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This item is a game information page
It belongs to categories: Orthodox chess, 
It was last modified on: 2005-05-01
 By Joe  Joyce. Modern Shatranj. A bridge between modern chess and the historic game of Shatranj. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Kevin Pacey wrote on 2017-01-16 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

I'd tentatively estimate the relative piece values in Modern Shatranj (current version) as: Pawn=1, Knight=3.5, Rook=5.5, King's fighting value (noting it cannot be traded)=4, General=4 (noting it can be traded or put what be 'in check', unlike a K, but I've judged their value in action to be similar enough), with the Elephant=3.125.

Greg Strong wrote on 2016-09-05 UTCGood ★★★★

A promising game that might be worthy of upgrade to Excellent pending play-testing, which I will now try with Jose's new preset.

Reading through the comments, the promotion rules seem to provoke the most disagreement.  I must admit that I don't like the promotion rules as written.  I can see both promotion only to general, or promotion to general or to any lost piece as reasonable options, both leading to good although different games.  For myself, the part I find troubling is this:

At most, only 3 lost pieces may be regained: 1 rook, 1 knight, and 1 elephant, even if the player has lost both of any type.

The problem with this is that it is no longer possible to look at a board and know what moves are legal. You'd have to also know about all past promotions.  This makes the game much more difficult to program.  Chess has this issue too with castling - you have to know which rooks/kings have moved, although when the game has progressed enough that these pieces are no longer on their original squares it becomes a non-issue.  Also, Chess has established standards for how the castling information is preserved in the FEN game notation.  If we wanted to notate positions of Modern Shatranj with FEN notation, (certainly a worthy goal), new notation standards would need to be invented.  I would question whether the value of this particular rule justifies the significant added complexity.

Jose Carrillo wrote on 2016-09-04 UTCExcellent ★★★★★


I find this Shatranj variant very interesting.

I created  preset which enforces the rules:


The only difference in my implementation of the rules is that Pawns can only promote to Generals (to keep more of a 'shatranj-ness' flavour).

sairjohn wrote on 2013-04-25 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
I'm one of the few 0.01% (or less) who arrived here not knowing modern
orthodox chess previously. In fact, I never played chess, and my interest
on the subject was just recently ignited by a friend who is a chess
enthusiast. I began searching for the basics, the rules, the pieces, their
moves, etc., and I was quickly drawn to the historical origins and
developments of the game(s). From there to the modern variants it was a
quick step.

I can tell you that, from a neophyte point of view, Chaturanga and Shatranj
are easier to understand, but their weaknesses are evident. Modern chess,
on the other side -- or "madwoman chess", as it was pejoratively called
by conservative players five centuries ago, when the queen became a
bishop-rook --, though more agile and powerfull, is more difficult for
beginners to grasp. It appears to me that one needs to be always conscious
of the disposition of every pieces on the board, even the ones distant to
the piece one intends to move next, simply because, at any moment, a queen
or a bishop or a rook can come across from the other side of the board and
totally wrecks one's intended strategy.

Using the war analogies in which the games were originally inspired, the
wide movements of modern pieces are like missiles, whereas the ancient
battles modelled by Chaturanga and Shatranj were fought body to body --
except for the archers. (And isn't weird the absence of "archers" among
the Chaturanga/Shatranj pieces?). The most mobile subsets of any army in
Antiquity were the (mounted) cavalry and the chariots (dragged by horses).
So, it is logical that the most mobile pieces on Chaturanga/Shatranj were
the "horses" (knights) and the "chariots" (rooks). 

But even the wide range movements of the rooks, crossing several squares at
once (potentially an entire row), as recorded in (or infered by) the oldest
known historical Shatranj descriptions, probably were already an early
improvement in the game. It's not reasonable to suppose that any piece in
the game was originally more far-reaching than the horse/knight.

I think the greateast virtue of the Modern Shatranj -- specially the "D"
version, with one dabbabah-wazir in the place of the traditional rook -- is
to restore (and put a limit to) the short-range movements of the pieces,
according to the metaphore that inspired the original game. There was
nothing or nobody in any army that could cross an entire battlefield at
once in Antiquity, hence no piece should be able to cross the entire board
in Chaturanga/Shatranj in one move. Thus, the player doesn't need to worry
with distant pieces in the board, because only the ones close to the piece
he intends to moved can pose an immediate threat to it.

The other great virtue of Modern Shatranj is that, by augmenting the
mobility of the counselor/general and the elephants (but without expanding
too much their reach), it not only turns these pieces more "powerfull",
but it also introduces a beautifull *simetry* to the overall dynamics of
the game -- and here, again, the "D" version is superior to the "R"
version. Now each "army" on the "battlefield" has:

- two elements that can move only one square orthogonally or diagonally,
the king and the general;

- two elements that can move one or jump two squares diagonally, the

- two elements that can move one or jump two squares orthogonally, the

- two elements that can jump three squares "orthodiagonally", the

We can easy visualize this perfect simmetry by picturing the movement
diagrams of these four kinds of pieces superimposed: if it were possible to
put all four pieces in one same square, this would be the center of a set
with 4x4 squares, and each one of these 16 squares would be reachable via a
single movement of at least one of the four pieces put in the center! That
would not be any "falted" square, one that could not be reached by at
least one kind of piece put in the center of any 4x4 set of squares. This
doesn't happen in the original Shatranj game.

Thus, the Modern Shatranj D allow the players to charge *full power* in the
"battle front" of the game, not worrying about any "missile" coming
from beyond the horizon. It seems to be the perfect balance between
mobility and elegance, dynamics and aesthetics, power and race in a
Shatranj-like game!

George Duke wrote on 2008-01-17 UTCPoor ★
This is really bad as purported new invention. Anyone else putting up such earnest, humourless longwinded, namedropping pittance of change to classic Shatranj would be lampooned. Poor, because of pretension that 'Modern Shatranj' adds anything but Ferz to Elephant and Wazir to General. This is justifiable Preset as Shatranj plain and simple. It is no invention at all really, moreover Betza did it before. 'Modern Shatranj' is worse than Shatranj anyway because of damage to Knight by powerful Elephant. Joyce's instincts run opposite of correct, always towards worsening not betterment of an established CV. There is no variant within either of 'Alice Modern Shatranj' as Joyce states. Why would an 'Alice Shatranj' play well, versus 'Alice version' of 3000 other CVPage games? The point is that we never heard of 'Modern Shatranj' until reading today. No one beyond clique of 10 CVPage insiders would know it either. That is why Joyce's Comments, not recognizing any context, commonly insult readers. Joyce should practice addressing more general OrthoChess-savvy audience, newcomers, for the general good of the CVPage. Nothing evident to justify write-up here in theme or interesting Mutator. Having rated several hundred CVs now, we acknowledge bias for elementary, unique creative Mutator or two embedded within new Rules-set -- a la Lavieri, Gilman, Winther, Gifford, Fourriere, Aronson, DHowe, Betza, ''91.5 Trillion...'' The alternative is practical copycats, and even plagiarisms, in bland new combination(s) of known pieces, as here. References Joyce admits adding after the fact, following our recorded surveys in 2007, actually invalidate dates of invention. Joyce, not being without potential for interest in subject matter, has slight opportunity for making something worthwhile, finally, in relatively uncrowded art surrounding Alice Chess. Hey, far-more-creative, intelligent Charles Gilman established AltOrthHex on over the 100th posted try, closing the book on hexagons.

Abdul-Rahman Sibahi wrote on 2006-08-13 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

David Paulowich wrote on 2005-06-27 UTCGood ★★★★

Shatranj Kamil (64) is my recent attempt at providing a comprehensive set of rules for Shatranj variants.

Consider the endgame position White: King (c1), Knight (a6) Black: King (a1), Pawn (a3). White can force checkmate with 1.Nb4 a2 2.Nc2, or stalemate with 2.Kc2.

If White choses to play 2.Na6 instead, then, under the variant rule that Pritchard cites, the Black king can escape stalemate by transposing with the Black Pawn. Question: under the rules of Nilakantha's Intellectual Game (web page by John Ayer) can Black 'slay the piece of the enemy in his vicinity which imprisons him'? That piece is the White King!

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