The Chess Variant Pages

Cavalier Chess

by Fergus Duniho

In December 1998, shortly after getting Zillions of Games, I used it to create this game, Cavalier Chess. As the name suggests, Cavalier Chess is Chess on horseback. Every piece but the Queen is replaced by a more powerful counterpart, and every new piece in the game has some kind of Knight move. Pawns are replaced by Chinese Chess Knights, which in this game are called Cavaliers. Rooks, Bishops, Knights, and Kings are replaced with Marshalls (R+N), Paladins (B+N), Nightriders (multiple N moves), and Knight Kings (K+N). You can play this game on a regular two-color chess board, using regular Chess pieces for the pieces they replace. But when I play it, I use a three-color board with Knights from some smaller sets for the Cavaliers. Photographs of this are available, and I recommend looking at them to get an idea of what this game should look like.


The object of Cavalier Chess is to checkmate the enemy Knight King. Cavalier Chess is played just like Chess except that there are different pieces, and no piece has any special moves. There is no castling, no double moves for pieces, and nothing like en passant. Promotion is handled a bit differently than in Chess. All deviations from standard Chess are explained in the next two subsections.


The Knight King moves like a Knight or a King. It may move to any adjacent square like a King or jump like a Knight. Like the King in Chess, it may not move into check, because it is the object of the game to checkmate this piece. Unlike the King in Chess, the Knight King may not castle.

The Queen is unchanged from Chess. She can move across a straight line any number of spaces in any direction.

The Marshall combines the moves of Rook and Knight. It can move across a straight line any number of spaces in any orthogonal direction, or it may jump like a Knight. Unlike the Rook in Chess, it may not castle.

The Paladin combines the moves of Bishop and Knight. It can move across a straight line any number of spaces in any diagonal direction, or it may jump like a Knight.

The Nightrider has an extended Knight's move. It can make any number of Knight moves in the same direction, so long as each landing square is unoccupied.

The Cavalier moves like a Knight but cannot jump pieces. It moves one square orthogonally, followed by a diagonal move in the same direction. A Cavalier's move is blocked if a piece occupies a square orthogonally adjacent to it. The Cavalier moves just like the Knight in Chinese Chess. When it reaches the eighth rank, it promotes to the piece whose starting square it lands on. Since Cavaliers cannot promote to Knight Kings, a Cavalier which lands on the Knight King's starting square promotes to any other superior piece of the player's choosing.


    +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+ 8 | m |:n:| p |:q:| k |:p:| n |:m:|   +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+ 7 |:c:| c |:c:| c |:c:| c |:c:| c |   +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+ 6 |   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+ 5 |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |   +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+ 4 |   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+ 3 |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |   +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+ 2 | C |:C:| C |:C:| C |:C:| C |:C:|   +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+ 1 |:M:| N |:P:| Q |:K:| P |:N:| M |   +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+     a   b   c   d   e   f   g   h 

Knight King e1
Queen d1
Marshall a1 h1
Paladin c1 f1
Nightrider b1 g1
Cavalier a2 b2 c2 d2 e2 f2 g2 h2
Knight King e8
Queen d8
Marshall a8 h8
Paladin c8 f8
Nightrider b8 g8
Cavalier a7 b7 c7 d7 e7 f7 g7 h7

Computer Play

If you have Zillions of Games, you can play Cavalier Chess on your computer. You may download the Zillions file for it from these sites:

Written by Fergus Duniho
WWW Page Created: Sun Oct 17, 1999.