Talk:Rook (chess)

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old talk[edit]

Among serious chess players, "castle" is not the correct term for the rook. To say otherwise is misleading, to say the least. We should not sacrifice accuracy at the cost of accomodating every possible usage. We want this to be an _accurate_ article on the rook...the 2 rule books given are the standard arbiters for correctness. What am I missing here? Political correctness?? Revolver 00:38, 5 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Any decent dictionary includes synonymous definitions of "castle" and "rook". "Serious chess players" are not the only chess players, and the use of "castle", while it may be deprecated amongst "serious" chess players, is not an error. - Nunh-huh 02:36, 5 Jun 2004 (UTC)
Any "decent" dictionary includes fallacious and incorrect definitions of mathematical terms and other specialised terms. General dictionaries are full of crap. Think what you want. Whatever. Revolver 03:31, 5 Jun 2004 (UTC)

The issue is, "which is the most authoritative source?" When you want to know what the precise terminology of something is in mathematics, do you give more credence to a math textbook, or to the American Heritage dictionary? When you want to know the meaning of a word in biochemistry or physics, do you take the word of Webster's over a college textbook? Even if lots of people like to use the dictionary definition? Does the fact that the word "castle" is NEVER used in chess ANYWHERE to refer to a rook have any bearing on this? Or is this because chess is "just a game", not an academic subject? If there was universal agreement and usage in chemistry or mathematics on a term, I doubt anyone would argue that an "alternative" term was acceptable, just because "some people use it" or "it's in a dictionary". Revolver 03:50, 5 Jun 2004 (UTC)

I added the entry to read "[the term castle is not used] among chess players", I believe, (despite the opinion of various dictionaries and the "popular" usage of people who have little personal experience with the game), that this is truly an accurate and verifiable fact. This use of terminology is not just held by "serious" players, it is also held by casual users and amateurs. 128.111.88.244 06:33, 5 Jun 2004 (UTC)

Is the idea that rook refers to an elephant accurate? I have seen it in many places, but Britannica says that bishops were originally elephants, and rooks originally chariots. Some searching does very little to clear up the confusion, providing Arabic and Hindi words for both. Is there anyone better informed who can clear this up, or at least summarize the controversy? Josh

What is says in the article now is, as far as I know, accurate: the bishop replaced the fil (which derives from the Persian for "elephant"); the rook takes its name from the Persian rukh (or however you want to transliterate it), "chariot". There's no controversy about it to the best of my knowledge. --Camembert 13:37, 5 Apr 2005 (UTC)
this idea is in the war elephant article, it says "The rook is thought to be originally a tower on an elephant. The bishop was also originally an elephant." I was wondering if it may just be there definition is not 100% certain.say1988 22:29, Apr 16, 2005 (UTC)

The below comment moved from my user page:

Hi. re. my edit of the Rook (chess) article that gave 'Castle' as an alternative word for the rook. I advocate it to be mentioned early on in order to gel with the term 'castling' which appears very early in the article. Duncan.france 03:43, 5 Apr 2005 (UTC)
I don't have any problem with the name "castle" being further up the article than it currently is; maybe the current explanation of it could be moved up to where castling is first mentioned (or the mention of castling moved down to the explanation of the name "castle"). I do feel, however, that to start the article with a sentence like "The rook, also called the castle..." is to suggest the terms are equivalent in every way, which isn't really the case. I mean, I don't want to rehash the argument above or to come across as some awful snob, but the noun "castle" is simply not used in modern chess literature in English, and I think we should be careful to avoid giving the impression that it is. --Camembert
It really sounds like folk etymology to me. In the 10th century Arabic chess (shatranj) literature, the bishops are elephants, and the elephant are bishops. There are various theories as to how we got the names we got in the various European languages, but there is little room for argument as to the names we started with. Shimmin 00:02, Apr 17, 2005 (UTC)

Use of "castle"[edit]

Just thought I'd mention that in "Wizard Chess", as played in the Harry Potter stories, the pieces are always called "castles", never "rooks". I don't know whether JK Rowling made a deliberate decision to do this, or whether she calls them "castles" in regular chess as well. 86.143.51.72 14:15, 26 February 2007 (UTC)

Hopefully she uses 'castle' not 'castles' which would be more ambiguous as it refers to the special action of castling. The use of castle by JK Rowling would make a lot of sense however as in a book you are trying to paint a picture with words, and a rook certainly looks like a castle. ChessCreator (talk) 14:17, 11 March 2008 (UTC)
In any case she does use the word "rook" in the seventh book. 91.105.19.169 (talk) 22:53, 17 May 2008 (UTC)
She just calls it a castle because she isn't a serious chess player. I doubt it has any literary significance. 86.21.225.156 (talk) 23:19, 19 August 2009 (UTC)

Quote: Referred to by inexperienced players as a 'castle' -- Snobbery, surely?[edit]

While this may or may not be the historically correct name for the piece, why then is the move castling so named? Surely the people who coined this name where "experienced" player? At the moment the thing reads like snobbishness; equivalent names in other languages are similar to "castle", e.g., castell in Welsh, turm in German, torre in Italian, and so on. Reflecting the accurate etymology is all very well, but the name "castle" for the piece would appear to be just as correct as rook, even if it isn't as ancient. Cheers Neale Monks (talk) 17:52, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

Well, no knowledgeable person calls the piece a "castle" in English these days. Bubba73 (talk), 19:13, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
OK, I fixed it. Bubba73 (talk), 19:19, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
No, this doesn't really fix the issue. Lots of players call it the "castle", just perhaps not the ones you play with. And the person who invented the "castling" move obviously called it a castle, or it would be called "rooking" or something. Thus why say only non-players (and by implication from your comment here, the ignorant) call the thing a "castle" when quite obviously lots of players call it that as well. Cheers, Neale Neale Monks (talk) 08:32, 22 July 2008 (UTC)
This has nothing to do with the players I play with. The reference cited specifically says "non-players", and that was the Oxford Companion to Chess, the most highly-regarded encyclopedia of chess. If you want to dispute that, you need to come up with a good reference/source. Bubba73 (talk), 15:28, 22 July 2008 (UTC)
The Oxford Companion doesn't say what you altered the sentence to say. The Oxford Companion doesn't say that the use is depreciated, it specifically says that it is used by "non-players", an exact quote from the reference. Bubba73 (talk), 15:31, 22 July 2008 (UTC)
But it's still bad logic. I play chess; I call the piece a "castle"; does that make me a non-player? I have no objection to your references saying which word is more correct, but I think you're being a bit unrealistic saying that only non-players call the piece a castle. Perhaps better to say professional players eschew the word, because surely you accept lots of recreational players use the term all the time. And you're still not explaining why if the term isn't used by players, then why is there a move called "castling" and not "rooking". Moreover, why do equivalent words in other languages call the thing a tower or castle, and not a rook? I think the article should explain this. Cheers, Neale Monks (talk) 16:44, 23 July 2008 (UTC)
At least some of that is covered in the history section. Castle is a verb for the act of castling. If you've heard people use it to mean the piece, then that is original research. I chesked several references, and none of them say what you say, and they are all reliable sources and verifiable. Bubba73 (talk), 17:32, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

(uninent) Here are the exact quotes from the references: The Oxford Companion to Chess says "In English-speaking countries non-players sometimes call it a castle, but all speak of castling." Sunnuck's Encyclopedia says "The piece has been known as the Castle, Tower, Marquess, Rector, and Comes. The term Castle, which was widely used in England in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, was a translation of the German word Turm... ". Bubba73 (talk), 19:47, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

And the term castling must have come from three or four centuries ago when the piece was called the castle. Bubba73 (talk), 23:11, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

I have a suggestion - why not write "less experienced players" or something of the like. The word "non-players" sounds like you're implying "people who do not play chess" when what you mean to imply is "people who do not play chess regularly", or "inexperienced players". To say that because a book uses the term "non-players" means all others should is a logical fallacy similar to saying that because a philosopher was correct about one thing means we should assume he was correct about everything else, and repeat what he said word for word. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 99.28.10.24 (talk) 00:18, 4 June 2010 (UTC)

This has been discussed at length on at least two previous occasions. The current wording was agreeable to everyone. All of the chess books that I could find that address the issue (only three or four) are directly quoted in the footnote. The vast majority of modern chess literature just uses "rook", period. Only a few address the issue and they all say that "castle" is wrong or obsolete. The "non-player" term comes directly from the most authoritative reference book on chess, The Oxford Companion to Chess. Bubba73 (You talkin' to me?), 03:38, 4 June 2010 (UTC)
Right, but what I'm saying is that just because they used the term "non-player" does not mean that's a good term to use. It's quite obvious that what they meant was "players with little experience". I mean, why would they call the rook anything at all, if they're not playing, or a "non-player", as it's phrased in this oh-so-authoritative work of literature? If they're calling the piece anything whatsoever, it's very likely they're playing chess. They just have very little experience and aren't educated about the names of the pieces. The point is, I think the term "non-player" is not an accurate way of phrasing what you mean, and I think you could convey the same message the book you mention was trying to convey more accurately by using a terms like "rookie players" or "inexperienced players". —Preceding unsigned comment added by 99.28.10.24 (talk) 18:06, 5 June 2010 (UTC)
We have debated the wording at least twice before and this is what both sides agreed upon. It is reliably sourced and verfiable. Without a good reference for saying what you want, it would be original research. Bubba73 (You talkin' to me?), 18:38, 5 June 2010 (UTC)
...See, this is why I don't edit wikipedia. You're all literalists. Everything must be copied word for word or it's unverifiable original research. Oh well :/ —Preceding unsigned comment added by 99.28.10.24 (talk) 07:47, 26 June 2010 (UTC)
You're right - it is an encyclopedia, not a blog. Bubba73 (You talkin' to me?), 14:16, 26 June 2010 (UTC)
While from what I can tell (or hope) this debate between "Bubba73" and anyone who's sane is over, I'd just like to say that it's absolutely pathetic that you would cling so firmly to a literal, word for word copy of a source, even if it's obvious that the word is inaccurate. You can play chess while calling a the rook a castle. These two are not mutually exclusive. Therefore, by very, very simple logic, it is inaccurate wording to say the rook is only called castle by "non-players", because players are capable of calling the rook a castle. It is absolutely, completely pathetic that from what I can tell, you've been fighting edits by reasonable people for months, all to keep up an edit that is based on logical fallacy. It is equally pathetic that you would state that not following a source word for word would drop the accuracy and authoritativeness of this article down to that of a blog, even if logic a child could follow points to this source being wrong. If you haven't already, you should stop wasting your time with this nonsense and contribute to articles on Wikipedia that legitimately need contributions. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 99.28.10.24 (talkcontribs) 18:17, 18 February 2011

Some players do call the rook a castle. Maybe they are inexperienced, maybe not. There may be a quoted reference about "non-players" referring to the rook as a castle, but the originator of the quote is just wrong. Just delete the whole section. It's nastily worded and not really important. If new players must be corrected about the rook/castle controversy, there are better ways to word it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Drinkycro (talkcontribs) 22:11, 22 July 2010 (UTC)

The originator of the quote is the The Oxford Companion to Chess. Do you have a reliable source to suggest the OCC is wrong here? Note that on wikipedia, whether something is verifiable is more important than whether it is true. Winston365 (talk) 22:17, 22 July 2010 (UTC)
I don't know of any "controversy" over the issue in any reliable source. As far as the wording, it has been changed many times and this is the most recent consensus. Bubba73 (You talkin' to me?), 03:21, 23 July 2010 (UTC)
And everything the article says about it is well-sourced - see the first two footnotes. I've looked at dozens of books and every one I've found that addresses the issue is referenced. And I haven't seen any reference dated since about 1950 that says castle is correct. Bubba73 (You talkin' to me?), 03:38, 23 July 2010 (UTC)

I think a compromise on this would be much better. After removing the term "non-players" in no way does this article imply that castle is the official or formal term for the rook. I think it may be important to put forward that officially "castle" is archaic. This can be done in a less antagonistic way. The quote used to justify labeling users of the term castle as non-players is simply wrong, and actually quite a bit offensive. As to the consensus on this issue: the fact that people keep removing this term shows that there is no consensus reached yet. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Drinkycro (talkcontribs) 12:31, 23 July 2010 (UTC)

The term "castle" might be "old-fashioned" but it is widely used today as attested to in the Oxford English Dictionary and numerous other current dictionaries, books and webpages.. It's prominently used recently, for example, in the chess scene in the Harry Potter movie -- "Hermione, you take the Queen's castle" as I recall. Bubba73 approaches this issue from the world of formal chess players and in that world the term "castle" apparently is viewed with contempt. Thus, he continues to call the term "incorrect" and cites in support only chess sources. Of course, this article is not limited to the official chess world, but rather how the term is used today in the English language. On that, there is no question; the term "castle" is a synonym of "rook", although perhaps not everyone uses the term. See citations here. I don't think the "non-players" reference is 100 percent accurate, but I actually proposed that as a compromise. It could be dropped in favor of just "old fashioned" and noting that it is disfavored in the official chess world. Ecphora (talk) 13:26, 23 July 2010 (UTC)
Harry Potter is fantasy - not an authoritative source. How about saying that "castle" has been obsolete for decades and leave the footnotes as they are? Bubba73 (You talkin' to me?), 14:01, 23 July 2010 (UTC)
None of the major dictionaries cited call it "obsolete." It is not obsolete. You continue to look at this only as official chess terminology and ignore the current English usage. Ecphora (talk) 14:08, 23 July 2010 (UTC)
How about:
The old-fashioned term "castle" is still used colloquially, but is not accepted officially.
Ecphora (talk) 14:13, 23 July 2010 (UTC)
The New Oxford American Dictionary says it is "old-fashioned". Dictionaries copy most of their stuff from earlier editions without change. And just because someone uses a term incorrectly doesn't mean that it is correct. A word is defined by how it is used by knowledgeable people. Knowledgeable people don't call a rook a castle. Bubba73 (You talkin' to me?), 15:15, 23 July 2010 (UTC)
I agree with Ecphora: make a note that Castle is not used officially. Get rid of the non-players nonsense! No one has ever done any study of Castle vs Rook usage in players vs non-players. The quote used to justify this inclusion is absurd. It adds nothing to the article and makes it seem pompous and condescending. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Drinkycro (talkcontribs) 18:51, 23 July 2010 (UTC)
I agree that the "non-player" wording isn't ideal, even if it is from an authoritative source. It suffers from the No true Scotsman fallacy. I think describing it as "old-fashioned" or "obsolete" may be the best way to go, although I'm not really sure which one I prefer yet...leaning towards "old-fashioned" Winston365 (talk) 23:36, 23 July 2010 (UTC)
The "non-player" wording is from a source also published by Oxford that happens to know a hell of a lot more about chess than does the OED. There's nothing wrong with the wording as it was. The claim that "today it is rarely, if ever, officially used in the literature" is just bad. It's true that "castle" is never used in the literature today (especially if "today" means in the last 60 years), but "officialness" has nothing to do with it. Little if any chess literature is "official". Chess literature is just what literate chess players read and write. Literate chess players simply do not call the rook a castle, and have not for a long time. If the article is to include anything about "official" use we need a reference. Quale (talk) 01:17, 24 July 2010 (UTC)
A source for the "official" terminology can be The Official Rules of Chess by Schiller, The US Chess Federation Official Rules of Chess, and Official Chess Handbook by Harkness, which Bubba73 states use only the term "rook" and do not mention the term "castle". Ecphora (talk) 15:22, 24 July 2010 (UTC)
I added these references and separated out the references for colloquial use. Ecphora (talk) 15:29, 24 July 2010 (UTC)
That's a textbook example of WP:SYNTH which is not allowed. You are inferring (correctly, but that doesn't really help) that the fact that the Laws of Chess don't use "castle" for "rook" means that castle is not an official term. There's no reason for any inferences here. We have references that directly state that 1) a castle is also called a rook (OED), 2) that this usage is old-fashioned (NOAD), 3) this usage is by "non-players" (Hooper & Whyld), 4) that this usage is mistaken (Pandolfini), and finally 5) that this usage is rare in "modern" chess literature, where modern is circa 1947 or 1959 (Lasker and Horton). Quale (talk) 18:36, 24 July 2010 (UTC)

Three official rules books call it a rook and do not mention the term castle (per Bubba73). To say that it the official name is rook (and not castle or anything else) thus is directly supported by the sources and plainly is not WP:SYNTH. Let's not hyper-lawyer this. I think saying that the term "castle" is not accepted officially gets the point accross better than the "non-player" reference which seems to be causing the problem. Ecphora (talk) 20:35, 24 July 2010 (UTC)

Many more than three rulebooks use "rook" and don't even mention "castle" as a name for a rook. I listed the few that even mention "castle", and they all say it is a mistake, used by "non-players", obsolete, etc.
The article currently says that it is "used by some". But I have searched many books and spent a few hours, and I haven't found any reference that it is used at all, except mistakenly or by non-players. We need a reference that it is used, or it needs to be changed. Bubba73 (You talkin' to me?), 00:54, 26 July 2010 (UTC)

Castle[edit]

The refusal to use the term "castle" in this article is simply wrong. Wikipedia is a general encyclopedia. Like it or not, the piece is commonly known today as a "castle." For example, OED 2d ed under "Castle, def 9." states: "Chess. One of the pieces, made to represent a castle; also called a ROOK." Denying this is misinformation and a violation of WP:NPOV. Ecphora (talk) 17:16, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

The obsolete names are listed in the lead section. The Oxford American Dictionary says: "informal Chess old-fashioned term for Rook". I'll add that. Bubba73 (talk), 17:22, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
OK. How about replacing "Although the piece was widely known as the castle in 17th and 18th century England, (Sunnucks 1970) this term is no longer used by chess players (Hooper & Whyld 1992)." with: "Although the piece is informally known as a "castle", chess players refer to is as the "rook" (Hooper & Whyld 1992)"? Ecphora (talk) 17:51, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
The OED (which includes American usage as well) does not indicate that "castle" is obsolete; it's not (even though professionals might not like the word). That term is a flat out synonym of "rook," standardly used and should appear so in the lead in bold. Anything else is misleading. The fact that so many editors have raised this point is significant. Ecphora (talk) 18:42, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
Is the OED2 the most recent edition? I thought there was a newer one. There are a lot of people putting wrong ideas into chess articles, look at the history of rules of chess, for instance. I think the current wording with the footnote explains it. Bubba73 (talk), 18:53, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
I took the exact quote from the OED on line, which is the 2d edition (the latest, with all additional supplements and updated on line quarterly (see http://www.oed.com/pdfs/oed-brochure.pdf). You may need to go through an institution to access it. There is no reason to hide the term in a footnote. The lead could read as follows:
A rook ( , borrowed from Persian رخ rokh, Sanskrit rath, "chariot") or castle is a piece in the strategy board game of chess. "Rook" is the standard term used by contemporary chess players. <FN> In the past the piece was also called the tower, marquess, rector, and comes (Sunnucks 1970). Each player starts with two rooks, one in each of the corners nearest their own side.
Ecphora (talk) 19:20, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
That would definitely be misleading because Sunnucks has two sentences saying that "castle" was used in the past, and was used in the 17th and 18th centuries, just as the article says. The Oxford Companion has the quoted part about non-players using the term, but a few months ago people objected to the "non-player" part. The encyclopedia by Golombek also says that castle is an old term and has nothing about it being used now, but it is not cited in the article. Bubba73 (talk), 19:29, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
The Official Rules of Chess by Schiller, The US Chess Federation Official Rules of Chess, and Official Chess Handbook by Harkness say nothing about the rook being called a "castle". Bubba73 (talk), 19:35, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

The question in not what term the chess world prefers. My proposed language states that. The question is whether "castle" is a current synonym used by the general population. It is according to (1) the OED on line, (2)The American Heritage Dictionary (2000) (http://www.bartleby.com/61/90/R0299000.html), (3) Encarta ("same as rook") (http://encarta.msn.com/dictionary_/castle.html}, (4) Mirriam Webster Dictionary (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rook%5B3%5D}, etc. The OED is accepted as the most authorative source on standard English. I see no justification for refusing to acknowlege the fact that "rook" and "tower" are currently synonymous. Ecphora (talk) 20:05, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

"Rook" and "tower" are not currently synonymous - see the references. At one time the article did say that non-players used that term, but people objected to that. I've given seven reliable sources for what the article currently says. I think the text and footnote are accurate. I think the OED probably copied that from eariler versions without updating it. The New Oxford American Dictionary is based on OED and is from 2005. Do you want to bring it up at Wikipedia:WikiProject Chess? Bubba73 (talk), 20:24, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
Good idea, I will. Ecphora (talk) 20:33, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

Hooray! Let's go through wikipedia replacing the correct technical terms with ones that the general population are more comfortable with! 86.21.225.156 (talk) 23:27, 19 August 2009 (UTC)

mistake to call it a castle[edit]

We've been through this before. It was discussed at depth on the chess project talk page. There the overwhelming consensus was that it was wrong to call the rook a "castle". I checked the archive of the talk last night.

I have over 200 chess books, none of them use "castle". Two of the books give "castle" as a valid alternative name, but both of them are over 60 years old. There are only a few modern books that address the issue and they all say it is wrong. These are all listed in the references in the footnote for that paragraph.

  • The authoritative Oxford Companion to Chess says it is sometimes used by "non-players". That wording was objected to by someone, who changed the text to read the opposite of what the source says.
  • The Encyclopedia of Chess by Anne Sunnucks explains how castle was widely-used in England in the 17th and 18th centuries (along with some other terms). This is the 21st century.
  • Highly respected chess teacher and writer Bruce Pandolfini in Let's Play Chess says "...mistakenly called the Castle". That terminology directly from the source was objected to.
  • I have many years of Chess Life magazine, and it doesn't use the term "castle" to mean rook.
  • I have millions of chess games in a database and they all use "R" for the rook - not "C" for castle.

It is very clear that knowledgeable people don't call the rook a "castle". Bubba73 (You talkin' to me?), 16:09, 15 April 2010 (UTC)

How about moving the phrase about it being incorrect or a mistake to call it the "castle" to the footnote? Bubba73 (You talkin' to me?), 16:51, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
No such consensus was ever reached. The consensus that was reached and the text that has existed for months now was that "In the past the piece was called the castle, tower, marquess, rector, and comes (Sunnucks 1970), and non-players still often call it a "castle"." See here.
Notwithstanding this agreement, you have changed the text to state that the term “castle” is a “mistake” or “incorrect”. That is simply not true; as I have pointed out ad nauseam, the Oxford English Dictionary and numerous other major dictionaries state that a rook is also called a “castle” and do not state that such term is a mistake or incorrect in any way. Chess aficionados apparently may perceive the term “castle” as awkward or childish. Like it or not, however, a significant portion of the English speaking public calls it a “castle”. That term is simply a name and a widely accepted name; it is not “incorrect” or “mistaken.”
I propose, therefore, the following, which recognizes that “officially” the piece is called a rook:
The piece has been called the castle, tower, marquess, rector, and comes (Sunnucks 1970), and is still sometimes popularly (but not under official chess terminology) called a "castle

Ecphora (talk) 20:46, 15 April 2010 (UTC)

If you check back two days in the history, someone objected to it saying "non-player", which is directly from a major source. The word "mistaken" comes directly from another source. It is a mistake to call it a "castle" in English in modern times. Have you ever wondered why real castles don't move, but a chess "castle" does? There was a consensus against your wording. Bubba73 (You talkin' to me?), 21:02, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
You keep assuming that the official use of the term in the chess world is the only "correct" name. That's not true; the fact that the "chess world" refers to it as a rook does not make the common and widespread use of the name "castle" wrong. The fact that the OED and numerous other standard dictionaries state that it is also called a "castle", without reservation, should end the matter. Ecphora (talk) 22:34, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
No. What the OED says is nearly irrelevant, as there is no evidence that they know anything about chess. The OED is not the best source for any terminology in a technical field, and that includes chess. We don't go to the OED for correct definitions of medical terms; in the same way the OED is not a definitive reference for American football terminology. This talk page has been through this before and you aren't covering any new ground. I think Bubba73 is far too deferential to the old complaint about the "non-player" language. It was solidly sourced, so it can go in the article. We shouldn't let vocal minorities hold articles hostage in opposition to solidly sourced statements. Quale (talk) 23:00, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
The New Oxford American Dictionary says it is informal and obsolete. The other dictionaries probably just retained definitions from decades ago. And if your concern is that "castle" is used outside the chess world, we can go back to the "non-player" wording (from the Oxford Companion to Chess), although someone objected to that a day or two ago. I don't see that we should bend over backwards to use a term that is only used by people who don't know what they are talking about. Bubba73 (You talkin' to me?), 23:34, 15 April 2010 (UTC)
And speaking of dictionaries, I just went through something similar with checkmate - whether or not it means "the king is dead". Someone had a dictionary saying that but there are plenty of references saying that is wrong, see Checkmate#Origin of the word. So the dictionary was wrong in that case too. Bubba73 (You talkin' to me?), 23:47, 15 April 2010 (UTC)

Statements like “What the OED says is nearly irrelevant, as there is no evidence that they know anything about chess” show a fundamental misunderstanding of the function of Wikipedia. Quale's statement that we should disregard these sources violates the basic principle stated in Wikipedia:Verifiability, that:

”The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth—whether readers can check that material added to Wikipedia has already been published by a reliable source, not whether editors think it is true.”

The statement that the word “castle” is a synonym of “rook” appears in reliable source after reliable source. It would be difficult, if not impossible, to find a source about the meaning of English words more authoritative and reliable than the OED. When you add that source to the long list of other dictionaries, the verifiable sources that “rook” and “castle” are synonyms is overwhelming. There is simply no justification for deleting that absolutely verifiable fact from a Wikipedia article, and certainly not because you “think it’s wrong.” If it makes any difference (and it doesn’t), I might add that, based on my experience and on extensive web research much of which I previously cited, the statements in dictionaries that “rook” and “castle” are synonyms, are absolutely correct. (That is why Wikipedia is based on verifiable sources, not on what an editor “knows”.)Ecphora (talk) 01:30, 16 April 2010 (UTC)

We have verifiable sources saying that it is wrong to use "castle" for rook. These sources are more authoritative on issues of chess than general dictionaries are. Every chess book written in the last 60 years that I could check that addressed the issue says that "castle" is wrong. (Books going back at least as far as 1956 don't use it at all.) The two that say "castle" is OK are over 60 years old. Over 95% of the books never use "castle" or even address the issue. And things based on your research are original research. Let's don't use what you think is true. Bubba73 (You talkin' to me?), 02:11, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
1. Bubba73, this discussion is going in circles and starting to break down. To begin with, you started arguing from your personal knowledge ("It is very clear that knowledgeable people don't call the rook a "castle"."). My statement that in my experience the OED et al. are correct was made in response to Quale's statement that the OED (and other standard dictionaries) are wrong (his personal view) and I did so to point out that such personal views, including my own, are not relevant on Wikipedia (which I specifically said).
2. You continue to cite only chess-related books and thereby ignore the fact that the word "chess" is part of the English language and its meaning is not controlled by specialists. According to the OED, the most authoritative source on the English language, and numerous other standard dictionaries, it is a synonym of "rook". The sole "authority" you cite that it is a "mistake" to call it a "castle" is a book titled "Let's Play Chess." I haven't seen that book, but my local library shelves it under "juveniles" and I strongly suspect that the context of the statement was "under the offical rules of chess... it is a mistake." You have no authorities whatsoever that in ordinary English, the name "castle" is a mistake; to the contrary, there is overwhelming authority that it is an accepted term.
3. It seems to me that the current text adequately summarizes these views:
The piece has been called the castle, tower, marquess, rector, and comes (Sunnucks 1970), and is still sometimes popularly (but not under official chess terminology) called a "castle".
Ecphora (talk) 13:37, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
No, it is not my "personal knowledge". The "non-player" terminology comes directly from The Oxford Companion to Chess. The "mistaken" comes directly from Pandolfini. The "17th and 18th century" comes directly from Sunnucks. The "obsolete" comes from NOAD. Bubba73 (You talkin' to me?), 17:09, 16 April 2010 (UTC)

Here's my two penneth. I don't think Ecphora can justifiably claim that "castle" is in anyway a "synonym" for "rook" - synonymous implies interchangeable and that clearly hasn't been the case here for well over a century. Any chess writer or professional who used the term "castle" with a straight face these days would be laughed out of town. However, I don't think it's helpful to use language like "mistakenly" or "incorrect." Why not "obsolete" or "old-fashioned". Those words seem to me to be a much more accurate description of the situation we have now. Casual or non-players, most likely from the older generation, do sometimes refer to it as a castle, even in 2010 - there's no getting away from that. Although no professional or strong amateur would use the castle term, I wouldn't be surprised if even a few older club players did, in a similar way that some still stubbornly insist on using descriptive notation (which they are allowed to do still in local leagues, at least in the UK.) These people are not wrong, just old-fashioned. Personally I would favour a wording along the lines of, "sometimes referred to (though not by professional players) by the obsolete term "castle.") Of course one could argue that a person using an obsolete word is using it "mistakenly", but this seems to be a contentious phrase and I really don't think it's one that has to be in the article.--Pawnkingthree (talk) 19:10, 16 April 2010 (UTC)

OK, I revised the sentence to use "obsolete", which is in one of the sources. As an alternative, the sentence could be eliminated, but the footnote containing information should be left in. Of course, I don't know of any reference saying that "castle" is still used by anyone, but as a scholastic coach and tournament director I know it is true. But they do a lot of things - call a knight a "horse", set up the board incorrectly, call a set a board, set up the king and queen reversed, not to mention not understanding many of the rules of chess, especially checkmate, stalemate, en passant, castling, touch-move rule, time control, threefold repetition, etc. Just because some people do something incorrectly doesn't mean that it is correct, or needs to be mentioned in the body of the article. Bubba73 (You talkin' to me?), 19:24, 16 April 2010 (UTC)
This is much better, but I think Pawnkingthree's suggestion of using "old-fashioned" is more accurate than "obsolete," and I have substiuted it. Ecphora (talk) 09:34, 18 April 2010 (UTC)

Although the History section of the article says "This usage was common in the past ("The Rook, or Castle, is next in power to the Queen" —Howard Staunton, 1847)", in fact Staunton uses "Castle" only once, in that sentence on page 5 of The Chess-Player's Handbook. Staunton uses "Rook" (and more often just "R.") exclusively for the remaining 500+ pages, which doesn't really support the "common" claim, although it may still be true. H.J.R. Murray wrote that "rook" was the original name of the piece in English, with "castle" coming into use later alongside the original term. He also notes (in 1913) that castle appeared to be out of fashion as a name for the rook, and that it might have been at its peak usage in the 18th century (in other words, about 50 to 100 years before Staunton). The uses of "castle" given by Murray are primarily in poetry and arts rather than writings either by or intended for serious chess players. Quale (talk) 11:19, 18 April 2010 (UTC)

Here's an interesting reference-
David Hooper, Ken Whyld, The Oxford Companion to Chess (1984), p. 59 (“CASTLE, (1) a colloquial name for the rook”)
Ecphora (talk) 14:58, 18 April 2010 (UTC)
Here is an interesting and more recent reference: "In English-speaking countries non-players sometimes call it a castle...". The Oxford Companion to Chess, Hooper and Whyld, 2nd ed. (1992), p. 344. Bubba73 (You talkin' to me?), 15:12, 18 April 2010 (UTC)
Exact same thing. Are we done with this? I'm ok with the current version. Ecphora (talk) 15:19, 18 April 2010 (UTC)
  • Let me give my input on this "Concise Oxford English Dictionary", has this definition for castle, " 2.Chess, informal Old-fashioned term for Rook2. You see it says old-fashioned.--yousaf465' 07:40, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
That is what NOAD says too (as stated above). Bubba73 (You talkin' to me?), 15:05, 23 April 2010 (UTC)
So I think we should follow the Oxford's corpus. --yousaf465' 15:44, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
The term "old-fashioned" from the Oxford dictionary is in the text. The "non-players" wording is from the Oxford Companion to Chess. I think chess masters know more about chess than lexicographers do. Bubba73 (You talkin' to me?), 16:32, 24 April 2010 (UTC)
On lighter note, they even described it as a pig, while on same note you may describe a Queen as a female donkey. :) --yousaf465' 09:41, 26 April 2010 (UTC)

Rook as an elephant again[edit]

Hello again,

A few months ago I asked about the book "The history of chess" by Forber (1860) as a realible source and you guys told me it wasn't. Well, I bought Murray (1913) book and it state at page 79-81 that the piece with rook's move was called elephant in some variants. The most notable is chaturaji (four handed chess) (p.58) where the piece with rook's move stand close to the king. I think you should put this in this article. Regards, OTAVIO1981 (talk) 12:59, 2 October 2010 (UTC)

I didn't follow the earlier discussion. What you say is true, but that is in a variation that was played 1,000 years ago, and it was not a predecessor of modern chess (i.e. it was a different branch in the lineage). Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 15:40, 2 October 2010 (UTC)
Ok. I agree with you about lineage. However, this article is about the piece. The term marquess wasn't used by any predecessor of modern chess but is mentioned. Regards OTAVIO1981 (talk) 18:23, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
According to the encyclopedia by Sunnucks, it was used. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 18:32, 4 October 2010 (UTC)
I am not opposed to it being mentioned that it is an elephant in that four-sided variation. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 19:19, 4 October 2010 (UTC)


"Arocco" means (stay into a fortress) "rocca" that probably may to come also from gotic language rukka. Example Io mi sono aroccato con le mie truppe. traslation: I am into castle with my army. So you have excluded castle without evidence. The problems borns why you want to find only a version of chess. And you have a univocal idea of origin. The oriental chess we have alfil and elephant chariot I think that there are too much elephants. For experience in the past nothing was standard. Probably Alfiere is not Alfil (Alfido) And the India in past was Asia..... And you are sure that it is arrived in Europe with arabs ? it don't exist sources that tell that. Why no during Roman Empire ? Or during Seleucid or Partian period ? Or commonly widespread before ? There are Roman mosaics and frescoes with chessboard. The only word of oriental origin in the italian chess is "Shah" but also that is not sure. About "Mat" (latin "mactare" that mean kill probil. indo-european root. However the word Shah is known in western from Achemenide empire. V century BCE Serse the king of the kings or better shahanshah Andriolo —Preceding unsigned comment added by 84.223.58.99 (talk) 17:33, 9 March 2011 (UTC)

According to H. J. R. Murray, Marco Girolamo Vida about 1525 wrote a poem in Latin about chess, and, determined to avoid barbarism, described the rook as an elephant with a tower (armored howdah) on its back. I suppose he was trying to explain how a tower could go charging around the battlefield. The poem was extremely popular, and to my knowledge decorative chess sets with elephant and tower for rook were available quite late in the twentieth century. J S Ayer (talk) 16:52, 25 March 2011 (UTC)