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Shatranj ar-Rumiya (Byzantine Chess, Circular Chess, Shatranj al-Mudawara)DLP Game   

Period Medieval

Region Southern Asia, Western Asia

Category Board, War, Replacement, Checkmate, Chaturanga


Shatranj ar-Rumiya is a game known from Islamic manuscripts from the medieval period. It is similar to Shatranj but played on a circular board. The Name literally means "Byzantine Chess," but there is no evidence it was played in the Byzantine Empire.


Circular board. Empty central circle, with four concentric rows of spaces, sixteen spaces per circle. Pieces are as follows: Rukh (x2), placed on two adjacent squares in the outer circle, move any number of spaces orthogonally; Asb (x2), placed in the two spaces adjacent to the Rukh in the next circle, move as Chess knights; Pil (x2): Placed in the two spaces adjacent to the Asb in the next circle in, move two spaces diagonally, jumping over the first space; Fres (x1): placed on the inner circle adjacent to the left Pil, moves one space diagonally; Shah (x1), placed to the right of the Fers, moves one space in any direction, Baidaq (x8), placed in each space flanking the other pieces, those on the left move clockwise, those on the right anti-clockwise, one space forward or one space diagonally forward to capture. No en passant, no promotion. When two Baidaq meet and neither can move, the opponent captures them. The opponent who can checkmate the opponent's Shah wins.

Murray 1913: 342-343.

These rules were taken from the Murray ruleset.

All Rulesets

Described rulesets
Murray Rules from Murray.
Al-Amuli Arrangement of pieces is reversed; four citadels in center.

Ludeme Description

Shatranj ar-Rumiya.lud


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Murray 1913: 342-343.

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

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