Wikipedia quotes:

The Indian Defences by g6 coupled with d6, or b6 coupled with e6, were largely taught to European players by the example of Moheschunder and other Indians, to whom the fianchetto developments were a natural legacy from their own game.

(The "their own game" in this instance meaning the older variant.) However, my understanding of Shatranj/Chaturanga rules do not allow fianchetto movements at all.

Is there another older variant that allows fianchetto movements that these people played?

1 Answer 1


The page you linked to mentions that "Mohishunder originally played traditional Indian chess, in which pawns did not have the option of moving two squares from the starting row." I think that reference to traditional Indian chess refers not all the way back to shatranj/chaturanga, but rather to this 18th and 19th century variant, which has some significant differences from chess as we know it today, but seemingly does not in any way preclude a fianchetto. And since those rules do preclude any advance of a pawn by two squares, it seems reasonable that systems combining g6/d6 or b6/e6 would naturally arise as methods to develop the bishops in that variant.

Updated References: As the OP noted in a comment, the wikipedia entry I linked to doesn't indicate any source material. I found another page which describes this variant under the name Hindustani Chess, and it includes a helpful pointer to the 1913 book A History of Chess, a 900-page tome written by H.J.R. Murray, which details this particular chess variant in its Chapter IV. As it turns out, it appears that Skyhorse Publishing will be reissuing the book later this year. From their blurb:

An epic work that took over a decade to complete, A History of Chess, originally published in 1913, was a historic undertaking that shattered preconceptions about the game upon its release. Over a century later, Murray’s research, in which he argues that chess originated in India, is still widely accepted by most chess historians.

  • That seems plausible, but a little unsatisfying since there does not seem to be any resources that describes that variant :( Commented Jun 4, 2012 at 15:20
  • @blufox: I agree completely with your :( assessment, so I just added some bibliographic detail.
    – ETD
    Commented Jun 4, 2012 at 16:33
  • thank you!, that certainly helps, this particular Chess variant seems to have very little difference between the standard chess except for first pawn move, so fianchettos and other strategies could indeed have been transitioned from that variant. I certainly hope to buy the tome you refer. Commented Jun 4, 2012 at 18:29
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    @rahul Google Books has finally made a scan of Murray's classic A History of Chess book public-domain (as it should be, for a book published pre-1923); I've reuploaded it to archive.org here in case the one on Google Books goes down. Commented Dec 25, 2016 at 3:36
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    @rahul In particular, Chapter IV, dealing with chess in India "at the present time" (as of 1913), starts on page 78, with "Hindustani chess" starting on page 81. Some words are cut off because of the scan quality, but you can read a lot about the rules at the time (mostly matching what is in the links above), plus pointers to further references. Commented Dec 25, 2016 at 4:11

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