I know there are some really old games on the internet there , but are there records of any really good/great games played in the ancient style of chess ?

This style had rules like pawns could move only one square at a time. Rook's pawn promotion would be a rook , bishop's pawn would be bishop etc.

  • I don't think your description of this "variant" is enough to explain what you mean. Do you mean shatranj, chaturanga or something else? In shatranj a pawn (sarbaz) can move only one square at a time but also it can be promoted only to fers (today known as queen; this piece can be only moved one square diagonally). I don't know about a variant where you can promote the pawn to a piece according to the pawn's file.
    – kmartin
    May 11 '17 at 16:13
  • I am talking about shatranj but its now synonymous with chess. Obviously it will be next to impossible to find a game played in chaturangam. The ancient rules of shatranj were modified by the British and hence the modern game of chess.
    – A.Dhond
    May 11 '17 at 18:33
  • Does the king pawn promote to another king ? That would be fun.
    – Saikat
    May 17 '17 at 5:12
  • haha would be , but the two center pawns always promote to queen. I think that is how the importance of center pawns was manifested.
    – A.Dhond
    May 19 '17 at 14:13
  • Please edit your question to incorporate your comment answers. Comments can disappear.
    – user4378
    Jul 28 '17 at 12:49

TL;DR: there are recorded games for Shatranj from the 10th century onward, but I haven't found the variant asked for by the OP.

The earliest recorded game of modern chess was 1475:

1475: Castellvi-Vinoles, Valencia 1475. The first documented chess game played with the modern queen and bishop moves; the moves were described in the poem Scachs d'amor.

Source: wikipedia

Going to the predecessor of modern chess we have Shatranj:

The earliest listing of works on chess [Shatranj] is in the Fihrist, a general bibliography produced in 377 AH (988 AD) by Ibn al-Nadim. It includes an entire section on the topic of chess.

Source: wikipedia

chess2u.com provides, what they claim to be, the oldest recorded chess game (10th century):

  1. f3 f6 2. f4 f5 3. Nf3 Nf6 4. g3 g6 5. Rg1 Rg8 6. h3 h6 7. e3 e6 8. g4 fxg4 9. hxg4 g5 10. fxg5 hxg5 11. d3 d6 12. e4 e5 13. Be3 Be6 14. Nxg5 Ke7 15. c3 Nxg4 16. Ke2 c6 17. d4 d5 18. b3 b6 19. Nd2 Nd7 20. Qc2 Qc7 21. Qd3 Qd6 22. Ndf3 Ndf6 23. Bh3 Bh6 24. Bf5 Bf4 25. Rac1 a6 26. c4 Rac8 27. c5 bxc5 28. Bxc5 Ke8 29. dxe5 Nxe5 30. Nxe6 Rxg1 31. Rxg1 Nxf3 32. Kxf3 1-0 (Black resigns)

However I haven't found any sources for the variant you mention.


If you are interested in historical versions of the game, or generally in chess history, then you would be interested in Winter's Chess Notes, start at the wiki entry for "Edward Winter (chess historian)"

There is a nice bibliography at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_chess#References

and that then points to the classic text on the subject by Murray, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H._J._R._Murray


  • Winter has virtually nothing on ancient chess variants such as shatranj.
    – Queeg
    May 29 '17 at 11:03

"Pawns promote to 'their' piece (Rook pawn to a rook, etc) is a feature of Tamerlane Chess, a 14th century variant.

I'm unaware of any recorded games of this variant.

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