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Hiashatar first appeared in Mongolia about 500 years ago. According to a legend:

Long long ago lived a Khan who was forced to fight many wars. It helped him to understand that even the most intensive training was not enough for victory. Therefore he included into his army the authorized representatives responsible for his safety. Other rulers found this innovation to be helpful too, and adopted the same. Then a certain wise man under the influence of these innovations transformed the game of Shatar, by inserting into it bodyguards - the new pieces responsible for the safety of King.

Hiashatar Chess Variants Preset



Reverse Symmetry gives both players the same perspective of the board, of their own army as well as their opponent's army.

The Queen (Berse) always starts to the right of the King (Noin).

The Hiashatar opening setup is as follows:

King e1; Queen f1; Bodygards d1, g1; Rooks a1, j1; Knights b1, i1; Bishops c1, h1; Pawns a2, b2, c2, d2, e2, f2, g2, h2, i2, j2.

King f10; Queen e10; Bodyguards d8, g8; Rooks a10, j10; Knights b10, i10; Bishops c10, h10; Pawns a9, b9, c9, d9, e9, f9, g9, h9, i9, j9.


Additionally Bodyguards have a unique feature, they have a special zone of influence (the 8 squares one-step away around the Bodyguards perimeter) which breaks or stops the path of each one of the enemy long distance sliders: Queen, Rooks and Bishops, at the zone of influence.

As a consequence, Bodyguards cannot be captured from far away by the long distance sliders, and may only be captured in close range (only one-step away) by the sliders.

Knights are immune to this zone of influence, and can therefore capture the Bodyguards with their common L-shape leap. Knights can move within and out of a Hia's zone of influence without any restrictions.

Bodyguards do not check (and therefore cannot checkmate) enemy Kings. As a consecuence, Kings can approach enemy Bodyguards without any concern of being captured.

The main purpose of the Mongolian Bodyguard is to protect his King. As such, the Hia's unique features are meant to assist him to fullfill his purpose: to protect his King.

The Hia on c5 shows (blue circles) the normal attacking movement of the piece: a 1 or 2 squares slider in any orthogonal or diagonal direction. The Hia cannot leap over the first square (i.e. like an Ajax Minister) to reach his second square. The path must be clear for the Hia to reach his 2nd square. He can capture on either his 1st or 2nd squares.

The Hia on h4 shows (red circles) his 1-square perimeter defending zone of influence, which truncates the path of any enemy slider trying to cross it. Friendly sliders (same color as the Hia) are un-impacted by the Hia's zone of influence, and can therefore cross it freely.

An enemy slider trying to cross a Hia's zone of influence can only reach the very first square in it's path (through the zone of influence), and can only move one-square at a time (in that slider's normal direction) within an enemy zone of influence; but it can slide out of the zone of influece as many squares as possible.

In the example above it would appear that Black's Bishop and Queen are both checking the White King; but this is not the case as the h4-Hia's zone of influence is tuncating the path for both Black pieces.

In the case of the Bishop, he can slide as far as g4, the first square inside of the Hia's zone of influence in the Bishop's path. Within the zone of influence (provided the Hia doesn't capture him) the Bishops only other moves on his next turn would be Bh3+ (check!) and Bh5.

After Bg4, the Bishop would be within striking distance of the Hia, except that the Hia is actually "pinned" by the Queen on i8.

The Black Queen's path itself is truncated at i5 by the Hia's zone of influence. After Bg4, should White try to play Hxg4, the zone of influence (1-square perimeter around the Hia) would move to the left, exposing the White King to check by the Black Queen, which is illegal.

Similarily, should Black play Qi5 (her limit in the Hia's zone of influence), the Hia cannot capture the Black Queen as the zone of influece would move with the Hia exposing the King to a check by the Bishop.

After Qi5, the Queen's only posible moves within the zone of influence (provided the Hia doesn't capture her) would be: Qh5, Qi4 and Qxh4+ (capturing the Hia, destroying the zone of influence, and giving a discovered check with the Bishop).

Because of the inability of penetrating the Hia's zone of influence, it takes sliders (Queens, Bishops, Rooks and opposite Hias) at least 2 steps to capture a Hia.

Meanwhile, Knights (who are not sliders, but leapers) are unaffected by a Hia's zone of influence, and can therefore leap and capture the Bodyguards.

Hia's are defensive pieces whose goal is the personal protection of their Kings, therefore they should not (even though they are allowed to) wonder too far from their King.

The Hia are unable to check (or checkmate) the enemy King. Therefore a King can aproach a Hia without any concerns of an attack from the latter.


The goal of the game is to checkmate the opponent's King, as in Orthodox Chess.

Any piece (other than the Hia) can check and checkmate. Unlike in Shatar, Knights are allowed to checkmate in Hiashatar.

A stalemate is a draw.

Just like in Shatar, castling is not allowed in Hiashatar.

Rules for 50-move draw and Threefold Repetition Draw are like in Orthodox Chess.

Pawns may be captured en passant either on their 2-step or 3-step squares initial moves.

Computer Play

If you have Zillions of Games installed on your computer, you can play this game. Download Zillions Rules File here.

Game Courier Preset


Game Courier Logs

Game Courier Logs for Games of Hiashatar

To see actual games that have been played on-line, follow the link above.

Other Related Variants:

Hia Chess The Hia featured in a 9x8 board, with some additional modern chess rules...


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By Jose Carrillo.
Web page created: 2010-11-07. Web page last updated: 2010-11-07