A brief explanation of Tarka 

and how it relates to chess


What are some of the major differences between Tarka and chess.

Tarka, although inspired by Chess, is not a variation of the game, but at a deep level each effects the other. Tarka is not a novelty version of chess. 

  • The Tarka Board is 4 times bigger than a chess board with 256 squares
  • Tarka has 64 pieces, as many pieces as there are squares on a chess board!
  • Tarka pieces can promote while chess pieces cannot! The promoted pieces gain extra abilities 
  • Tarka can be played as a doubles game and even by teams.
  • The Tarka board has a hidden 5th board!


The larger board forces the eye of the player to look further and faster.  At a fundamental level this changes how we play chess. Time and again, we hear people say that playing Tarka helps them as chess players.


They say they see more moves and possibilities than they could before they started playing Tarka. 


Because of the special ways the pieces move in Tarka, players of the game say this creates real improvements in how they use their chess pieces and that they notice more opportunities, recognise more dangers earlier and are able to avoid them more easily.


A Grander Scope

The 64 pieces in Tarka use the board to its full effect creating almost endless positions never seen before. Giving you moves and concepts that can actually be translated into your Chess play and give you new moves and an expanded view of your game. This is based on anecdotal evidence, but as we move forward we will attempt to set up studies to define this more clearly. 


From our experiences to date, the expansive board and additional pieces opens up game play and players have regular Tarka play has created whole new strategies and possibilities for them.


Many new players have said they find that Tarka has helped them overcome their chess plateaus and changed the way they see over the board.


Some Striking Differences

In Tarka

  • The King can checkmate a King!
  • The King can move 3 squares in all directions!
  • The King can castle 4 times!
  • The King can be checkmated by imprisonment not just attack!
  • The King can use tactics that can be translated to chess!

Just these 5 differences alone could be enough to make you a better player in your chess endgames because they teach you how to discover hidden tactics and surprises that you have never seen before with your Chess King. You will find yourself contemplating and making moves with your King that you hadn’t considered before playing Tarka.


We have anecdotal accounts that suggest that Tarka, used as a Chess tool, can accelerate and expand your chess skills. 

The Pawns initial move can be up to 5 squares. You will find yourself involving them in many tactics. The benefits of this on the chess side of things is that it can provide whole new tactical insights for your Pawn play.


We all know in chess the role memorisation plays. In over 20 years of development, no two games of Tarka have ever been the same.


In every game of Tarka there is a real risk of losing. Testing the game play with various people has shown us that every player experiences a learning curve no matter how good they are as Chess players. The number of possibilities and moves are so vast that it allows us to be more adventurous and creative in our approach.


There are 5 new types of pieces, many more pieces overall and much more room for play on the Tarka board, more opportunities to team up pieces and have them act cooperatively, so much so that you can even group many pieces and have them act in cohesion. 


This can also be true of the players as you will be able to play Tarka as doubles or teams, an aspect that we feel has to be one of the coolest parts for chess players. The fact you can share your game strategy with another, cooperate and strategise together changes everything. We have seen this difference alone can make accelerate your chess playing skills rapidly than playing alone. 


Some Fun Facts

  1. Tarka has value points (piece count) for the pieces, for instance the 12 Pawns add up to the same value as the Queen! 
  2. Tarka has 4 Squires (one of the new pieces) and their value points add up to the same value as the Queen!
  3. In Tarka there are 4 Knights instead of 2 that can jump to a total of 64 squares, these pieces combined would reach every square on a chess board!
  4. Total value count for all the pieces on each side of the board is 256. The same number of squares on a Tarka board and the 4 Tarka Knights have the same value as number of pieces on a chess board!


There are many, too many to mention here poetical symmetries in the numbers around Tarka, it is a mathematical symphony in many ways. 


We are not asking you to fall in love with Tarka the way we have, we are just saying 


“Play it a few times and see how you feel, see if any of the above becomes true for you”


We believe it will!


Have fun, 

The Tarka Team