hist-games: Freq. Asked Ques. -- Part II : B

Christian Joachim Hartmann lukian at Null.net
Wed Oct 29 01:47:50 PST 1997


At 14:59 26.10.1997 EST, salley at niktow.canisius.edu (David Salley) wrote:

>	CHECKERS or DRAUGHTS
>	Brought back from the Crusades as a variant of Al-Querques

How about that:
Checkers developed in France or Spain of around 1100 when the Moorish game of Alquerque - a game without the "king" and with a board of its own - was transferred to the chess-board and augmented with the "kings". This idea was taken from medieval/Muslim chess, where the "Vizier" - now the queen - moved like a "king" in checkers.


>	CHESS
>	Modern chess is late-period, but is close to versions known 
>	throughout the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Probably originated 
>	in India before 1000AD, and spread everywhere from there. 
>	See "A History of Chess" by H.R.Murray or the Historical Chess 
>	Variants Webpage linked to the Medieval & Renaissance Games Webpage
>					-- Justin du Couer

I would like to stress that chess is THE quintessential medieval game. The way the FAQ-text reads now, I would think of chess as "late-period".
How about that:

Instead of:
>	Modern chess is late-period, but is close to versions known 
>	throughout the Middle Ages and Renaissance. Probably originated 
>	in India before 1000AD, and spread everywhere from there. ...

Chess probably originated in India in the 6th or 7th c. AD, and spread everywhere from there. It reached Europe in the 10th c. The modern variant of chess evolved in the 16 c.  ...



>This week's topics:
>-------------------
>	CHINESE CHECKERS
>	Invented by Chinese immigrants working on the American railroads
>	in the Old West, circa 1860.

The original version of this game was invented in 1883 by the English surgeon George Howard Monks. He christened the new game "Halma", Greek for "jump!".
This game was played on a 16 times 16 board, chequered like the chess-board.
The starting position of the 19 game pieces each was in the corners, thus two players would face each other diagonally.

Very quickly, a version of Halma to be played on  a star-shaped board was invented. This is called "Star-Halma" or "Chinese Checkers". It was especially well suited to be played by three players. The earliest version of the star-shaped plan I have seen (illustrated) is from 1892.

I think the new version of Halma was called "Chinese" to add some exotic flavour to the game.
Who ever has done this, underestimated the intricate merits of the star-shaped board with its triangular geometry and it pleasing form.


>	DOMINOS 
>	So-so game, worse pizza.

Dominos was a huge success in 18th century french cafés and spread from there to the rest of Europe.
France in turn imported it via Italy, where - as one author claims - it existed already in the 17th century.

I know that dominos is played in Turkey and the Maghreb. Does anybody know whether it was known in the Muslim world before it became popular in Europe?

So, domios is a period game, but not in Europe. Does this count as period for this purpose then?

**       Christian Joachim Hartmann 
**       lukian at Null.net
**       christian.hartmann at uni-duesseldorf.de

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