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Turkish Great Chess, variation II, 

known as Atranj or Qatranj

By John Ayer



This game, called Atranj or Qatranj, is described by H. J. R. Murray in A History of Chess. The work from which Murray took it is actually Indian.  

Variant:  John Gollon, in mining A History of Chess for his Chess Variations, inadvertently left out each player's two central knights. 


The board is ten squares by ten, presumed uncolored.  (The graphic is checkered for clarity -- Ed.)


  • The Padshah, or King, starts on F1 and E10, and moves as the King (there is no castling).  
  • The Shahzadeh, or prince, starts on E1 and F10, and moves as Rook, Bishop, or Knight.  
  • The Wazir, or Vizir, or Minister, starts on D1 and G10, and moves as Bishop or Rook.  
  • The Kotwal, or police chief, (according to Murray, also called Bukhshi, or paymaster) starts on G1 and D10, and moves as Bishop or Knight.  
  • The Fil, or Elephant, starts on C1, H1, C10, and H10, and moves as our Bishop.  
  • The Ghora, or Horse. Each player has four knights, starting on B1, I1, E3, F3, B10, I10, E8, and F8.  
  • The Rook starts on A1, J1, A10, and J10.  
  • The Urdabegini or Qalmaqini, or armed female attendant, starts on E2, F2, E9, and F9, and moves one square at a time toward the opposing Padshah.  
  • The Pawns, which have no multiple moves, start on A2, B2, C2, D2, G2, H2, I2, J2, A9, B9, C9, D9, G9, H9, I9, and J9.  A pawn reaching the last rank would probably be promoted to Vizir, but this is not explicit.  


There is no castling. The stalemate rule has not survived; stalemate may not have been permitted.


 Chess board illustration made using the Play by Mail system, by Tony Quintanilla.