A carved rock found in Jordan may be the oldest known chess piece
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Canadian archeologist may have found oldest known chess piece
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By Bruce Bower. November 22, at am. This roughly 1,year-old rectangular piece of rock with two hornlike projections on top resembles several rooks, also known as castles, that have been found at other Islamic sites in the region. But those other rooks date to a century or more later, John Oleson, an archaeologist at the University of Victoria in Canada, said. He presented his analysis of the carved rock on November 21 at the annual meeting of the American Schools of Oriental Research.
Surviving written accounts indicate that chess originated in India at least 1, years ago, Oleson said. Merchants and diplomats probably carried the game westward. The suspected chess piece, excavated at Humayma, located on what was once a major trade route, dates to between and , when an Islamic family owned and ran the site. It also brought together people with diverse backgrounds. Islamic texts from that time portray chess matches between Muslims and Christians and between rich and poor players.
Rooks from southwestern Asia in the shape of two-horse chariots date to as early as the late s. The two-pronged shape of early Islamic rooks may have been meant to represent such chariots, Oleson said. The possibly record-setting Humayma rook is now stored at the University of Victoria. At his home nearby, Oleson noted ruefully, his year-old grandson regularly beats him at chess.
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On these pages we would like to present a series of articles written by former M. The Mechanics’ Institute building houses the oldest chess club in the United States. It was organized in when San Francisco was a frontier community. The first meeting of the Mechanics’ Institute was held on December 11, and The Institute was incorporated on April 24, and this is considered its founding date. The early years of the Chess Room are not well documented but chess was played during the Gold Rush. It appears he left the Bay Area before the founding of the Mechanics’, so the honors for the first world class player to visit San Francisco go to Johann Zukertort who spent nearly a month in the City in July of There are conflicting accounts of Zukertort’s sojourn in San Francisco.
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AlexandraMaeJ Contact. A small, rectangular stone right , previously excavated at the Jordanian site of Humayma shown at left , may be the oldest known chess piece, a rook dating to around 1, years ago. In an abstract published in October, University of Victoria professor John Oleson announced that a piece of carved sandstone that was found in southern Jordan at Humayma may be an ancient rook — a castle shaped piece in the game.
According to Oleson, the object has the same abstract shape that other early Islamic chess pieces had. The history of chess dates back around 1, years and is thought to have originated in India, although the names and rules have changed several times over the centuries. Between and , he and his team excavated the settlement centre over the course of seven field sessions.
Viking-era chess piece bought for a few pounds to fetch more at auction. A Second World War submarine that was missing for 75 years has been found.