ancient and modern elephant/bishop
let's look at some of the differences.
The piece which we now call the bishop was originally
an elephant, and it had the most peculiar move: two spaces
diagonally, with the ability to leap over a piece in its
way. If you place this piece on the chess board and begin
moving it around in this fashion, you'll soon find that
there are only eight squares on the entire board that
the piece can possibly move to! A strange move, not a
very powerful piece...and interestingly, unlike the manner
of movement that would characterize an actual elephant
on the battlefield. We'll discuss more elephant moves
as we go along.
consider the queen. There were no women on this ancient
battlefield, so it's not too surprising that the companion
of the king here was the king's advisor. This advisor's
move was also very weak: He moved only one square diagonally
at a time. Not a powerful move, but often useful in guarding
the king from attack.
and modern advisor/queen
the ancient array, ready for battle
together, the ancient game was very similar to the game
we play today in terms of strategy and objective, but
did not have the powerful and quickly developing moves
of the pawn's double push, the bishop's long angle, and
especially, the all-powerful queen.
From its mysterious beginning, somewhere in the heart of Asia,
chess spread east, west, north and south.
chess pieces, as they
have come to exist throughout the world
every area chess reached, it developed local variations in
rules and in forms of chessmen. Let's take a look at one branch
of development, as chess spread down into Southeast Asia...
Page ... Next Page>>