The place of chess in the Qajar period with the emphasis on chess treatises

Document Type : Original Article


1 Assistant Professor Department of History and Archeology University of Jiroft Jiroft, Iran

2 Department of History, Jiroft University


Various writings about chess were written by people from different classes of society, including clergymen, princes, and intellectuals with religious, educational, and political purposes, which became known as "Rasāʼīl šaṭranǰīya"(chess treatises) during the Qajar period. The purpose of this study based on manuscripts and historical sources is to answer the question of what place chess had in the people's general culture in the Qajar period. For what purpose were the letters of chess written? And what are the differences between them? The findings of the research show that during the Qajar period, the culture of playing chess became popular among the ruling class and then the general public. The extent of this game led to the opinions of different people in different fields regarding this game and short and long treatises were written on the rejection, education, and acceptability of it. These works have differences in their content, form, and purpose, which shows the intensity of opinions and ideas towards chess in the Iranian society of the Qajar era. The origin of different views about chess goes back to jurisprudence, history, culture, and politics, which are discussed in this article.