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Evidence for Sáxun

1 pieces of evidence found.

Id DLP.Evidence.1176
Type Ethnography
Game Sáxun
Location Aleutian Islands
Date 1909-01-01 - 1910-12-31
Rules 8x8 checkered board. The pieces move as follows: Álix' ("old man"), x1: moves one space orthogonally or diagonally; Férsix ("fers"), x1: moves any number of spaces orthogonally or diagonally; Lúdkax ("boat"), x2: moves orthogonally any number of spaces; Slúnax ("elephant"), x2: moves diagonally any number of spaces; Kúnax ("horse"), x2: moves like a Chess knight; Layakúcan ("little boys"), x8: move forward one space, capture diagonally forward. Captures are made when a piece moves onto a space occupied by an opponent's piece. A player's Álix' is checked when it can be taken by the opponent on their next turn, and this possibility must be removed before the opponent plays. If a player's Álix' is checkmated, the opponent wins.
Content "Chess was without doubt adopted by the Aleut from the Russians. This is shown by the Russian names of the figures. Queen—férsix', Russian, fers (adopted from the Persian). Bishop—slúnax', Russian slon (elephant). KNight—kúnax', Russian kon' (horse). Castle—lúdkax', Russian, ladya or lodka (boat). The chess-board is called pislinicax, from Russian pesechnaya. Some of the names were given, however, by the Aleut as follows: The King (Russian korol) is called álix'—old man. The pawn (Russian pyeshka) is called layakúcan—little boys (plural from layakucax'). The chess figures in general are called sáxun, but this word may be derived from the Russian shakhmaty—chess game. The placement of the figures in the beginning of play is quite different from ours, as shown in figure 24. Perhaps professional chess players might understand the placement. The movements of figures are the same as with us, but they play with such speed that it was difficult for me to follow their moves. When I tried to play with them they found me a poor partner, as I ponder too much. The chess-board was put on the earth-floor of the hut and the players and bystanders were in a squatting position or lying on their bellies. In spite of the speed with which they played there occurred hot discussions over the regularity of some moves, after which one of the players stopped the game and indignantly abandoned his partner." Jochelson 1933: 65-66.
Confidence 100
Source Jochelson, W. 1933. History, Ethnography, and Anthropology of the Aleut. Washington: Carnegie Institution.

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