In the introduction to the book "Quaternity Chess", Arif Ali-Shah wrote that this game always retained some secret within it - something magical, even mystical, occupying the minds of kings, generals and mystics alike.
“…A Celtic legend narrates of a magical chess game played by King Arthur and his knight Owen.
As soon as the parties began to move the pieces made of gold, a hot battle broke out between their armies, with the side of the winning player overcoming the other army. Finally, Arthur grabbed the pieces and squeezed them so hard that they turned into dust and the battle ceased…”
Such legends remind us that chess was originally a tool of magic. Sinologist Joseph Needham associates the origin of chess with ancient astrology and divination. Needham describes a 6th Century Chinese divination de...
There are two types of experiences offered by the Quaternity Chess game. One of them is that of an observer of the game, i.e., an external one. The other one is that of a participant.
From the point of view of an observer, the Q-chess allows to watch the process of the elevation of an ordinary human mind to its higher modes of operation. An ordinary mind means a mind which operates in its lowest mode, i.e., a mind which has not been exposed to a refinement process. An ordinary mind is driven by ordinary (natural) faculties. The mind may be brought onto higher modes of operation through the activation of its inner faculties. In an ordinary person, the inner faculties remain in their latent state. There are four inner faculties which often are marked by four different colors.
Unlike traditional Chess, Quaternity Chess cannot be predictable in mathematical terms.
In this game you are not required to only exercise your linear, logical thinking.
A good ludic performance depends on the balanced alternation of the two main brain functions and a 'little more'.
This ‘little more’ would be a sort of sixth sense, intuition or even extra sensorial perception (ESP) that can be in tune with the flow of what one might call “the wind of Divinity”, (Kami-Kaze, in Japanese).
This ‘mysterious’ element, albeit omnipresent, can manifest itself during a game at any moment, sometimes in a very conspicuous manner, influencing the players’s intentions and so radically altering the direction of the game in unexpected ways.
To be open and in tune with this intangible force can oc...
It is remarkable that the civilization that gave the world the very concept of re-incarnation also contributed with a board game that was to extend its influence to the four corners of the world.
Perhaps also ironic because this game started, paradoxically, as a game for four players (the Game of Four Seasons), and evolved through the centuries into a game for two players as we now know it, after being absorbed by the Persians, the Arabs, the Greeks and finally making its way into Europe via Moorish Spain.
We are now quite privileged to be witnessing a revival, a form of natural evolution of that ancient game. It survived for a long time without altering its actual form, but like everything else, once the peak of its development was reached, it had to start to decline.
"Chess has evolved together with the ever-changing world."
"Al-Biruni was the first to describe the Indian war game for four players in his work India. It happened much later, in 1031, when shatranj was widely known in the East.
The dispute arose around a purely hypothetical question: Did al-Biruni see a game for two players in India or he did not? Also, was the game for two players preceded by a game for four players? The last question arose because the game for four players became known to Arabs four centuries later than the game for two, a fact that gave birth to a hypothesis that the game for four players was a later version. However, if we follow the development of the race games with dice, there is no doubt that at first there was a game for four players. In fact, many modern games w...
"...Among the most sharply etched thinkers of pre-Islamic Central Asia, and one of many who helped shape the world of those who followed, was Bozorghmer (531–578). Like many later Central Asian thinkers, Bozorghmer of Merv tried his hand at many fields. When a visiting Indian ruler introduced the Persian court to the Indian pastime of chess, Bozorghmer proved his quick mastery by beating the guest at his own game. He then proposed certain ways the Indian game could be improved and, for good measure, invented the game of backgammon (nardy) as a kind of reciprocal gift to the Indian. This encounter marked the launch of both modern chess and backgammon into the Persianate world, whence they spread to the Arabs and eventually to the West. Four centuries later, another native of what is now the border are...
I came across this interesting painting a few years ago, when I've started to play Quaternity Chess with some friends in Southern Spain. It caught my attention because it clearly seems to be a record of one of the Chess precursors mentioned by Arif Ali-Shah in his brilliant introduction to "Quaternity Chess, International Rules" (2016).
There are only 8 pieces per player. The position of the colours is different: black opposes green while in Quaternity black oposses white, and the board has a grid of 8 x 8 squares, instead of 12 x 12.
I quite like the colours as well as the costumes, resembling maybe monks, mixed with princes and perhaps poets, which makes you wonder if this ancient game was played by different social casts in India, as well as in Persia and the Arab world later on.