16th April 2024

India – the birthplace of chess

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The original word for chess is the Sanskrit chaturanga, meaning four members of an army, which were most likely elephants, horses, chariots and foot soldiers. According to a German Indologist researching on the origin of chess, in the 6th  century, the Maukhari rulers of Kannauj, Uttar Pradesh, used to play chaturanga with 16 cabinet terracotta before venturing into military campaigns. Historical accounts say that during the later Gupta period there was an Indian army school where cadets were taught about warfare through terracotta pieces on ashtapada, which was again the game of chess in its primitive stage.

 

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