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This item is a game information page
It belongs to categories: Orthodox chess, 
It was last modified on: 2016-05-03
 Author: Fergus  Duniho. Chaturanga. The first known variant of chess. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Mason Green wrote on 2005-02-15 UTCGood ★★★★
For the most part, this is a good page on Chaturanga. However, it doesn't say what happens when a pawn reaches the King's starting square. Does it promote to a prince, as in Tamerlane's Chess? That doesn't seem likely, because princes are mentioned nowhere on the page. Maybe the pawn just stays there without promoting. Or does it promote to a Counsellor? Another thing--some earlier comments discussed whether 2 or 4 player chaturanga was older, with the theory that 4-players was the first version being 'refuted' almost immediately. However, I have some evidence which seems to suggest that the four player game was older. It's the name of the game--literally! According to this site, Chaturanga means 'quadripartite'. The 'official' theory is that it refers to the four types of pieces. Pawns (soldiers), elephants, rooks (chariots), and horses. However, I find that hard to believe. It seems to me that the armies are actually 'pentapartite', because wouldn't the Counsellor count as a fifth part of the army? Or am I missing something important? I see no reason why the name Chaturanga (quadripartite) couldn't have originally referred to the four players playing the game, and then when the four was reduced to two, someone came up with an explanation ('four types of pieces') to justify keeping the same name. I'm only an amateur chess-variantist right now (I don't have access to Murray, Gollon, or any of those books) so any replies would be appreciated.