The Chess Variant Pages



Lùotuoqí (Camel Chess)

骆 驼 棋

"A camel is a horse designed by a committee."
Attributed to Sir Alec Issigonis (1906-1988)

Introduction

Lùotuoqí is a chess variant created by committee. People became committee members by making one to five suggestions for new pieces or new rules. Anyone who contributed one or more suggestions was then allowed to vote on the various changes.

The original concept was to use a standard Western chess set. This got altered by the adoption of the Tower of Hanoi. A set of draughtsmen (checkers) is used for Towers, in place of the Queen.

The designers of Lùotuoqí are:

  • Senior Designers: Peter Aronson, John Lawson, Glenn Overby, Daniel Roth, Robert Shimmin.
  • Associate Designers: Phil Brady, Luiz Carlos Campos, Doug Chatham, Peter Gelman, Jianying Ji, Andreas Kauffmann, Mike Nelson, Tony Quintanilla, Bill Sherman, Justin Stafford, Eric Watkins. Note that one entry was by a team of two persons who only cast a single ballot.
  • List of official suggestions

At this writing, the seven scheduled polls are done, as well as the follow-up poll to clarify ambiguities. The final version of Lùotuoqí is expected to be here by 1 September 2003.

Watch for Lùotuoqí II this fall...possibly derived from Xiangqi or Shogi as a base, or a new decimal (10 by 10) game. Start thinking of your new pieces and rules now!

Setup

    a   b   c   d   e   f   g   h
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
8 | r |:m:| d |:t8| k |:d:| m |:r:| 8
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
7 |:e:| e |:e:| e |:e:| e |:e:| e | 7
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
6 |   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |:::| 6
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
5 |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   | 5
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
4 |   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |:::| 4
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
3 |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   | 3
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
2 | E |:E:| E |:E:| E |:E:| E |:E:| 2
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
1 |:R:| M |:D:| T8|:K:| D |:M:| R | 1
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
    a   b   c   d   e   f   g   h

E = Eaglet (pawn)
R = Rook-Camel (rook)
M = Mule (knight)
D = Diagonal Bypasser (bishop)
T8 = Tower of Hanoi at starting level of 8 stones (queen)
K = King

Pieces

King

The King moves exactly as in Western chess, and is subject to the orthodox rules on check and mate.

The King may castle with either Rook-Camel under the ordinary Western chess rules.

+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
|   |   | * | * | * |   |   |   |
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
|   |   | * | K | * |   |   |   |
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
|   |   | * | * | * |   |   |   |
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+

Eaglet (pawn)

Eaglets move and capture one space diagonally forward, or one space straight backward.

Eaglets do not use the en passant rule or initial double-move of Western chess pawns. They do not automatically promote on the last rank.

An Eaglet may promote when it is flanked by two adjacent pieces of the same type, so the three pieces form a line (orthogonal or diagonal) with the Eaglet in the middle. (Towers of different heights are also of different types.)

Promotion is to the same type as the flanking pieces, and uses a turn. It is neither immediate nor mandatory. The flanking pieces may belong to either player, or indeed to both.

In the right half of the diagram, White could promote the Eaglet to Mule or Diagonal Bypasser instead of a move.

+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
| * |   | * |   |   | d |   |   |
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
|   | E |   |   |   | M | E | M |
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
|   | * |   |   |   |   |   | D |
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+

Mule (knight)

Mules move like a Western knight, or like a Wazir (one space horizontally or vertically). Like the knight, the Mule lands on squares of opposite colors with each move.

+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
|   |   | * |   | * |   |   |   |
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
|   | * |   | * |   | * |   |   |
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
|   |   | * | M | * |   |   |   |
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
|   | * |   | * |   | * |   |   |
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
|   |   | * |   | * |   |   |   |
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+

Diagonal Bypasser (bishop)

Diagonal Bypassers move any distance diagonally, but never to an occupied square. A Diagonal Bypasser captures all opposing pieces on squares orthogonally adjacent to its path and not adjacent to either its starting or ending square.

In the second diagram below, the Diagonal Bypasser moving from b2 to h8 captures any opposing pieces on c4, d5, e6, f7, d3, e4, f5, or g6, marked by the X.

+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
|   |   |   |   |   |   |   | o |
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
| o |   |   |   |   |   | o |   |
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
|   | o |   |   |   | o |   |   |
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
|   |   | o |   | o |   |   |   |
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
|   |   |   | D |   |   |   |   |
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
|   |   | o |   | o |   |   |   |
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
|   | o |   |   |   | o |   |   |
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
| o |   |   |   |   |   | o |   |
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+

o = spaces must be empty

+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |end|
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
|   |   |   |   |   | X |   |   |
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
|   |   |   |   | X |   | X |   |
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
|   |   |   | X |   | X |   |   |
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
|   |   | X |   | X |   |   |   |
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
|   |   |   | X |   |   |   |   |
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
|   | D |   |   |   |   |   |   |
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+

X = spaces on which opposing pieces
are captured after the move Db2-h8.

Rook-Camel (rook)

The Rook-Camel may move like a standard rook, sliding any number of clear spaces horizontally or vertically. Or the Rook-Camel may move like a non-leaping camel, sliding exactly two squares orthogonally followed by one diagonally without a leap.

The Rook-Camel may castle with the King under the ordinary Western chess rules.

+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
|   |   |   | * |   |   |   |   |
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
|   |   | * | * | * |   |   |   |
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
|   |   |   | * |   |   |   |   |
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
| * |   |   | * |   |   | * |   |
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
| * | * | * | R | * | * | * | * |
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
| * |   |   | * |   |   | * |   |
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
|   |   |   | * |   |   |   |   |
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
|   |   | * | * | * |   |   |   |
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+

Tower of Hanoi (queen)

A Tower of Hanoi starts as a pile of 8 draught stones (checkers) moving like an orthodox queen. A Tower's height determines its maximum range.

A Tower may be split into two Towers as part of its move, with one portion moving and the other remaining in place. The moving part must contain at least as many stones as the number of squares moved. The moving part may capture, and may merge with an existing Tower (see the next paragraph).

A pair of separated Towers may be merged as a move, if one of the stacks could legally move to the square of the other were that square vacant.

The maximum height of a Tower of Hanoi is 8 stones, even if more stones become available by promotion. Two Towers of different heights are considered different types; a T8 is distinct from a T4 or a T1.

  a   b   c   d   e   f   g   h
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   | 8
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
|   | T4|   | T2|   | e |   |   | 7
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   | 6
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   | 5
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
|   | e |   |   | D |   |   |   | 4
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   | 3
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   | 2
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
|   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   | 1
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+

The b7 Tower has 12 full Tower moves available, without splits:
T4b7-a8; T4b7-a7; T4b7-a6; T4b7-b8; T4b7-b6; T4b7-b5;
T4b7xe4; T4b7-c8; T4b7-c7; T4b7-d7=T6; T4b7-c6; T4b7-d5.

Considering only the Tower on b7, the following split moves are legal:
A T1 could split to a8, b8, c8, a7, c7, a6, b6, or c6,
     leaving a T3 on b7.
A T2 could split to a8, b8, c8, a7, c7, d7=T4, a6, b6, b5, c6, or d5,
     leaving a T2 on b7.
A T3 could split to a8, b8, c8, a7, c7, d7=T4, a6, b6, b5, b4 (capturing),
     c6, d5, or e4, leaving a T1 on b7.

The b7 Tower therefore has 44 distinct moves in this position.
 
The Tower on d7 has 13 moves available as a full Tower (including one
that makes a T4 and one that captures an Eaglet), plus 8 moves
splitting off a T1. 

Cube (only one)

The Cube is an off-board marker. Black starts with the Cube.

When the player with the Cube makes a move which neither captures nor gives check, that player may give the Cube to the opponent and take a second consecutive turn.

Notes

Playing Tips

Computer Play

Equipment

Use a standard Western chess set, plus a set of draughtsmen/checkers (Towers) and one unique off-board token (Cube).

Sample Game