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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]
Fergus Duniho wrote on 2005-03-21 UTC
Thanks, John. I gather from your comments that Gollon based his description of Chaturanga on descriptions of three other Indian variants, none of which were Chaturanga. Would it be fair to say that Murray identified Chaturanga with Shatranj and didn't make any distinctions between their rules? This is what Pritchard does. He gives only a short entry on Chaturanga, saying that it is 'essentially the same as SHATRANJ', and then he gives detailed rules only under his entry for Shatranj. Also, back when I lived in Rochester and had access to Murray's books, I wrote in my Alfil article, 'Chaturanga was an Indian Contempory of Shatranj, and it is Shatranj, the Muslim form of Chess, that we actually have the earliest documentation for.' Some sites I've found on the web are claiming that there is no physical evidence for the existence of Chaturanga. It would seem that Shatranj is the earliest Chess variant for which we actually have historic documentation of its rules, and Chaturanga is a hypothetical construct that is presumed to be the ancestor of Shatranj, but for which we have no clear historical record. In the absence of a legitimate historical record, it may be fair to assume that the rules of Shatranj are the closest thing we have to any account of the rules for Chaturanga, and for all practical purposes, it would make sense to play Chaturanga by the same rules as Shatranj, or to just play Shatranj and consign the rules of Chaturanga to the unknown.