Saturday, December 17, 2011

From Chessboard Geometry to Geomancy

Not as far as stretch as you might think... 

But first, the article, from the Malaysian New Strait Times:

Mixing chess, feng shui and politics

I have tried picking Christi Hon's brains over a drink a few times but he never fails to intrigue me -- the enigmatic man that he is.

Little was heard of Christi following his disappearance from the Malaysian chess scene in 1989 after winning the national championship a record five times.

After nine years of obscurity, from 2002 to 2010, Christi is back with a new move -- this time wearing the 1Malaysia badge and charging around like a knight with a mission to effect social changes.

But this time you see Christi not as the chess champion but as opinion giver, arguer and adviser.

I inquired where he had been and what he had been up to all these years.

Christi revealed that he had been travelling often to other countries as a feng shui consultant.

I tried putting the pieces of info together -- a chess master becoming a feng shui master, chess geometry making way for geomancy.

Though chess and feng shui are as different as cheese and chalk, Christi has turned out to be master of both.

He said there is something common between them; chess is about predicting the opponent's moves and countering while feng shui is also about looking ahead and taking the right steps.

Christi has represented Malaysia in the World Chess Olympiad in Buenos Aires (Argentina), Lucerne (Switzerland), Thessaloniki (Greece) and Dubai.

He was Malaysia's first Fide Master after earning a rating from the World Chess Federation and also had the distinction of beating Anand Viswanathan, the current world champion from India, in an IM tournament in New Delhi in 1985.

"You really beat Anand Viswanathan?" I asked Christi in a really-I-don't-quite-believe-you tone of voice.

"I thrashed Anand in 30 minutes," he replied.

Wow, I would say that is something great for Christi to thump his chest.

But for Christi, 53, his world is no longer about 64 black and white squares but a political landscape coloured by dark clouds.

Christi says he is ready to speak out for Malaysians. Boldly printed on his calling card is the proclamation: "I am the New Voice of 26 million Rakyat!"

Admitting that he was apolitical when he was a serious chess player in the 1980s, Christi looks at the world differently today.

Away from the chessboard, he sees political pawns, king makers, sacrifices, manoeuvres, and end games of a different kind.

Christi, whose specialty is divination through feng shui, has indicated he is keen to help BN checkmate its rivals in the coming general election. He sees himself as a foreteller who makes predictions for 2012 -- its big conflicts and big changes.
One of the theories about the development of board games is that they arose out of ancient divining techniques and geomancy practices honed by practitioners over thousands of years.  One has only to see the intricate boards drawn in sand or soil for "fox print" divination by a Dogon shaman, or inspect an ancient diagram from a millennium old book on feng shui to see the same geometry at play as that on a modern-day chessboard.  Alas, we have long forgotten the significance and meaning behind the moves, but that meaning is still there, buried in the distant past. 
A typical feng shui bagua, derived from the 64 trigrams of the I Ching.
This image is from Lisa's Blog

A dogon shaman creating a 'board' in the sand for
fox divination.  If blessed by the spirits, a fox will visit the
site overnight, leaving prints behind, that the shaman will
interpret to answer a question put to him by a villager.
Originally this image was at National Geographic online.
Dr. Joseph Needham  spent a lifetime studying ancient Chinese culture and produced a staggering multi-volume study on the development of Chinese science and technology from ancient times forward. Goddesschess has archived two excerpts from volumes by Dr. Needham:

Joseph Needham
PDF (900 Kb) Ch.11

The pseudo sciences and the sceptical tradition

Joseph Needham
1.88 Mb)
Ch. 26
Physics - the Chinese orientation to chess - Ch. 26 Physics, (8) The Magnet, Divination, and Chess, pp. 314-334.

See also:  Thoughts on The Origin of Chess
by Joseph Needham, (Cambridge), 1962

You may find these some fascinating reading.  I have full citations (not at hand or I'd type them in right now) for the book excerpts. I've provided the information to our webmaster from time to time over the years but it's never made its way to the website :)  Such is life.  So, if you should happen across this blog some day and want to use the excerpts to support your research on the ancient origins of chess and need proper citations - and I'm still alive - email me and I'll send you the information. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Mixing chess, feng shui and politics

Thank you for uploading the newspaper article about Christi Hon (Malaysia).

I am a FORETELLER = SEER (in Hebrew language)= PROPHET . Foretell = to foresee the future i.e. to SEE n understand GOD intent for Malaysia for the year 2012 via nature disasters,political changes, big flood. I discovered this gift and decided to put it to good use for the betterment of the people of Malaysia. As a political adviser to a Leader, I want to influence the Leader to do great good.

2012 is year of BIG FLOOD like in Noah's ARK in 2,438 BC.

After the major Malaysian newspapers and TV publish my foretell 2012, only then will I write about Foretell 2012 for the World. I will foretell the nature disasters, where it will occur, compass directions, what month, what hours. IF required I will also indicate the DAYS of Destruction via BIG FLOOD.

Articles about me regarding this unique area are 1) New Straits Times 17-12-2011 via, 2) China Press 25-12-2011 via

Christi Hon

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