What did the Persians call chess?

Answered by Willie Powers

The Persians called chess “Shatranj,” which derives from the Middle Persian word “chatrang.” Shatranj was an ancient form of chess that was played during the time of the Sasanian Empire. The game of Shatranj was highly popular in Persia and eventually spread to other regions, including the Islamic world and Europe.

Shatranj was a strategic board game that involved two players, each controlling an army of different pieces. The aim of the game was to capture the opponent’s king, known as the Shah. The pieces in Shatranj had specific movements and abilities, and players had to strategically maneuver their pieces to outwit their opponent and ultimately checkmate the enemy king.

The Persian name for chess, Shatranj, has its roots in the Middle Persian language. The term “chatrang” referred to a battle or a game of war. This reflects the nature of the game, as Shatranj was seen as a simulation of a military conflict. The players would strategize and make tactical moves, much like generals commanding their armies on a battlefield.

Shatranj had a significant influence on the development of chess in other parts of the world. As the game spread to the Islamic world, the rules and pieces underwent some modifications. The Persians also contributed to the development of chess theory, with notable Persian scholars and writers penning treatises on the game.

Personally, I find the history and evolution of chess fascinating. It is intriguing to see how a game that originated in Persia thousands of years ago has endured and evolved over time. The name “Shatranj” carries with it a sense of history and cultural significance, reminding us of the ancient roots of this strategic game.