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  • Javier Romano

The Quaternity Culture

There is no doubt, at least for me, that the four-player chess game known as Quaternity is only the tip of the iceberg of a much larger event that has already been called the “Quaternity culture”. This game, with its peculiar dynamics and situations, encompasses and embodies principles that are compatible with new and also future developments in humanity. It seems a rather grandiloquent statement, but if we could take a trip into the future and look at the situation and go back to the present day, we would probably understand why. How far in the future? Less than a hundred years. What may look like a beggar or an infant now will be shown to be a king and a mature individual in a not-too-distant future scenario. We must help him grow up. Paradoxically, in doing so, it will help us grow. Participation creates resonance and both sides benefit. But either the call to participate is heard or not heard. There is a natural resonance-based affinity between the game and the player. And it is not necessarily because one has played chess before. I have little or no chess experience and, in fact, have never really been captivated by the game. It’s just my personal experience. But Quaternity is a completely different game. It is unpredictable by definition. This factor opens the perception to infinite possibilities. Creativity expresses itself with every move, yours, or others’. It is like life itself, represented in miniature.

Now let’s have a look at Quaternity as a cultural phenomenon and its possible stages of growth. But before that a bit of history:

“Quaternity Chess was born, after a long labour, one evening in January 2014 at a rest stop on a caravan in India — Rajastan to be more precise. As with all births a story preceded. Elements of this story were brought together by the four of us there that evening, and indeed these elements or chapters can be seen in the game itself.”

Introduction to Quaternity Chess International Rules (2015). Arif Shah



In his work “The People of the Secret”, Ernst Scott, quoting R. Collin, proposes a framework for understanding the changes in the cycles of human cultures throughout history. I found this concept very interesting and decided to consider it in order to investigate whether it could also be applied to the Quaternity culture which would then be marking at the same time the beginning of a new historical culture.


“Rodney Collin suggests that the logarithmic terms of human life, 10: 100: 1,000 should be extrapolated into the series 100: 1,000: 10,000 (lunar months) which is roughly 8, 80 and 800 years. If the analogy holds, eight years will be the period of gestation of a culture; eighty the period of its physical self-expression and 800 years the total of its life. At the end of 800 years it will die. Some men die before they are 70 or 80. Some live to be over a hundred, but the intervals given by the 10: 100: 1,000 lunar months series will represent the human average and the periods 8, 80 and 800 years will represent the average for cultures. During the eight years that a culture is in the womb, the Conscious Man who has impregnated it gathers round him a body of material, an inner circle of disciples. A Teaching is worked out. The teaching is the personality of the coming culture, it may take the form of artistic expression, or a new principle of science. Perhaps a book is composed or a code of principles. Some symbol is worked out which will be the signature of the culture till it dies. A culture’s character, like a man’s character, is formed in the womb and the whole of its life will be an expression of that character and no other. Eighty years is the period of a culture’s physical expression in the outside world, exemplified in the dazzling expansion of invention and creation which is so visible - and so inexplicable - at the beginning of each cultural period.”


“...At each stage man has to abandon the secure, the trusted, and - for his present moment - the ultimate. At each stage he has to struggle with the denying force of inertia. He has to surmount a mental obstacle as once he had to surmount biological obstacles. If he succeeds, he learns more, under­stands more, gets closer and closer to participating. It may be that he is now required to confront - and accept - the mechanism of his own evolution.”


The People of the Secret. The Hidden Tradition. Ernst Scott. Pp.26, 27, 38



The following graph below shows the conception of the Quaternity game in 2014; the publication of the first official rulebook the following year and the subsequent exponential growth in the following ‘gestation’ period. Note that the first Club Associations begin to flourish internationally in 2023, eight years later. The online application (play.quaternity.com) appears approximately halfway through the gestation period. International tournaments have been held every year, both online and in person. The rules have been refined, sometimes changed to more functional ones. Referees have been trained spontaneously during the various tournaments. All as a kind of rehearsal phase, as if preparing for a future, increasingly professional development. Quaterntiy sets have been designed and produced in various materials in different parts of the world. Strategies have been developed and implemented to promote the game in different sectors of society. A legal framework has been established to protect the copyright of the game and finally a company has been created. Thousands of games are now played online every day and the number of players is growing steadily. Members can purchase software packages to organise their own tournaments. And so on and so forth...







In the next graphic we observe the periods of 8, 80 and 800 years:







What would a new culture originating around a four-player game really imply or, on the contrary, would this game symbolise and represent the fundamental values of the new paradigm, like a kind of mandala? Is there a key to understanding its potential and future possibilities?

Perhaps E. Scott will again offer a plausible answer to these questions.


“...A great event lay ahead in man’s temporal future. It existed already in eternity and was required to be actualised in time. The event is a mutation in man’s evolutionary nature involving a new modality of experience, a new organ of perception. Though latent, perhaps, since man emerged from his ancestors, it is an organ of experience that has only intermittently been active in certain exceptional individuals. Man is due to inherit it one day as part of his total experience. For this event man had to be prepared. Certain promising races of pre-man were inexplicable extinguished and it had been conjectured that this happened because they were unable to come to terms with intellect - for them an incomprehensible and unmanageable experience. By analogy, a function giving access to a four-dimensional world might be equally disastrous to intellect based Modern Man. A certain minimum standard of soul, a certain minimum psychic specific gravity is necessary before such a radical new modality may be risked”.

The People of the Secret. A Secret Directorate? Ernst Scott. P. 51

The activation of the ‘function’ that gives access to a four-dimensional world can be both the result of an actual intense need in some individuals as well as the consequence of methodical preparation. This is extrasensory perception, the kind of vision that would complete and fulfil our human purpose in this life. This need is the urge to transcend human limitations in order to have full access to the latent potential that humankind has somehow ceased to seek. And this is where the regular practice of Quaternity could be of invaluable help. How? Let’s find out together in the game itself.


"We are in the very early stages of Quaternity growth and what I like to call Quaternity culture. It’s been a few years now but its growth it’s still at its very early stages and God willing we’ll see that continuing for many years, decades and who knows, even centuries. We are very fortunate to be in at the beginning. Quaternity is still a young game, the culture it’s still undeveloped and that means that everybody can be involved, and this is one of the most attractive things about Quaternity and anybody can play and it’s fun. Obviously, it has deeper levels but essentially, it’s a fun game because we have less deep culture and it’s open to anybody, so nobody has to be intimidated or worried or anything like that. You just play. Usually, you’d all enjoyed it and certainly it’s an extremely interesting experience. It also means that play will develop and change over time so the way people play now will develop and change and it’s another very nice feature of Quaternity and in fact everybody who plays brings their own value to the game and it’s very inclusive in that sense, so everybody has to just play and because it’s an experiential game, I mean by that, you really have to play to experience the full game. All the answers are in the game."


Opening of a Quaternity Tournament. Brazil. 2021. A. Shah



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