Chess History and India

indian elephant theme chess

Chess history and India

The stories and history revolve around the 64 squares of the chess board is never ending. The mind game is supposed to be originated in India. The ferocious Shoorpanakha, wife of the ten headed Ravana did invent the game 5 millenniums before. Whatever is said, the game Chess has survived millions over the centuries all over the world and the growth and popularity is unabated.indian wood chess piece

The earliest name of Chess is Chathuranga, refers to four wings of army- infantry, cavalry, elephantry, and chariotry. The modern chess is having pawn, knight, bishop, and rook, respectively. The name Chaturanga changed to Shatranj. The Persian word Shah Mat (Persian for “the king is helpless”) when the king was attacked and could not escape from attack paved way for Checkmate. Archaeological findings in the Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa sites of the Indus Valley Civilization show the prevalence of a board game that resembles chess.

In Sanskrit, “chaturanga” literally means having four limbs or parts.

In some parts of India the pieces in the places of the Rook, Knight and Bishop were renamed by words meaning (in this order) Boat, Horse, and Elephant, or Elephant, Horse, and Camel, but keeping the same moves.

Kurukhsetra war

The reason for the epic Kurukhsetra war has a bearing on Chess. When Pandavas lost the to the Kauravas, and left nothing to pawn they were forced to 12 years exile. To regain the rights Pandavas had to fight. The Mate in checkmate is a Persian word Mat! Krishna and Radha playing Chaturanga on an 8×8 Ashtapada is a classic painting. (An ashtapada in Sanskrit is for “having eight feet)

Popularity of Chess

Chess spread throughout the world like wild fire. Many variants of the game soon began taking shape. Buddhist pilgrims, Silk Road traders and others carried it to the Far East where it was transformed and assimilated into a game often played on the intersection of the lines of the board rather than within the squares. Chaturanga reached Europe through Persia, the Byzantine Empire and the expanding Arabian empire. Muslims carried chess to North Africa, Sicily, and Iberia by the 10th century.

Chess board and pieces

Indian used of chess as a tool for military strategy, mathematics, gambling and even its vague association with astronomy. Ivory was the first chess board preference. It can be of Elephant or Walrus. Soon the handicrafts gained popularity and all sorts of materials were used. Wood, plastic, stone, marble and even live persons were used for King, Queen, Bishop, Knight, Pawn etc.

Chess sets comes as alluring handicrafts of Rajasthan, made out of

  • Glass bead                   chess board with pieces
  • Conch Shells
  • Metal Crafts
  • Stone Carving
  • Marble Sculptures
  • Ceramic
  • Terracotta
  • Wood
  • Earthenware

Exclusive Rajasthani Handicrafts

These are created by exclusive craftsmen who are dedicated. Their skills can be traced back to many a generations. The workers spend days after days to come out with the best handicrafts admired in India and abroad. The wood is seasoned Kadam. Priced very competitively, they would be a right handicrafts to make your living room vibrant. Also they are ideal for gifting.

So the visitors can have the thrill of enjoying the valor and spirit of the bye gone era.

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