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Indian chess

This article is about regional versions of chess played in India. For ancient Indian chess variants, which are believed to be predecessors of chess by some historians, see Chaturanga.

Indian chess is the name given to the version of the game as played in India in the 18th and 19th centuries. The more ancient forms are known as Chaturanga, and spread to the west via Persia in the 7th Century. There are several such variations, all quite similar to modern rules, with variants regarding castling, pawn promotion, etc. These variants were popular in India until the 1960s, and are possibly still played in rural areas.

Differences from Western chess

Names of the pieces

The queen is called the "Minister". The knight has been called a horse since chaturanga times, and is attested to in the iconography of the modern knight. The following table describes the Indian chess terminology for the various pieces (including Hindi pronunciations):

Name Modern Hindi
King king Raja
Minister queen Mantri
Camel / Boat bishop Oont / Nauka
Horse knight Ghoda
Elephant rook Haathi
Infantry pawn Paidal or Pyaada

Mantri is the Sanskrit and Hindi term for Minister.

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