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 on 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 over the centuries, becoming a game for two players, –also discarding the original use of dice– until it reached the one we now know, after being assimilated 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 form, but like everything else, once the peak of its development was reached, it would have to begin to decline, or transform into something more complex and complete.
The signs of its predictable demise –or should we say 'transmutation'?– are not yet massively obvious, just as it is not yet obvious to many that the fossil fuel powered car must be replaced, sooner rather than later, by a more sustainable means of transport. The old coal locomotive was useful until it became clear that a more efficient type of engine could replace it.
As with everything else, including the game of chess.
With the advent of the computer age and the development of technology, it was possible to
program a computer with the rules of chess and eventually be beaten by it as well. Here, the human element was somehow degraded. This is not necessarily a human failure, it only indicates that the vehicle has become obsolete and that the human potential requires a further challenge to be able to develop harmoniously, and not only in a purely rational direction or, to put it in current terms, using almost exclusively the left hemisphere of the brain.
This was a clear signal of the need to improve the rules and structure of the game so that it could
reflect more faithfully the characteristics of our contemporary society, which includes recent political and economic changes, as well as –especially– the awakening of a new global consciousness.
Most people associate chess with a purely intellectual, quasi-scientific activity, too serious and monopolised by mathematical geniuses. This is a very valid reason for them to avoid participation from the start, and not be attracted to learning how to play.
Paraphrasing a sentence from one of its creators: Quaternity re-introduces the human dimension into the game. It renews the joy of experiencing and sharing the ludic pleasure with family and friends, while the basic rules of the millenary invention and its ancient wisdom remain operative.
Unlike traditional chess, the chances of predicting the opponent's moves are minimal, almost non-existent. This can puzzle many inflexible minds, as I was able to verify here in England, while trying to explain the rules of Quaternity to a retired chess grandmaster, whose only discouraging response was: "But it's so chaotic!"
'Be that as it may' –a disconcerting phrase, widely used in these latitudes– Life continues its evolutionary cycle and, as Khalil Gibran once said, 'it doesn't stop at yesterday'.
This 'game' is an optimal exercise for getting rid of prejudices and fixed thought patterns, among other things. In terms of the actual game, you will find that once you have moved a piece and before it is your turn again, there will be three other moves, not just one! that will completely alter your initial plans, so you will need to be prepared to reconsider your tactics or even change your strategy completely to adapt to the new unfolded circumstances. Sounds familiar?
These and many other factors make Quaternity an ideal instrument not only for entertainment but also for the exercise of strategic, lateral –outside the box– and intuitive thinking alike.
A game that has already begun to 'conquer' the world and inspired so many people, of all ages, from Brazil to the Soviet Union and from Australia to Canada.
Will Quaternity ever replace traditional chess?
Wait, play, and see for yourselves.
J. Romano November 2018