According to this answer to this question (Is Chaturanga/Shatranj an early form of chess or is this altogether different?):

Chaturanga is the ancient game that gave birth to board games chess, shogi, makruk, xiangqi and janggi. I believe Chaturanga is the same game as Shatranj or got only slightly varied while moved from India to Sassanid Persia.

So, I understand that the earliest form of chess in Persia and the Middle East was called Shatranj and derived from Indian Chaturanga.

What are the rules of this early form of chess?

  • Early form of chess rules are already documented in chess exchange but you want me to give archaelogical evidence.. hehehe... On one hand you want to enjoy the fruit and on the other hand you want me to prove the existencenl since millenias etc...
    – ShadYantra
    Apr 28 at 7:11

1 Answer 1


Summarizing the Wikipedia article, but comparing the differences between regular chess (that seems the most useful to me here):

  • Kings don't face each other, the black King starts on d8 and the 'Queen' on e8. Moving is the same, but castling does not exist.
  • The Queen (Mantri/Senapati) moves one step diagonally in any direction.
  • Bishops move like the Alfil in Arabic chess or some other variation (see the article, but unlike our current bishop).
  • The pawns (Padàti/Bhata/Sainik) don't have a double step on the first move (and hence no en-passant).

Further different rules:

Al-Adli mentions two further rules:

  • Stalemate was a win for a stalemated player. This rule appeared again in some medieval chess variants in England c. 1600. According to some sources, there was no stalemate, as the king is forced to move and consequently be captured.

  • The player that is first to bare the opponent's king (i.e. capture all enemy pieces except the king) wins. In shatranj this is also a win, but only if the opponent cannot bare the player's king on his next turn.

As always, treat Wikipedia with a bit of caution; original sources are usually better.

  • 1
    The version on chess.com has the "bishop"/elephant/alfil moving exactly 2 squares diagonally, and may leap a piece. Apr 28 at 6:40
  • No one except Indian Experts, know the rule of oldest game. All the evidences they posted on the wikis or internet are all fictional and accurate. Chaturanga or Shatranj evolved from Shadyantraà which is again not documented online and few people know how it is played. But if I will post answer then conservative chess gurus will bully me...
    – ShadYantra
    Apr 28 at 7:07
  • 1
    Stack Exchange is not the place for original research. The Wikipedia article may be wrong, I'm aware of that, but it's the best source I have right now.
    – Glorfindel
    Apr 28 at 7:15
  • Not everything is documented online. Bhuddist monks still keep 20000+ manuscripts.
    – ShadYantra
    Apr 28 at 7:16

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