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ABCDEFGH
8
Makrukboard.svg
A8 black boat
B8 black horse
C8 black nobleman
D8 black seed
E8 black feudal
F8 black nobleman
G8 black horse
H8 black boat
A6 black cell
B6 black cell
C6 black cell
D6 black cell
E6 black cell
F6 black cell
G6 black cell
H6 black cell
A3 white cell
B3 white cell
C3 white cell
D3 white cell
E3 white cell
F3 white cell
G3 white cell
H3 white cell
A1 white boat
B1 white horse
C1 white nobleman
D1 white feudal
E1 white seed
F1 white nobleman
G1 white horse
H1 white boat
8
77
66
55
44
33
22
11
ABCDEFGH
Makruk starting position

Makruk (Thai: หมากรุก; RTGShmak ruk;[1] pronounced [màːk rúk][citation needed]), or Thai chess, is a board game that is descended from the 6th-century Indian game of chaturanga or a close relative thereof, and is therefore related to chess. It is classified as a chess variant.[2] The word "ruk" (Thai: รุก) in Thai is thought to derive from "rukh" which means "chariot" in the Persian language (and is also the common origin of the name for a rook in western chess). The Persian traders came to the Ayutthaya kingdom around the 14th century to spread their culture and to trade with the Thai kingdom. It is therefore possible that the Siamese Makruk, in its present form, was directly derived from the Persian game of Shatranj via the cultural exchange between the two peoples in this period. This is because the movement of Makruk's queen, or the "seed" (Thai: เม็ด), is essentially the same as the ferz in Shatranj.

Rules

Pieces

Makruk Thai set from the early 20th century
Makruk Thai set from the early 20th century
Makruk Thai set from the early 19th century, in which the pawns are made from cowrie shells
Makruk Thai set from the early 19th century, in which the pawns are made from cowrie shells
Makruk set from early Rattanakosin era (late 18th century) with pieces made from albino and black water buffalos' horn
Makruk set from early Rattanakosin era (late 18th century) with pieces made from albino and black water buffalos' horn
         
   
       
         
         
         
     
    ม็    
     
         
         
   
       
     
         
     
     
       
     
     
       
       
       
       
         
   
   
   
         
English king (1) queen (1) bishop (2) knight (2) rook (2) pawn (8) promoted pawn (queen)
Thai ขุน เม็ด โคน ม้า เรือ เบี้ย เบี้ยหงาย
RTGS khun met khon ma ruea bia bia-ngai
Meaning feudal lord seed nobleman horse boat cowrie shell overturned cowrie shell

In starting position, pawns are placed on the third and sixth ranks. Queens are placed at the right side of kings. Pawns promote to (เบี้ยหงาย bia ngai) overturned cowrie shells, and move like queens when they reach the sixth rank.

Counting rules

Thai men playing makruk.
Thai men playing makruk.

When neither side has any pawns, the game must be completed within a certain number of moves or it is declared a draw. When a piece is captured the count restarts only if it is the last piece of a player in the game.

When the last piece (that is not the king) of the disadvantaged player is captured, the count may be started, or restarted from the aforementioned counting, by the weaker player, and the stronger player now has a maximum number of moves based on the pieces left:

The disadvantaged player announces the counting of his fleeing moves, starting from the number of pieces left on the board, including both kings. The winning player has to checkmate his opponent's king before the maximum number is announced, otherwise the game is declared a draw. During this process, the count may restart if the counting player would like to stop and start counting again.

For example, if White has two rooks and a knight against a lone black king, he has three moves to checkmate his opponent (the given value of 8 minus the total number of pieces, 5). If Black captures a white rook, the count does not automatically restart, unless Black is willing to do so, at his own disadvantage. However, many players do not understand this and restart the counting while fleeing with the king.

Variants

There are rules which do not apply to the standard, formal game, or have been abandoned in professional play. They are called sutras. The first free moves are similar to those in Cambodian Ouk.

Cambodian chess

Cambodian men playing Ok
Cambodian men playing Ok
A bas-relief from the Khmer Empire depicting people playing a chess-like game
A bas-relief from the Khmer Empire depicting people playing a chess-like game

The variety of chess played in Cambodia, called Ok (អុក [ʔok])[5] or Ok Chaktrang (អុកចាក់ត្រង់ [ʔok.cak.trɑŋ]),[6] is virtually identical to makruk, with a couple of minor differences.[7] The Cambodian name of Ok Chaktrang is similar to the Persian name of chess, Chatrang. If no pieces have been captured, the players have these options:

  1. On the king's first move, and only if not in check, of moving the king like a knight; and
  2. On the queen's first move, of moving the queen two squares straight ahead.[6]

There is evidence that Ok has been played in Cambodia since the twelfth century, as it is depicted in several reliefs in the Angkor temples.[7]

The first Ok tournament was held in Cambodia 3–4 April 2008, upon the completion of a standardized rule set by the Olympic Committee of Cambodia and the Cambodian Chess Association.[8]

In a variant Ka Ok (also known as Kar Ok), the first player to put the other in check wins.[5] Another variant of Cambodian chess was described by David Pritchard in the first edition of The Encyclopedia of Chess Variants, but this was later determined to have been included in error as no such game was played in Cambodia.[9]

References

  1. ^ "หมากรุก". thai-language.com. Retrieved 13 November 2018.
  2. ^ Murray, H. J. R. (1913). A History of Chess (Reissued ed.). Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-827403-3.
  3. ^ a b How to Play Thai Chess - Makruk - Mak-rook - Makrook - Xiangqi - Shogi
  4. ^ Makruk: Thai Chess
  5. ^ a b Khmer Institute (If the link redirects to the mainpage of the Khmer Institute, click on the "culture" link, then the "chess" link)
  6. ^ a b Cambodian Chess games
  7. ^ a b Ouk Chatrang, the Cambodian Chess and Makruk, the Thai Chess
  8. ^ Cambodia to hold first ever Khmer Chess tournament
  9. ^ "Cambodian Chess". www.jsbeasley.co.uk. Retrieved 2021-06-16.