Shatranj is an old form of chess, which has been popular in Persia and the Middle East for almost 1000 years. Chess is a recreational and competitive Game played between two players. The Persian Empire was a series of Iranian empires that ruled over the Iranian plateau, the original Persian homeland and beyond in Western Asia The Middle East is a Subcontinent with no clear boundaries often used as a synonym to Near East, in opposition to Far East. Modern chess has gradually developed from this game. Chess is a recreational and competitive Game played between two players.
|Shatranj: The position of the pieces at the start of a game. Note that the Shahs face each other, either in the d-file (as shown) or the e-file.|
The word shatranj is derived from the Sanskrit chaturanga (chatuH=four, anga= arm). Sanskrit (sa संस्कृता वाक् saṃskṛtā vāk, for short sa संस्कृतम् saṃskṛtam) is a historical This article is about two-handed ancient game Chaturanga For the four-handed version played with dice see Chaturaji. In Middle Persian the word appears as chatrang, with the 'u' lost due to syncope (e. Middle Persian is the Middle Iranian language/ethnolect of Southwestern Iran that during Sassanid times (224-654 CE became a Prestige dialect g. in the title of the text Mâdayân î chatrang, book of Chess, 7th c. ). In folk etymology, the word is sometimes re-bracketed as sad (100) + ranj (worries), i. Folk etymology is a term used in two distinct ways A commonly held misunderstanding of the origin of a particular word a False etymology. Rebracketing is a common process in Historical linguistics where a word originally derived from one source is broken down or bracketed into a different set of factors e. a hundred worries, which may appear quite meaningful to players and their friends. The word was adapted into Arabic, and transmuted into the Spanish ajedrez, which eventually became the English chess.
The game came to Persia from India, in the early centuries of the Christian Era. The Persian Empire was a series of Iranian empires that ruled over the Iranian plateau, the original Persian homeland and beyond in Western Asia India, officially the Republic of India (भारत गणराज्य inc-Latn Bhārat Gaṇarājya; see also other Indian languages) is a country The earliest Persian reference to chess is found in the Middle Persian book Karnamak-i Artaxshir-i Papakan, which was written between the 3rd to 7th century. Middle Persian is the Middle Iranian language/ethnolect of Southwestern Iran that during Sassanid times (224-654 CE became a Prestige dialect The Kārnāmag-ī Ardaxšīr-ī Pābagān ( Modern Persian کارنامه اردشیر بابکان Kārnāme-e Ardešīr-e bābakān or Book of the Deeds of Ardashir This ancient Persian text refers to Shah Ardashir I, who ruled from 224–241, as a master of the game:
By the help of Providence Ardeshir became more victorious and warlike than all, on the polo and the riding-ground, at Chatrang and Vine-Artakhshir, and in several other arts. Ardashir I, founder of the Sassanid dynasty, was ruler of Istakhr (206-241 subsequently Persia Events By Place Asia Ardashir I defeats the Arsacid King Artabanus IV at Hormizdegan, destroying the Events By place Asia Shapur I of Persia succeeds Ardashir I as king of Persia. Ardeshīr, Ardashīr, or Ardashēr ( is Middle Persian for "whose reign is through ''arda'' (truth" and may refer
However, Karnamak contains many fables and legends, and this only establishes the popularity of chatrang at the time of its composition. A Persian miniature is a small painting whether a book illustration or a separate work of art intended to be kept in an album of such works 
During the reign of the later Sassanid king Khosrau I (531–579), a gift from an Indian king (possibly a Maukhari Dynasty king of Kannauj) included a chess game with 16 pieces of emerald and sixteen of ruby (green vs. The Sassanid Empire or Sassanian Dynasty or Sassanian Dynasty (ساسانیان) is the name used for the third Iranian dynasty and the second Persian empire Khosrau I or Khosrow I ( Chosroes I in classical sources most commonly known in Persian as Anushirvan, Persian انوشيروان meaning The Maukhari Dynasty, classically called the Megar Dynasty, ruled a large region of North India for over six generations WikipediaWikiProject Indian cities for details --> Kannauj ( Hindi कन्नौज Urdu: کنوج) also spelt Kanauj, Emeralds are a variety of the Mineral Beryl (Be3Al2(SiO36 colored Green by trace amounts A Ruby is a pink to blood-red Gemstone, a variety of the Mineral Corundum ( Aluminium oxide) red).  The game came with a challenge which was successfully resolved by Khosrau's courtiers. This incident, originally referred to in the Mâdayân î chatrang (c. 620 AD), is also mentioned in Firdausi's Shahnama (c. Hakīm Abū l-Qāsim Firdawsī Tūsī ( more commonly transliterated as Ferdowsi, (935&ndash1020 was a highly revered Persian Poet. Shāhnāmé, or Shāhnāma ((alternative spellings are Shahnama Shahnameh Shahname Shah-Nama, etc 1010 AD).
The rules of Chaturanga seen in India today have enormous variation, but all involve four branches (angas) of the army: the horse, the elephant (bishop), the chariot (rook) and the foot-soldier (pawn), played on a 8x8 board. Shatranj adapted much of the same rules as Chaturanga, and also the basic 16 piece structure. In some later variants the darker squares were engraved. The game spread Westwards after the Islamic conquest of Persia and achieved great popularity and a considerable body of literature on game tactics and strategy was produced from the 8th c. The Islamic conquest of Persia (633–656 led to the end of the Sassanid Empire and the eventual extirpation of the Zoroastrian religion in Persia onwards.
With the spread of Islam, chess diffused into the Maghreb and then to Andalusian Spain. The Maghreb (المغرب العربي al-Maġrib al-ʿArabī) also rendered Maghrib (or rarely Moghreb) meaning "place of Sunset During the Islamic conquest of India (c. During the late Middle Ages, several Islamic Empires were established in South Asia. 12th c. ), some forms came back to India as well, as evidenced in the N. Indian term mAt (mate, derivaative from Persian mAt) or the Bengali borey (pawn, presumed der. Arabic baidak). Arabic (ar الْعَرَبيّة (informally ar عَرَبيْ) in terms of the number of speakers is the largest living member of the Semitic language Over the following centuries, chess became popular in Europe eventually giving rise to modern chess.
|Rukh (Chariot or Rook)|
|"Pill" in Persian and "Alfil" in Arabic (Elephant)|
|Asb (Horse or Knight)|
|Fers. In Chess, the King (♔ ♚ is the most important piece. The object of the game is to trap the opponent's king so that it would not be able to avoid capture A rook, (♖ ♜ borrowed from Persian رخ rokh, Sanskrit rath, "chariot" also known as a castle is a piece in the The knight (♘ ♞ sometimes referred to by players as a 'horse' is a piece in the Game of Chess, representing a Knight (armoured cavalry The pawn (♙♟ is the weakest and most numerous piece in the Game of Chess, representing Infantry A move diagram for the fers.|
|Pill or Alfil . A move diagram for a Pill. This piece can jump over other pieces.|
The initial setup in shatranj was essentially the same as in modern chess. However the position of the white shah (king), on the right or left side was not fixed. Either the arrangement as in modern chess or as shown on the diagram above were possible. In either case, however, the white and black shah would be located on the same file. The game was played with the following pieces:
Pieces are shown on the diagrams and recorded in the notation using the equivalent modern symbols, as in the table above. In modern descriptions of shatranj, the names king, rook, knight and pawn are commonly used for shah, rukh, faras, and baidak.
There were also other differences compared to modern chess: Castling was not allowed (it was invented much later). Stalemating the opposing king resulted in a win for the player delivering stalemate. Stalemate is a situation in Chess where the player whose turn it is to move is not in check but has no legal moves Capturing all one's opponent's pieces apart from the king (baring the king) was a win, unless your opponent could capture your last piece on his or her next move, then it is a draw.
During the Golden Age of Arabic, many works on shatranj were written, recording for the first time the analysis of opening games, chess problems, the knight's tour, and many more subjects common in modern chess books. Arabic (ar الْعَرَبيّة (informally ar عَرَبيْ) in terms of the number of speakers is the largest living member of the Semitic language In Chess the word " opening " has two common meanings both of which are discussed in this article A chess problem, also called a chess composition, is a puzzle set by somebody using Chess pieces on a Chess board that presents the solver with The Knight's Tour is a mathematical problem involving a knight on a Chessboard. Many of these manuscripts are missing, but their content is known due to compilation work done by the later authors. 
The earliest listing of works on chess is in the Fihrist, a general bibliography produced in 377 AH (988 CE) by Ibn al-Nadim. Bibliography (from Greek grc βιβλιογραφία bibliographia, literally "book writing" as a practice is the academic study of Books The Islamic calendar or Muslim calendar ( Arabic: التقويم الهجري at-taqwīm al-hijrī; Persian: تقویم هجری قمری Events By Place Africa Al-Azhar University is founded in Cairo, Egypt (the second oldest university in the world Abu'l-Faraj Muhammad bin Ishaq al-Nadim ( Arabic: ابو الفرج محمد بن إسحاق النديم whose father was known as al-Warraq (Arabic الورّاق It includes an entire section on the topic of chess, listing:
There is a passage referring to chess in a work said to be by Hasan, a philosopher from Basra who died in 728 CE. Hasan may refer to Hasan (hadith Hasan (name Mount Hasan - volcano Hasan Afghanistan Basra ( BGN: AlBasrah also called Basorah Abillah and Uruk or IRAQ The name that British colony has adopted for Basra Events By Place Europe Liutprand King of the Lombards occupies all of the exarchate. However the attribution of authorship is dubious.
During the reign of the Arab caliphs, shatranj players of highest class were called aliyat or grandees. The araB gene Promoter is a bacterial promoter activated by e L-arabinose binding The Caliph is the Head of state in a Caliphate, and the title for the leader of the Islamic Ummah, an Islamic community ruled by the Shari'ah  There were only a very few players in this category. The most well known of them were:
Al-Adli as well as as-Suli introduced classifications of players by their playing strength. Both of them specify 5 classes of players:
To determine his or her class, a player would play a series of match with a player of a known class without odds. If he wins 7 or more games out of 10, he belongs to a higher class.
|Mujannah - Mashaikhi opening. In opening shatranj players usually tried to reach a specific position, tabiya.|
Openings in shatranj were usually called tabbiyyaتَبِّيّة (pl. tabiyyaat),تَبِيّات which can be translated as battle array. Due to slow piece development in shatranj, the exact sequence of moves was relatively unimportant. Instead players aimed to reach a specific position, tabiya, mostly ignoring the play of their opponent.
On the right is shown the position of the game, where white has played quite a popular tabiya Mujannah (the wingled, or flanked). Black in the middle of playing tabiya Mashaikhi (the sheikh's opening). The initial position in this game was with the white king on the right side. This position was reached after the following moves: 1. f3 h6 2. f4 b6 3. Nf3 f6 4. g3 e6 5. c3 d6 6. c4 Ne7 7. Nc3 Nd7 8. b3 e5 9. e3 d5 10. d3 c6 11. Rb1 Qc7 12. Rg1 Qd6. White and black can also play the same tabiya. For example, in the Double Mujannah opening, both white and black play the Mujannah tabiya, reaching a symmetric position.
The works of al-Adli and as-Suli contain collections of tabiyat. Tabiyat were usually given as position on a half-board with some comments about them. The concrete sequence of moves to reach them was not specified. In his book Al-Lajlaj analyzed some tabiya in detail. He started his analysis from some given opening, for example "Double Mujannah" or "Mujannah - Mashaikhi", and then continued up to move 40. , giving numerous variations.
Both al-Adli and as-Suli provided estimation of piece values in their books on shatranj. They used a monetary system to specify piece values. For example, as-Suli gives piece values in dirhem, the currency in use in his time:
|Fers||1/3 - 3/8 dirhem|
|Central pawn (d-, or e-pawn)||1/4 dirhem|
|Knight's or Alfils's pawn (b-, c-, f-, or g-pawn)||1/6 - 1/5 dirhem|
|Rook's pawn (a- or h-pawn)||1/8 dirhem|
As-Suli also believed that the b-pawn was better than the f-pawn and King's side Alfil (on the c-file) was better than Queen's side one (on the f-file). Dirham or dirhem (درهم is a unit of currency in several Arab nations and formerly the related unit of mass (the Ottoman dram) in the Ottoman Empire Furthemore, an Alfil on the c-file was better than the d-pawn and the Alfil on the f-file was better than an e-pawn.
|White to move and win. This is a typical example of a shatranj problem, Mansuba.|
There were a lot of shatranj problems composed by Arabic chess masters. A chess problem, also called a chess composition, is a puzzle set by somebody using Chess pieces on a Chess board that presents the solver with Such shatranj problems were called mansuba (pl. mansubat). This word can be translated from Arabic as arrangement, position or situation. Mansubat were typically composed in such a way that a win could be achieved as a sequence of checks. One's own king was usually threatened by immediate checkmate.
One of the most famous Mansuba is the Dilaram Problem shown at the right. Black threatens immediate checkmate by 1. . . Ra2, or Ra8, or Rb4. However, white can win with a two-rook sacrifice: 1. Rh8+ Kxh8 2. Bf5+ Kg8 3. Rh8+ Kxh8 4. g7+ Kg8 5. Nh6#. Note that the Alfil (denoted by B for simplicity) moves two squares diagonally, jumping over intermediate pieces; it thus prevents the king from going to h7 at move 5.
Online Shatranj games can be played at Internet Chess Club. The Internet Chess Club (ICC is a commercial Internet chess server devoted to the play and discussion of Chess and Chess variants ICC currently has over
Correspondence Shatranj is available at SchemingMind. SchemingMind is a global Correspondence chess server founded in 2002 by Austin Lockwood