The story of the journey of words is very strange. Where a word starts and how it reaches us is really interesting and enlightening. The ancient Indian army consisted of infantry, cavalry, elephants and chariots. That is why it was called Chatrunga in Sanskrit. ‘Ang’ means organ and ‘Chatur’ means four. When a game was invented based of two armies, it was called 'Chatrang'. The word entered in the form of 'shatrang ' in Persian and was transferred from Persian to Arabic as ‘shatranj’ and the same name is being used in Urdu. Its name in Europe was derived from one of its pawns, shah or sheh ( chess)and how it changed its form in different European languages is yet another story .
The square-clad cloth used for playing chess is called ‘Bisaat’ in Urdu. You will find it interesting to know that in traditional north Indian families women used to make bed spreads in the style of two colored square boxes of shatranj , which were called shatranji . Traditionally, squares of red 'tool' cloth and 'gazi' i.e. white cotton cloth were sewn together to make a beautiful bed spreads or deewan cover.