"he had learnt to play dice and chess"
Creative Commons AttributionChess - Credit: http://www.freefoto.com

Sir William Jones, in an essay published in the Second Volume of Asiatic Researches, argued that India was the cradle of chess, the game initially played as Chaturanga. The game comprised four angas, or members of an army - elephants, horses, chariots and foot soldiers. Astapada meaning eight steps, which was also used to describe this game in ancient India, was named on the eight steps (squares) which the modern chessboard, has. The modern chessboard is checkered with 64 (8 x 8) squares in all, with eight squares on each side. The old English word for chess is Esches.

Wander Linde in the Geschichte and Litteraturdes Schachspiels suggests that the game originated among the Buddhists. According to the Buddhists, war and slaying of one's fellow-men is a criminal act and hence chess was invented as a substitute for war. The ancient Persians are said to have learnt this game from India and from Persia, where it was known as Shatranj, it reached the Greco Roman world.

The earliest known dice in the world come from a backgammon set from Iran, from about 3000 BC. Dice was used in the Indus Valley Civilization that existed around 2500 BC. Gambling with dice has its reference in Indian Rig Veda. The famous Indian epic Mahabharata holds reference of a grand dice game between the clans, Kauravas and Pandavas and its consequences. By 300 AD, Indians played Pachisi on a board of cotton cloth, and threw six cowries shells to determine the moves. The pieces that moved around the board were made of wood.