Skip to main content


Showing posts from November, 2022

Ethiopian Chess

A Note on Ethiopian Chess By Professor Richard K. P. Pankhurst Ethiopia deserves an horourable place in the great history of chess which appears to have been traditionally popular in court circles and among the nobility. The game was known in Amharic as Sentherej , a name borrowed from the Arabs who called it Shatranj , a corruption of the Persian Chatrang , itself derived from the Sanskrit chaturanga . In the early sixteenth century the Emperor Lebna Dengel (1508-1540) is said to have played chess as well as cards with the Venetian artist Gregorio or Hieronimo Bicini, as was related by the Ethiopian ecclesiastic, Brother Thomas of Ganget, in his conversations with the Italian Alessandro Zorzi. [i] Sahle Sellassie, the early nineteenth century King of Shoa, was another notable chess player. The French travellers Comkes and Tamisier, who visited Ethiopia in 1835-37, relate that he used to play in the evening with one of his courtiers, who, they allege, always took care to allow