Due to the popularity of NETFLIX’s big hit series “The Queen’s Gambit”, many people have been inspired to learn how to play chess. Did you know that Thailand also has its own chess game? Thai chess is similar to standard chess in many ways but it has some unique aspects. Each piece has its own unique move and ability. In this article, let’s learn the basics of Thai chess.
Thai chess equipment
1. Chess board – 8x8 square board with 64 squares in total
2. 2 sets of chess pieces, each set consisting of
- ●Ruea (Rook in chess) moves horizontally and vertically if it isn't blocked by other pieces.
● Ma (Knight in chess) moves in an L-shape in 8 directions and can jump over other pieces.
● Khon moves forward 1 square (front, left, right) and backward diagonally 1 square (left & right.)
● Med moves diagonally 1 square forward and backward.
● Khun (King in chess) is the most important piece. It moves 1 square in all directions.
● Bia (Pawn in chess) moves forward 1 square but captures diagonally. If Bia reaches the end of the opposing team’s board, it can be flipped and moves like Med instead (Bia Ngai.)
From left to right of the player, the chess piece setup is Ruea – Ma – Khon – Khun – Med – Khon – Ma – Ruea. The entire third row is Bia.
Let’s get to know each piece in detail!
Ruea is the chess piece with the farthest move. It can move horizontally and vertically to the end of the board, but can’t jump over other pieces. It captures one piece at a time in its route. Ruea is a chess piece that can swiftly attack the enemy.
Ma is another important piece. It moves in an L-shape and can jump over other pieces. It captures a piece on a square at the end of move.
Khon moves forward 1 square (front, left, right) and backward diagonally 1 square (left & right.)
Med is a chess piece that stays by Khun’s side. It moves diagonally 1 square forward and backward.
This is the most important piece. It moves and captures 1 square in all directions.
Bia is first line of offense and defense. It moves forward 1 square but captures diagonally. If Bia reaches the end of the opposing team’s board, it can be flipped and moves like Med instead (Bia Ngai.)
Thai chess rules
1. Choose who goes first.
2. The first player starts and then players take turns moving after that.
3. The action of any pieces that move into the opposing player’s square is called a capture. The captured pieces must be removed from the board.
4. If any piece gets in a position that can capture “Khun” at the next turn, the action is called “Ruk” (check in chess). The player whose Khun is checked can either move Khun away or capture the piece that is checking Khun.
5. If any player’s Khun gets cornered into the end of the board or can’t escape from the opponent’s pieces, it is called “Ruk Khat” (checkmate.) The game ends if any player is checkmated.
6. If a player only has one Khun left but the opponent can’t checkmate due to limited moves, then that game is a draw.
7. If both players only have their Khun left, the game is a draw.