DESIGN HAS GOVERNED THE GAME OE CHESS- WITH SOME NOTES ON THE STAUNTON CHESSMEN J. M. OLDFIELD Chess, the most cosmopolitan game in existence, which boasts the greatest quantity of literature and literary allusions, and perhaps one of the longest and most noble of family trees, is a particularly good example. So far before the Christian era has this game been played that its invention has been at various times seriously ascribed to Japheth, Shem, Solomon, the wife of Ravan King of Ceylon, Xerxes, Palamedes, Hermes, Aristotle, Semiramis, the Brahmin Sissa, and Shatrenscha, the famous Persian astronomer. It is, in fact, of Hindu origin, and, while it remained an oriental pastime, was a "Battle Game" par excellence. European modes of thought, together with a misappre hension regarding the meanings of the piece-names, gave it later a "moral" aspect. At first, however, the choice of pieces and the mode of play were primarily dominated by the idea of a battle field where, under equal conditions, two or more antagonists might test their skill in strategy. The king (Persian Shah) gives his name to the whole game. His counsellor (the Farz or Ferzthe latter a Parsee word) stands next to him in influence. Their army (chaturanga) is divided, after the oriental fashion, into four ranks (angas) of elephants (al-fil) warriors in chariots (rukh), horses, and foot soldiers. The game was always directed to the confounding of the opposing King. Shah matthe king helpless. Diversity in the rules of play throughout the country, The soundness of the design of the Staunton Chessmen has established this as the standard design wherever the European form of the game is played. Only slight modifications have been necessary for quantity production. FROM THE ASPECT OF INDUSTRIAL ART IT IS INTEREST ING to trace how the form of the instrument used in playing a game has influenced the style of play, and to see how often it has happened that the skilful modifica tions of the designer have been reflected, through the development of the instrument, in the progress of the game. Ancient Indian Chessmen Abysinnian Chessmen Modern Indian Chessmen X L Kurdish Chessmen Russian Chessmen E

Industrial Arts en | 1936 | | page 39