The Chess Variant Pages

Oblong Chess 44

This variant is based on the original oriental variant "Oblong Chess", a 16X4 Shataranj variant. I have reduced the number of lines for the 44 contest. Gollon describes seven arrangements, I have borrowed several ideas from three arrangements, reduced the number of pawns from eight to four, and changed the Rooks/Chariots to Dabbabas.

Oblong Chess 44 is played on a 11X4 board. The goal of the game is to mate your opponent's king. The board setup is as follows:

11 | e | k | f | e | 
10 |   | n | n |   |
9  | d |   |   | d |
8  | p | p | p | p |
7  |   |   |   |   |
6  |   |   |   |   |
5  |   |   |   |   |
4  | P | P | P | P |
3  | D |   |   | D |
2  |   | N | N |   |
1  | E | F | K | E |

     A   B   C   D  
White: King c1; Ferz b1; Alfil a1, d1; Knight b2, c2; Dabbaba a3, d3; 
       Pawn a4, b4, c4, d4.
Black: King b11; Ferz c11; Alfil a11, d11; Knight b10, c10; 
       Dabbaba a10, d10; Pawn a8, b8, c8, d8.


The Pieces:

King (Shah) (K): Same as FIDE chess.
Ferz (Firzan) (F): Moves one square in any diagonal direction.
Elephant (Alfil) (E): Leaps two squares in any diagonal direction.
Knight (Faras) (N): Same as FIDE Knight.
Dabbaba (D): Leaps two squares in any orthogonal direction.
Pawn (Baidaq) (P): Same as FIDE pawn, without an initial double-step.


The rules are identical to Shataranj, in the meaning that the game is to be played like FIDE chess except for the changes described below:

A pawn that reaches the final rank promotes to a Ferz.

In case of a Stalemate, the stalemated player loses.

A bare king loses, unless he can bare the opponent's king in his next move. In that case the game is drawn

For simplicity's sake, the notation is for the Western name of the piece.


This game is to be played as regular chess, according to all the corresponding rules. However, this variant originally had a dice version, in which each player rolls a dice and play the piece depicted by the result: 6 for a King, 5 for a Ferz, 4 for an Elephant, 3 for a Knight, 2 for a Dabbaba and 1 for a pawn. A player doesn't have to make a move if the only move possible is either useless or harmful for his game. A checked player must move a piece according to the dice roll, but that move must eliminate the check. Again, this variant was not created with dice-play in mind, as I personally dislike dice, or any luck-based element in my chess variants, but I've added this comment for historical reasons. If anyone has a more in-depth concept of Diced-Oblong44 chess, I would welcome any ideas/Suggestions.
Written by Erez Schatz. HTML by Hans Bodlaender.
WWW page created: April 22, 2004.