background Ludii Portal
Home of the Ludii General Game System


Home Games Forum Downloads References Concepts Contribute Tutorials Tournaments World Map Ludemes About

Chaturanga (Caturanga, Catur)DLP Game   

Period Medieval

Region Central Asia, Eastern Asia, Southern Asia

Category Board, War, Replacement, Checkmate, Chaturanga


Chaturanga is believed to be the earliest ancestor of Chess, Shogi, and many other similar games throughout the world. It is first documented in India, and the pieces (infantry, horses, elephants, and chariots) reflect the four divisions of the Indian army, who protect the counselor and king. Various Indian texts discuss the rules and problems, and it is also a popular theme in Indian art and literature.


Played on an 8x8 board. 8 Bhata (or Padati; move like Chess pawns but without being able to move two on the first turn); 2 Ashva (horses; move like Chess knights); 2 Gaja (elephants; two spaces in any orthogonal direction, jumping over the first square); 2 Ratha (chariots; moves like a rook in chess); 1 Mantri (counselor; moves one square diagonally in any direction); 1 Raja (king; moves one square in any direction). These are set up along one edge of the board: Ratha-Ashva-Gaja-Mantri-Raja-Gaja-Ashva-Ratha, with the eight Bhata lined up in the row in front of these, as in chess. Players take turns moving. When one piece lands on the space occupied by another piece, it is captured. Play continues until one player's king cannot move without being captured.

Bock-Raming 1996.

These rules were taken from the Manasollasa ruleset.

All Rulesets

Described rulesets
Manasollasa Rules from Manasollasa.

Scholarly rulesets
Elephant Diagonal Jump Elephants jump to the second space diagonally.
Elephant Diagonal Move Elephants move one space diagonally.



Ludeme Description



Browse all concepts for Chaturanga here.


Murray 1913: 51–94

Evidence Map

6 pieces of evidence in total. Browse all evidence for Chaturanga here.

Click on any marker or highlighted region to view the evidence relating to it.
To view all regions, please select it from the category options below.

Evidence category:

Evidence coloured based on:

Map style:


Bock-Raming, A. 1996. Manasollasa, 5,560–623: Ein Bisher unbeachtet gebliebener Text zum indischen Schachspiel, übersetzt, kommentiert und interpretiert. Indo-Iranian Journal. 39(1):1–40.

Eder, M. 1994. "Die Schachfiguren aus Afrasiab: Fragen an die Wissenschaft zur Deutubng, Zeitstellung und Ikonographie. ANtike Welt 25(1): 71–78.

Mark, M. 2007. "The Beginnings of Chess." In I. Finkel ed, Ancient Board Games in Perspective. London: The British Museum Press, p. 138–157.

Murray, H. J. R. 1913. A History of Chess. London: Oxford University Press.

Similar Games


Short Assize

Shatranj (Algeria)

Rumi Shatranj

Chess Puzzle

Los Alamos Chess

Ouk Chatrang


Long Assize





     Contact Us

lkjh Maastricht University Department of Advanced Computing Sciences (DACS), Paul-Henri Spaaklaan 1, 6229 EN Maastricht, Netherlands Funded by a €2m ERC Consolidator Grant (#771292) from the European Research Council