hist-games: Date: Sun, 26 Sep 1999 10:37:03 +0100

James Masters james.masters at ukonline.co.uk
Sun Sep 26 02:40:03 PDT 1999

Apologies if this is slightly off-topic (not sure if this list is only for
"period" games or for all games and not entirely sure if pre-1900 counts as
period or not, anyway?).

I had always thought that Chinese Checkers was a modern commercial invention
in the West from the late 1800s.  In several places I have seen it written
that Chinese Checkers is a Western invention based upon Halma, an English
invention.  As an example Arum Press' "The Encyclopedia of Games" says "The
American game of Chinese Checkers was patented in the USA around 1880 by J.
Pressman and Co. as "Hop Ching Checkers".  However, David Parlett in his
History of Board Games says the following:

"Chinese Checkers or Tiau-qi, 'the jumping-game' was first published in the
West in 1892 by Ravensburger under the name Stern-halma".

Not only does this shed doubt upon the previous quote but the implication
here is that it was known earlier than this in the East - I presume China
from the "qi" reference as in Xiang-qi.  Frustratingly he does not elaborate
any further.

Does anyone know - was the game invented in the West or is it based on some
other game from the East?
Is Tiau-qi the original or something else?
Less importantly, exactly what were the dates of patent and of publishing in
USA and in Germany?

thanks for any advice,


James Masters
Masters Games

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