Shatranj and Chess

Aug 23, 2010, 5:18 PM |

I was in search of older forms of chess when i remembered the Persian predicessor, Shatranj.  The Chess we play today has been here for just over five hundred years and the Stauton style pieces have only been used for one hundred and fifty.  (aproximately)


That doesn't mean that chess is anything less that Shatranj, but it is a curious fact when you consider the moves we us today and the moves the persians allowed for their pieces.

The Shatranj board is still an 8x8 with a light square at the right hand end of the board but their peices moved a little different.  There equivelent pieces are listed with our modern Stauton pieces below and are placed in the same order as ours on the board.  They are listed like so, Persian name/English name/Stauton name(traditional chess name)

Shah/King/King, Farzin/Counsoler/queen, Pil/Elephant/Bishop, Asp/Horse/Knight, Rukh/Chariot/Rook, Pujada/Foot Soldier/pawn


The moves are as such:

The Shah/King can move in any direction once and does not have the ability to castle.

The Farzin/Queen can only move one space diagonally.

The Pil/Bishop can only move 2 spaces diagonally and can jump pieces.

The Asp/Knight moves in the exact L shape that it does in modern chess.

The Rukh/Rook move up and down any rank or file just as the modern Rook does.

The Pujada/Pawn moves one space forward and takes in forward diagonals, but it does not have the option of moving two spaces on it's first move.  When a Pujada/Pawn reaches the oposing end of the board it is promoted, but only to a Farzin/Queen.

All pieces take by finishing their move on an oposing piece.


I'm curious how people would feel if they played Shatranj now if they are acustomed to chess.   How the theory would have evolved and if Fischer and Kasperove would be the Gods of the game today.


Please feel free to comment and criticize as this is my first blog on this site and i am not used to all of the tools at my disposal.