Version with graphics
Oblong chess is an about thousand years old chess variant. More precisely,
oblong chess is a variant of Shatranj, the Arabic
pre-decessor of modern chess.
The board and opening setup
Oblong chess is played on a board of four by sixteen squares.
The players have the same forces as in Shatranj,
namely a king, a general (firzan), two elephants, two knights, two
chariots or rooks (rukh), and eight soldiers or pawns.
There are seven different opening setups known for this game.
EGKE EKGE EKGE RGKR
.NN. .NN. PPPP .NN.
R..R R..R RNNR .EE.
.... .... PPPP ....
PPPP PPPP .... PPPP
.... PPPP .... PPPP
PPPP .... .... ....
.... .... .... ....
.... .... .... ....
pppp .... .... ....
.... pppp .... pppp
pppp pppp .... pppp
.... .... pppp ....
r..r r..r rnnr .ee.
.nn. .nn. pppp .nn.
egke egke ekge rgkr
Here are four of these setups. k,g,r,n,p stand for King, General, Rook,
kNight, and Paw of white (actually: red), and K,G,R,N,P stand for these
pieces of black. (The graphics version of these
rules also contains the other three setups.
Movement of the pieces
The pieces move in the same way as in Shatranj.
I.e., the king, rook and knight move as in the modern chess game. Pawns move
also as in the modern chess game, but with this exception: they do not have
a double first move. The general moves one square diagonally. The
elephant moves two squares diagonally, and may jump an intervening piece,
e.g., in the first opening setup, the elephant on a1 may jump to c3.
Object of the game
The player that mates the opponent wins the game. Rules about stalemate and
`bare king' are not precisely known, but are most probably as follows:
A player that stalemates his opponent also wins the game. When a player takes
the last piece of his opponent, except the king, he also wins the game, except
in the case that his opponent can in his turn also take the last non-king
piece of this player. In the latter case, the game is a draw.
Playing with dice
This game was often played with (and also often played without) dice. When
playing with dice, each turn the player throws one six-side die. When rolling
a six, the player may move the king, when rolling a five, the player may move
the general, when rolling a four, the player may move an elephant, when
rolling a three, the player may move a knight, when rolling a two, the player
may move a rook, and when rolling a one, the player may move a pawn.
When no move is possible, (e.g., a player rolls a six in the third opening
setup), then the turn is lost.
Moving is not obligatory. In this variant, a win is achieved by taking the
Last modified: January 13, 1998.