In Pritchard's Encyclopedia of Chess Variants, he writes about a version of Tamerlane Chess with more pieces. This version is often attributed to the copyist of Timur's biographer, Arabshah. However, there are reasons to believe that Arabshah lived at about one century or perhaps more earlier than when the diagram of this version was made. The version differs mainly from Tamerlane chess in that several squares, empty in the most common setup of Tamerlane chess, are filled in this setup. Some new pieces are in this game: lions, bulls, and a sentinel. Unfortunately, the movement of these pieces is unknown, so it is not possible to play this game with the original rules.
"The game of Great Chess that was made in India after the manner of how the Old Kings used to make their armies of knights and pawns and stand them in ranks to show their power and so that their enemies would fear them."
King: "can jump to the third orthogonal or diagonal square like a Queen [on his/her first move] or to the first orthogonal or
diagonal square, he captures, is shielded and is safe from check unless there is another piece in between."
Aanca (The mythical bird the Rok), Its jumping movement is such that if it is on a black square, it will go to the next black diagonal square like a Queen and then as much as it likes in a straight line. Likewise if it is on white. If it is on black then it cannot go to the four white squares surrounding it. Likewise if it is (starts) on white. it cannot move to the four surrounding black squares.
Crocodile: It moves diagonally to either the first square or as far as it likes [like the modern Bishop]. If it begins on a blacks square, it plays only on black and cannot enter a white square. The one on a white square cannot play on black.
Giraffe: Before it begins to run it gives a sideways jump and so does its piece in this chess. It moves to the fourth square to its side [counting the starting square] so that when it moves from a white square it goes to black and when it leaves a black square it goes to white. The other Giraffe on the other side moves the same.
Rhinoceros: "First it moves like a Knight and then diagonally like a Crocodile as far as it wants or until it captures. It can never move backwards, only always forwards."
Lion: A "very strong beast that jumps a lot backwards or forwards, more than any other beast when it wants to capture something. And so its piece jumps to the fourth square ahead or the second behind."
Rook: is like the ranks of soldiers and it plays like the Rook in the other chess
Pawns: "play as We described before. When a pawn is promoted in this chess it then moves like the piece in whose square it was promoted. If it is promoted in the King's square, it becomes another Aanca. Pawns are set up on the fourth row.
"Because this Great Chess is very slow and long to play, We, King Alfonso, ordered dice to be made to speed its play and which show their hierarchy by the pips on the dice.
The dice are made in this way: they have eight triangular sides because they could not be made in another way for this game. Even though the triangle has an odd number of sides it has to fall flat side down; if it had an even number of sides it would fall on its edge. And so these dice were made with eight sides for the eight types of pieces."
Wirnt von Gravenberg, writing early in the thirteenth century, mentioned the Courier Game in his poem Wigalois, and expected his readers to know what he was talking about. Heinrich von Beringen, about a hundred years later, mentioned the introduction of the couriers as an improvement in chess. Kunrat von Ammenhausen, still in the first half of the fourteenth century, told how he had once in Constance seen a game with sixteen more men than in the "right chess": each side having a trull, two couriers, a counsellor, and four extra pawns. He added that he had never seen the game anywhere else, in Provence, France, or Kurwalhen
1202 Wirnt von Gravenberg mentions courier chess in his Arthurian romance, Wigalois.
1300 Heinrich von Beringen mentions the courier game as an improvement on chess, in his great chess poem, Schachbuch.
1337 Kunrat von Ammenhausen describes a detailed account of courier chess in Constance (at the south-west corner of Germany, bordering Switzerland).
1497 The first known publication of the rules of modern chess: Repeticion de Amoresy Arte de Ajedrez by Luis Ramirez de Lucena, in Spain.
Chess Collectors Message 1508 Lucas van Leyden, at 14 years old, paints his famous portrayal of courier chess, which later finds its way to the Royal Museum of Berlin.
1616 Gustav Selenus witnesses courier chess in Ströbeck, Germany. He describes the rules of play in his Das Schack- oder König-Spiel (“Chess- or King-Game”). He also provides a sketch of elaborate figurative pieces (below).
1651 On May 13th, The village of Ströbeck, Germany is presented with a courier chess board and silver courier chess pieces by the Elector-Prince Frederick William of Brandenburg. The board remains in Ströbeck; the silver pieces are long gone.
1661 Jan de Bray, classic Dutch Artist in Haarlem, Netherlands, sketches a young man (possibly a self-portrait), sitting with chessmen strewn on a courier chess board (top of this page). Certain pieces, especially the pawns, show a strong resemblance to the pieces in van Leyden's painting of 1508.
1821 H. G. Albers from Lüneburg writes that courier chess is played in the Ströbeck area.
1825 Visitors to Ströbeck report that the game of courier chess has been forgotten there, the last place it was known to be played.
mmfilesi wrote:This is an importan poem. The first time that the queen is the queen (for influence of Isabel la católica).
Since its early days, Shatranj got several variants. Several should have known some success as they are evoked in different sources. They were described in the above mentioned manuscripts. In addition, two writers paid a special attention to those variants:
The historian al-Mas'ûdî (dead in 956) composed the Murûj adh-dhahab (The Meadows of gold). Among other things, this text described five variants: Oblong Chess (al-Mustatîla), Decimal Chess (at-Tâmma, complete Chess), Circular Chess (ar-Rûmîya, Byzantine Chess), Astronomical Chess (al-Falakîya, Celestial Chess) and Limb Chess (al-Jawârhîya).
Much later, the Nafâ'is al-funûn (Treasury of the sciences), a Persian encyclopedia from Mahmud al-Âmulî (died 1352) described five historical chess variants: 1) Shatranj at-Tawila, oblong chess, 2) Shatranj al-Mudawara, Circular Chess, 3) an astronomical game as in Alfonso's, 4) Shatranj al-Husûn, "Citadel" Chess, 5) Shatranj al-Kabîr, Great Chess later known as Timur Chess.
"Hiashatar is a medieval chess variant deriving from Mongolia. The pieces move as in orthodox chess, with the exception of the additional piece, the Bodyguard (also called 'Senior Adviser' or 'Warrior'). It slides one or two steps in any direction. The Bodyguard has about the same value as a rook + two pawns (my estimate). A Bodyguard cannot checkmate (or capture) the enemy king. The Bodyguard can stymie the movement of enemy pieces, except the horse. This implies that an enemy piece can only move one square at a time so long its movement occurs on the squares immediately surrounding the Bodyguard. The horse, being so important in Mongolian life, is not affected by the stymieing powers of the Bodyguard." ... (in Hyashatar in contrast to Shatar the horse can checkmate the king) ....
"Thanks to its stymieing capability the Bodyguard is immune against long-range attacks from enemy queen, rook, and bishop. This also means that these pieces cannot easily guard friendly pieces being threatened by an enemy Bodyguard. This makes the Bodyguard a very useful attacking piece in the middlegame. If the Bodyguard is placed centrally during the middlegame, it effectively stymies the long-range enemy pieces. The horse, however, remains a serious threat to the Bodyguard. The Bodyguard's inability to threaten the enemy king is a serious deficit. There is no castling in Hiashatar, and removing the king from its exposed position in the centre is not always necessary, thanks to the effective protective capability of the Bodyguard. In an additional variant the Bodyguard stymies also friendly pieces, and can capture only the nearest square. This is possibly an authentic historical variant."
"This game is still played in Mongolia, although Fide-chess is taking over more and more. Hiashatar is said to have appeared 500 years ago. A legend tells us about it in the following way.
Long long ago a khan was living. He was forced to fight many wars. It helped him to understand that even most intensive training is not enough for a victory. Therefore he included into his army the authorized representatives responsible for safety. Other rulers found this innovation to be helpful too, and they made the same. And once a certain wise man under influence of these innovations has transformed the game of shatar, having entered into it particular bodyguards - the new figures responsible for safety of king."
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