Section 2 - When and Where Did Chess Start? Continued

It is worth adding that no references to chess in Sanskrit literature are known to predate the Karnamagh. Definitive information on chess in India remains fragmentary until the eleventh century, when a description concentrating on a four-handed version of the game was written by the Islamic scholar Abut-Rashan Muhammad Ahmad Al-Biruni.7 The latter was born in Khiva and died in 1048 at Ghazna; his account of India and its culture, based on his own travels, was composed in about 1030. The problematic dating of Sanskrit texts dealing with chess is discussed by Chintaharan Chakravati in his preface to the short work Sataraña:

Considering the paucity of the literature on the subject of Sanskrit [there is a necessity for] its systematic and critical study for investigating the origin and development of the game… In one manuscript the work is introduced as a discourse given by Krsna to Radha. This is evidently to prove its antiquity. But the very title seems to betray its comparative lateness. Satarañja: is not an old Sanskrit word; it is the Sanskritised form of the Persian Satrañja (supposed to be an adaptation of the original Sanskrit form Caturanga).


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