Mancala World

Tchuka Ruma → Italian.

Tchuka Ruma
Other Names: Tchouka,
Tchouka Rouma
Inventor: Edouard Lucas (?),
before 1892
Variant of Dakon
Ranks: One
Sowing: Multiple laps
Region: France

Tchuka Ruma, a mancala game, was first described as Tchouka by the French mathematician Henri-Auguste Delannoy (1833-1915) in 1895. He said that his article is from his correspondence with Édouard Lucas (1842-1891), another famous French mathematician and the inventor of Dots-and-Boxes.

The origin of the game is not well known. In 1929, André Sainte-Lague (1882-1959) claimed in his "Geometrie de Situation et Jeux" that the game is Russian. Sainte-Lague also wrote an unpublished work on Tchuka Ruma, which seems to be lost. Popova and Deledicq speculated in 1977 that the game might be Paleosiberian or Inuit. However, no such game has ever been described to be known by any ethnic group in Russia and these claims must therefore dismissed.

Rumah means "house" in Malay and in Indonesian, while the etymology of chuka in Malay is from Sanskrit chukra, the vinegar made from Tamarind seeds. These seeds are often used as counters in South Indian mancala games. The Indonesian game of Dakon has very similar rules. The only differences are that Tchuka Ruma is a solitaire (Dakon is a two-person game) played on just one row (Dakon has two rows). However, no game with exactly the same rules has been ever found in Indonesia despite long years of intense ethnographic research.

Tchuka Ruma might be inspired by Dakon, but seems to be an invention of Édouard Lucas. Probably he found an ethnographic report from Indonesia and then changed the rules of Dakon so that it would fit his idea of a mathematical recreation.


Initial set-up discussed by Degrazia (1948)

Tchuka Ruma is played on a one-rank board with an arbitrary number of holes and a store called "roumba", "rouma" or "ruma" at the right end. The holes can also be arranged in a circular pattern.

Each hole (except the "ruma") contains an equal number of stones.

On his turn a player takes all the stones of a non-empty hole and sows them, one by one, towards the "ruma" into the following holes.

If the last stone falls in a non-empty hole other than the "ruma", its contents are distributed in another lap.

If the last stone falls in the "ruma", the player moves again.

If the last stone is put into an empty hole, the game is over.

The goal is to collect as many stones as possible in the "ruma".

See also

External Link

Note: Donkers states: "Tchuka Ruma is a traditional game from Malaysia and the Phillipines, but it has also been spotted in Russia." -- a claim with no scientific foundation.


Averbach, B. & Orin, C.
Mathematics: Problem Solving Through Recreational Mathematics. W. H. Freeman, San Francisco CA (USA) 1980.
Bertaggia, A.
Tchuca ruma. In: Il Fogliaccio degli Astratti 2008; 47 (February): 8.
Campbell, P. J. 
Tchuka Ruma Solitaire. In: The UMAP Journal 1995; 16 (4): 343-365.
Degrazia, J.
Math Is Fun. Emerson Books, Inc., New York NY (USA) 1948.
Delannoy, H.-A.
Question 494. [Q4b] Le Jeu de la Tchouka. In: L'Intermédiaire des Mathématiciens 1895: 90-91.
Deledicq, A. & Popova, A.
Wari et Solo: Le Jeu de Calculs Africain (Collection Les Distracts 3). CEDIC, Paris (France) 1977, 180-187.
Sainte-Lague, A.
Geometrie de Situation et Jeux. In: Mémoriel de Sciences Mathématiques 1929; 41: 1-75.
Sevilla, GA de.
Juegos: Tchuka Ruma. In: Suma: Revista sobre Enseñanza y Aprendizaje de las Matemáticas 2007; 20 (55 / June): 75-79.


Adapted from the Wikinfo article, "Tchuka Ruma", used under the GNU Free Documentation License.