misc

Said the Elephant to the Bishop...

"What's this piece called?"
"A Bishop. What is it in Spanish, Sophie?"
"Alfil"
"And in French, Agathe?"
"Fou"

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.

Christmas Greetings 2015

You won't be surprised to hear that we won't be meeting
on Friday 25th Dec or Friday 1st January, so the neet meeting
will be Friday 8th January 2016

Thanks for all your support and best wishes for Christmas and New Year

Our Christmas card features a chess puzzle; see the comments for hints!

The chess family tree

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.

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Games that are almost but not entirely unlike chess

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

Exchange Chess

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 middlegame.

A sample game:

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