The Chess Variant Pages




Why Another Limited Doublemove Chess?

There have been several attempts to create a form of doublemove chess where the possibilities are limited so that the game is a bit less tactical.

There's nothing wrong with a tactical game, of course, it's simply a matter of finding a slightly different recipe so that the mix of flavors is balanced differently.

In order to make it difficult for future chefs to devise new recipes, I here present a complete cookbook of new forms of Limited Doublemove Chess.

Basic Doublemove Rules

The game called Doublemove Chess has a "no check, capture King" rule that I don't like, and therefore I prefer to use the rules of Balanced Marseillais Chess as the basic doublemove rules referred to by the other games.

Two-Fisted Chess

The basic doublemove rules apply except as follows:

In order to make two moves in one turn, you must move two different pieces of the same type. For example, you can move two Knights, or you can move two different Pawns.

There is no penalty if you can only make one of your two moves.

You must make the second move of your turn if you can. This is actually the normal rule, but because zugzwang seems more likely in this game I thought I should emphasize it.

King and Queen count as the same type of piece.

You really should pick up one piece in each hand and move both at once, even the rules clearly show that one move is made before the other.

Discussion of the Rules of Two-Fisted Chess

It's important to preserve your pairs of pieces.

It's inconvenient that King and Queen are the same "type", isn't it? This might be a reason for underpromotion in problems...

In the endgame, the game may become identical to FIDE Chess. For example, "King plus Rook plus Pawn versus King plus Rook": no doublemoves are possible.

The rule that you must make two moves if you can will be inconvenient at times. This is deliberate.

Two-Fisted Chess Example

1. e2-e4
1... f7-f5, g7-g5
2. Qd1-h5, Ke1-d1
This is the shortest possible checkmate.

Echo Chess

The rules of Two-Fisted Chess apply except as follows.

Your second move must be an echo of your first. In other words, in order to make two moves in one turn, you must move two pieces of the same type, and move them in the same direction, and move them the same distance.

If one of the moves is a capture, the other must also be a capture.

Discussion of the Rules of Echo Chess

As the game goes on, it becomes more and more difficult to make two moves in one turn.

The rule that you must make two moves if you can will be inconvenient at times. This is deliberate. This situation will arise more often in Echo Chess than in Two-Fisted Chess. Think of it as a new kind of Zugzwang.

Sample of Echo Chess

White has the FIDE army, Black has the Remarkable Rookies

1.   Nc3         (HFD)c8-c5,(HFD)f8-f5
Will White move his Knight and be mated by (HFD)f5-e4? Or will he allow 2...(HFD):c2,(HFD):f2 checkmate?

2.   f4,e4       (HFD)c5-d4,(HFD)f5-g4
3.   Qe2,Kf2     (HFD)d4:d2+,(HFD)g4:g2+
4.   Kg3,Qf3     (HFD)g2:f3,(HFD)d2:c3
5.   Resigns
Better 2. f3,e3

Mirrored Echo Chess

"Direction" could be interpreted with reference to the center. In this case, if a piece on the left side of the board moves towards the center, the echo would be to move a piece on the right side of the board towards the center: according to this interpretation, both are moving in the same direction even though one is moving east and the other is moving west.

For example, 1. e4 e5,d5 2. Nf3,Nc3 Qe7,Kd7 is a legal series of moves.

Moderate Doublemove Chess

Moderation in all things.

The basic doublemove rules apply except as follows:

You may not move the same piece twice in one turn, and in fact you must move two different kinds of piece to make a doublemove.

If one move is a capture, the other must not be. However, you are permitted to make two non-capturing moves even if a capture is available.

If one move advances, the other must not be. You are permitted to retreat with both moves, to go East with both moves, but you may not go forward with both. (This rule makes the biggest difference.)

Equal Doublemove Chess

One of the two moves must be with a Pawn, the other must not.

The game has a certain interesting resemblance to Avalanche Chess.

Move-and-a-Half Chess

Each turn, each player gets enough gas to make 1.5 moves.

Each turn, each player must make at least one move.

If you only make one move, you get credit for half a move.

Each turn, each player may make as many moves as he can afford.

Check must be respected, and your first move of a turn must get you out of check.

The very first turn of the game, White gets only enough gas for one move.

Remarks on Move-and-a-Half Chess

This could be the best game of all.

The primary strategic tension here is between saving and spending. If you save up enough gas to make ten moves in one turn, surely you can checkmate; but in the meantime, your opponent might be able to win by making a few extra moves here, a few there.

How embarassing it would be to get checkmated with 8 moves in the bank!

I think that the average game will be 20 moves or fewer.

Imaginary Doublemove Chess

Or maybe this could be the best game of all.

The One Big Rule of Imaginary Doublemove Chess

Each turn, each player makes two moves, and then must if possible undo one of the opponent's most recent pair of moves.

Minor Rules and Clarifications

Check must be respected, and your first move of a turn must get you out of check. If you are checkmated, you never get a chance to play the second move or the "undo".

A Pawn on the second rank still has its double-step, even if it moved and was undone; Castling is still legal even if it was previously attempted and undone.

There is no penalty for parts of your turn you cannot take.

If your opponent was only able to make one move, you may not undo it.

Note: you may undo a move even if it makes the opponent's other move illegal, and even if it makes your own move illegal. For example, after 1. d4,Bg5 Nc6,Nf6(d4-d2) the position looks like White played the illegal move 1.Bc1-g5; but it's okay!

Example: after 1. e4,Bc4 e5,Nf6(e4-e2) 2. Nf3,O-O(e5-e7) e5,Nc6(undo O-O) 3. O-O,Rf1-e1(e5-e7), Black cannot undo White's Castling; White's most recent turn could not undo Ng8-f6 because that move was not part of the most recent pair of moves; White was able to Castle and play Re1 becuase Castling is a King move.

Discussion of Imaginary Doublemove Chess

This game is a blend of Doublemove, Refusal, Compromise, Liars' Chess, and the Avalanche family.

The Avalanche Family

Avalanche Chess was just one of a group of seven games based on the same idea. In Avalanche, you push an enemy Pawn; in Blizzard, you add an enemy Pawn (board gets very crowded); in Twinkle, you either add or remove an enemy Pawn (on alternate turns? I forget; but the idea is that the Pawns appear and disappear all the time); in (forget the name), you subtract an enemy Pawn; in another, retreat an enemy Pawn; and so on.

The common idea was the two-part move: first you make an ordinary legal move, then if you're not checkmated you may do the second part which is something special and different for each game in the family. And of course Avalanche was first thought of as a new kind of Doublemove Chess.

Imaginary Doublemove Chess follows the same rule....

Refusal Chess and Compromise Chess

In Compromise Chess, you send two moves, your opponent chooses which one is actually played. In Refusal Chess, you make a move, your opponent can demand that you retract it and play a different one instead. In both cases, there are (at least potentially) two moves made, but only one appears on the board.

In Imaginary Doublemove Chess, both moves get made but one of the two moves usually gets cancelled.

Liars' Chess

Each turn, you can undo one old move and replace it with a different one, as long as all the rest of the moves are still legal. I got the idea from Liars Poker, but in fact the game should be called Alternate History Chess.

In Imaginary Doublemove Chess, you can undo an enemy move even if it makes the other move illegal.

Closing Words

Now I have thought up all the possible good variations on Doublemove Chess, and there are none left over. (The humor-impaired should be advised that the previous sentence is a bit of a joke, with an implied challenge and invitation; any red-blooded creative thinker reading such a sentence is bound to try to think of a few new good forms of Doublemove; and when they succeed, I get to take some of the credit because my challenge inspired them to try.)


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