Makruk is a chess variant that originated in Thailand, and is considered one of the oldest forms of chess still played today. Makruk is similar to the Indian game of chaturanga, which is thought to be the ancestor of modern chess. Makruk is also known as Thai chess or Siam chess.
What are the differences between Makruk and Western Chess?
One of the key differences between Makruk and Western chess is the starting position of the pieces. In Makruk, the pawns are placed in front of the other pieces, rather than on the second rank as in Western chess. The pieces are also set up in a symmetrical pattern, with the king and queen on opposite sides of the board, and the knights and bishops on the same squares as each other.
Another major difference is the absence of the queen. Makruk has only a king, rook, knight, bishop and pawns. The bishop moves diagonally, the rook moves horizontally and vertically and the knight moves in L shape.
What are the key objectives of Makruk?
The objective of the game is the same as in Western chess: to checkmate the opponent’s king. However, in Makruk there is no castling and the pawns can only move forward one square at a time, and capture diagonally.
The game is won by checkmating the opponent’s king, or by stalemate. However, if neither player can win and the game is a draw, it is a tie. There is also no possibility of a threefold repetition or fifty-move rule.
How to play Makruk
To play Makruk, you will need a standard chess board and pieces, but with the pawns placed in front of the other pieces, and with no queen. The game can be played with a chess clock, but it is not necessary.
One strategy to consider when playing Makruk is to quickly develop your pieces to control the center of the board, and to use your pawns to control key squares and to create threats against your opponent’s pieces. Another strategy is to use your rook and bishop together to create a strong attacking force.
It is also important to be aware of the limited mobility of your pieces. In Makruk, the lack of a queen can make it more difficult to create threats and put pressure on your opponent. Therefore, it is important to use your other pieces effectively to compensate for the absence of the queen.