Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Forgotten English: Chequer

Chequer: Chess; or perhaps the chessboard.
-Herbert Coleridge's Dictionary of the Oldest Words in the English Language, 1863

So I'm thinking that this is where we get our checkerboard from and checkers!

Some chess history:

Today is the birthday of Francois Philidor (1726-1795). He was a French chessmaster known for his astounding feat of playing three challengers while simultaneously blindfolded!

Chess was first played in the 1400s, although a few of the names and movements have changed over time. Such as, the king or rex, originally had a "trailing minister." This eventually evolved into the "dame" and finally the "queen." The bishop was once called the "fool." The pawn is derived from Latin pedo, a foot soldier, and is related to the Anglo-Saxon word peon as well as pioneer. The rook wasn't originally associated with the crow; it was derived from the Persian word rukh, a warrior. Another Persian word shag-mat was eventually changed to checkmate.

According to W.C. Hazlitt's Faiths and Folklore of the British Isles (1870): "Chessboards were made of wood, bone, or even ivory, the last being valued at three cows." The Catholic Church also condemned this wonderful game of chess for centuries and many chessboards were burned at the stake! Ok, maybe not the stake...

6 comments:

  1. I have seen an Aussie Grandmaster called Ian Rogers play three people blindfolded, impressive stuff.
    My chess-nut youngest daughter has often played chess with her friends with no board (they play in their heads, calling the moves out to each other). They win either the usual way or if their opponent makes an illegal move.

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  2. My husband loves chess. Thanks for giving me something to wow him with over dinner tonight :)

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  3. Wow Al, your daughters must be geniuses! I can barely play with a board let alone in my head!

    Stacy, glad I was able to give you something to wow your hubby with tonight!

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  4. Wow Al, your daughters must be geniuses! I can barely play with a board let alone in my head!

    Stacy, glad I was able to give you something to wow your hubby with tonight!

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  5. I really wish I knew how to play Chess. I'm strategically challenged tho. My daughter has a women's retreat coming up on the theme "lead with the Queen" -- because she is very useful, I guess? Sounds intriguing.

    BTW...my siter in EM lives in the Ranches -- general cross streets of Pony Express pkway and Saddlerock. One block away from a church.

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  6. LOL - shag-mat! i've got a dirty mind ;-D

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