Rekindling an ancient pastime, by Simon Jepps.
Cha’nga, pronounced “shangaah”, is a version of Chaturanga, which allows just two players to employ the classic four armies.
I invented this game because I know as much as people love Chaturanga, its inconvenience is the requirement of four players.
Creating an understanding as to how only two people can play, in turn sanctifies its misunderstood silence, revealing instead its diversity and adaptability to all walks of life.
But first a truth.
However you interpret history, there is no avoiding the fact that “Chaturanga” literally translates as “the four arms.” It comes from “chatur”, meaning four, and from “anga”, meaning arms.
There are many games from the Eastern world that resemble Western chess and over time similar names have been adopted to them from an ancient family tree, all tracing backwards in time to Chaturanga.
Yet a conscious failure to acknowledge this sacred game as the origin of chess has prevailed for as long as outsiders have been jealous of its power.
To claim a Hindu game’s unpopularity in a Christian world to be the conclusive proof of its irrelevance to the modern alteration, is nothing less than a disgusting insult to the ancient sacred scripture from whence it was born.
Yet due to mythical antiquity being muchly sensitive to exploitive misinterpretation, this is the illogical fallacy upon which most Western text books are based.
Behold ye true origin of a pastime.
Chaturanga is indeed a most sacred game handed down through ancient Indian texts dating back thousands of years.
Unfortunately chess today has been impurified by a globalist concept of greed and dominance of the world. It has been engineered into an ultimate face off between two mad Kings who’s common identity of the cross founds their disagreement. Interpretively an attempt to brainwash those who play it to accept unconditionally the war plans of any Christian monarch, even if that be against a righteous friend.
This was not in any way the original practice or purpose of Chaturanga.
Quietly in fact much the opposite, since it was to be that Chaturanga would heal the meanderings of conflict, into a craft of understanding amongst enemies.
For the four armies take their places around the four sides of the sixty four square board. The number eight signifying eternity and the four armies the sacred squaring of a circle.
Behold this now an eternal game of an eternal world.
Historically thus, the game of “four arms” would be played with dice, whereby their outcome would decide which pieces a player would be allowed to move.
The reason for this is a deeply philosophical one.
God understands there may indeed be a time of war whence those whom block up their ears refuse to embrace good and righteous reasoning.
Yet it should not be in any man’s eyes to seek pleasure from wrong doing and the pains of innocent people.
For this reason Chaturanga is the conversational ground between God and war. Whence the dice are cast it is only chance that decides what pieces shall be moved and under no circumstances shall any man alone pick up his sword and make for himself an unrighteous kingdom.
This is in itself a teaching that, whilst it is right to overthrow and destroy an evil ruler, war is only ever to be regarded as the unfortunate work of chaos and not the divine instruction of God.
Aye, it is true, and yet whilst a pastime of love and war, its umpire art purely of God’s laughter… for make no mistake… God plays chess very, very well.
It is a most magical pastime, indeed even more so than the Western rival, and I say this because, in truth I tell you… whence playing Chaturanga within the company of God’s righteous hand, even if thou art the only player… you will never be alone.
How To Play Cha’nga
The rules are exquisitely simple.
One player employs the Green and Yellow pieces, whilst the other player employs the Red and Black pieces.
They sit opposite whereby the primary objective is to capture both enemy Kings. The first player who accomplishes this wins the game.
Any pieces captured by the winner, from any army, are scored as follows.
- Pawn = 1
- Boat = 2
- Knight = 3
- Elephant = 4
- King = 5
However to begin, only pieces of opposing armies may capture one another. Thus the Black pieces may only capture Green pieces and the Yellow pieces may only capture Red pieces, or vice versa.
Only once all four Kings have moved, may both players employ all armies against each other.
- If a player who’s unmoved King is the 4th deciding King, and that player rolls a double King, then that player must move the unmoved King.
The loser of each game scores 5 points, but only if that player has captured an enemy King.
Optionally, a total of four games may be played, as like a tournament, accumulating points towards a grand total.
Official Piece Laws
Different manufacturers attach varying or inaccurate rules to Chaturanga, but simply said, a four player game involves accumulating as many points as possible, until either the last King has been captured or an agreement is made to end the game.
Officially and historically, the pieces of Chaturanga do actually move as follows.
- King: One square in any direction.
- Elephant: Any number of squares horizontally or vertically.
- Horse: Leaps two forward & one to the side, or vice versa, in an L shape.
- Boat: Two squares diagonally and may leap the nearest square.
- Pawn: One square forward only, but captures to the forward diagonal.
- In Cha’nga, a Pawn may also move without capturing, to the forward diagonal.
The pieces are set up in order as listed, the Boat in the corner with a Pawn in front of each.
When a Pawn reaches the opposite side of the board it may only promote to a piece previously captured by the opponent.
When a Boat lands in a 4×4 quadrant, creating a four square pact with three other boats, that player wins all three enemy Boats.
This is called a “Boat Triumph”.
Yet when playing “Cha’nga“, you must therefore sacrifice one of your own Boats in order to claim the other two.
Two dice are rolled each move, whereby each face dictates the two pieces that the player may move.
Traditionally four sided oblong dice numbered 2 to 5 are employed, whereby the numbers correspond as explained earlier in “Scoring”, yet here the number 5 refers to both King and Pawn for movement.
However a standard six sided dice may be used, whereby the numbers 1 to 5 specifically refer as like in “Scoring”, yet the number 6 becomes a free card.
For example the 6th value may be used to award a second roll of both dice, it may mean a forfeit of that piece’s move, or it may be to allow the play of any piece. The 6th face value must be decided by players before the start of the game.
Personally, I like to use Cobra Paw dice and assign the 6th face to a free piece.
In any case, there are hundreds of different kinds of dice on the market, featuring different markings, different numbers of sides or shapes, and so it is possible to even make Chaturanga and Cha’nga especially personal to you.
God speed and God bless!
Cha’nga © Jepps