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The enigma of the origins of chess has puzzled historians for decades. Some claim that the chess game elements branched from different sources, which evolved and transformed into modern chess.

is one of the oldest board games. It was played in ancient Egypt, reportedly before 3000 BC. Senet (means “passing”) is a race game, which has five to seven pieces per player. The board is made up of 3×10 squares. There is also a version with 8 linear squares followed by 4×3, the “twenty-game”. In senet, players advanced according to the results of throws of little sticks or knuckle bones (the predecessors of dice). Some historians believe that the game of senet evolved to depict divinities and events in the afterlife. Both, senet and chess are board games, which are played by two players, on the board divided into squares with pawns as pieces.

Liubo is a mysterious ancient Chinese board game. Reportedly, the earliest surviving remnant of liubo dates from the Shang Dynasty circa 1500 BC. The name liubo comes from Chinese (liu = six, bo = sticks). Most historians believe that liubo was a battle game. The board is argued to be a cosmological, a calendar and a divination instrument. The rules of Liubo are still unknown.

Liubo may be the predecessor of Xiàngqí, also known as Chinese Chess. Some may point out how the board design of liubo lends itself to a Xiàngqí-like grid of squares. XiangQi is played on the intersections of a 9×10 board. Opposite sides are separated by a central “river”. Each camp has a “palace” which is constituted by 3×3 intersections at the center of South and North sides. The armies are formed by 16 men each. Red plays at South and (generally) starts the game.

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Chess Daily News from Susan Polgar
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