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“Chess is the gymnasium of the mind.”
~ Blaise Pascal (1623-1662)
A tartan with a built in chessboard! The "game of kings" has been popular since its inception sometime in the 7th century and its earliest forms was known in India as chaturaṅga (translating in Sanskrit to the four divisions of the military]– infantry, cavalry, elephants, and chariotry) and represented by pieces which would later evolve into the modern pawn, knight, bishop, and rook, respectively. The rook takes its name from ancient Persian rokh/rukh and has also been called the tower, marquess, rector, and comes. Embedded in this tartan is the 8x8 chessboard and the perpendicular routes that the rook travels. The most common of the three special chess rules is called castling—a move that is normally used to improve the king's safety. Castling is the only move that allows two pieces, the king and a rook to move at the same time and exchange places. The shape of the rook as a castle or tower appears for the first time in the 16th century as a tower on the back of an elephant. In time, the elephant disappeared leaving only the tower which came to be almost universally represented as a crenellated turret although the famous medieval Lewis stone chess pieces have the rooks represented as stern warders, or wild-eyed Berserker warriors! 🏰 ♟️ 👑 🐴 🐘
This tartan is an artistic challenge from the designer, Carol A.L. Martin:
"It's all about chess, castles and corners and one of my favourite pieces - the rook! This tartan was inspired by the fabulous game of chess. Anyone familiar with a chessboard will see that the one I depict here is not accurate. It is impossible to do this on a tartan whether it be symmetrical or asymmetrical since a chessboard is symmetrical across the diagonal. This is as close as I could come."
In the medieval game of shatranj, the rook symbolized a chariot. Persian war chariots were heavily armoured, carrying a driver and at least one ranged-weapon bearer, such as an archer. The sides of the chariot were built to resemble fortified stone work, giving the impression of small, mobile buildings, causing terror on the battlefield.
Formerly also called a tower, marquess, rector, and comes, the term "castle" is considered informal, incorrect, or old-fashioned.
For more about the origins and history of rook in chess, click the chess board.