In the early 1990s, my parents gave me on my birthday a set of this game Vendetta, a chess variant for four players. They bought it at a sale-out. The game is not very original - very similar games exist already since 1784 (see the description of four handed chess).
Vendetta is played on a cross shaped board: add to each of the four sides of an 8 by 8 board a part with size 4 by 8. The final board has a 192 squares. Here, queens start the game always on black squares. The rules suggest to play in two teams of two, or each player for itself, but do not mention what the conditions to win are (first player that mates another wins or player that is mated drops out, but then what happens with the pieces of the mated player, etc.)
The pieces, colored white, black, blue and red are hollow and should be filled with sand - green caps to put under the pieces after they are filled were also in the set, as was an hourglass. At the backside of the board, a normal chess board is printed.
The box tells that the game is copyrighted J. Deak, Ewing, N.J. 08638, U.S.A. U.S.A. patent No: 4,778,87. Made in Holland. Marketed By: Bonne Nuit, Inc. 743 Alexander Road Princeton, N.J. 08540 U.S.A. Tele: 609-987-1269, Fax: 609-520-1350.
It is not clear whether the patent applies to the idea of hollow chess pieces to be filled with sand, or to the idea to play four-handed chess on this type of board. In the latter case, I think that there is no reason for a patent: looking in the Encyclopedia of Chess Variants, one sees almost identical games that are older.
WWW page and photo's made by Hans Bodlaender.
WWW page created: July 17, 1997. Last modified: April 9, 1999.