The Chess Variant Pages

Cerimon Chess

Inspired by Dr. Joseph L. Chin, M.D., F.R.C.S. C.


By Paul DeWitte

 

Introduction

This chess variant, Cerimon Chess, is an expression of my gratitude to the compassionate and brilliant Dr. Joseph Chin, the current Chairman of the Division of Urology at the University of Western Ontario, whom I credit with ridding my body of cancer and of consequently restoring my enthusiasm for life. This variant is meant also, by extension, as an homage to all oncologists, those medical warriors who, as Dr. Sherwin Nuland eloquently states, “can be seen on the barricades when other defenders have furled their flags”.

This variant is named after Cerimon, the physician in William Shakespeare’s Pericles, Prince of Tyre. In the play, after Pericles’s wife, Thaisa, has been buried at sea, and her coffin has washed up on the shore, Cerimon tirelessly applies his skills to Thaisa and, through his “good appliance”, succeeds in reviving her. At the end of the play, Pericles is reunited with Thaisa, effecting a restoration of both family and social order. Pericles praises Cerimon, exclaiming: “Reverend sir,/ The gods can have no mortal officer/ More like a god than you.”

Board

The game uses the standard 8X8, 64-cell board.

Setup

White begins play with knights at a2, b2, g2, and h2, bishops at b1, c1, f1, and g1, rooks at a1 and h1, “sergeants” at c2, d2, e2, and f2, a royal king at e1 and a “terror” at d1.

Black begins play with knights at a7, b7, g7, and h7, bishops at b8, c8, f8, and g8, rooks at a8 and h8, “sergeants” at c7, d7, e7, and f7, a royal king at e8 and a “terror” at d8.

Pieces

The knights, bishops, rooks and kings in this variant possess the same moves as they do in regular chess. The “terror” possesses queen + knight moves, and the “sergeant” possesses regular pawn and Berolina pawn moves. The sergeant, then, can move and capture either straight ahead or on the forward diagonal. Both the terror and the sergeant are described in the Piececlopedia.

Rules

The object of the game, as it is in regular chess, is to mate the opponent’s king. However, in this variant, by checking the opponent’s king with a knight, bishop, rook or sergeant, it is possible to “resurrect” an identical lost piece. To do this, two simple conditions must be met. There must be a “lost” (i.e. captured) piece available to be retrieved, and there must be an unoccupied beginning square to which the piece can be returned. For example, by checking the opponent’s king with a knight, a player can place one of his captured knights back onto the board. (In white’s case, the knight can be returned to a2, b2, g2, or h2, at white’s discretion.) Because a player begins with only one terror, checking an opponent’s king with a terror does not have the advantage of allowing a player to recover a captured piece.

Sergeants promote. Sergeants can make either a diagonal or an orthogonal initial double move.

Castling and en passant captures are not permitted.

Equipment

Standard chess equipment is used. Two extra knights and two extra bishops are required per player to begin the game.

Credits