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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]
Jose Carrillo wrote on 2018-06-22 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

My rating is specific to the Davidson Variation of Chaturanga.

If Davidson was correct (about Kings being able to move into check and to be captured), this would make an interesting alternative evolution story from Chaturanga to Shatranj, which makes a nicer transition story from Chaturanga to Shatranj to Chess.

Chaturanga - Davidson Variation (Rule Enforcing) Presets:

Kevin Pacey wrote on 2018-03-01 UTCGood ★★★★

A poorish game by modern standards, especially due to the alfil pieces, but modern chess is indebted to this historic early version of it.

Jörg Knappen wrote on 2016-05-04 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
An excellent for the great rewrite.

Daniil Frolov wrote on 2014-02-16 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
After modern European Chess and Chinese Xiang-Qi, Chaturanga with 2;2 elephants and Shatranj looks odd.
In European Chess there are logical and worthy pieces. In Xiang-Qi there are resonable and harmonical positions of pieces, though elephants and ferzes are even weaker.
In comparision with these games, at first sight Chaturanga looks clumsy, with very random pieces, with elephants, chaotically dangling in 8 squares each.
But actually, after a few tries to play this game, you'll see some harmony in it...

Christine Bagley-Jones wrote on 2012-01-15 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
You can speculate all you want, but in the end, it is all speculation. What governs what is considered the 'oldest' chess is what records are the oldest found, that is it. I dont think this is correct of course, so much records of the ancients has been lost. 
I consider it unclear where chess began, no one can say for sure. An earthquake could happen in China revealing an ancient tomb and chess writing 2,000 years ago are discovered, then chess would be said to have come from china.
The idea that chess always evolves to something better also is debateable. People love inventing things and trying new things, it does not mean the newer idea is a progression. There is no reason to consider that the modern pawn, moving 1 square forward and capturing diagonally could not have been the first pawn to exist.
One thing i can't help thinking, the date we give as chess beginning, seems to me to be highly unlikely, i feel chess is much older, in India, 
China and Japan. The ancients were NOT stupid. They were highly advanced. To think that all they played was a 'race game' .... well, really?
Look at the mahabharata verse, where Yudhisthira talks about 'delighting the king with his play' ... he is going to delight the king with his play in a race game? Come on ... Chess most likely has been around in India and China and Japan for thousands and thousands of years.
But of course, this is speculation.
It's interesting what you saying though, don't get me wrong.

Daniil Frolov wrote on 2010-07-28 UTCBelowAverage ★★
This page describes chturanga rules as if somewhere was official documents, that states that 'in 7th century chess was played for 100% sure in this way...' and describes these rules. I think, page must state that exact rules of first form of chess are unknown and mentoin some alternative rules, wich also could be in the first chess. Maybe, it's ok that it did'nt mentoided other possible rules of promotion, stalemate, bare king, king's special knight's leap, but it's horrible that it did'nt mentoided another possible elephant's move: silver general's move, 1 square diagonally or 1 forward (elephant's 4 legs and trunk)!! All other souces tells that no one knows, wich move came first! And the earliest game with silver general, described on CV pages is makruk, as if this move was invented in Thailand! While CV pages is probbably one of main source for these, who want to know more about history of rules of chess (most of encyclopedias don't mentoin anything further than 'first form of chess was played by four players and with dice')!

John Smith wrote on 2009-03-14 UTCPoor ★
I agree that it is strange that an unscrupulous variant be recognized. What game exactly is this? We should recognize also 'Chootooroonkoo', which is the truly original form of Chess from ancient Goobleland, which is played on a board with squares and with pieces that move, other details unknown.

Nuno Cruz wrote on 2009-03-13 UTCPoor ★

John Ayer's very complete and acute comments our remarks are so true. This form of chess never existed. At least with this set of rules that is just an erroneous conception of John Gollon. So this page should have already been at least corrected if you do not want to scrap it, which would be preferable; to end the discussion and stop people, especially the new ones to this site, to believe in a 'Lord of the Rings' kind of world -beautiful but non-existing.

Of course you would have to rewrite the very front page of chessvariants pages. I believe that for the sake of truth it is worth it.

The same goes to both Shatranj Kamil. All it is needed to do is to read carefully the pages on Murray's book the source of - good intentioned but in his case wrong - Gollon.

Sledge290 wrote on 2009-03-10 UTCGood ★★★★
I like the depth of the article. It is a short article to be sure. I like the subject of chess. I like the game of chess.

matthew wrote on 2008-09-28 UTCPoor ★
How do I play chaturanga ??  I once played the game verses the computer.
Your page seems to have changed since I visited last. Any information on
this topic whould be greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance for you

Aniket Basu wrote on 2006-03-24 UTCGood ★★★★
The version of the Indian game we play and call 'National' to distinguish it from 'International' (meaning FIDE) is as follows: 1. King moves as usual, except for any number of possible knight moves before it was checked once. No castling move, the knight move can be used to take the king to safety. 2. Queen (Mantri/Minister), Bishop (Gaj/Elephant), Knight (Ghora/Horse), and Rook (Nouka/Boat) - all move as usual in the FIDE rules, but there is no castling move. 3. Pawns move just one square. (Naturally then, no en passant.) 4. Each sides are allowed two moves to begin the game.

Anonymous wrote on 2006-01-19 UTCPoor ★
There is almost no detalils about where chaturanga/chess came from, where it orginated.

Anonymous wrote on 2005-11-07 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
great game to play with a regular chess borad use bishops for elephants and the queen for the chanssler(ferz)

Anonymous wrote on 2005-10-16 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

Christine Bagley-Jones wrote on 2005-07-18 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
yes, i can see what you mean, but, the 'unrecognizable' is at the moment
being played on game courier, and also has this page, and others pages
also yes?, if you make it 'unrecognized' but keep this page and others
.. that just doesn't look professional to me, this great site, having
info about chaturanga but deeming it 'unrecognized'.. a game which i see
as the 'mother' of chess. i can't see how it hurts keeping it
'recognized', i think 'recognized' means more than just being able to
see all the rules etc

DM wrote on 2005-04-06 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

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
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

Este wrote on 2004-08-29 UTCGood ★★★★
Murry's book is an excellent source of games though historically speaking
it now appears out of date. At this moment the evidence supporting
Shatranj & even Chinese chess as being older than Chatarunga is
overwhelming. Even on this page the words 'what could be chess pieces'
'doubted by some' are used.

All thats missing on this brilliant site is an history section. I'm sure
your presentation would be much more interesting than some sites, where
opinions are expressed rather than facts.

Anonymous wrote on 2004-07-13 UTCPoor ★
needs more info for me 2 write my research paper for history. i am writing
about the significance of the pieces. post more information on it.
i will be back fri. to check it out.

Anonymous wrote on 2004-02-11 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
im from new zealand yeah thats right and next rugby world cup well win woo hoo go the all blacks good site though

Kksis wrote on 2003-11-08 UTCGood ★★★★
Not the best for younger such as 9&10 year olds but informative

Charles Gilman wrote on 2003-10-04 UTCGood ★★★★
Further to the last comment the authentic 'Ashtapada', though unchequered, did have some patterning. The intersections of ranks 1/4/5/8 and files a/d/e/h were marked with an X.

Miles wrote on 2003-08-10 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
Wow! This page rocks!!! I've always wanted to play Chaturanga ever since I read about it in my encyclopedia, but my encyclopedia did not explain how the game was played. Thanks to this website, I not only know the rules of Chaturanga, but I also know that it can be played with a regular chessboard. I wish Chinese chess was like that, because a regular chessboard is the only one I have right now.

st wrote on 2003-07-27 UTCGood ★★★★
is there a company that sells Chaturanga sets??

hemp wrote on 2003-06-25 UTCGood ★★★★
not excellent because you not specified a free game.
i think ocidental chess is better. i think the idea of promotion in
chaturanga is nice, but not filosophic.

i love the passage. the chess we play in ocident is perfect. like

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