The Chess Variant Pages

Opulent Lemurian Shatranj


Opulent Lemurian Shatranj is a large chess variant that features two of Joe Joyce's shortrange pieces from Lemurian Shatranj. See the Notes section for information on his game and Greg Strong's Opulent Chess. The three of us have been tossing ideas back and forth for several years. My "original" contribution to the piece mix here is the War Elephant, which is the same piece as the Free Padwar in JETAN. Using it makes the point that the Shaman and Hero are not true leapers, but compound pieces with leaper components.


War Elephants are protecting Rooks, while Knights and Heroes are protecting each other. In two moves: Hero can go from rank 1 to rank 7, Knight can go from rank 2 to rank 6, Pawn can go from rank 3 to rank 5.


King - This is the royal piece. As in Shatranj, it moves 1 square in any direction. It may not move into or remain in check.

General - This nonroyal piece also moves 1 square in any direction.

War Elephant - This colorbound piece slides 1 or 2 squares like a ferz. It may change direction during its move. It may not jump. It may not make a null move (move off and then back onto its starting square). A capture immediately ends its move, no piece in this game is allowed to capture twice. This is the same piece as in my Shatranj Kamil X, but not the same piece as in Joe Joyce's Lemurian Shatranj.

Knight - As in Shatranj, it leaps 2 squares, moving 1 square orthogonally, then 1 more square diagonally outwards

Rook - As in Shatranj, this piece is a linear slider, moving orthogonally across as many empty squares as desired.

Shaman - This colorbound piece (also called the Bent Shaman) is an inclusive compound of alfil and ferz. It may step 1 square diagonally and/or jump 2 squares diagonally, for a maximum of 3 squares moved per turn. It may: step 1 square; or jump 2 squares; or step 1 and jump 2 squares; or jump 2 squares then step 1 more square, always diagonally. It may change direction during its move.

Hero - This piece (also called the Bent Hero) is an inclusive compound of dabbabah and wazir. It steps 1 square orthogonally and or jumps 2 squares orthogonally, for a maximum of 3 squares per turn. It may: step 1 square; or jump 2 squares; or step 1 and jump 2 squares; or jump 2 squares then step 1 more square, always orthogonally. It may change direction during its move.

Pawn - As in Shatranj, it moves 1 square orthogonally forward and captures 1 square diagonally forward.

The Hero may move to and capture on all positions marked with a red square.

The Shaman may move to and capture on all positions marked with a red "X". It may also capture the Hero.


No king's leap or castling rules in this game. Pawns never move more than one square. I have eliminated the bare king loss rule, but otherwise tried to remain true to the spirit of the old Shatranj rules.

[Rule 1] Mandatory promotion of a Pawn to a piece of the same color on the player's tenth rank. You can always promote to a General. You can promote to a Hero, Knight, Rook, Shaman or War Elephant that has been captured in the game, provided this does not give you a pair of Shamans or a pair of War Elephants on the same color squares.

[Rule 2] After your opponent has been reduced to a lone King, you may claim a draw at any time. The game is automatically drawn when only the two Kings remain on the board.

[[Rule 3] Checkmating your opponent wins the game. Note that you require a King and at least one other piece in order to checkmate your opponent.

[Rule 4] Stalemating your opponent wins the game, except when you have only a lone King. Then the result is a draw.


LEMURIAN SHATRANJ: 32 empty squares, 32 pieces, 6 piece types. Attack Density is [5.00], double that of classic Shatranj. Attack Density is calculated by adding up the number of adjacent squares each "nonpawn piece" attacks and then dividing by the number of nonpawn pieces. Ruggero Micheletto's Ultra Chess achieves the maximum [8.00] by adding the King's move to every piece in the game (except Pawns).

OPULENT CHESS: 52 empty squares, 48 pieces, 10 piece types. Greg Strong's 10x10 variant uses augmented Knights, making the Attack Density [4.57]. He follows the modern trend by placing the Pawns on the third and eighth ranks. I decided on the name "Opulent Lemurian Shatranj" after examining piece movement diagrams. Joe Joyce's Hero and Shaman pieces can move to every square that the Lion, Wizard and (N+W) pieces can reach. So, in a sense, these two pieces have replaced Greg's three pieces. See my Spotted Gryphon thread for yet another piece that can be used in place of Daniel C. Macdonald's Wizard piece.

OPULENT LEMURIAN SHATRANJ: 56 empty squares, 44 pieces, 8 piece types. Attack Density is [4.00], same as standard chess.

P=100, N=300, WE=325, G=350, R=550, S=550 and H=700 are my chosen values, where WE is the War Elephant. Needless to say, the value of a Pawn will vary considerably as it advances across the board. These numbers say that a Rook is worth a Shaman and a Hero is worth a pair of Generals, which seems reasonable. Results may vary in your games.

DEFEATING THE LONE KING: Apparently the longest forced stalemate in the endgame King and Knight versus King is four moves. Which is a polite way of saying that a single Knight is practically useless. But King and [either one of the colorbound pieces in this game] should be able to force a stalemate victory. Given a pair of Knights, the lone King can be forced into a corner and stalemated. As for the remaining pieces, each one appears strong enough to even force checkmate.

This 'user submitted' page is a collaboration between the posting user and the Chess Variant Pages. Registered contributors to the Chess Variant Pages have the ability to post their own works, subject to review and editing by the Chess Variant Pages Editorial Staff.

If you are the author of this page, you may edit index information or edit the contents of this page. You may also, if your page uses graphics, upload files.

By David Paulowich.
Web page created: 2007-05-04. Web page last updated: 2007-05-04