Introduction to Chaturaji (Chess Variant)

Chaturaji, or “Four Kings,” is a chess variant game that was first documented around 1030 AD.

The game finds its origins in the Indian subcontinent and has elements similar to chess.

Its historical importance is attested by Al-Biruni, a prominent Islamic scholar, in his book ‘India.’

This fascinating game blends strategy, skill, and chance, making it a unique experience for players.

The Original Format of Chaturaji

In its original form, Chaturaji was a game of chance.

The pieces moved on the board were decided by rolling two dice.

This aspect introduced a level of unpredictability to the game, adding to its complexity.

Each roll of the dice would influence the strategy of the game, offering a refreshing departure from traditional board games.

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Description of Chaturaji

Chaturaji is a four-player game, adding an additional layer of strategy as players must navigate interactions with three opponents.

Just like chess, each player’s objective is to protect their king while trying to checkmate their opponents’ kings.

Each player starts with a king, a boat (the equivalent of a rook in chess), a horse (knight), and four pawns, arranged in a specific pattern.

Evolution of Chaturaji

Over time, Chaturaji evolved to include a diceless version.

By the close of the 19th century, this version had gained significant popularity in India.

The diceless variant of the game further emphasizes the strategic elements of Chaturaji, similar to how modern chess is played.

Chess Chaturaji Variant Master Strategy Guide

Rules of Diceless Chaturaji

In the diceless version of Chaturaji, players take turns moving their pieces, similar to chess.

However, unlike chess, each player has only one of each type of piece (except for pawns), making each move crucial to the game’s outcome.

An added twist is that a player’s boat or horse can revive a captured king, adding another layer to the complex strategizing required in the game.

Cultural Significance of Chaturaji

Chaturaji holds significant cultural importance in India. As a precursor to modern chess, it offers insight into how strategic games evolved over time.

In addition, it highlights the rich history of Indian gaming culture, underscoring the diversity and innovation in game design present throughout history.

Chaturaji in the Modern World

Today, Chaturaji, like many traditional games, has found a place in the digital world.

Players from around the globe can compete online, bringing this ancient game into the contemporary gaming landscape.

It continues to captivate players with its unique blend of strategy and chance, testifying to its enduring appeal.


Chaturaji, a four-player chess-like game, presents a unique blend of strategy, chance, and cultural history.

Its evolution from a game of dice to a diceless, strategic contest reflects the progression of gaming over centuries.

As it continues to adapt to modern formats, Chaturaji remains a testament to the timeless appeal of strategic board games.

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