The Chess Variant Pages




Enthralling Chess

This game is played with a standard FIDE board and pieces, which all retain their usual properties. En passant, Castling, Promotion and Pawns' initial two step are all retained.

For the first three turns, the players play as they normally would. For every turn after the third however, a player makes a move and then does one of the following:

Enthrall: He chooses one of his opponent's pieces other than a King or Queen and places it in a position on his side of the board that one of his pieces of that type started in. This piece now belongs to the player who enthralled it (place some sort of marker under the piece to indicate that it now belongs to the opposite player. We use pennies, since 28 cents isn't a huge investment for a Chess Variant ;). Note that there MUST be an empty starting square on the enthralling player's side of the board for the piece to be moved to. For example, if both C1 and F1 are occupied, White may not Enthrall one of Black's Bishops.

Liberate: He chooses a piece that his opponent has Enthralled (basically a piece of his color that has a marker underneath it) and removes it from the game. Note that he may NOT Liberate the piece that his opponent most recently Enthralled.

A player wins if he:

  • Checkmates his opponent's King
  • Possesses at least one piece in addition to his King and Queen, and his opponent is unable to Enthrall any of the pieces, and also unable to Liberate a piece. (In other words, if he has a King, Queen and Bishop, and his opponent has already made his move but cannot enthrall the Bishop because both of his Bishops' starting squares are occupied).
  • Has captured his opponent's Queen and his opponent is left with only his King. (This makes the Queen a very important piece to capture, as what very often happens is that one player ends up with only their King and Queen left, and it becomes a Stalemate).

The game is a Stalemate if:

  • A player can make no legal move.
  • A player cannot Enthrall or Liberate due to the fact that his opponent only has a King and Queen left.

NOTES:

There are several ways to play with regards to Promotion. What we most often do is to make Promoted Pawns Un-Enthrallable (if that's a word). Which makes them that much more valuable. Note that if you play this way, promoted pawns should be IGNORED with regards to the above end-of-game scenarios. Meaning if your opponent possesses only a King and a Promoted Pawn (you've already captured his queen), and you've made your move and cannot Enthrall (because of the Pawn's immunity), you win.

In order to win by reducing your opponent to only his King, you must have already made your move and be in a position to Enthrall or Liberate. For example, if your opponent has lost his Queen, but has a King, Promoted Pawn and a Bishop, and you Enthrall the Bishop, you do NOT win immediately. Your opponent still gets his next turn to try to checkmate you. At the end of your NEXT turn, however, when your opponent is down to his King and the Promoted Pawn and you've moved and are now in a position to Enthrall, THEN you win.

On another note, if a player is down to his King, Queen, and any number of Promoted Pawns, and his opponent is in a position to Enthrall, the game is a Stalemate. (If you wish, however, you could count this as a loss for the player who is unable to Enthrall. The verdict is still out on which method is more fair).

A King may not castle with an Enthralled Rook.

An Enthralled Pawn may make an initial two-step.

An Enthralled Pawn may promote, however after it has made one move it is possible for the other player to Liberate it. (So it's safe from Liberation as long as it just sits on the space it was promoted on).

Remember that the LAST piece a player Enthralled is immune to Liberation and NOT the piece that he Enthralled on his last turn. If a player Enthralls a Rook and then proceeds to do nothing but Liberate, the Rook cannot be liberated by his opponent until he has actually Enthralled another piece (so be sure to keep track of which piece you most recently Enthralled).

If all goes perfectly and no regular captures are made, each piece other than the two Queens and Kings will be Enthralled and then later Liberated. On his 32nd move, if White is unable to put Black into checkmate, he will find himself without a piece to Enthrall or Liberate, and the game will be a Stalemate.


Written by Jeff Kiska. Web page posted by David Howe.
WWW page created: 31 Jul 2000. Last modified on: 31 Jul 2000.