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IN FOCUS

CHESS, LUDO, SNAKES & LADDERS - ORIGINS IN ANCIENT INDIA

Chess, Ludo, Snake & Ladder, Origins in Ancient India

Indoor games form an integral part of our pastime at home. During this period of social distancing, while we are spending quality time with our families, it's interesting to know that our most loved and favorite games, "Chess", "Snake & Ladder" and "Ludo", trace their origin back to ancient India.

India has a rich history of traditional games, played indoors and outdoors. These traditional Indian games were structurally designed to sharpen and develop a lot of skills like logical thinking, building strategy, concentration, basic mathematics, aiming, observational and calculation skills.

Chess - Chess is one of the most ancient games of India. It is interesting to note that there is an indication of board games similar to Chess in the archaeological sites of Indus Valley civilization. It is a complex and probably one of the best strategy games in the world. It was initially known as 'Ashtapada' (Sanskrit for "having eight feet", i.e. an 8×8 squared board).

Later in the 6th century AD during the rule of Gupta Empire it came to be called 'Chaturanga' (four divisions (of the military: infantry, cavalry, elephantry, and chariotry.). It was called 'Shatranj' by the Persians who visited India. In Europe, 'Chess' evolved into roughly its current form in the 15th century.

Ludo - Ludo is another very ancient game of India called 'Chausar' or 'Chaupad'. One of its first and most prominent reference is in the epic Mahabharta, with the game played between Duryodhana and Yudhishtra. In the 6th century this simple game of strategy and moves came to be known as 'Pachisi'. It was played on an embroidered, cross-shaped fabric that served as a board, with painted stones and cowrie shells. There is a depiction of this game in the caves of Ellora built between 600 to 1000 AD. In 1896 the game was modified by British to use a cubic dice with a dice cup and patented as 'Ludo' in England.

Snakes & Ladders - Another classic game from ancient India, the game of Saanp Seedhi originated as a game of morality - Gyan Chaupar or Mokshapat. Through Mokshapat children were taught that their actions have consequences, both good and bad. Though the invention of the game has been attributed to Saint Gyaneshwar in the 13 th century AD, it is believed to have its origins as early as 2nd century AD. The game was also known as, Vaikunthapali, Paramapada Sopana Patam and Parama padam in different parts of the country. The game of Gyan Chaupar found its way to England towards the end of the 19 th century and became 'Snakes and Ladders' and in 1943, the game was introduced in the USA as 'Chutes and Ladders'.

In Story

Chess of a Thousand Colours

Chess of a Thousand Colours

Brian Bristles was an artistic kind of a boy. He looked at everything as though it were a beautiful painting, and, in the blink of an eye, he could paint anything at all, filling it with magic and colour.

One day, Brian and his grandfather went to spend a weekend at the palace of the Marquis of Castling. The Marquis was an old friend of Brian's grandfather; and was a very famous chess player. When they arrived, Brian went into a large room and found a lovely chess set, totally hand carved, and with its own marble table which acted as the board. The chess set caught Brian's artistic eye, but he felt that the pieces were too uniform. The blacks and whites of the board amounted to a rather plain set.

So, that night, - paint box in hand - he tiptoed from his room to the chess room. There he spent the night painting each piece in the most colourful way. When the pieces were done, he painted a beautiful scene on the marble chessboard. Brian hoped to give a beautiful surprise to his grandfather and the Marquis.

However, the next morning, when the Marquis discovered that his pieces had been covered in a thousand colours, instead of being pleased, he was very angry. That afternoon he had a very important match to play. With all the pieces coloured and the board covered with painting, it would be impossible to play chess without being able to know which pieces and squares were black or white.

The boy felt very hurt. But Brian Bristles was a true artist, and he wasn't about to give up easily. A little while later he went to his grandfather and the Marquis, and asked their permission to rectify what he had done to the chess set. Knowing how ingeniously artistic the boy was, they decided to give him a chance, so Brian went off and spent hours alone with his paints.

When he was finished, shortly before the match was about to begin, he called for the two men and showed them his work.

What a beautiful chess set it was now! On one side, the board and the pieces had been decorated with dozens of stars and moons of all sizes and colours. On the other side the decorations were suns, clouds, and rainbows. It was done so well that the whole set now had an unmatchable sense of order, harmony and imagination.

The two grown-ups looked at the chess set and smiled. It was obvious that Brian Bristles would become a great artist.

[Source - Bedtime Stories]

UNSUNG HEROS

The Youngest Chess Grandmasters of India

The Youngest Chess Grandmasters of India

Chess as we know originated in India many centuries ago. Chess revived in India when in 1988 India got its first Chess Grandmaster - a 19-year-old young boy called Viswanathan Anand.

Today Indian chess fraternity is thrilled with 65 Grandmasters being from India. As the game of chess keeps getting younger and younger four of the 10 youngest Grandmasters are from India - D Gukesh is the 2nd, R Praggnanandhaa is the 4th, Parimarjan Negi's 6th, and Raunak Sadhwani is the 9th youngest.

D Gukesh started to play chess at a tender age of six-and-a-half years. At the age of 12 years, 7 months, and 17 days, Indian prodigy Gukesh Dommaraju became the second youngest grandmaster in chess history in January, 2019.

R Praggnanandhaa or 'Prag' started playing chess with his elder sister Vaishali, who is a Woman Grandmaster herself. In 2018 Praggnanandhaa became the then second youngest grandmaster in chess history, at the age of 12 years, 10 months, and 13 days.

Parimarjan Negi earned the grandmaster title back in 2006 when he was just 13 years, 4 months, 22 days old, and also the second youngest grandmaster then. Later, having found new passion in science he is now a PhD student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Raunak Sadhwani has achieved the feat of becoming India's 65th Grand Master at the age of 13 years 9 months and 26 days in October 2019. A child prodigy Raunak is a shy and respectful kid who transforms into an aggressive and determined player at the chess board.

Mature beyond their years, the excitement about these young players is their consistency, hard work and quality of chess they are able to play despite their youth.

INTER ACTIVITY

WORD POWER

Match the games and find them in the grid.

M O N O P O L Y Y A M
V S F Q I O F C U I L
J C P S C R A B B L E
E R K H T I G K L U D
G F E H I G U N R D T
S S A B O A H P K O G
S D G X N M D A U P T
K U N O A I H I B I L
A N E S R G L O X C Q
E U J F Y B M Z R T A
Ludo Call out the name of the game when you have only one card left
Scrabble Draw and guess the word
Chess Brightly coloured board in bright yellow, green, red, and blue
Jenga A word building game
Pictionary Remove and pile up the wooden pieces before they fall
Uno A game of buying and trading
Origami A checkered 8x8 board with black and white pawns
Monopoly Art of paper folding

BRAIN TEASERS

BRAIN TEASERS
BRAIN TEASERS

In Formation

HIDDEN GEMS OF INDIA

HIDDEN GEMS OF INDIA
Silambam - An age-old Martial art of India

Hidden gems means something which is extremely outstanding and not many people may know about it. India is a land of ancient civilizations, rich cultures and traditional games. It is truly a land full of Hidden Gems.

India has a long history of martial arts. One of the most famous martial arts of India is Silambam. It is a weapon-based Indian martial art, originating in modern-day Tamil Nadu and is estimated to have originated in Paleolithic stone weapons era dating way back to 10,000 B.C. when Paleolithic and Neolithic men used it as a method of defence and attack against animal and human enemies.

Silambam's main focus is on the bamboo staff, the length of which depends on the practitioner. Its name is derived from the Tamil word 'silam' meaning 'hill' and the Kannad word 'bamboo' meaning a long staff, a special type of bamboo which was obtained from the Kurinji hills of Kerala.

Silambam moves are a combination of footwork, spinning, wrist movement and motion of the stick making it a key component of the art. The sheer speed, flexibility, agility, hand-eye coordination, kinesthetic awareness, balance, strength, muscular endurance, and cardiovascular stamina makes it one of the most famous forms of martial arts.

Indian martial arts suffered a decline after the British colonists banned Silambam along with various other martial arts of India, though the ban was lifted after India achieved independence. Today, Silambam is widely practiced Indian martial art in India and Malaysia where demonstrations are held for cultural shows.

DO YOU KNOW

  1. Scrabble' original name was "Lexico" before becoming 'Criss-Cross Words' and eventually 'Scrabble'.

  2. The name 'Jenga' is derived from the Swahili word ‘kujenga’ which means "to build."

  3. A computer named 'Deep Blue' was the first to win a World Chess Championship against the reigning world champion Garry Kasparov.
  1. Maps, real bank notes, compasses, some metal tools and other supplies were hidden in the game of 'Monopoly' and sent to the British POWs, which helped them to escape the Nazis during World War II.

  2. Ernő Rubik, the creator of the game 'Rubik’s cube' took a full month to figure out how to get the cube realigned, once he had twisted the cube.

IN ENGLISH

Homonyms

    Solitaire:

  1. A card game played by one person
  2. A dull grey North American thrush noted for its beautiful song
  3. Extinct flightless bird related to the dodo
  4. A single precious stone e.g. a solitaire diamond

    Cricket:

  1. A game played with a ball and bat by two teams of 11 players; teams take turns trying to score runs
  2. Leaping insect; male makes chirping noises by rubbing the forewings together

    Dice:

  1. A small cube with 1 to 6 spots on the six faces; used in gambling to generate random numbers
  2. Cut into cubes

    Shuttle:

  1. Badminton equipment consisting of a ball of cork or rubber with a crown of feathers
  2. Bobbin that passes the weft thread between the warp threads
  3. Public transport that consists of a bus or train or airplane that flies back and forth between two points

ANSWERS

WORD POWER
WORD POWER

Ludo: Brightly colored board in bright yellow, green, red, and blue.

Scrabble: A word game building game.

Chess: A checkered 8x8 board with black and white pawns.

Jenga: Remove and pile up the wooden pieces before they fall.

Pictionary: Draw and guess the word.

Uno: Call out the name of the game when you have only one card left.

Origami: Art of paper folding.

Monopoly: A game of buying and trading

BRAIN TEASERS
Savvy:

Carrom (also spelled carom) is a tabletop game Indian origin. The game is usually played on a board made of plywood. A carrom set contains a striker and 19 pieces in three distinct colors; 9 white, 9 black and 1 red the queen.

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