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bishops, and have the same moves, except that they cannot cross the white space
in the centre of the board, (representing a river) to annoy the enemy, but stand on the defensive.
The knights, or rather horses, called Māa, stand and move like ours in every respect.
The war chariots, or Tchè, resemble our rooks or castles.
The rocket-boys, or Paö, are pieces whose motions and powers were unknown to us. They act with the direction of a rocket, and can take none of their adversary's men that have not a piece or pawn intervening*. To defend the men from this attack it is necessary to open the line between, either to take off the check on the king, or to save a man from being captured by the Paö. Their operation is, otherwise, like that of the rook. Their stations are marked between the pieces and pawns.
* This circumstance seems to add no little strength to the opinion entertained by many, that the invention of gunpowder originated with the Chinese, although the European invention, some centuries afterwards, might have been independant of it.
The five pawns, or Ping, make up the number of men equal to that of our board. Instead of taking sideways, like ours, they have the rook's motion, except that it is limited to one step, and is not retrograde. Another important point, in which the Ping differ from ours, is, that they continue in statu quo after reaching their adversary's head-quarters. It will appear, however, that the Chinese pieces far exceed the proportion of ours, which occasions the whole force of the contest to fall on them; and thereby precludes the beauty and variety of our game, when reduced to a struggle between the pawns, who are capable of the highest promotion, and often change the fortune of the day. The posts of the Ping are marked in front.
The Asiatic and African chess-boards are of a single colour, divided into squares : and indeed the distinction of colours, though it facilitates the playing, is otherwise superfluous.
Tamerlane's chess-board was eleven squares in breadth, and twelve in height.
In India, one of their games has 60 men or pieces, and the movements are proportionably various.
The Germans sometimes play with a double chess-board, being two others placed laterally. There are two players on each side ; each of whom, not only defends his own game, but joins his ally in more offensive operations.
There is a method of playing at Chess, called Curzier-spiel, at Stroepke, a village between Magdeberg and Brunswick, on a board of eight squares by twelve.
This village holds its lands upon the tenure of forfeiture, if any one of their community loses a game at Chess. Some of the inhabitants are expert at this play, but as the stake is so high, they decline finishing a game with a stranger, and defer the party sine die.
The oldest book written on Chess, before A. D. 1200, by Jacopo Dacciesole, or Jacobus de Cæsollis, intitled De Moribus Hominum et Officiis Nobilium, has the following prints of a set of chess-men.
The king on a throne, with a crown on
his head, the sceptre in his right hand, and a globe in his left.
The queen on a chair, with a mantle of ermine.
L’Alphinë, a man sitting on a chair with an open book in his hand, representing a lawyer; as there are two of these pieces in the game, the book says, that he on the white square is for civil, and he on the black one for criminal cases. The knights, horsemen, armed cap-à-pied. The rooks, legates or vicars, men on horseback totally unarmed.
The first pawn, which stands before the king's rook, is a husbandman, with his bill in his right hand, and in the left a wand, to guide his oxen and flocks, and a pruning knife at his girdle.
The second pawn, placed before the king's knight, is a smith, with a hammer in one hand and a trowel in the other, clothed in a seaman's jacket.
The king's bishop's pawn is a man with a pair of sheers in one hand, a knife in the other, an inkstand hanging at his button, and a pen stuck behind his right ear.
The king's pawn has a pair of scales in
and a purse
his right hand, in his left a measuring wand,
of money hanging at his waistband.
The queen's pawn is a man seated in an armed chair, with a book in one hand, and in the other a vial; various chirurgical instruments are stuck in his girdle. This personage represents a physician, who to be perfect, as the book says, ought to be a grammarian, logician, rhetorician, astrologer, arithmetician, geometrician, and musician.
The queen bishop's pawn is a man standing at his own door, with a glass of wine in one hand, a loaf of bread in the other, and a bunch of keys at his girdle, representing an inn-keeper.
The queen's knight's pawn, with two large keys in one hand, a pair of compasses in the other, and an open purse at his waist.
The eighth and last pawn is a man with his hair dishevelled, ragged cloaths, four dice in his right hand, a crust of bread in his left, and a letter pouch suspended from his shoulders.
Though I have given this description at