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Four-king chess with dice is neither unrealistic nor messed up


Kauṭilya’s maṇḍala model has intrigued indologists and political scientists for some time. It deals with friendship and enmity between countries that are direct or indirect neighbours. (Ghosh; 1936) suggests a close relationship between this model and Indian four-king chess. We try to corroborate his claim by presenting a stylized game-theory model of both Indian four-king chess and Kauṭilya’s maṇḍala theory. Within that game model, we can deal with Kauṭilya’s conjecture according to which an enemy’s enemy is likely to be one’s friend. Arguably, this conjecture is reflected in the ally structure of four-king chess. We also comment on the widespread disapproval of dice in (four-king) chess.

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