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- Chess History and Reminiscences - 38/38 -


style and furnishes an example of his notions of courtesy and argument.

Forbes in a reply to Alpha having pledged his truth and honour that the account of the moves and pieces in the copies of the Shahnama were precisely as he had given them, Linde after honour has (!!)

Forbes' statement runs as follows:

9th November, 1855, (1860, p. 56,) Zu Antworten. "My answer to Alpha is that the M.S.S. from which I made (not derived) my translations describing the moves of the pieces are precisely those I mentioned, viz., No. 18188 and No. 7724 preserved in the British Museum. At the same time I briefly consulted some nine or ten other M.S.S. of the Shahnama in the British Museum as well as Macan's printed edition, yea more, I consulted the so called copy of great antiquity alluded to by Alpha before it came to the Museum. Well, in all of these, with, I believe, only one exception, the account of the moves does occur exactly (!) as I have given them, always excepting or rather excluding a couplet about two camels (die namliche nicht in die Bude des Tachenspielers passten es weiter unten) Und nun geht es echt fesuitisch weiter, Alpha denies the existence (!) (A hat in Gegentheil Hyde I, p. 63 Citirt) of the account of the moves in every copy of the Shahnama. I, on the other hand pledge my truth and honour (!!) Linde), that the account of the moves does occur in every one of the manuscripts as well as in Macan's printed edition (Vgl. App. p. x. lin. 6 unt.). The misconception on the part of Alpha arose from a very simple (:) circumstance. In Firdausi's account of the game the story happens to be interrupted (:) in the middle of the insertion of two other long stories, as we often see in the Arabian nights.

"In matters of this sort it is only the truth that offends.

"(Man vergleiche hierzu noch seine Schnapserklurung der Weisheit des Buzurdschmir, p. 54.)"

Forbes also adds p. 56. And I am quite ready to point out the passage in all of them to any gentleman and scholar who may have the least doubt on the matter.

Historians of the 7th, 8th and 9th centuries who lived before Masudi, deemed the game worthy of notice and recommendation, Razi and Firdausi thought so too, and Hippocrates and Galen before them refer very favourably to its advantages, describing it as beneficial in many ailments, and we may reasonably assume that they at least, as well as the poets and philosophers before them, back to the fifth century B.C. deemed the game passing in their minds, and the invention of which they were wont to speculate on, as one of some interest, beauty and significance and worthy of appreciation then as it has been in succeeding ages.

Once more, no example is given of his Kriegsspiel, Nerdspiel, Wulfervierschach, Trictrac, or any Spiel or game implied under the word Bretspiel, the last named being moreover a general term for games played on a chess board, rather than a distinctive appellation for a particular species of game or indication of the pieces or value of forces employed in it.

------

NERDSPEIL

Masudi, born at Bagdad 870, died at Cairo in 959, is Linde's great authority. Linde quotes or deduces from him the following:

"Die alten Hindus wohlten einen Konig uber sich Burahman Dieser regierte, bis er starb, 366 (sic) Jahre, Seine Nackkommen, heisen Brahminen Sein Sohn et Bahbud unter dessen Regierung das Nerdspiel (Gildermeister ubersetzt duodecim scriptorum ludus) ein bloss auf Zufall und nicht auf Scharfsinn beruhendes Gluckspiel erfinden wurde regierte loo Jahre, Andere sagen, dass Azdeshir ibn Balek das Nerdspiel erfund."

Again "Ardashirer Ibn Balek, der Stammvater der letzten persischen Dynastie, erfund das Nerdspiel, das daher nerdashir, (also nerd Ardashirer) genanut wurde."

The copious Index of Linde's work of 4,098 items, also refers Nerdspiel to page 6, but the word does not appear there and the above is all he tells us about his Nerdspiel.

Among the 540 diagrams contained in his work of 1,118 pages, as already observed, there is no representation of Nerdspiel.

The writer hopes to submit an analysis of these diagrams, and of the contents and conclusions of Linde's work in a supplemental pamphlet of 64 pages, price one shilling, in order to notice the manifold inconsistencies contained in it, as well as the wholesale aspersions upon the English historians.

Linde's Book. It includes notice of Hoyle's games, Complete Gamesters, Magazines and trifling publications, down to A.B.C. for a Lady and whatever we may think of the connexion of events and lucidity of his arguments, it may be pronounced an extraordinary monument and memorial of industry.

------

CHESS IN ITALY

Forbes thinks it probable that chess was known in Italy before or during the ninth century, and suggests that it was probably received there from the Saracens rather than the Greeks. The story of Peter Damianus the Cardinal, (Ravenna) who lived 1007 to 1072, and his reproof of the Bishop for playing chess, is given by both of the writers, Forbes and Linde.

NOTE. Swiss in vol. 11, page 77, on the authority of Verci, says that the following adventure happened to a Bishop of Florence, who, according to Ughelli (Ital Sac tem 3), was Gerard, who died in 1061. It is told by Damianus, Bishop of Ostia and Cardinal in his epistles, and is confirmed by Baronius and Lohner. These two prelates were travelling together, and on a certain evening when they arrived at their resting-place, Damianus withdrew to the cell of a neighbouring priest, in order to spend the time in a pious manner, but the Florentine played at chess all night among seculars or laymen, in a large house of entertainment. When in the morning the Cardinal was made acquainted with this, he sharply reproved the prelate, who endeavoured to excuse himself by saying that chess was not prohibited, like dice. Dice, said he, are prohibited by the canon laws; chess is tacitly permitted. To which the zealous Cardinal replied the canons do not speak of chess, but both kinds of games are expressed under the comprehensive name of Alea. Therefore, when the canon prohibits the Alea, and does not expressly mention chess, it is undoubtedly evident that both kinds of games, expressed in one word and sentence, are thereby equally condemned.

The Bishop who was very good-natured stood corrected, and submitted cheerfully to the penance imposed on him by the Cardinal, which was: that he should thrice repeat the psalter of David, and wash the feet of twelve poor men, likewise bestowing certain alms on them, and treating them to a good dinner, in order that he might thus, for the glory of God and the benefit of the poor, employ those hands which he had made use of in playing the game.

It must have taken some considerable time before the game became so common as to be played at houses of entertainment by seculars or laymen.


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