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A note by A. Chernevski in the 1877 Shakhmatny Listok described two chess variants played in Samarkand, present-day Uzbekistan. One, the “Bukharan game”, is a slightly modified version of shatranj, similar to Rumi chess as described in Murray’s History of Chess. The other, the “Persian game with a queen” resembles to some extent the Persian chess described in 1846 in the Chess Player’s Chronicle but differs from it in several important aspects. Chernevski’s information, which includes recorded games by native players, is absent from later sources on chess history. A summary of Chernevski’s report is provided, with a discussion of several other historical chess variants, and various errors that have crept into their description in the literature.


A large chess variant played on a 12x12 board was inadvertently created by G. H. Verney, author of Chess Eccentricities, who seriously misinterpreted one of his sources, A. van der Linde’s Quellenstudien zur Geschichte des Schachspiels. Despite its serendipitous origins, the game, for which the name Verney’s Duodecimal Chess seems appropriate, is surprisingly playable. A set of rules is suggested since those provided by Verney are incomplete.