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Historia Ŝako

Historia Ŝako is a Chess variant incorporated between western and eastern variants.

Historia Ŝako come from Esperanto language means Historical Chess. It received this name because it tracks movements of bishop/elephant and queen, movements that are characteristic of history of both western and eastern variants.

Game also designed to improve Chess.

  1. eliminating the irregularities in the rules, such as castling as en passant.

  2. reducing the importance of memorised openings.

  3. making game more balanced.

  4. making endgame more interesting than promoting only strong pieces but not too weak pieces.

Game divided into 2 phases: deployment phase and movement phase.

Deployment phase had solved the problem of irregularities and reduced the importance of memorised openings at the same time. Deployment also reduces first move advantage by allowing the second player to deploy pieces to respond with the first player plan, make the game more balanced and also make the game more creative.


Historia Ŝako may play with a Standard Chess Set and additional piece for represent 2 elephants for each side.

Game used 18 pieces for each side and queens represented elephants from eastern variants.

Board start with 16 pawns on board, each side starts with 8 pawns, otherwise start left of board and into board in deployment phase.

Pawns are set up as the diagram, half of the pawn of the player on the right side starts on 3rd rank of player.

All other pieces start in hand and deploy in deployment phase. Each player has 10 pieces in hand, there are 1 king, 1 queen, 2 rooks, 2 bishops, 2 knights and 2 elephants.


Game used 7 different types of pieces with additional 2 pieces from standard chess pieces.

In each diagram white dots represent range movements and green dots represent leap movement, except in case of pawn white dots represent move and green dots represent capture.


The pawn moves differently regarding whether it moves to an empty square or whether it takes a piece of the opponent. When a pawn does not take, it moves one square straight forward.

Pawn doesn't have an initial double move option as well as en passant.

It’s mandatorily promoted to elephant, knight or bishop only in the 7th rank of players.

Of Course, it’s not 8th rank as Classic Chess makes pawn threats to promote earlier than Classic Chess but exchange with less powerful promotions.


The Elephant moves to any front or back adjacent squares. It never moves to any side adjacent squares.


The knight makes a move that consists of first one step in a horizontal or vertical direction, and then one step diagonally in an outward direction.


The bishop moves in a straight diagonal line. The bishop may also not jump over other pieces.


The rook moves in a straight line, horizontally or vertically. The rook may not jump over other pieces.


The queen moves in a straight diagonal line. The queen may also not jump over other pieces. It also may move to any adjacent squares.


The king moves one square in any direction, horizontally, vertically, or diagonally.

 It may not move into check, and when it is checked, the player must make a move to end the check.

Relative Pieces Value

Pawn 100

Elephant 265

Knight 300

Bishop 325

Rook 500

Queen 525

Bishop Pair 50


Other rules are the same as in Chess except for these changes:


The object of the game is to make the opponent unable to make any legal moves. It’s not same as Chess. Stalemate is a win for the player who can force stalemate.


The game is divided into 2 phases: deployment phase and movement phase.

The game begins with the deployment phase. The first player picks a piece and drops it onto the board, then makes a drop alternatively.

The drop must follow these 2 rules

  1. May drop into squares behind the pawn of the players only, so it has only 12 squares to drop.

  2. Mayn’t drop bishop into same colour squares or make drop that let bishop must end in drop on same colour squares.

After players drop all pieces into the board the deployment phase ends. Then start movement phase, the first player makes a move, then makes a move alternatively.

Draw rule

A game is drawn automatically if one of these conditions is achieved. (Unlike FIDE Rules that only players may claim a draw if they want to claim.)

  1. Neither side has sufficient material to mate, or for another reason, neither side can mate the other.

  2. Each player has made 64 consecutive moves without capturing a piece or moving a Pawn.

  3. The exact same position has been repeated three times.


Interesting difference between western and eastern variants is the bishop and elephant. In western variants bishop moves a straight diagonal line introduced from courier in courier chess, but in eastern variant elephant move variously differently but have 3 main versions; first, leap 2 square diagonally, second, leap 2 squares orthogonally, third, move diagonally or forward one step.

I chose the third one (with some difference) to represent the eastern variant because it’s strange enough to play with another piece and also has very interesting things in many situations.

For the difference of queen, in western variants it’s called mad queen, which is very strong in contrast with eastern variants that only move 1 square diagonally, so I want to make a half-way not too powerful or powerless and keep diagonally movement as main movement. So semi-mad queen happens, it moves like a bishop or moves to an adjacent square like a king.


Elephant is very similar to elephant from many variants in South East Asia Variants except it also can move backward one step making it can move 6 directions more than the eastern elephant which moves only 5 directions. It’s made more familiar to many chess players because it can move to any square that ever moves to by taking the same direction it had been moved, unlike eastern elephant that have awkward manoeuvres.

An elephant sometimes may exchange with a pawn pair to gain pressure in striking pawns to promote. (if 2 pawns are not in the adjacent file, I'm not recommended) Pawn pair also make the same function as elephant, which is to control immediate front squares.

Elephant is the slowest piece on the board (excluded pawn) but it’s good to control immediate front squares, prevent other pieces from landing on front squares because it has the least value on the board and it’s not good to exchange other piece with elephant because it’s slow and elephants use a lot of moves around the board.

In pawnless endgame agianst bare king, elephant general wins if can kept king closer to elephant than opponent king because elephant can be trapped by king if doesn't carefull about it.


Queen is basically a piece that preserves diagonal movement of the old queen but it’s still a strong piece as Classic Chess introduces modern Queen with slightly better than rook. The weaker queen also bring new dynamic to game by it have power roughly equivalent than rook, introduce roughly equal trade of rook vs queen to game, rook is better if pawn structure is close and have some open file, but queen is better if pawn structure is open bringing queen to centre of board can control many squares (up to 17 square without unobstructed)

Queen or Rook vs minor piece endgame in basic pawnless endgame is also very interesting, even a bishop can draw against either pieces. Queen vs Knight wins but Queen vs Elephant generally draws. Rook vs Elephant wins but Rook vs Knight generally draws. Bring more strategic play to plan which maajor pieces want to be kept in pawnless endgame.

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By Siwakorn Songrag.

Last revised by Siwakorn Songrag.

Web page created: 2023-04-08. Web page last updated: 2023-06-24