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 Post subject: Slit in Bishop's Hat?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2007 1:24 pm 
This is a silly question, know, but why is there a slit in the bishop's hat? I was once told it was to insert a piece of paper to mark a reincarnated piece...

Anyone?


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King
 
Joined: Sat Aug 13, 2005 3:13 pm
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Location: Finland
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2007 3:16 pm 
In the dawn of the Chess history in India the chess piece, we now know as a
"bishop", was identified by the name "Pil", which means an (War) Elephant.
When pieces themselves were manufactured by more utilitarian (and cheaper)
way, the descriptive detail for a Pil were the two tusks and the slot
between them, which set the Pil aside from other pieces.

As a further evidence that Chess came to Russia directly from India and not
via the Arab-European route is the fact that only in Russian language
(..well, also in Ukranian and Belorussian) the original meaning of the name
for this piece is retained. In Russian it is called "Slon", which also means
an Elephant.

To other (western) countries the game of chess was brought by the Arabs. In
Arabian the word "Pil" was somehow missheard as "Fil" and also the normal
preposition added. So the name of the piece was transformed into "Al-Fil"
(or "Alfil"). The piece still retained the slot, but the word did not have
any other (everyday) meaning. As the game was brought to Europe via the
Moorish invasion to Spain near the end of the first millenium, Spaniards did
retain exactly the Arabian tradition and even today the Bishop is known as
"Alfil" in the Spain and the word does not have other meanings.

Now we come to a very interesting part. We have a chess piece with a slot
and funny Arabic name. While we can easily relate to the names of other
pieces (King,Queen etc ) this slotted monster is unknown. So naturally
different European nations took their own convention to interpret the slot !

In Italy the name "Alfieri" was chosen. Besides having close resemblance to
"Alfil", the name means "a Flagman" (or perhaps better "Standardtbearer").
Also flags at the time were often forked - having a slot.

In Greece the word for an Officer ("Axiomatikos" ) was simply adopted as
well as in Bulgaria ("Ofitser") and similar military trail leads up to
Eastern Europe ending in the Estonian "Oda" - Heavy javelin.

Now, in France, the slot was interpreted to mean the funny, forked hat of a
Court Fool. Hence the French name of "Le Fou" for the Bishop.

Speaking about hats, the English explanation for the slot, as we all know,
was Bishop's forked head-piece. And so "Bishop" replaced the mysterious
"Aufin" around 1400. Funnily enough, the Portuguese people broke away from
Spanish and opted for "Bispo" as well. So did the Islandic folk with their
"Biskup" and I suspect that Eire's " Easpag" shares the same root.

Different again is the story for Germany. There the messengers in the battle
field used to run from troops to troops carrying commands in the end of a
forked stick. The slot was now identified with this stick and the piece
consequently called "Laufer" after the running messenger.This German concept
then spread out to Dutch ("Loper") and various Scandinavian countries
("Loepare" etc.)

So you can see that the ethymology of the "Bishop's slot" really gives food
for thought and fruitful indication on various ways the chess has spread
through western countries.

mr.mip


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 Post subject: Re: Slit in Bishop's Hat?
PostPosted: Wed Aug 29, 2007 5:25 pm 
afroncio wrote:
This is a silly question, know, but why is there a slit in the bishop's hat? I was once told it was to insert a piece of paper to mark a reincarnated piece...

Anyone?


Not at all a silly question. I've wondered about it aloud from the time I was a kid and just learned chess. Then we didn't have Mr. Mip around to enlighten us in such an excellent way :)

A nice aspect of your question is of course what people use for a queen after a promotion. In principle there's no need to change the promoted pawn for another piece, but for the sake of clarity almost all players do it.

Next to the bishop with the little piece of cardboard I also know of people using a rook reversed, but from there on there's a limited amount of distinctive possibilities with other pieces than replacing an already captured queen...


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King
 
Joined: Wed Dec 08, 2004 5:58 pm
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Location: Valencia, CA
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Sep 02, 2007 2:12 pm 
Thanks for the interesting explanation.

What are the rules in tournament play when it comes to piece selections after promotion.

If the queen is already captured do you have to use the removed queen or is it players choice?

Trivia, what is the name of the chess piece that combines the powers of the knight and the queen?

Learux


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Pawn
 
Joined: Sat Jan 22, 2005 9:58 pm
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2007 6:11 pm 
Learux wrote:
l...Trivia, what is the name of the chess piece that combines the powers of the knight and the queen?

Learux



I believe that would be a piece called an "Amazon". :)


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King
 
Joined: Sat Aug 13, 2005 3:13 pm
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2007 7:02 pm 
Yes, indeed Amazon is a Superqueen =Q+N. In the same way:

Superbishop (B+N) = Archbishop or Cardinal or Princess or Janus
Superrook (R+N) = Chancellor or Emissary or Marshal

As of the last count there are over 5500 fairy chess pieces and the number is growing daily.
Well-known families of fairy pieces are 'riders' and 'hoppers' and Chinese pieces.

I fancy the 'Russian doll' pieces, where a piece captured remains inside the capturer and may recover her powers once the capturer moves away :).


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Knight
 
Joined: Mon Feb 26, 2007 6:52 pm
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2007 6:24 pm 
A picture of these pieces can be found at http://www.superchess.nl/newpieces-Set2.htm


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2007 4:14 pm 
Very cool, is that you Jeroen in de superschaak competitie?

Learux


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Joined: Mon Dec 26, 2005 11:56 pm
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 Post subject: Re: Slit in Bishop's Hat?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 17, 2007 11:41 pm 
Jeroen wrote:
I also know of people using a rook reversed, but from there on there's a limited amount of distinctive possibilities

[1]
This year I read a case where a TD or arbitor heavily penalized a player who used an upside-down rook for a second queen.

The arbitor should be heavily penalized.


[2]
This bishop piece's slit comes from a roughly similar feature of the MITRE hat worn by some officials in some Christian churches, I think.


[3]
N + B piece name: I like "janus": from mythology, the two-faced god

GothicChess.com calls it the archbishop, which to my ear is not sufficiently distinctive from bishop.

Also, I like piece names that start with otherwise unused letters. Letters a-h are taken of course, as are P,R,N,Q,K. I like the option of notating Black pieces with lowercase letters, like p,r,n,q,k; and now j. Therefore for the regular bishop I like V for vicar.

I certainly never liked "Kt" for knight, but for many decades the majority of chess people argued it was the best solution, and history produced lots of books marred by that notation. The few who argued against Kt were right all along.


[4]
I think it is awful how half of the normal-long time control WCChampionship cycle knockout matches are determined by fast time control games (Rapid or Blitz or even Armageddon). Yes half! This is a terrible contamination.

Perhaps a better alternative would be to have tie-break games at normal time control, but replace the queen's knight with a janus.

I suggest this because Gothic Chess has demonstrated that the increased firepower greatly reduces the draw rate in chess, so much so that it usually also eliminates the endgame! We can use this information to improve the knockout format in events like the World Cup.

Anything is better than using coin flips or Blitz or Armageddon to decide the WCChampionship winners.

Robert Hubner was declared the loser in a 1980's Candidate's match (against Smyslov) by a coin flip.

Armageddon was part of the tie-break signed contract by Kramnik & Topalov. Armageddon is not even chess in my opinion, because goal of the game is radically changed for Black.

If coins and Armageddon are good enough to use, then heck the janus is good enough to try.


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Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2008 11:23 pm
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 29, 2008 4:37 pm 
I think I remember hearing that the bishop's mitre relates to St. Nicholas (Santa Claus), the patron saint of pawn brokers. Additionally the mitre is symbolized by the sight of 3 balls suspended from cords - and in a linear fashion - above the entrance to the pawn shop itself.


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 Post subject: Re: Slit in Bishop's Hat?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 2:33 pm 
This was indeed an interesting question. Thanks to the topic writer for asking this, and to other experienced members for replying to this.

I think as interesting chess is as a game, it has even more interesting and rich history behind it.


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 Post subject: Re: Slit in Bishop's Hat?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2012 12:40 am 
Pocket billiards is pretty much equally as ruthless as chess!!!!

As to the mitre, think anatomically of the heart and its mitral valve, hence its namesake!!!


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