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Saturday, July 3, 2010

Do you know the etymology of the word 'chess'?

Hello Everyone,

Nearly every European language derives its name for chess from the Arabic word for the king, 'shah'.

The main exceptions are Spanish and Portuguese which take their terms 'ajedrez' and 'xadrez' respectively directly from the Arabic name of the game 'ash-shatranj'.

In Latin, the international language of the Middle Ages, the term 'scacus' was used originally for the king, but as time passed it was used for any board game piece.

In plural, 'scaci' was used for the game of chess itself, and the romance languages still use plural forms e.g. 'les echecs' (French), 'gli scacchi' (Italian). The English word, chess, comes from earlier French forms, 'escas' and 'esches'.

From Alexandra Kosteniuk's
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