Friday, August 27, 2010

Tourist-Trap Chess

Photo: A.P.
Photo: A.P.
Here we have something slightly different. Jerusalem's old city is full of little bazaars where Arab shopkeepers sell various knickknacks to passing tourists. Apparently "authentic" oriental chess sets are very popular.

Needless to say the actual Arab version of chess -- shatranj -- would not have queens. Instead, it would have a vazir, literally "counselor", roughly equivalent to "prime minister", or the shah's chief adviser. It certainly won't have any bishops!  What we really have here are simply Staunton-design cheap wooden sets.

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