"What's this piece called?"
"A Bishop. What is it in Spanish, Sophie?"
"And in French, Agathe?"
Therein lies a story...
The old Arab form of chess had a piece called the elephant, which, unlike most elephants I know, could jump two squares at a time, diagonally. And 'al-fil' means the Elephant in Arabic (Pil in Persian).
But if you have a lump of stone, or wood, and you want to show that it is an elephant, you might carve two curving lines on it for tusks, or make two points on it to show the same.
Last week the juniors saw the game of Shogi played. It's the sort of chess
played in Japan, and by our new friends Kaz and Hatzune. How is Shogi
related to the sort of chess that we normally play?
When I first looked at the history of Western Chess, I thought that the
original game was Chaturanga, a game played in India before 600AD.
Chess as played in other countries seems to come from the Arab form of
Chess called Shatranj. And that is what I used to tell people.
The replacement of pieces in Exchange Chess reminds me of the game of
Japanese Chess, properly called Shogi, the generals' game. The flat
pieces are marked with kanji characters that are confusing for most people
brought up with the Roman alphabet, but I do own a German-made version
of the game which uses pieces marked with their powers of movement. http://exeterchessclub.org.uk/content/portable-shogi-set
The U14s were mad keen to play Exchange Chess all day, and lobbied for a competition...
DB Pritchard's Encyclopedia of Chess Variants calls this Tandem Chess or
Double Bughouse Chess, but I've only ever heard it called Exchange Chess
in the UK. The game is played with competing teams of two players, and
captured pieces are recycled with 'drops', so the play remains in the