Friday, April 27, 2012

Play Circular Chess at Read, Write & Brew

Been wondering if the circular chess painted table at Read, Write & Brew is there for aesthetics or playing? Well, yes. Yes it is.

It's both!

Enjoy your next coffee and muffin on a one of a kind table top, or bring in your chess pieces (or borrow ours) and introduce yourselves to a whole new way of playing chess - or a whole 'ancient' way of playing chess... whichever way you like to look at it.

Read on for the background and history of Circular Chess, and the modern day rules to the game.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Circular chess is a chess variant played using the standard set of pieces on a circular board consisting of four rings, each of sixteen squares. This is topologically equivalent to playing on the surface of a cylinder.


Documents in the British Library and elsewhere suggest that circular chess was played in Persia as early as the 10th century AD, and further references are found in India, Persia, and, later, Europe. Historical rules are in sources that are little-known in the West, such as Muhammad ibn Mahmud Amuli's 'Treasury of the Sciences', so when, in 1983, Lincoln historian David Reynolds came across a reference to the game being played in the Middle Ages and set about attempting to revive interest in it, he chose to draw up a new set of rules, based around those of orthodox chess. Since that time, the older rules of circular chess have become far better known.

Historical circular chess


One set of rules for medieval circular chess is from the Persian author Amuli (1325). In this version, called shatranj al-muddawara (circular chess) or shatranj al-Rûmîya (Roman or Byzantine chess), the game uses a board with four concentric rings, each split into 16 spaces, for a total of 64 spaces. The game uses the same pieces as shatranj. The king and the counselor on the inner ring, next to each other. The next ring has the bishops, the next ring has the knights, and the last ring has the rooks. A single row of 4 pawns flanks each side of the central pieces. The king of one side "faces" the counselor of the other (a shorter path is between the king of one side and the counselor of the other than between the kings of the two sides). Movement is the same as shatranj, except that, if two pawns from the same side, going in opposite directions, end up being blocked by each other, the opponent may remove both pieces, which does not use the opponent's turn. As there is no back row, there is no promotion. A stalemate is a victory for the stalemating player. A bare king is a loss for the player who only has the king left unless, in the next turn, the player can also impose a bare king, at which point the game is a draw.

If you're not into learning new games (with all the new rules, and learning processes, and rule referencing involved) and instead like to jump straight into a good old tried and tested game, we also have a Backgammon table all painted up and ready for you to enjoy too. Bring a friend, bring your lucky pieces, and make an afternoon of it.


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