Bīrūnī, Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad, Alberuni's India (v. 1)

(London :  Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co.,  1910.)



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  Page 184  

184                        ALBERUNPS INDIA.

As this kind of chess is not known among us, I shall
here explain what I know of it.

The four persons playing together sit so as to form a
square round a chess-board, and throw the two dice
alternately. Of the numbers of the dice the five and
p.agegi. six are blank (i.e. do not count as such). In that
case, if the dice show five or six, the player takes one
instead of the five, and four instead of the six, because
the figures of these two numerals are drawn in the
following manner:—

6                      5


so as to exhibit a certain likeness of form to 4 and i,
viz. in the Indian signs.

The name Shdh or king applies here to the queen

Each number of the dice causes a move of one of the

The I moves either the pawn or the king. Their
moves are the same as in the common chess. The king
may be taken, but is not required to leave his place.

The 2 moves the tower (rukh). It moves to the third
square in the direction of the diagonal, as the elephant
moves in our chess.

The 3 moves the horse. Its move is the generally
known one to the third square in oblique direction.

The 4 moves the elephant. It moves in a straight
line, as the tower does in our chess, unless it be pre¬
vented from moving on. If this is the case, as some¬
times happens, one of the dice removes the obstacle,
and enables it to move on. Its smallest move is one
square, the greatest fifteen squares, because the dice
sometimes show two 4, or two 6, or a 4 and a 6. In
consequence of one of these numbers, the elephant
moves along the whole side of the margin on the chess¬
board ; in consequence of the other number, it moves
  Page 184