Probably, it's the craziest of my ideas. I'm not historian, so don't shout at me if it's definitely not true, and don't consider me as competent source.
Originally i just wanted to make pseudo-historical variant. When i invented it, i decided to write a fictional legend about it, that it's the first form of chess, invented in Shambhala. But when legend was ready, it has convinced myself! When i removed rules that actually cold not be in the first chess (e. g., in original version pawns that can't promote are moving back as berolina pawns) and changed the names of pieces to these that actually could be original, i left only the name of game itself - "Shambhala chess", just for fun (if Shambhala really exists, another kind of chess might be played in it).
Anyway, don't believe me, most probably, it's actually very stupid idea (well, i believe it a little).
I'v marked it as historical variant, but if someone will insist that it should not be, i will edit the page.
It's played on usual 8x8 board. But there are two more pieces per player.
P - pawn;
G - general;
A - advisor;
E - elephant;
N - horse;
R - chariot;
W - war engine.
Important: general and advisor of either player (or both players) may swaped before playing, thus game may have either mirror or reveerse symmetry.
Chariot moves as modern rook. Horse moves as modern knight. Pawn also moves as usual, but there is no double step. See below for promotion rules.
Elephant jumps exactly 2 squares in ANY direction, may jump over pieces of either player (moves as alfil and dababa).
War engine moves as modern bishop.
Advisor steps one diagonally, as in shatranj, but once during game it may jump like elephant. This special move can be done even if advisor already moved, it may be done under attack, and this move may capture. This move is marked as "1" on diagram.
General steps one horizontally or vertically, but NOT diagonally. Once during game, it may jump like knight (as advisor can junp as elephant).
To win, capture opponent's general AND advisor.
Pawn promotes on last rank to any captured piece, may promote to general or advisor. If there are no captured pieces, pawn gets stuck on last rank. I don't know, how promotion affects general's and advisor's special moves, most probably, pawn, promoted to one of these pieces can't make special move, but it's also possible that it can make this move (much less likely that it can make special move if captured general/advisor did'nt use it).
Now, why i think that it can be first for of chess (i said that it CAN be fist form of chess, not necessary it is).
Most of known ancestors of bishop moves 2 diagonally. In some local Indian variants it moves 2 orthogonally. Why inventor of chess thought that elephants are so weak? Maybe, it lost part of it's moves by mistake? In witness, it explains knight's move, the strangest move in chess: it jumps on spaces on 5x5 perimeter where elephant can't jump.
Move of ferz from ancient chess games is just part of king's move. Why? Well, in Xiang-qi it's more logical: general can move only orthogonally. Maybe, this rule was original? Special moves: in many historical variants king can jump as knight. And advisor sometimes can jump 2 orthogonally or diagonally, even if bishop have different move (say, in ouk chatrang). As thier usual moves "reflects" each other, as moves of elephant and horse "reflects" each other. These exact limitations of special moves was chosen because they are the most intuitive. Why advisor is royal? Well, if general and advisor "reflect" each other, why only one of should be royal? It would be more logical if they would have similar properties.
These promotion rules also was chosen because they are the most intuitive.
No, about war engine, a piece that moves as modern bishop, the most fantastic piece of this game. Actually, it's not necessary real. Maybe, it didn't exist and pawns originally were on second rank. There are two reasons for adding it. First: general moves as limited chariot and horse. So, advisor should move as limited elephant and...? And second. In Xiang-qi, there are pieces roughly on same positions, and they have same name, but with completely different moves. In Shogi, there are pieces on same positions, one of them have same move, though neither have same name. And in one of Shatranj-Kamil variants there are pieces with same name, same move, but on diffirent positions (they could be returned from ancient game, why not?). Interesting coincidence. But it may be just coincidence.
I hope, these proofs don't sound convincingly anyway. :)
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By Daniil Frolov.
Web page created: 2011-03-21. Web page last updated: 2011-03-21