Chaturanga Chess: Basic Info

Chaturanga Chess

Chaturanga chess is long-lived entertainment that inspired many other board games. It’s based on logical thinking and has some similarities to what we enjoy now. Let’s find out what we know about it in the 21st century.

Indian Roots

It’s not particularly popular these days. There are very few people who play it now. However, humanity hasn’t forgotten this entertainment that probably originated in the 6th century. The main reason is that it’s strongly connected to the current recreational and sport activity.

There is a legend that explains how it was invented. One queen lost her son in a battle. Fearing to tell her themselves, people gathered a wise man who asked for 3 days to think. He came up with a complicated war game. The man showed the queen what happened, explaining how the strategy works. She accepted the news, as well as rewarded the inventor.

Some researchers doubt the story is true. But it is still beautiful. Have you checked out It’s a fantastic site for chess enthusiasts!

Chaturanga Chess Outlook

Chaturanga Chess Outlook

The entertainment is so ancient that we can only make suggestions on how to truly play it. Besides, it went through too many transformations traveling to different countries and cultures. Some believe that the original game was meant for 2-4 participants.

The name itself comes from the Sanskrit language, it means having 4 limbs or parts. It perfectly reflects the army formation of that time

  • Foot troops
  • Horses
  • Elephants
  • Charioteers

Some of the pieces have exactly the same movement patterns as in modern chess. For instance, raja goes 1 square at a time in any direction. Being a military-based tool for learning strategy, it has no female figures. Mantri, who resembles the queen, was an adviser. It moved 1 cell diagonally.

Here are some other interesting facts about the game:

  • The board was identical: made from wood, it had 64 cells
  • In a very old version, a dice chose which soldier to use on the board
  • The goal of the match is to checkmate the main piece (the raja)

Wrapping Up

Wrapping Up

Chaturanga chess is ancient entertainment surrounded by legends and secrets. If you want to learn how it came to life, read A Short History of Chess by H.J.A. Murray. This author made serious research to get as close to the truth as possible.

There is also a short but very informative documentary that shows how the game spread. It also suggests that it was not invented by one man in a few days. But rather by hundreds of merchants who altered the rules over time. Until it formed into what we feel familiar to modern entertainment.