Chess in China

China has a long history that includes being the original source of ancient games, such as go and mahjong.

Reports by European of the 17th and 18th centuries mention chess in China. For instance, in Jesuits’ reports of Chinese everyday life, games were not omitted. In 1615, Selenus – the Duke Augustus of Brunswick-Luneburg – could read about Chinese chess in Metteo Riccci’s and Nicolaus Trigault’s books. In chapter 2, Selenus quotes Tribault and translates the passage about chess. 

Thomas Hyde (1694)

It was Thomas Hyde who in his book on Oriental games (1694) gave an account of Chinese chess in correcting inaccurate terminology from Jesuits accounts. For instance, he mentions that "There are no emperors, kings or queens in Chinese chess, so one has to use the right terms". Hyde also describes the singularities of the board and the pieces. He states that there is no similarity between European and Chinese chess pieces, as the latter ones are round ivory counters with inscriptions. He even gives a diameter of one inch (2.5cm). He then describes the 'yellow river' in the middle of the board, separating the two armies.