The name for the draughts piece in the 16th century

 

 "Draughts originated from chess, this is certain", said the English board game historian Harold Murray [1952:73-74]. One of his "proofs": medieval draughts players called the draughts piece after the chess queen, in the Middle Ages called fierge of fers (table). We saw earlier that this claim is wrong: in the Middle Ages the name of the draughts pieces was not fierge or fers, and a corresponding game name has never exist.

Middle Ages

Language

Name chess queen

Name draughts piece

Name draughts

French

English

fierge >

fers >

fierge

fers

(jeu des) fierges

(game of) ferses

 

 Murray continuatied: "How heavily draughts was influnced by chess is also proved by the name for the draughts piece in the 16th century. In the late Middle Ages the chess queen was given a new name: dame (French) or dama (Spanish). And what do we see? French and Spanish draughts players adopted this new name for the draugths piece".

 

Sixteenth century

Language Name chess queen Name draughts piece Name draughts

French

Spanish

dame >

dama >

dame

dama

(jeu de) dames

(juego de) damas

 

 It is questionable whether this claim is tenable. For in four other languages, the 16th century chess queen and the draughts piece have different names:

Sixteenth century

Language Name chess queen Name draughts piece Name draughts

Italian

German

Dutch

English

donna

königin

koningin

queen

pedina (?)

dame

dam

(table)man

dama

damen(spiel)

dam(spel)

checkers, draughts 

 Historical linguistic inquiries gave a decisive answer. Read further.