Chess History India

 

 

 When Chess was invented in India, it was called chaturanga which is Sanskrit for "four-membered" Since the Indian armies were then composed of fourdivisions infantry (padati), cavalry (ashwa), chariots (ratha) and elephants (gajah)-this was the equivalent of 'army game'.


The Raja (King) the Ashwa (Knight) and the ratha (Rook) all moved as their modern equivalents do but the  Mantri meaning minister (modern Queen) could move only one adjacent diagonal square. The camel (Bishop) moved diagonally, leaping over the adjacent square to the next. The padati (Pawn) moved as the pawn does now ;but it couldn't move two squares initially and when it reached the 8th rank it had to be promoted to a Minister (Queen) which didn't much increase it's strength.
Castling was not known, but the objective of the game was the same as it has always been-to deliver checkmate Or a player could win by capturing all his opponents army (with the exception of the Raja which like the modern king was not to be taken).


The pieces were initially arranged as their modern equivalents on a board of sixty-four squares known as Ashtapada. This was, however, unchequered and was borrowed from a much older type of game that was the ancestor of modern "backgammon".

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