Thai Chess, or Makruk is a chessgame on an 8 * 8 board immensely popular in Thailand, and pretty much nowhere else. It is largely appealing to the Westerner as it can be played with a mere FIDE Chess set and requires no special equipment.

Before You Start: I will be using my own Logical Notation in this document, so you'll probably want to understand it. Note also that these are not the Thai names for pieces.

The Setup:

w.Pawn 6.1; 6.2; 6.3... 6.8
b.Pawn: 3.1; 3.2; 3.3... 3.8
w.Rook: 8.1; 8.8
b.Rook: 1.1; 1.8
w.Knight: 8.2; 8.7
b.Knight: 1.2; 1.7
w.Khon: 8.3; 8.6
b.Khon: 1.3; 1.6
w.General: 8.4
b.General: 1.4
w.King: 8.5
b.King: 1.5

For the more visual among you, a picture of the board.
  1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8
1 b.R b.N b.H b.G b.K b.H b.N b.R
3 b.P b.P b.P b.P b.P b.P b.P b.P  
6 w.P w.P w.P w.P w.P w.P w.P w.P
8 w.R w.N w.H w.G w.K w.H w.N w.R

  • The Pawn moves a single space forward and captures diagonally. There is no initial two-step jump and thus no en passant capture.
  • The Rook moves as the FIDE Chess Rook; an infinite number of spaces orthogonally until interrupted.
  • The Knight moves as an orthodox Knight; one space vertically and two horizontally; or vice-versa.
  • The Khon moves either a single space forward and a single space in any diagonal direction.
  • The General, as that of Shatranj, moves a single space in any diagonal direction.
  • The King; as an orthodox King, may move a single space in any direction that does not put him in danger of being captured.

The Objective: The objective is to mate the opponent's King. Stalemate is a draw. Additionally, when either player has lost his Rooks, Khon, and Knights, his adversary has a limited amount of moves in which to mate him, depending on the pieces he still has, lest the game is drawn. They are as follows.
Major Pieces       Moves

No Rook or Khon
and less than 2    64

Two Knights        32

One Khon           44

Two Khon           22

One Rook           16

Two Rooks          8

Pawn Promotion: When w.Pawn moves 4.* ! 3.* or b.Pawn moves 5.* ! 6.*, it is promoted to a General.
In Thai Chess there is considerably less power on the board, which can make it disarming (though interesting nonetheless) to those accustomed to sweeping moves like those of the Queen. Above all, enjoy the game.

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