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Evidence for Main Chator

1 pieces of evidence found.

Id DLP.Evidence.1288
Type Ethnography
Location Sarawak
Date 1849-01-01 - 1849-12-31
Rules Played on an 8x8 board with pieces with specialized moves: Bidah (8): can move one space forward, or one space diagonally to capture; Tor (2): can move any number of spaces orthogonally; Gajah (2): can move any number of spaces diagonally; Kudah (2): moves in any direction, one space orthogonally with one space forward diagonally; Mautri (1): can move any number of spaces orthogonally or diagonally; Rajah (1): can move one space orthogonally or diagonally. When first checked, the Rajah may move like a Kudah, or move two spaces in any direction. Players capture pieces by moving onto a space occupied by an opponent's piece. Castling may occur in two separate moves: the Tor moves next to the Rajah, and if the Rajah is checked, it may move to the other side of the Tor. Promotion of Bidahs occur when they reach the opposite edge of the board, but only immediately if they reach the Tor's square. Pawns reaching any other square must make two moves along the before they can be promoted; the first must be a lateral move, the second may be lateral or diagonal. .Player wins when they capture the other player's king.
Content "I HAVE been engaged in watching some of the head men amusing them selves at Chess, which is a favorite game with them. They are really skilful in playing it after their own fashion. . It is called main chatur, or game of chequers. The King is the rajah ; the Queen mautri, or minister; the Bishop, gajah, or elephant; the Knight, kudah, or horseman; the Castle, tor, or chariot; and the Pawn, bidah, or foot-soldier. The check is ex pressed by asah, and checkmate, by mati. So far it resembles the nomenclature of other Malay countries. Crawford informs us that the Javanese are hardly acquainted with the game, save by report, which certainly §. far to shew that it was not introduced by the Hindoos ; whilst the alays are passionately attached to it, having in more recent times acquired it from the Telingas, who, from the evidence of language, must have taken it from the Persians, the names being in that language. For instance, “chatur,” the name of the game, is Persian, and not Indian ; “sah,” check, is the Persian word “shah,” and the only way in which the Indian Islanders can pronounce it; “bidah,” a Pawn, is but a corruption of “piadah,” a foot-soldier; and “mat,” is the true Persian word for checkmate, borrowed by ourselves, and more correctly by the French. These are Crawford's reasons, and very substantial ones, not only to prove that Chess was not introduced by the Hindoos into the Archipelago, but that they have no title to the invention of that noble game; and, as he adds, “Sir William Jones acknowledges that no account of such a game exists in the writings of the Brahmans.” I can see little to oppose to this reasoning; and I think it may be pronounced that Chess, having been invented in Persia, travelled thence to India, and, subsequently, from the Telinga country to the Archipelago. I am unacquainted with the game as played by the Persians; but, as neither Marsden nor Crawford describes the Malay method, which differs considerably from that of Europe, I shall here insert it. The board is placed in the same way, and the Queens stand to the right of their respective Kings, which brings each Queen opposite to her adverse King. This is the only difference in placing the pieces. The moves are precisely similar to our own, with the exception of the King's. The King, when checked for the first time, has the right of making the Knight's move, or to move two squares. After this sally, he is reduced to the same powers as a European King. This first move (in which he can of course take), on being checked, alters the game considerably, as one great object then becomes to prevent the check of your own King early in the game, and to gain a check of your adversary. The usual, and apparently the most approved, method amongst them, is to open the game from the Queen's Castles Pawn, and, pushing out the Queen's Knight's and the Queen's Bishop's Pawns, to manoeuvre the Queen behind them. It appears to me that all this greatly cramps the game, in some measure, renders it more tricky, and prevents the real strength of the various pieces from being fully developed, in order to guard against a check; for it will be evident, if the King be once checked, he is deprived of one great advantage which your adversary still holds, Castling is not allowed except in two moves, the first being the Castle's move up to the King, and on the King receiving a check, he can exercise his right of jumping to the inside of the Castle. The remaining difference in the game is the play of the Pawns: a Pawn, moved out, cannot pass an adversary's Pawn, his first move being restricted to one square in this case; and a Pawn having been pushed up into the adversary's game, he cannot call a piece except on the Castle's square, and the Pawn, arriving at the other squares, being obliged, before he gains a Queen or piece, to make two extra moves; for instance, should a Pawn have arrived at the Queen's Bishop's square, he may gain a Queen or other piece by moving to the Knight's square; and lastly, to the Castle's first square, or, at his option, to the Knight's first square, and then, optional, either to the Bishop's second or the Castle's second, or else to the Queen or King's first, or Queen's first and King's second. In fact, this is a delay rather than a prevention, as, from the number of squares which may be taken, it is extremely difficult to guard them all. I have played several games, and made many inquiries, but have not yet discovered any other difference in the Bornean and Euro pean games." Brooke 1849: 246-247.
Confidence 100
Source Brooke, R. 1849. 'Chess in Borneo.' The Chess Player's Chronicle 9: 246-247.

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