Shatranj (ancient Arabic/Persian Chess)

Initial setup

d1, d8: King
e1, e8: Ferz (General)
a1, a8, h1, h8: Rook
c1, c8, f1, f8: Alfil (Elephant)
b1, b8, g1, g8: Knight
a2-h2, a7-h7: 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
Unblockable leap (capture or non-capture)
Non-capture only
Capture only


Piece ID value Moves (Betza notation) Remarks
King K - K No castling of any kind
Ferz Q 2 F
Rook R 8 R
Alfil B 1 A Bound to 8 squares!
Knight N 4 N
Pawn P 1 mfWcfF Promotes to Ferz on reaching last rank

Pawn peculiarities

General rules

Differences with FIDE

The Ferz and Alfil replace the Queen and Bishop. The Pawn have no double move. No castling. The King starts on the e-file.

Strategy issues

Because of the baring rule a win is possible with any material other than a bare King.

Alfils are not only color bound, but also skip over half the files and ranks. So they can only reach 8 squares, making them next to worthless.