Great Shatranj

Captured pieces will be displayed beside the board for promotion choice

Initial setup

e1, e8: King
f1, f8: Minister
d1, d8: Great General
g1, g8: High Priestess
a1, a8, j1, j8: Dababba
c1, c8, h1, h8: Elephant
b1, b8, i1, i8: Knight
a1, a8, j1, j8: War Machine
a2-j2, a7-j7: Pawns

Moves at a Glance

Click on a piece below to see its moves

Sliding capture or non-capture,
can be blocked on any square along the ray
Direct leap (capture or non-capture)
Non-capture only
Capture only


Piece ID value Moves (Betza notation) Remarks
King K - K Cannot castle
General G 6.5 WDFA
Minister M 6.5 WDN
High Priestess H 6.5 FAN
Elephant E 3 FA Color-bound
Knight N 3.25 N
Woody W 3 WD
Pawn P 1 mfWcfF Promotes to any other piece that was captured, or to Soldier
Only available through promotion
Soldier S 3 WF or K

Pawn peculiarities

General rules

XBoard interface issues

When a Pawn can be promoted, XBoard first advances it as a Pawn to the promotion square. Then it waits for you to complete the move entry by clicking on the piece in the holdings beside the board that you want to promote to. Initially there are a number of Soldiers available in the holdings, for when you should promote before any of your pieces is captured.

Differences with FIDE

There are no sliders such as Rook, Bishop or Queen in this game: their distant moves have all been replaced by a single two-square jumping move. In addition it is more related to Capablanca Chess than to FIDE, featuring compounds of Knight and the pieces substituting for Rook and Bishop, and the wider board to accomodate them. There is no double-push on the Pawns (and thus no e.p. capture), and promotion only allows you to regain back a piece that you lost before, or one of the stocked Soldier pieces that do not occur in the initial setup.

Strategy issues

Elephants are confined to squares of a single color. Having Elephants on both colors compensates this weakness, and is worth an extra 0.5 on top of their added value.

As the three strongest pieces (General, Minister and High Priestess) are nearly equal in value, under-promotion is very common.