The chess family tree

Last week the juniors saw the game of Shogi played. It's the sort of chess played in Japan, and by our new friends Kaz and Hatzune. How is Shogi related to the sort of chess that we normally play?

When I first looked at the history of Western Chess, I thought that the original game was Chaturanga, a game played in India before 600AD. Chess as played in other countries seems to come from the Arab form of Chess called Shatranj. And that is what I used to tell people.

Chaturanga --> Shatranj --> Medieval chess --> Modern Western chess
                        ---------------------> Chinese Chess (Xiang-Chi)
                        ---------------------> Japanese Chess (Shogi)
But I now believe that the best picture that fits what we know says that Chaturanga and Shatranj were both later forms of an original game, which we don't know much about.
Sort-of-Chess --> Chaturanga 
              --> Shatranj --> Medieval chess --> Modern Western chess
                        ---------------------> Chinese Chess (Xiang-Chi)
                        ---------------------> Japanese Chess (Shogi)
There are lots of different sorts of chess around the world that seem to come from the same stock, including:

Shatar (Mongolian Chess)
Sittuyin (Burmese Chess)
Makruk (Thai Chess)

Each form of chess seems to have its own special rule that makes the game come alive. Burmese chess is the only sort of chess where you can decide where to put your pieces at the start of the game; Japanese chess is the only sort of chess that uses the 'drops' that we see in Exchange Chess; Chinese Chess is the only sort of chess that has the Cannon piece; modern Western Chess is the only sort of chess that has the super-duper Queen. (In fact, our game used to be called Le Jeu de la Dame enragée -- the game with the Mad Queen.)

You can read about all these different sorts of chess here:
http://chessvariants.org/
http://www.ancientchess.com/page/free-downloads.htm

More on this site:
http://exeterchessclub.org.uk/content/checkmate-shah-mat
http://exeterchessclub.org.uk/content/games-are-almost-not-entirely-unli...

Chess Quotes

"A discussion between the top management of the firm Audi and grandmasters Darga, Schmid and Pfleger dealt with the similarities and differences between chess-oriented thinking and the thinking processes required in business, and in particular whether one can benefit from the other. The question arose as to how a chess master actually discovers his moves. Dr. Pfleger was of the opinion that in the last analysis nobody fully knows the reasoning by which he arrives at a certain move.
— PFLEGER and TREPPNER, Chess: the mechanics of the mind