Mock History

What is Mock History?

Checkers, chess and dice all have a history that goes back hundreds of years.

The earliest known dice were part of a 5,000-year-old backgammon set found in southeastern Iran. The earliest checkers — 3,000 years old — were found in the city of Ur in what is now Iraq. The beginnings of chess can be traced to India from before the 6th century A.D.

So, with all three of these games existing in parallel and not too far from each other, why had no one thought of rolling dice to move a checker like a chess piece before? Mock history takes a look at why. But since there is little archeological evidence on this topic, we have had to rely on guesswork, conjecture, and sometimes outright lies. ... OK, mostly lies ... Fine ... all lies.

Truth is, we made it all up (almost all) but hope you have fun reading it.

If you want to join in the fun, use #mockhistory on Twitter ... and mostly we forget all about checkers, chess and dice, and just poke fun at history.

Earlier tweets on mock history

1872: Susan B. Anthony arrested for illegally moving a checker like a knight, violating 14th Amendment. #mockhistory #neverhappened.

Also in 1872: Mary Celeste found adrift with no crew, and none of its chess boards, checkers or dice to be found. #mockhistory

1797: Coleridge writes "Kubla Khan," fueled by a dream. He didn't finish the poem or get to the part about MetaCheckers. #mockhistory

1399: Monk working for Philip the Bold plans page showing Death playing a game with checkers, chess, dice. Dies of plague. #mockhistory.

1906: Russian mystic Rasputin absent-mindedly rolls dice on a checker board but is not inspired to invent MetaCheckers. #mockhistory.

1475: Roll of dice lets Francesco di Castellvi pay bar tab so he can play Narciso Vinyoles in oldest recorded chess game. #mockhistory.

1786: Mozart drunkenly plays game of dice while in midst of game of chess, passes out before the checkers arrive. #mockhistory.

1925: Hemingway wrestles, boxes, plays checkers, chess, dice. Writes it down. Loses manuscript when valise stolen by whore. #mockhistory.

TRUE: Henry VIII lost bells of St. Paul's on a dice roll. 1536: Becomes the first to roll a queen( ...'s head). #mockhistory.

c. 1100: Unknown Frenchman 1st to play checkers on chess board. Unknown, for not seeing how to play chess w/checkers. #mockhistory.

1950: John Nash opts to exclude MetaCheckers from paper on game theory/equilibrium b/c it hadn't been invented yet. #mockhistory.

1934: Rube Goldberg spends hours to get dice to knock over chess piece, move checker, but fails to invent MetaCheckers #mockhistory.

1925: John Scopes fined $100 for teaching that checkers could move like chess pieces, enraging William Jennings Bryan. #mockhistory.

1846: Henry David Thoreau jailed for not paying taxes in opposition to war, slavery and the en passant rule for pawns. #mockhistory.

1793: In wake of French Revolution, Bishop Talleyrand escapes Reign of Terror by being the first cleric to move diagonally. #mockhistory.

1970: USAF shuts down Project Blue Book, choosing not to pursue beings who could play checkers, chess, dice simultaneously. #mockhistory.

1651: Escape of Charles II from England probably one of the first examples of a king going into "stealth mode." #mockhistory (true!)


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