Tuesday, 23 February 2021

Via the always interesting Language Hat, we are referred to a circumspect survey of the names for the six chess pieces in different languages, seventy-eight to be precise. Just a few noteworthy items to compare and contrast, the Rook—usually called a Tower or Fortress in many languages is a ship (Ладья́) in Russian, and while the Queen is usually a royal consort and co-equal, the piece is a vizier or viceroy in Arabic, Hindi, Turkish and Russian. The Bishop can also be interpreted as a messenger or runner—from the Latin for cursor. Metonymically, the King was originally the Persian Shah and when under attack by the opposing side, was said to be in check and during the end-game, checkmate—that is, the king is defeated.