The Chess Variant Pages



Turkish Great Chess, variation II, 

known as Atranj or Qatranj

By John Ayer

 

Introduction

This game, called Atranj or Qatranj, is described by H. J. R. Murray in A History of Chess. The work from which Murray took it is actually Indian.  

Variant:  John Gollon, in mining A History of Chess for his Chess Variations, inadvertently left out each player's two central knights. 

Setup

The board is ten squares by ten, presumed uncolored.  (The graphic is checkered for clarity -- Ed.)

Pieces

  • The Padshah, or King, starts on F1 and E10, and moves as the King (there is no castling).  
  • The Shahzadeh, or prince, starts on E1 and F10, and moves as Rook, Bishop, or Knight.  
  • The Wazir, or Vizir, or Minister, starts on D1 and G10, and moves as Bishop or Rook.  
  • The Kotwal, or police chief, (according to Murray, also called Bukhshi, or paymaster) starts on G1 and D10, and moves as Bishop or Knight.  
  • The Fil, or Elephant, starts on C1, H1, C10, and H10, and moves as our Bishop.  
  • The Ghora, or Horse. Each player has four knights, starting on B1, I1, E3, F3, B10, I10, E8, and F8.  
  • The Rook starts on A1, J1, A10, and J10.  
  • The Urdabegini or Qalmaqini, or armed female attendant, starts on E2, F2, E9, and F9, and moves one square at a time toward the opposing Padshah.  
  • The Pawns, which have no multiple moves, start on A2, B2, C2, D2, G2, H2, I2, J2, A9, B9, C9, D9, G9, H9, I9, and J9.  A pawn reaching the last rank would probably be promoted to Vizir, but this is not explicit.  

Rules

There is no castling. The stalemate rule has not survived; stalemate may not have been permitted.

Credits

 Chess board illustration made using the Play by Mail system, by Tony Quintanilla.