Chessatya ~ Of Kings & Time

⊰ Introduction

Chessatya by Simon Jepps
Chessatya by Simon Jepps
Chessatya is a combination of the two words “chess” and the Hindi word “satya” meaning ‘truth’. Thus, “chess in truth”.

The game of Chessatya is a carefully crafted and passionately finetuned transposition of ancient Chaturanga unto modern Chess. It could be described, not as the next evolution of Chess, but as the next revolution of Chaturanga.

The philosophical story behind this game is that, in order for two Christian Kings to resolve their differences and determine who, if either is most righteous, they need to summon the power of time and space through the employment of a Hindu Vimāna.

Thus the message or ‘prophecy’ of Chessatya, is that one must surrender unto the greater enlightenment of all good faiths, in order to find true salvation.

Hindu Vimāna are mythological flying palaces or chariots described in Hindu texts and Sanskrit epics. The Pushpaka Vimāna of the king Ravana is the most quoted example of a Vimāna.

Vimāna are historically documented, sometimes in exquisite detail and are believed to be likened to spaceships, or eternal chariots of both space and time.

Chessatya passionately embraces the Vimāna as a foundational counterpart to the spiritual functionality of this game.

Yet before we open our Chessatya treasure trove and reveal all that this majestic game has to offer, it is important to share with you some of the philosophy that invoked its creation.

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⊰ Chessatya Philosophy

Chaturanga, the origin of Chess, is indeed a most sacred game handed down through ancient Indian texts dating back thousands of years.

Unfortunately Chess today has been engineered into an ultimate face off between two mad Kings who’s common identity of the Cross founds their disagreement and unto which they declare a woman must fight in war to defend their selfish idiocracies.

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.

Here then is Chessatya.

A triumph of the sacred and the mathematical, of the historic and the modern, the mystical past, the inspiring present and the future harmony between Western Chess and Ancient India.

Chessatya, a beautiful modern evolution of an ancient game, could be regarded as the marriage of past and present, a welcome salute betwen Hinduism and Christianity and the timelessness of a newborn sacred pastime.

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⊰ The Objective Of Chessatya

The game of Chessatya is played with a standard Classical Chess set and TWO six sided dice.

Chessatya is hence a ‘Jeppsian’ blending of Western Chess with Indian Chaturanga. Thus the nature of gameplay is very relateable and indeed sympathetic to that of both these predecessors.

The objective of the game is to capture the opponent’s King.

There is no ‘check’ or ‘check mate’, but players utilize various natural elements of the game in order to corner their opponent and eventually capture the King.

Yet players also earn points for each and every piece they capture. These points can be incorporated into a match of five games.

Hence in Chessatya it is customary for the Opponent to surrender if he knows he cannot win. If he does not surrender, the Player gains an extra FIVE points upon capture of the Opponent’s King.

A loss of a game voids one’s points accumulated, whereby only the winner retains points for the match. Thus the victor of five games depends equally as much on material captured as it does on winning the game itself.

The most points a player can score per game is 37.

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⊰ Chessatya Board & Pieces Setup

Chessatya Board & Pieces Setup
Chessatya Board & Pieces Setup
Chessatya employs a standard 64 square Classical Chess board, yet orientated 90 degrees so that a white corner square is to the left and a black corner square is to the right.

As in Chaturanga, the pieces are positioned along all four sides of the board, however in Chessatya, just two armies maintain the same inventory, with a few changes to piece powers.

The Vimāna replaces the Queen from Classical Chess, yet whilst it is an exceptionally unique and different piece, a Queen may still be used to represent the Vimāna.

The Kings are positioned at d1 and e8 respectively, whilst the Vimānas are positioned at h4 and a5 respectively.

From each corner towards the King or Vimāna, the pieces placed in order are Bishop, Knight and Rook, whereby the King or Vimāna sits adjacent to the Rook on the open end.

Granted, first impressions of this board setup suggest a very unusual and perhaps incompatible gameplay for only two players.

Yet be not swayed from its apparent face value.

Chessatya is the fruits of a logistical thought experiment I have been undertaking for many, many years. The objective of the experiment was to:

Solve the paradox of transpositioning Chaturanga into a two player, two coloured game whereby all pieces, movements and historic game philosophy remain either similar or soundly improved.

Many observations can be made regarding this transposition, particularly that of Pawn movements and these will be explained in due course.

Chessatya is actually a relatively easy game to learn, yet harbouring many deeply logical and also philosophical scenarios or positions.

All the moves of the pieces will be explained clearly in due course, including all dice combinations, which are likewise an easily digestible aspect of the game.

Yet whilst we have only just begun to discuss this game, it is important to first extinguish any initial confusion.

Thus for a moment I will discuss an example positional observation about the initial board setup.

Readers studying Chessatya for the first time, will notice how at the beginning of the game, the King’s Pawns seem dangerously exposed to an early Vimāna’n attack.

Yet in the game Chessatya, not only are the moves of the pieces determined by DICE, but also their prowess.

This means, if by chance Black rolls a Vimāna/Rook on his first move, which means the Vimāna may move like a Rook, and plays 1… Vxa2, thence there are several possible responses and points of weakness to the move.

  1. Firstly, the move 2. Na3 immediately restricts the Vimāna from retreating.
  2. Secondly, if followed with a double Bishop dice pair, which means a Bishop may move without capture like a Knight, then 3. Bb3 practically wins the Vimāna.
  3. Thirdly, if no die grants capture yet, then 4. Rb1 seals off virtually all the Vimāna’s remaining escape routes.
  4. Fourthly, it is unwise to send a lone piece into enemy territory whence any support for it will only be decided by chance.

Of course, whilst daunting at first glance, all these easy to learn dice combinations will be explained clearly in due course.

A further point to make note of, if the option arises before any such Vimāna’n attack, playing Nc3 or actually pushing the Pawn forward one square, would be a solid defense. A double Bishop dice roll would then allow Bb3.

A similar observation would be how the Vimāna’s Pawn could begin a charge towards the Opponent’s Kingside.

Yet in Chessatya, the FOUR most central Pawns, those of the two Kings and Vimānas, MUST move TOWARDS the CENTER of the board on their FIRST move. The only exception of course, is if to capture.

Another similar observation would be how, in retrospect, White’s Kingside Pawns could launch an assault on Black’s Vimāna.

Yet in Chessatya, ONLY the EIGHT center Pawns, again those of the two Kings and Vimānas, but also of the Rooks, may move TWO squares on their FIRST move.

This law of the center Pawns not only prevents an unfair strike, but replenishes the original balance of Chaturanga.

In the game of Chaturanga these two players would probably have teamed up anyway to jointly defeat the other two players.

Yet the beautiful Vimāna and its careful crafting founds the very hearty mechanics of Chessatya itself, unto a harmonious marriage between mathematics and philosophy.

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⊰ The Chessatya Dice

The Chessatya Dice
The Chessatya Dice
Chessatya is played with a standard pair of six sided dice.

The Chessatya Dice are themselves also carefully crafted, as such to seemingly integrate with the logical outcomes of human influenced Chess positions.

At each turn a Player rolls TWO, six sided dice. These dice determine what pieces the player may move in his turn.

Each turn the Player must choose ONE of the two outcomes and move that chosen piece only.

If the dice are both EVEN, or both ODD, then the Player may optionally re-roll ONE of the dice. However only ONE re-roll is permitted in a turn.

If the dice show DOUBLE faces, then this grants a special move option, discussed shortly.

If after re-rolling one of the dice the player still cannot move, he forfeits the turn.

Each value on the dice represents a different piece.

  1. = Pawn
  2. = Bishop
  3. = Knight
  4. = Rook
  5. = King
  6. = Vimāna

These numbers are chosen both for their relative piece values and yet also their pictographical likeness as a best match to Chessatya piece movement.

For example and as will be described shortly, in Chessatya, a Pawn usually moves one square, a Bishop moves two squares and the Knight moves three squares to reach its destination.

A Rook moves orthogonally as in Classical Chess, as such a “square like behaviour”, the King one square in any direction and the Vimāna a combination of all pieces, albeit yet decided by the dice.

The Vimāna’s movement will be clarified herein due course.

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Relative Piece Values

These dice values do also happen to share an approximately perfect accuracy to their relative piece values.

It is thence also these very same values we use for scoring.

Whilst the King is the most valuable for victory, unlike the Vimāna, it cannot employ the power of all pieces.

As will be explained, a Chessatya Knight is more powerful than a Chessatya Bishop and this is because the Knight can change its square colour on every move, whereas a Bishop is mostly colour bound and restricted to a two square range.

Thus these values are employed whence scoring games by totalling the relative points for each captured piece.

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Re-Rolls

Sometimes the dice are very unfair, especially if you have lost material and for this reason players have the option to re-roll a single die to change the outcome.

Allowing players this liberty not only increases the choices of movement, but makes a DOUBLE HAND much more likely.

However re-rolls themselves are not instantly awarded but require a special condition.

ONLY if the dice are both EVEN, or both ODD, may the Player then optionally re-roll ONE of the dice. However only ONE re-roll is permitted in a turn.

Thus whilst re-rolling a die to make a double match is usually a 1/11 chance, since re-rolls can only happen under the condition given here, that chance variable increases to about 1/16.

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Double Hands

A double dice hand grants the Player to:

  • Initiate the special move for the given piece.
  • Move the given piece naturally.

Only one piece may be moved in any turn.

Herewith, a DOUBLE DIE grants the following special moves.

A double Pawn grants the Pawn to move WITHOUT CAPTURE horizontally or vertically TWO squares in range.

A double Bishop grants the Bishop to move WITHOUT CAPTURE like a Knight.

A double Knight grants the Knight to move WITHOUT CAPTURE like a Bishop.

A double Rook grants the Rook to move WITHOUT CAPTURE like a King.

A double King grants the King to move WITHOUT CAPTURE like a Rook.

A double Vimāna grants the Vimāna to move WITHOUT CAPTURE like ANY piece.

I believe mathematically, there is a 1/36 chance of rolling a double straight off and a 1/11 chance of re-rolling the second die to make them a double.

However, since re-rolls can only happen under the condition given above, that chance variable increases to about 1/16.

All these hands will be discussed in more detail shortly.

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⊰ Chessatya Pieces & Movements

Chessatya pieces are very similar in character to that of both Chaturanga and Classical Chess, yet whilst some pieces maintain classically historic traits, certain dice powers further influence their playability.

All pieces move exactly like they do in Classical Chess, except the Vimāna, Pawn and Bishop.

The Vimāna

The Vimana
The Vimāna
Value: 6 points

The Vimāna replaces the Queen from Classical Chess, yet whilst it is an exceptionally unique and different piece, a Queen may still be used to represent the Vimāna.

The pictographical symbol for the Vimāna is: ☸ ~ The Indian Wheel Of Dharma.

The Vimāna moves and captures ONLY like the OTHER PIECE shown on the SECOND DIE. The Vimāna does not have a genetic move.

A double Vimāna dice roll grants the Vimāna to move WITHOUT CAPTURE like ANY piece.

Whence moving as a Pawn, the Vimāna moves only ONE square in range.

Whilst it could be said that not having a genetic move renders the piece defensively weak, because most other pieces have a good close range footprint, 80% of dice outcomes will provide the Vimāna with a respectable defense.

Furthermore, since a Player may optionally re-roll ONE of the two dice, it is possible to change the Vimāna’s granted power.

Hence during a double Vimāna dice roll whence the Vimāna does not have a genetic capturing move, re-rolling a die is actually a good method of providing it with one, if wishing to capture.

This, providing you have not already re-rolled a die.

The Vimāna is therefore the most dynamically powerful piece in the game.

The Vimāna’s ability to increase its prowess at the mere roll of a die brings this piece unto the frontier of a most ancient and sacred game.

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The Pawn

The Pawn
The Pawn
Value: 1 point

The Chessatya Pawn moves without capturing similarly to a Classical Chess Pawn, thus ONE square vertically forward towards the Opponent’s side of the board, but may ALSO move ONE square horizontally sideways.

The Opponent’s ‘side of the board’ is the 8th/1st rank.

The Pawn, as like Classical Chess, MAY ONLY capture by moving ONE square diagonally forward towards the Opponent’s side of the board.

A double Pawn dice roll grants the Pawn to move WITHOUT CAPTURE horizontally or vertically TWO squares in range.

However the Pawn ALWAYS captures ONE square diagonally ONLY.

Thus a White Pawn on d2 captures to c3 or e3, whilst a Black Pawn on b5 captures to a4 or c4.

Likewise a Black Pawn on e7 captures to d6 or f6, whilst a White Pawn on g4 captures to f5 or h5.

Whilst sideways movement sounds dubiously powerful in comparison to a Classical Chess Pawn, remember in Chessatya, players’ moves are only determined by the dice and so this factor of chance reinstates the balance.

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The Center Pawns

» The FOUR most central Pawns, those of the two Kings and Vimānas, MUST move TOWARDS the CENTER of the board on their FIRST move. The only exception of course, is if to capture.

» ONLY the EIGHT center Pawns, again those of the two Kings and Vimānas, but also of the Rooks, may move TWO squares on their FIRST move.

This law of the center Pawns not only prevents an unfair strike, but replenishes the original balance of Chaturanga.

There is no En Passant in Chessatya.

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The Bishop

The Bishop
The Bishop
Value: 2 points

The Chessatya Bishop moves and captures TWO squares diagonally.

Unlike the Boat in Chaturanga, the Chessatya Bishop may not jump whence its natural movement. The Bishop may only jump whence like a Knight during a double Bishop dice roll.

A double Bishop dice roll grants the Bishop to move WITHOUT CAPTURE like a Knight.

This is a very powerful dice hand, since it allows the Bishop to change its square colour, thus increasing its prowess to a level en par with a Knight.

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The Knight

The Knight
The Knight
Value: 3 points

The Chessatya Knight moves and captures like a Classical Chess Knight. That is to say, in an “L” shape of a 2×1 square footprint, and may jump over other pieces.

A double Knight dice roll grants the Knight to move WITHOUT CAPTURE like a Bishop.

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Cosmic Truth

A wonder of Chaturanga is that two Boats cannot ever capture each other. If there were no other pieces on the board, except just two Boats in each corner, however much you move them about the board, neither Boat will be able to capture the other.

Once upon a time then, whence inventing Chaturanga, the ancient Indians devised a wonderful feature of the game which remedied this ailment.

This extremely rare event, known as the “Boat Triumph”, granted the initiating player of the event significant material reward, if by chance accomplished.

Chessatya features a similar event, only instead this event incorporates Knights.

The “Cosmic Truth” event is almost exactly the same as the “Boat Triumph” event in Chaturanga, only in Chessatya, it is the meeting of four Knights.

Here the initiating player wins both the Opponent’s Knights yet whilst also sacrificing one of his own.

How it works…

The Cosmic Truth
The Cosmic Truth is similar to the Boat Triumph in Chaturanga, only it incorporates Knights and a sacrifice by the initiating player.
In the game Chaturanga, whenever a player moves his Boat into a 2×2 quadrant, creating a four square pact with three other Boats, that player wins all enemy Boats.

Even though only two players are involved, in Chessatya the principle is the same, only here it is the positioning of four Knights within a 2×2 quadrant.

Yet hereof being only TWO players in Chessatya, a sacrifice is made in exchange for the reward.

Whence the “Cosmic Truth” arises, you must sacrifice your own other Knight standing in the 2×2 grid, in order to claim the two other enemy Knights.

Thus whence a player lands a Knight into a 2×2, four square pact with all three other Knights of the game, ALL THREE other Knights are removed from the board.

The Cosmic Truth is a complimentary concept unto Chessatya and whilst an official component of the game, a player is not obliged to take advantage of the material gain.

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The Rook

The Rook
The Rook
Value: 4 points

The Chessatya Rook moves and captures like a Classical Chess Rook. That is to say, as many squares as are available in an orthogonal direction.

A double Rook dice roll grants the Rook to move WITHOUT CAPTURE like a King.

Thus whilst not as dynamically tactical as the Vimāna, the Rook nevertheless remains one of the most powerful pieces on the board.

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The King

The King
The King
Value: 5 points

The Chessatya King moves and captures like a Classical Chess King. That is to say, ONE square in ANY direction.

A double King dice roll grants the King to move WITHOUT CAPTURE like a Rook.

Yet the King itself MAY be captured by the Opponent.

Chessatya requires a Player to surrender if he knows he is going to lose. If the Player does not surrender then the Opponent may capture the King when legally possible and earn an extra FIVE points.

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Castling & Promotion

Castling is not an aspect of Chessatya, since its function of special defense is replaced by the double King dice roll.

The double King dice roll grants a King to move WITHOUT CAPTURE like a Rook. Thus if utilized sensibly, this would allow a player to either enter into a corner fort, or flee to evade capture.

A Pawn may only promote onto the Opponent’s King square; thus onto e8 if White, or onto d1 if Black. Yet remember Pawns may also move sideways.

A Pawn may only promote to and thus reinstate, a piece previously captured.

There is no En Passant in Chessatya.

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⊰ Scoring & Notating Games

Scoring

Each value on the dice represents a different piece.

  1. = Pawn
  2. = Bishop
  3. = Knight
  4. = Rook
  5. = King
  6. = Vimāna

These numbers are chosen both for their relative piece values and yet also their pictographical likeness as a best match to Chessatya piece movement.

It is thence also these very same values we use for scoring.

Each number assigned to its piece signifies the number of points that piece is worth.

Players therefore earn points for each and every piece they capture. These points can be incorporated into a match of five games.

Hence in Chessatya it is customary for the Opponent to surrender if he knows he cannot win. If he does not surrender, the Player gains an extra FIVE points upon capture of the Opponent’s King.

A loss of a game voids one’s points accumulated, whereby only the winner retains points for the match. Thus the victor of five games depends equally as much on material captured as it does on winning the game itself.

The most points a player can score per game is 37.

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Notation

In a nutshell Chessatya employs the same historic method of notation as Western Chess, with an addage to Pawn movements.

Whence recording a Pawn move, we write the move square for square, rather than merely the destination.

For example, 1. d2d4.

The Vimāna is recorded with a capital letter ‘V‘.

The pictographical symbol for the Vimāna is: ☸ ~ The Indian Wheel Of Dharma.

However for ease of publication it is perfectly appropriate to employ the Classical Western Queen symbol, if a more dedicated publication is impractical.

~ The Indian Wheel Of Dharma is chosen to represent the Vimāna because it portrays the helm of a sailing ship and so hitherward, the Vimāna, a wondrous vessel of time and space, travels forever upon the infinite waters of eternity.

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⊰ Final Summary

Chessatya by Simon Jepps
Of Kings & Time…
Chessatya is in my humble opinion, the divine harmony between the ancient spirit of Chaturanga and the intellectuality of Modern Chess.

As I began to explain at the beginning, Chessatya is the fruits of a logistical thought experiment I have been undertaking for many, many years. The objective of the experiment was to:

Solve the paradox of transpositioning Chaturanga into a two player, two coloured game whereby all pieces, movements and historic game philosophy remain either similar or soundly improved.

One of the giant obstacles with creating new versions of ‘Chess’, is that they more than often will require new and different playing pieces and with them a bigger board.

Part of my logistic experiment thus required utilizing an exact Classical Chess set inventory, so the game could be played with standard Classical Chess pieces.

As a spiritual person wholeheartedly more interested in actually creating a popular playworthy game, rather than monopolizing the board game marketplace, it was thence my personal prime directive to make sure Chessatya could be played with a standard Classical Chess set.

As luck would have it in fact, if you inspect the crown of a Chess Queen, you will realise it actually does resemble the helm’s wheel of a ship. Depending on design of course.

Here then is a tale of a time very broad, of an eternal cycle of pursuit and anguish, as this determined humble Chess player fought tirelessly with his own great mindfulness, to solve a paradox of ancient, cosmological proportions.

In truth I can tell you, it would not be possible to count the number of attempts made to piece this game together.

Chessicians of the world know, even as the simple creation of a Chess piece will eventually prove its unwillingness to play, the mysterious yet logically harmonious working heart of Chess always commands its own evolution.

Yet where there is an undying determination to achieve the impossible, perhaps then the impossible is achieved.

It is therefore, with the absolute greatest pleasure, that I can finally reveal to you all today, the passionately crafted and majestic game of Chessatya.

Aye, it is true, there are many wonders of the ancient world and the game of Chaturanga is certainly one of them. For as I have demonstrated here today, the timeless charm of a sacred Indian pastime continues to seduce even the most devoted of Classical Chess enthusiasts.

Perhaps then, the ancient game of Chaturanga truly is eternal. Perhaps its immortal ability to persuade the Classical Chessician to help it rebirth into the modern world of Chess, is a foretold prophecy of time.

Perhaps… Chessatya is where the Vimāna was born.

Thank you all for reading and for following my blog.

God bless.

» Blogroll : Chessatya

Chessatya © Simon Jepps

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3 thoughts on “Chessatya ~ Of Kings & Time

    1. I do have a couple of 10×8 and 8×8 games if you browse the » Blogroll : Variants section.

      The three round dots, top right of your screen, provides a shortcut to a whole menu of extra stuff, including all my games.

      Shogi pieces… hmm well, I do find them beautiful, but a little irritating to employ since they are not as easily identifiable in a position. For me at least.

      But guess what? Japanese Go isn’t just ‘Go’, if you get out your variantology helmet! Lol. Thanks for your comment.

      Like

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