Shatar (Mongolian Chess)

Shatar (Mongolian Chess): Mastering the Ancient Game of Strategy and Skill


Shatar, also known as Mongolian chess, is a fascinating game that has been played for centuries. It is a game of strategy and skill, requiring players to think several moves ahead and anticipate their opponent’s actions. The game is similar to international chess but has its unique rules and strategies. This article will provide a comprehensive guide to understanding and mastering Shatar.

The history of Shatar is deeply rooted in Mongolian culture. It is believed to have originated in the 13th century during the reign of Genghis Khan. The game is traditionally played on a square board with 64 squares and uses 32 pieces, just like international chess. However, the pieces in Shatar have different movements and roles, making the game uniquely challenging and exciting.

Quick Tip

One quick tip to win at Shatar is to control the center of the board early in the game. This will give you more room to maneuver your pieces and limit your opponent’s options.

Rules for playing Shatar (Mongolian chess)

  1. The game begins with the pieces arranged in a specific order on the board. Each player has 16 pieces: one king, one queen, two rooks, two knights, two bishops, and eight pawns.
  2. The objective of the game is to checkmate the opponent’s king. This means the king is in a position to be captured (in “check”) and there is no way to remove the threat of capture on the next move.
  3. Each type of piece moves in a distinct way. The king moves one square in any direction. The queen can move any number of squares along a rank, file, or diagonal. The rook can move any number of squares along a rank or file. The bishop can move any number of squares diagonally. The knight moves to any of the squares immediately adjacent to it, then makes one further step at a right angle. The pawn moves forward one square, but captures diagonally.
  4. There are some special moves in Shatar. For example, castling involves moving the king and one rook. En passant is a move in which a pawn can capture an opponent’s pawn that has just moved two squares forward from its starting position.

How to Play Shatar (Mongolian chess)


The game is set up with each player’s pieces on their side of the board. The pawns are placed on the second rank, and the other pieces are placed on the first rank. The king is placed next to the queen, with the bishops next to them, then the knights, and finally the rooks on the corners of the board.


Players take turns moving one of their pieces. The player who moves their piece into a position where it threatens the opponent’s king with capture on the next move has put that king ‘in check’. The game continues until one player’s king is in checkmate, or until a stalemate occurs, where the player to move is not in check but has no legal moves.

End of the Game

The game ends when one player’s king is in checkmate, meaning it is in a position to be captured and cannot escape capture. The game can also end in a draw if neither player can checkmate the other’s king.

How to Win at Shatar (Mongolian chess)

Winning at Shatar requires a deep understanding of the game’s rules and strategies. Here are some tips to help you improve your game:

  1. Control the Center: The center of the board is a key battleground in Shatar. Controlling the center gives your pieces more mobility and can limit your opponent’s options.
  2. Develop Your Pieces: In the opening stages of the game, try to develop your pieces quickly and efficiently. This means moving your pieces to squares where they have a lot of potential for future movement.
  3. Protect Your King: Your king is your most important piece. Make sure to keep your king safe from attacks by your opponent. This can often involve moving your king to a safer position, a move known as castling.
  4. Plan Ahead: Shatar is a game of strategy. Try to plan your moves several steps ahead, anticipating your opponent’s moves and preparing your response.

Best Strategies for playing Shatar (Mongolian chess) game

Here are some advanced strategies for playing Shatar:

  1. Use Your Pawns Wisely: Pawns may be the least valuable pieces in Shatar, but they can be very powerful if used correctly. Pawns can control important squares, form a defensive wall for your king, and even become a queen if they reach the other side of the board.
  2. Take Advantage of Your Opponent’s Mistakes: Even the best players make mistakes. If your opponent leaves a piece undefended or makes a poor move, be ready to take advantage.
  3. Keep Your Pieces Active: Try to keep all your pieces active and involved in the game. A piece that is not doing anything is not contributing to your position.
  4. Think About the Endgame: From the very beginning of the game, you should be thinking about the endgame. Try to anticipate what the position will look like when there are few pieces left on the board and plan accordingly.

Scenarios for Shatar (Mongolian chess)

Here are some common scenarios in Shatar and how to handle them:

  1. You are in Check: If your king is in check, you must make a move that gets your king out of check. This could involve moving your king, blocking the check with another piece, or capturing the threatening piece.
  2. Your Opponent is in Check: If your opponent’s king is in check, try to keep it in check while you improve your position. Be careful not to let your opponent escape check and counterattack.
  3. You are in Checkmate: If your king is in checkmate, the game is over. Try to learn from your mistakes and improve your play in the next game.
  4. Your Opponent is in Checkmate: If your opponent’s king is in checkmate, congratulations! You have won the game. Remember to be gracious in victory and offer to play another game.

Frequently Asked Questions about playing Shatar (Mongolian chess) game

  1. Q: What is the most important piece in Shatar?
    A: The king is the most important piece. If your king is checkmated, you lose the game.
  2. Q: Can pawns move backwards?
    A: No, pawns can only move forward.
  3. Q: Can the king capture pieces?
    A: Yes, the king can capture pieces, but it is usually safer to keep the king out of danger.
  4. Q: What is the best way to improve at Shatar?
    A: The best way to improve is to play regularly and study the game. Try to learn from your mistakes and always be thinking about your strategy.
  5. Q: Can I play Shatar online?
    A: Yes, there are several websites where you can play Shatar online against players from around the world.

For more information about Shatar, visit the official game website here.