The Chess Variant Pages

                           by david moeser
                         TABLE OF CONTENTS
 1.  Overview  
 2.  Basic Concepts
 3.  The Board
 4.  Algebraic Notation
 5.  Directional Concepts
 6.  Pieces in the Lotus-39 Game
 7.  Movements of the Pieces
 8.  The Initial Position
 9.  Recap of the Pieces
10.  Playing the Game
11.  Home Hexagon
12.  Initial Placement of the Knight
13.  Experimental Version
14.  More Information on Lotus Chess
15.  Chess Variants Information

   Lotus-39 is a chess game played on a board of 39 "squares" (called 
cells) of varying shapes formed into a pattern of four interlocking 
lotus-like circles.  The rules of the game and the pieces used are the 
same as or similar to regular chess.  The movements of the pieces are 
as analogous to the concepts of regular chess as possible.  A regular 
chess set can be used. 
                           BASIC CONCEPTS
   The board consists of four interconnected lotus petals (lotuses)
with a total of 39 cells: 19 squares, 16 triangles, and 4 hexagons.  
All cells are equal, regardless of shape or size.  The hexagon in the 
middle of the second rank is each player's home hexagon.
   NOTE:  The word "square" always refers to square-shaped cells ONLY.
It is NOT synonymous with "cell."
                          /\ e7 /\  
         7              / d7 \/ f7 \
                      /\    /  \    /\
                    /_c7_\/      \/_g7_\
         6          | c6 |   e6   | g6 |
                    |____|        |____|
                   /\ c5 /\      /\ g5 /\
     --> 5       / b5 \/ d5 \  / f5 \/ h5 \
     R         /\    /  \    /\    /  \    /\
     A       /_a5_\/      \/_e5_\/      \/_i5_\
     N   4   | a4 |   c4   | e4 |   g4   | i4 |
     K       |____|        |____|        |____|
     S       \ a3 /\      /\ e3 /\      /\ i3 /
     --> 3     \/    \  /    \/    \  /    \/
                 \ b3 /\ d3 /  \ f3 /\ h3 /
                   \/_c3_\/      \/_g3_\/
         2          | c2 |   e2   | g2 |
                    |____|        |____|
                    \ c1 /\      /\ g1 /
                      \/    \  /    \/
         1              \ d1 /\ f1 /
 ^^ FILES ^^   a   b  c  d   e   f  g  h   i   ^^ FILES ^^

   The notation system is the same as in regular chess:  From White's
side of the board, ranks are numbered 1 to 7, and files are lettered 
'a' to 'i' from left to right.  Note that the central rank is the 
fourth rank, and the central file is the 'e' file.
   Here's a brief summary of the main types of patterns and pathways 
on the lotus board:  
        1. ORTHOGONAL ROWS.  Two types: X-axis type (like a4-i4 line);
or Z-axis type (like f1-b5 or d1-h5 lines, called Z-files).
        2. NON-ORTHOGONAL ROWS:  Lotus ("wavy") type, like fifth rank
(a5-i5 wavy line).
        3. FILES.  Two types: Superorthogonal, on Y-axis (like e1-e7 
line); or hypothecated (for notation only), like so-called "d" file.
        4. DIAGONALS.  Two orientations: V-W axes (like c3-i5 line or
g3-a5 line); or Y-axis (like e1-e7 line).
        5. LOTUS PATHS:  Continuous, curving (wavy) paths of contigu-
ous, alternating squares and triangles.  (Like c3-e3-e5-g5-and around
to g3-and around to c3.)
        6. LOTUS CIRCLE:  Ring of cells surrounding a hexagon.

                    PIECES IN THE LOTUS-39 GAME
   To show how easy this game is, six of the seven types of material 
are essentially the same as regular chess.  The King is the same as in
regular chess.  The Counselor is a non-royal king.  The Crook is a 
type of rook, and the Wyvern is similar to a bishop.  Pawns are the 
same; and as in regular chess Knights leap to a non-adjacent cell.
   There's only one new piece, and it's easy to grasp since its move 
is based on lotus pathways, which are the main and obvious feature of 
the lotus board.
        1. KING.  Same as regular chess.  Moves to any adjacent cell 
(adjoining on a side or at a corner).  Covers entire board.  The King
is "royal" (can be checked and checkmated).
        2. COUNSELOR.  Moves like a king but is *not* royal.  Can be
represented by tying a rubber band around a pawn.  Covers all cells.
        3. CROOK.  Use a rook to represent.  Like a rook in regular
chess, moves along orthogonal files and ranks (Z-axis and X-axis) as
well as Y-axis superorthogonal files.  Does NOT move along wavy rows.
Can reach any cell on the board.
        4. LOTUSSA.  The only new piece.  Use a queen to represent.
Sort of like a limited rook but only on lotus (wavy) rows.   Moves up
to three cells away along any lotus (wavy) row.  The most exciting and 
strongest piece in this game!  Can reach all cells except hexagons.
        5. KNIGHT.  Similar to regular chess.  Moves on hexagons only.
Leaps over the adjacent square to hexagon of adjoining (interlocking) 
lotus petal.
        6. WYVERN.  Use a bishop to represent.  Like the regular chess
bishop's oblique movement, the Wyvern moves along the diagonals, but 
only on the V-W axes.  Does *not* move along Y-axis diagonals (a.k.a. 
files).  Can reach 32 cells, or 82% of the board.
        7. PAWN.  As in regular chess there are numerous details!  In 
general, moves one cell forward along a file toward the opponent's 
side.  (Some files are Y-axis; some are Z-axis.  From hexagons there's 
a choice.)  Does not capture the same way it moves; most captures are 
to either left or right on adjoining cells of the next rank.  Special 
rules for deadend cells.  Promotes on final rank.  There are addition-
al details not mentioned here; see accompanying article, "Chess Piec-
es in the Lotus Environment," contained in LOTUS CHESS: THE BOOK.
                       THE INITIAL POSITION
   Both players have the same initial formation.  On the back rank, 
from left to right, these pieces: Lotussa (L), Crook (CR), King (K), 
Counselor (S), and Wyvern (W).  On the second rank, one Pawn (P) on 
each of the two squares and three Pawns on the hexagon.  Also, each 
player has one Knight in-hand.  See diagram below:
                          /\  K /\         Black's back rank
         7              / S  \/ CR \
                      /\    /  \    /\
                    /_W__\/      \/__L_\
         6          | P  | P  P  P|  P |   Black's second rank
                    |____|        |____|
                   /\    /\      /\    /\
         5       /    \/    \  /    \/    \
               /\    /  \    /\    /  \    /\
             /____\/      \/____\/      \/____\
         4   |    |        |    |        |    |
             |____|        |____|        |____|
             \    /\      /\    /\      /\    /
         3     \/    \  /    \/    \  /    \/
                 \    /\    /  \    /\    /
                   \/____\/      \/____\/
         2          | P  | P  P  P|  P |   WHITE'S SECOND RANK
                    |____|        |____|
                    \ L  /\      /\  W /
                      \/    \  /    \/
         1              \ CR /\  S /
                          \/__K_\/         WHITE'S BACK RANK
               a   b  c  d   e   f  g  h   i
   In this initial layout all Pawns are protected by at least one 
piece, as is true of Regular Chess.
=======    =====   ======  ================
   K   =   KING       1    king
   L   =   LOTUSSA    1    queen
   R   =   CROOK      1    rook (castle)
   S   =   COUNSELOR  1    upside-down rook or other piece
   W   =   WYVERN     1    bishop
   N   =   KNIGHT     1    knight (horse)
   P   =   PAWN       5    pawns
                          PLAYING THE GAME
   Except as noted, the rules for playing Lotus Chess on the 39-cell 
board are the same as in Regular Chess.  There is no castling or "en 
passant" capturing.
   Each player starts the game with three Pawns on the home hexagon.
This is the only situation where more than one piece occupies a cell.
As these Pawns move off, this cell normalizes; when only one Pawn re-
mains, it's completely normalized.  If an opponent's piece captures 
onto a hexagon containing multiple Pawns, it captures all the Pawns.
   The Knight starts out off the board but may get into the fray by 
being placed on the player's completely vacant home hexagon.  That is,
all the Pawns must be gone from the hexagon and no other piece can be 
there.  This Knight placement can be made on any turn when such a move 
is otherwise legal.  When a Knight placement is made it's the only 
move the player is allowed during that turn.
   At the start of the game, a Knight in-hand does NOT protect the  
home hexagon because it has no power to capture there.  Entering the 
Knight into the game is an option each player may use or ignore.  A 
Knight in-hand may not be captured by the opponent.
   An experimental version has been suggested in which each player 
would start the game with six Pawns on the home hexagon.
   Lotus-39 Chess was invented by David Moeser of Cincinnati, Ohio, 
USA, in June 1998 for the 1998 Chess Variants Contest.  Chessplayers 
may contact the inventor at the internet e-mail address: erasmus at 
iglou dot com.  
   Complete details and background theory are in LOTUS CHESS: THE 
BOOK, a compilation of over 60 pages covering these topics:
        *  Complete rules of the game, including rules for pawn move-
ment and capturing.
        *  Detailed explanation and illustrations of notation and all
directional concepts.
        *  Rules for movement of 26 regular and fairy chess pieces.
        *  Lotus board configurations from 41 cells to 93 cells.
   For many years the author has placed emphasis on the importance of
practicality for newly invented chess pieces, boards, and games.  This
game is intended to be serious and playable.  Players are encouraged 
to send scores of their best games, and organizers to send news of
their Lotus-39 tournaments, to the author at the e-mail address above.
   NEUE CHESS: THE BOOK, a compilation of more than 50 pages published 
in Cincinnati chess periodicals on the subject of chess variants, is 
available from the author for US $5.  (U.S.A. addresses only.  Corre-
spondents outside the U.S. should contact the author for shipping 
   The world capital of chess variants is located on the web at:
   Revision 1.0:  Published December 15, 1998.  Copyright (c) 1998 by
david moeser.

A hardcopy printout of the four main files dealing with Lotus Chess is available from the author for US $14.95 (includes shipping cost to U.S. addresses only). "Lotus Chess: The Book" is spiral-bound and also contains a full-sized, full-color board for use in playing the game. For address information, contact inventor David Moeser by e-mail at: erasmus at iglou dot com.
Written by David Moeser.
Lotus-39 was a submission in the contest to design a chess variant on a board with 39 squares. This is a new description of Lotus-39; the description submitted in the contest can also be found on this website.
WWW page created: January 4, 1999. Last modified: June 1, 1999.