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Sáxun (Saxun, Aleut Chess)





Northern America


Board, War, Chess.


Sáxun is a game played by the Aleut peoples in what is now Alaska. Judging from the names of the pieces, it appears that the game was adopted from the Russians. It employs a unique starting position.


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.

Jochelson 1933: 65-66.

Ludeme Description



Murray 1913: 374.

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Jochelson, W. 1933. History, Ethnography, and Anthropology of the Aleut. Washington: Carnegie Institution.

Murray, H. J. R. 1913. A History of Chess. London: Oxford University Press.



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