foot!!
Frits Fritschy Frits Fritschy 8/5/2022 12:50
Ah, you corrected your text...
Frits Fritschy Frits Fritschy 8/4/2022 11:26
The politically safe wording would be that chess was probably invented in the northwestern part of the Indian subcontinent. If we may believe Murray, that would be the area called Hind in nowadays Pakistan. We could have long discussions whether the word 'Hind' doesn't imply that that part of Pakistan is the original India, but it would be better to refrain from connecting modern geographical entities with the invention of chess.
By the way, probably the earliest chess pieces were found in Samarkand, which suggested to some that chess was invented in Uzbekistan (or better: the Soviet Union...) However, at the time those pieces were dated, Samarkand was part of the Persian empire – so chess was invented in Iran? But the capital of that empire, Ctesiphon, was situated 30 miles from nowadays Bagdad, in Iraq (as chess historian M. Cazaux once corrected me here). Uhh, very tricky...
The claim for China to have invented chess is shadowy but could not be left out completely. A game called xiangqi was mentioned in literature before any mentions about chess on the Indian subcontinent, but it is obscure how it was connected with the game as it is played today. The fact that it contains several strange elements that are not seen in any other chess form (except for Korean chess, which is highly similar) suggests to me that it is not a precursor to chess, but that it is an older game that has incorporated many elements of chess.
However, without any green sets of pieces having been dug up, I would say an alien origin is not very likely...
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