Unlimited Insight and Wonder
by Benjamin Alvin
(Bald Mound, IL, USA)
I can't remember the exact day I first discovered shatranj, but I'm glad I did. At first, I didn't think the game deserved as much merit as modern chess; but as I continued to play throughout the past seven years, I noticed that the game has its own peculiarities.
Firstly, it gives the player more time and space to develop a coherent strategy. Secondly, it forces the player to improvise with less material on a level not available in modern chess. The combination of these qualities makes the game that much more entertaining and surprising. Each piece is endowed with its own enumerated powers on the board. With the relatively limited power of the counselor piece, the game is significantly less centralized than modern chess.
Shatranj has led me into the world of all chess variants, which has created some interesting situations for me at every single chess club I've been a member of. :D Makruk, Sittuyin, Chaturangam, Senterej, Shatranj...whichever one it is, I'm ready.