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Evidence for Shatranj

15 pieces of evidence found.

Id DLP.Evidence.765
Type Artifact
Location 29°57'0.00"N, 35°20'49.00"E
Date 0685-01-01 - 0749-12-31
Rules Rukh piece.
Content Rukh piece from Humayma in Jordan, from the dump above the cooking area of a household. Oleson and Scheck 2013: 503-504; Oleson 2019.
Confidence 100

Id DLP.Evidence.808
Type Artifact
Location 34°59'27.36"N, 39°10'45.27"E
Date 0750-01-01 - 0990-12-31
Rules Rukh piece.
Content Two wooden rukh found at Qasr al-Hayr, made from imported wood. Dark in color similar to ebony. C-14 dated to 750 CE ± 120. Found just over the pavement at the Large Enclosure's north gate. Grabar et al. 1978: Vol 1 189, Vol 2 291; Oleson and Schick 2013: 503.
Confidence 100
Source Grabar, O., R. Holod, J. Knustad, and W. Trousdale. 1978. City in the Desert: Qasr al-Hayr East. Harvard Middle Eastern Monograph Series XXIII/XXIV. Cambridge: Harvard University Press., Oleson, J. P. and R. Schick. 2013. Humayma Excavation Project, 2: Nabataean Campground and Necropolis, Byzantine Churches, and Early Islamic Domestic Structures. Boston: American Schools of Oriental Research.

Id DLP.Evidence.1136
Type Artifact
Location 36°12'50.71"N, 58°47'45.92"E
Date 0800-01-01 - 0825-12-31
Rules Knights, elephants, rooks, pawns, king and vizier pieces, green and white players.
Content Set of Shatranj pieces found at Nishapur. Each type of piece represented. Some pieces are green, others are white. Wilkinson and McNab Dennis 1968: 2.
Confidence 100
Source Wilkinson, C. and J. McNab Dennis. 1968. Chess: East and West, Past and Present. A Selection from the Gustavus A. Pfeiffer Collection. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Id DLP.Evidence.1137
Type Contemporary text
Location 33°19'16.16"N, 44°25'5.05"E
Date 0988-01-01 - 0988-12-31
Rules Name of Shatranj.
Content al-Fihrist bin Abu al-Faraj Muhammad bin Ishaq al-Nadim, Bibliography of chess writers. Murray 1913: 169.
Confidence 100

Id DLP.Evidence.1138
Type Contemporary rule description
Location 33°19'16.16"N, 44°25'5.05"E
Date 1140-01-01 - 1140-12-31
Rules Shatranj is played on an 8x8 board. The pieces move as follows, with the number per player: 1 x Shah (king): moves one space orthogonally or diagonally. 1 x Fers (counselor): One square diagonally. 2 x Rukh (chariot): Any number of spaces orthogonally. 2 x Pil (elephant): Two squares diagonally, jumping over the first. Cannot capture another Pil. 2 x Asb (horse): Moves as a chess knight. 8 x Sarbaz (soldier): Moves one space forward orthogonally; one space forward diagonally to capture. No en passant. Promoted to Fers when reaching the eighth rank. No castling. Stalemate results in win for player causing it. The player who checkmates the king wins.
Content Manuscript 560 'Abd al-Hamid I library, Istanbul. Written by Abu Ishaq Ibrahim bin al-Mubarak bin 'Ali al-Mudhahhab al Baghdadi in 1140. Contains portions of al-'Adli's Kitab ash-shatranj and as-Suli's Kitab ash-shtranj. With rules, openings, strategies, endings. Murray 1913: 171–172.
Confidence 100
Source Murray, H. J. R. 1913. A History of Chess. London: Oxford University Press.

Id DLP.Evidence.1139
Type Contemporary rule description
Location 29°35'47.21"N, 52°35'3.93"E
Date 0949-01-01 - 0970-12-31
Rules Shatranj is played on an 8x8 board. The pieces move as follows, with the number per player: 1 x Shah (king): moves one space orthogonally or diagonally. 1 x Fers (counselor): One square diagonally. 2 x Rukh (chariot): Any number of spaces orthogonally. 2 x Pil (elephant): Two squares diagonally, jumping over the first. Cannot capture another Pil. 2 x Asb (horse): Moves as a chess knight. 8 x Sarbaz (soldier): Moves one space forward orthogonally; one space forward diagonally to capture. No en passant. Promoted to Fers when reaching the eighth rank. No castling. Stalemate results in win for player causing it. The player who checkmates the king wins.
Content Manuscript 1858 As'ad Efendi, Istanbul. Risala al-Lajlaj fi bayan la'b ash-shatranj, "'Al-Lajlaj's Treatise on the Demonstration of the Game of Shatranj. From Kitab al-Fihrist, Al-Lajlaj went to Shiraz to King Adudaddaula and died in 970. Murray 1913: 169, 173–174.
Confidence 100

Id DLP.Evidence.1140
Type Contemporary rule description
Location 33°19'16.16"N, 44°25'5.05"E
Date 1257-06-21 - 1257-06-21
Rules Shatranj is played on an 8x8 board. The pieces move as follows, with the number per player: 1 x Shah (king): moves one space orthogonally or diagonally. 1 x Fers (counselor): One square diagonally. 2 x Rukh (chariot): Any number of spaces orthogonally. 2 x Pil (elephant): Two squares diagonally, jumping over the first. Cannot capture another Pil. 2 x Asb (horse): Moves as a chess knight. 8 x Sarbaz (soldier): Moves one space forward orthogonally; one space forward diagonally to capture. No en passant. Promoted to Fers when reaching the eighth rank. No castling. Stalemate results in win for player causing it. The player who checkmates the king wins.
Content British Library Manuscript Add MS 7515. Anonymous author, Kitab fi al-shatranj wa-wansubatihi wa-mulahih "Book of Shatranj, its Problems and Subtleties." Contains discussions of rules, opening, legality, origins, symbolism, classes of players, poetry, and strategy. Compilation of works by Al-Adli, as-Suli, and al-Lajlaj. Dedicated to a prince whose name has been erased. Unknown place of origin, acquired in Baghdad. Murray 1913: 173; British library: http://searcharchives.bl.uk/primo_library/libweb/action/display.do?tabs=detailsTab&ct=display&fn=search&doc=IAMS032-003310657&indx=1&recIds=IAMS032-003310657&recIdxs=0&elementId=0&renderMode=poppedOut&displayMode=full&frbrVersion=&fctN=facet_creationdate&fctN=facet_fmt&dscnt=0&rfnGrp=2&rfnGrp=1&scp.scps=scope%3A%28BL%29&fctV=%5B-999999999+TO+1929%5D&fctV=Archives+and+Manuscripts&frbg=&tab=local&dstmp=1584717304499&srt=rank&mode=Basic&dum=true&rfnGrpCounter=2&vl(freeText0)=chess&vid=IAMS_VU2
Confidence 100

Id DLP.Evidence.1141
Type Contemporary text
Location 41° 0'25.38"N, 28°58'49.21"E
Date 1148-01-01 - 1148-12-31
Rules Name of Zatrikion.
Content Anna Comnena Alexiad II.6: "επι γαρ ο αθτοκρατωρ μετα το διυπνισθηται κατα δειλην εωαν την εκ των πολλων φροντιδων εγγινομενην αλμην καταγκυκαινειν αθελων ενιοτε συμπαιστορας ειχε των συγγενεων τινασ παιζων το ζατρικιον (παιδια δε τουτο εκ τησ των Ασσυριων τρυφης εξευρημενον και εισ ημασ εκειθεν εληλυθος." Translated in by Dawes 2000: 166: "For, on awakening from sleep in the early morning, in order to dissipate the humours engendered by his many anxieties the Emperor occasionally played at chess with one of his relations (this game was invented by the luxurious Assyrians, and brought thence to us)."
Confidence 100
Ages Adult
Social status Royalty
Genders Male
Source Anna Comnena. Alexiad.

Id DLP.Evidence.1143
Type Contemporary text
Location Late Sasanian
Date 0531-01-01 - 0651-12-31
Rules Name of Shatranj, names of pieces, capturing of pieces.
Content WIZĀRIŠN Ī ČATRANG UD NIHIŠN Ī NĒW-ARDAXŠĪR: “The Explanation of Chess and the Arrangement of Backgammon.” Pahlavi manuscript of late Sasanian date. This tale recounts the meeting of Sasanian king Kosrow I and the probably mythical king of India Dewisharm, who played Chatrang and Nard together. It describes the names for the pieces (shah, farzin, rukh, pil, asp, piyadak). Panaino 2017; Murray 1913: 151–153.
Confidence 100
Social status Royalty
Source Murray, H. J. R. 1913. A History of Chess. London: Oxford University Press. , Panaino, A. 2017. WIZĀRIŠN Ī ČATRANG UD NIHIŠN Ī NĒW-ARDAXŠĪR. Encyclopaedia Iranica. accessed 03/23/2020.

Id DLP.Evidence.1147
Type Contemporary text
Location 33°19'16.16"N, 44°25'5.05"E
Date 0720-01-01 - 0720-12-31
Rules Name of Shatranj.
Content Letter of Abd al-Hamid al-Khatib mentioning Shatranj, quoted in a volume by Wadad al-Qadi. Mark 2007: 18.
Confidence 100
Social status Nobility
Genders Male
Source Mark, M. 2007. "The Beginnings of Chess." In I. Finkel ed, Ancient Board Games in Perspective. London: The British Museum Press, p. 138–157.

Id DLP.Evidence.1148
Type Contemporary rule description
Location 33°19'16.16"N, 44°25'5.05"E
Date 0880-01-01 - 0946-12-31
Rules 8x8 board. The pieces move as follows, with the number per player: 1 x Shah (king): moves one space orthogonally or diagonally. 1 x Fers (counselor): One square diagonally. 2 x Rukh (rook): Any number of spaces orthogonally. 2 x Pil (elephant): Two squares diagonally, jumping over the first. Cannot capture another Pil. 2 x Asb (horse): Moves as a chess knight. 8 x Sarbaz (soldier): Moves one space forward orthogonally; one space forward diagonally to capture. No en passant. Promoted to Fers when reaching the eighth rank. No castling. Stalemate results in win for player causing it. The player who checkmates the king wins.
Content Kitab ash-Shatranj by As-Suli, chess favorite of caliph al-Muktafi. Excerpts are known because theya re quoted in later manuscripts. Keene 2007:158–160; Murray 1913: 169ff.
Confidence 100
Social status Elite, Nobility
Genders Male
Source Keene, R. 2007. "Grandmasters of Shatranj and the Dating of Chess." In I. Finkel ed, Ancient Board Games in Perspective. London: The British Museum Press. p. 158–161., Murray, H. J. R. 1913. A History of Chess. London: Oxford University Press.

Id DLP.Evidence.1149
Type Contemporary rule description
Location 33°19'16.16"N, 44°25'5.05"E
Date 0820-01-01 - 0860-12-31
Rules 8x8 board. The pieces move as follows, with the number per player: 1 x Shah (king): moves one space orthogonally or diagonally. 1 x Fers (counselor): One square diagonally. 2 x Rukh (rook): Any number of spaces orthogonally. 2 x Pil (elephant): Two squares diagonally, jumping over the first. Cannot capture another Pil. 2 x Asb (horse): Moves as a chess knight. 8 x Sarbaz (soldier): Moves one space forward orthogonally; one space forward diagonally to capture. No en passant. Promoted to Fers when reaching the eighth rank. No castling. Stalemate results in win for player causing it. The player who checkmates the king wins.
Content Kitab ash-Shatranj by Al-Adli. Excerpts of this text are known from later manuscripts. Murray 1913: 169-170; Keene 2007: 158–159.
Confidence 100
Social status Elite
Genders Male
Source Keene, R. 2007. "Grandmasters of Shatranj and the Dating of Chess." In I. Finkel ed, Ancient Board Games in Perspective. London: The British Museum Press. p. 158–161., Murray, H. J. R. 1913. A History of Chess. London: Oxford University Press.

Id DLP.Evidence.1150
Type Contemporary rule description
Location 33°19'16.16"N, 44°25'5.05"E
Date 0847-01-01 - 0862-12-31
Rules 8x8 board. The pieces move as follows, with the number per player: 1 x Shah (king): moves one space orthogonally or diagonally. 1 x Fers (counselor): One square diagonally. 2 x Rukh (rook): Any number of spaces orthogonally. 2 x Pil (elephant): Two squares diagonally, jumping over the first. Cannot capture another Pil. 2 x Asb (horse): Moves as a chess knight. 8 x Sarbaz (soldier): Moves one space forward orthogonally; one space forward diagonally to capture. No en passant. Promoted to Fers when reaching the eighth rank. No castling. Stalemate results in win for player causing it. The player who checkmates the king wins.
Content Latif fi'sh -Shatranj by ar-Razi, who played with Caliph Mutawakkil. Excerpts of this work are known from later manuscripts. Murray 1913: 169-171.
Confidence 100
Social status Elite, Royalty
Source Murray, H. J. R. 1913. A History of Chess. London: Oxford University Press.

Id DLP.Evidence.1155
Type Artifact
Location 39°40'13.61"N, 66°59'15.98"E
Date 0600-01-01 - 0712-01-01
Rules Chariot, elephant, soldier, horse pieces.
Content Incomplete set of ivory Chess pieces from underneath a mosque built in 712 CE at Afrasiab. Eder 1994; Semenov 2007: 169.
Confidence 100
Source Eder, M. 1994. "Die Schachfiguren aus Afrasiab: Fragen an die Wissenschaft zur Deutubng, Zeitstellung und Ikonographie. ANtike Welt 25(1): 71–78.

Id DLP.Evidence.1156
Type Artifact
Location 37°48'14.43"N, 69°38'51.82"E
Date 0900-01-01 - 1099-12-31
Rules Pawns, elephant, horse pieces.
Content Incomplete ivory set of Shatranj pieces from Khulbuk, tenth or eleventh century CE. Semenov 2007: 170–171.
Confidence 100
Source Semenov, G. 2007. "Board Games in Central Asia and Iran." In I. Finkel, ed Ancient Board Games in Perspective. London:The British Museum Press. p. 169–176.

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