Scientists generally assume that Chaturanga, played in India, in or before the
7th century after Christ, is the oldest known form of chess. Resemblances,
both with the current chess, and with
Chinese chess are remarkable.
The king moves as usual king, but additionally has the right to make
one knight-move during the game, provided that he hasn't been checked before
he makes his knight-move. Castling doesn't exist.
The counsellor moves one square diagonally.
The elephant moves two squares diagonally, but may jump the
The knight moves as a usual knight.
The rook or chariot moves as usual rook.
The pawn or soldier moves and takes as a usual pawn, but may
not make a double step on its first move.
Pawns can promote when they arrive at the last rank of the board, but only to
the type of piece that was on the promotion-square in the opening setup,
e.g., a white pawn that moves to b8 can only promote to a knight.
Additionally, promotion is only possible when the player already lost a piece
of the type, so the pawn moving to b8 will only promote to a knight, when the
white player already lost a knight during the game. A consequence is that
pawns never promote on e1 or d8.
Mate and stalemate
Object of the game is to mate the opponents king. The player that stalemates
its opponent loses the game.
Last update: July 1, 1996.