Cambodian Chess

Posted by David Smerdon on Sep 19, 2010 in Chess, Non-chess |

Cambodian Chess

Two tuk-tuk drivers playing the Cambodian game referred to in an earlier post.  It may be called “Ouk”, although when I asked what the game was, the drivers replied with something that sounded like “Raysh”.

From our brief conversation using hand signals, I gather the game is played on what looks like a regular chess board, but incorporates extra, special files and ranks on the margin.  There are two types of pieces, rocks and sticks, and if one player places his rock in between two adjecent sticks (e.g. Rock to e4, with opposing sticks on d4 and f4), both sticks are captured.

Please correct me if I’ve named or described this incorrectly, or if you know anything more about this game.


Sep 19, 2010 at 3:54 pm

The game is Thai chess – Makruk. It’s the nearest thing to original chess still played – pawns, bishops and, especially, queens are very restricted compared to the modern international version of the game, The rocks probably had markings to differentiate them, the sticks were probably pawns.

Rick Knowlton
Apr 13, 2012 at 11:42 am

This is an amazing picture! Seeing two fellows playing with stones echos back to chess of centuries gone by. Notice that these fellows are playing on a 7 x 7 board. I don’t know of any common chess variant that uses that dimension. Any ideas about that? Thanks for sharing this!!

David Smerdon
Apr 17, 2012 at 7:07 am

No idea, but I saw it played quite often on my travels through the country. The language barrier prevented me from learning all the rules, but it seemed very cool!

Aug 9, 2012 at 7:45 am

It’s true, that the board on the picture is 7×7. But notice that, there are also some pieces outside of that 7×7 board. It means, that those guys play the game on 8×8 board, as it is common both in Cambodia and Thailand. As Clifford says, the game is “Thai Chess” or “Makruk” in Thailand. In Cambodia the name of the game is “Ouk Chatrang”. More information is here:



Copyright © 2017 All rights reserved. Theme by Laptop Geek.