Thai Chess
(Makruk)


Chess Glossary - Thai Chess - Makruk Pieces - Graphic

Because of it's Thailand origins, "Thai Chess" is what most of us, in the western world, call this variation of modern, international Chess.

To the Thai people, the game is called Makruk (pronounced: MAK-rook).

This page provides an overview of the Pieces, Board Setup and Rules, governing Makruk.


Jump to Thai Chess Section:
Pieces | Board Setup

Movement Rules
Pawn (Bia) | Knight (Ma) | Bishop (Kohn)
Rook (Rua) | Queen (Met) | King (Kuhn)

Makruk
- Pieces -

The Pieces, in a game of Makruk, mirror the Pieces we know of in modern, international Chess. You have the:

Pawn equivalent (Bia )

Chess Glossary - Thai Chess - Makruk Pieces - Pawn

In Makruk, the Thais often used a Cowry Shell for the Pawns. Apparently, the Shell was also a means of currency, traded like coins.

Anyway, that's besides the point, so let's move on ...

Knight equivalent (Ma )

Chess Glossary - Thai Chess - Makruk Pieces - Knight

Same as the modern internation Chess Piece, which is depicted as either a horse's head, a full model of a horse, or knight on a horse.

Bishop equivalent (Khon )

Chess Glossary - Thai Chess - Makruk Pieces - Bishop

Viewed as a Nobleman, or "Kohn", rather than the religeous character of modern international Chess.

Rook equivalent (Rua )

Chess Glossary - Thai Chess - Makruk Pieces - Rook

Sensibly, the Thai's recognized that buildings/castles don't move in a battle ...

So, their alternative to the castle-form is a Boat - or "Rua" ... Funny look boat, eh?

Queen equivalent (Met )

Chess Glossary - Thai Chess - Makruk Pieces - Queen

Met translates as Seed - you know, a woman produces life from a 'seed' inside her ...

The Queen's a woman, so Seed.

If only dealing with real-life women were so simple to explain.

King equivalent (Khun )

Chess Glossary - Thai Chess - Makruk Pieces - King

Kuhn translates as Lord.

Like the King of the international Chess game, if the Kuhn is trapped, with no legal moves - it's gameover and the opponent of that piece wins the game


Jump to Thai Chess Section:
Pieces | Board Setup

Movement Rules
Pawn (Bia) | Knight (Ma) | Bishop (Kohn)
Rook (Rua) | Queen (Met) | King (Kuhn)

Makruk
- Board Setup -

For the sake of convenience, the remainder of this page has hijacked the pieces and board from Fritz 12, thus it's all more familiar with modern, international Chess.

So, here's the starting point, for all games of Makruk:

Chess Glossary - Thai Chess - Makruk Board Setup

As you can see, the only real difference is that the Pawns (Bia) begin the campaign one row more advanced than in the modern, international game of Chess.

Apart from that - oh, and the alternative modelling of the individual Makruk Pieces - the remaining differences are with the Rules that govern how the pieces move on the board ...


Jump to Thai Chess Section:
Pieces | Board Setup

Movement Rules
Pawn (Bia) | Knight (Ma) | Bishop (Kohn)
Rook (Rua) | Queen (Met) | King (Kuhn)

Makruk
- Movement Rules -

Movement of the Pawn
(Bia )

  • The Bia CANNOT move 2 squares forward on its first move; only the one, per turn. And this is maintained throughout the game.

  • Capturing an opponent's piece is done so by moving one square diagonally, on to the square occupied by the enemy - just like it happens with our modern, international Chess.

  • Pawn Promotion is part of Makruk, but is restricted to an exchange for the Met (Queen) only. Promotion takes place on the 6th Row, for White and on the 3rd Row, for Black.

    In other words, when a Bia reaches the same row that one of the enemy Bias started the game on.


Jump to Thai Chess Section:
Pieces | Board Setup

Movement Rules
Pawn (Bia) | Knight (Ma) | Bishop (Kohn)
Rook (Rua) | Queen (Met) | King (Kuhn)

Movement of the Knight
(Ma )

  • The Ma moves in the same L-shape pattern as in international Chess. That is, two squares forward and one to the left or right. Or one square to the left or right and two squares forward.

  • Capturing is also done the same as with international Chess.

  • The Ma can also jump over other pieces, in the same way it does during a game of international Chess.


Jump to Thai Chess Section:
Pieces | Board Setup

Movement Rules
Pawn (Bia) | Knight (Ma) | Bishop (Kohn)
Rook (Rua) | Queen (Met) | King (Kuhn)

Movement of the Bishop
(Kohn )

  • The Kohn CANNOT moves backwards in a straight line. It CAN however, move diagonally backwards, to the left or right.

  • This piece can move forwards, either diagonally left or right, or in a straight line fowards.

  • For ALL LEGAL MOVES, the Kohn is limited to one square per turn.

  • Capturing can take place within its range of movement.


Jump to Thai Chess Section:
Pieces | Board Setup

Movement Rules
Pawn (Bia) | Knight (Ma) | Bishop (Kohn)
Rook (Rua) | Queen (Met) | King (Kuhn)

Movement of the Rook
(Rua )

  • The Rua moves in the same way it does within the international game of Chess - that is, as many squares along the straights, provided none of its own pieces is blocking its path.

  • Capturing takes place within its range of movement.


Jump to Thai Chess Section:
Pieces | Board Setup

Movement Rules
Pawn (Bia) | Knight (Ma) | Bishop (Kohn)
Rook (Rua) | Queen (Met) | King (Kuhn)

Movement of the Queen
(Met )

  • The Met can ONLY move along the diagonals and is restricted to one square per turn.

  • Capturing takes place within its range of movement.

  • The Met is the only piece that can be exchanged, or returned to the board via Promotion of the Pawn/Bia.


Jump to Thai Chess Section:
Pieces | Board Setup

Movement Rules
Pawn (Bia) | Knight (Ma) | Bishop (Kohn)
Rook (Rua) | Queen (Met) | King (Kuhn)

Movement of the King
(Kuhn )

  • The Kuhn can move in any direction - be it on the straights, or along the diagonals. But, it is restricted to one square move per turn (basically, it has the same movement as within international Chess).

  • The only difference is the Kuhn CANNOT Castle.


Jump to Thai Chess Section:
Pieces | Board Setup

Movement Rules
Pawn (Bia) | Knight (Ma) | Bishop (Kohn)
Rook (Rua) | Queen (Met) | King (Kuhn)


Click Here To Read About The Counting Rules For
Makruk / Thai Chess
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