English short assize

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Then English Short Assize and French Short Assize were essentially the game of Shatranj (Muslim chess) played on a checked board. The existence of a substantial set of problems for this set of rules was, perhaps, instrumental in their stability.

This form was often played with the pieces already set up after a completed opening sequence of moves.

For simplicity only the differences with modern chess will be listed.

  • Bishops move exactly two squares diagonally, jumping over the intervening square. Note that the four bishops each could reach only one fourth of the squares on the board, and because their circuits were disjoint, could never capture one another.
  • The queen moved exactly one square diagonally. This made it a rather weak piece.
  • As in modern chess, pawns but without the double opening move.
  • Pawns which reached the eighth rank were promoted, but only to a queen.
  • Castling had not developed.
  • Stalemating the opposing king resulted in a loss for the player delivering stalemate.
  • Capturing all one's opponent's pieces apart from the king (baring the king) was a win, unless your opponent could capture your last piece on their next move, when it is a draw.