Throughout the ages various theories have been put forward on the subject of Chess. These are based mostly on mythological background and may be confidently discarded. Four theories on the origins of Chess are examined. None is provable, particularly when language and historical background are examined. The four theories are: The "Classical" Theory that Chess is from India ca. 570 AD.; a Chinese origin; a Persian origin; that originally a four sided chess game in India was earlier.
Owing to the paucity of reliable historical evidence in Iran, the Greater Persian Empire and India, there is no definitive proof of the origins of Chess. The numerous theories and repetitions of mythological and semi-mythological sources are unproven. Similar historical sources are unconvincing. Firdausi's historical reportage of 500 years after the event of the alleged invention of Chess by Chosroes is similarly unconvincing.
No Indian Sanskrit allusion existed before the eight century. In any case, historic research shows Persian predominance in the parts of India and Pakistan which are now Muslim. No definitive proof of veracity exists in works claimed to apply to the origins of Chess.
The most reliable source of the earliest allusion to Chess lies in Talmudic and Parthian writings which about coincide in date. However, while these still do not show when Chess began, they do provide an earlier date for its existence than has hitherto been accepted.
Hyde's work is extensively acknowledged and quoted by H J R Murray in his History of Chess (University Press, Oxford 1913) and by Antonious Van der Linder in 'Geschichte und Literature des Schachspiels', (Berlin 1874). The twin Bibles on the History of Chess.
Suite One, Third Floor
One Duchess Street
Tel: +44(0) 20 7436 3717
Fax:+44(0) 20 7436 3107
the Author | Contact
Details | Links
Extracts | Reviews | Purchase