I am looking for any collection of chess games of al-Suli or anyone medieval scholar's composition of games. Any resources would be appreciated.

3 Answers 3


Take a look at this page. I hope it helps..

  • While it is a great example of the particular game, I was actually looking forward to a whole collection. May 3, 2013 at 20:47

While it's not yet in the public domain, H.J. Murray's A History of Chess can be found on Google Books, and contains a large number of constructed shatranj problems.


I have found quite a few websites I popped the phrase for "Shatranj chess problem" into a search. The rules are, as always, on Wikipedia. Bishops represent alfils, and queens for ferz, in the following diagrams.

On chessvariants.com, there is an excellent resource page entitled "Chess Problems Of 1001 Years Ago." Here is the longest problem. This can be played out as the alfils and ferz are still.

[Title "The Water Wheel, Al-Suli, 930, Mate In 36"]
[FEN "rQ2nbbR/P5p1/pkp1pn2/1Pr2B2/2Pq2Pp/PN1P4/1N3p2/1KB3R1 w K - 0 1"]

1. Na4!+ Kb7 2. Na5+ Kc8 3. Nb6+ Kd8 4. Nb7+ Ke7 5. Nc8+ Kf7 6. Nd8+ Kg6 7. Ne7+ Kg5 8. Nf7+ Kf4 9. Ng6+ Kf3 10. Ng5+ Ke2 11. Nf4+ Kd2 12. Nf3+ Kc3 13. Ne2+ Kb3 14. Nfxd4+ Ka4 15. Nc3+ Ka5 16. Nb3+ Kb6 17. Na4+ Kb7 18. Nbxc5+ Kc8 19. Nb6 Kd8 20. Nb7+ Ke7 21. Nc8+ Kf7 22. Nd8+ Kg6 23. Ne7+ Kg5 24. Nf7+ Kf4 25. Ng6+ Kf3 26. Ng5+  Ke2 27. Nf4+ Kd2 28. Nf3+ Kc3 29. Ne2+ Kb3 30. Nd2+ Ka4 30. Nc3+ Ka5 31. Nc3+ Ka5 32. Nb3+ Kb6 33. Na4+ Kb7 34. Na5+ Kc8 35. Nb6+ Kd8 36. Nxc6#

In addition, I remembered a particular problem on Tim Krabbe's site in Journal Entry #146. The source is "100 Classics of the Chessboard" by Dickins and Ebert.

[Title "MS. 791 Casanatense Library, Rome, 15th Century, Mate In 6"]
[FEN "4k3/4P3/4P3/4P3/4P3/4P3/4P2B/R1N1K3 w Q - 0 1"]

1. Nb3! Kxe7 2. Ra8 Kxe6 3. Ra7 Kxe5 4. Ra6 Kxe45. Ra5 Kxe3 6. Re5#

Lastly, the Wikipedia page for Shatranj gives this classic.

[Title "Dilaram Problem, c. 10th century, Mate In 5"]
[FEN "1r4k1/8/5PP1/8/K1n3NR/7B/1r6/7R w KQkq - 0 1"]    

Solution: 1. Rh8+! Kxh8 2. Af5+ (the alfil leaps over the knight) Kg8 3. Rh8+ Kxh8 4. g7+ Kg8 5. Nh6#


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