The History of the Philosopher’s Game

Watch the History Guide here: 

Here are a few links to resources you can use to explore further:

From 1550-1700 a popular version of chess played in England was called The Philosopher’s Game. Instructions for the game were published in 1568 according to HJR Murray’s History of Chess book. The Publisher’s Circular of 1907 talks about a William Fulke who wrote down a list of instructions for The Philosopher’s Game in 1563, a transcript of which can be read here: 

It would seem Shakespeare, at least, called chess by the “The Philosopher’s Game” during his lifetime, because in 1611 when Shakespeare staged The Tempest, the philosopher in that play, Prospero, is instructed in Act V by the stage directions to 

“[Here PROSPERO discovers FERDINAND and MIRANDA] playing at chess]” 

Ann Moyer’s book, The Philosopher’s Game, details what she calls “the Elizabethan Rule book” for how to play The Philosopher’s Game, which she says is also known as “Rithmomachia (“The Battle of Numbers”), which combined the pleasures of gaming with mathematical study and moral education” Affiliate link for that book is here: