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I've been working on a sort of expanded-universe project for a while. One of the high points of this project is the existence of alternate Earths where history unfolded differently. In one such Earth, a North-African army seized most of Italy and Southern France in the early 13th century, delaying the western Renaissance by a factor of several decades and upsetting the global culture balance for centuries to come.  Among the many effects of this is the presence of more obvious Arabic roots in English- for instance, instead of Chess, it is Aldress, from the Spanish aljedrez.  There are, of course, gameplay variations too, the time of divergence being before the Mad Queen caught on.


It could be easily said that the setup is the same as Chess with rotational rather than reflectional symmetry, but I would be remiss if I neglected to include a more intuitive diagram:

N.B: Despite the ambiguous diagram, the Elephant in Aldress cannot move as a Dababa.  There was no Alfaerie Elephant-Wazir combo and I compromised for clarity.



Like our rook, but sometime in the 16th century developed the ability to move as a Ferz as well (RF).


Exactly the same as the Knight.


Although elephants were not used during the Italian War, many scholars across Europe drew similarities to the last great North African invasion of Europe, that of Hannibal.  As such, the elephant was not replaced by the bishop wholesale as a name for that piece.  Movewise, it moves two squares diagonally (as with the Alfil) or one square orthogonally (as with the Wazir) (AW).


The bishop may not have replaced the elephant in this alternate Earth, but an archbishop did replace the queen as the heir to the role of advisor.  It moves one square diagonally (as a Ferz), and although in all other ways it behaves identically to any other piece in Aldress, it does have one difference: a check given by an Archbishop is called a "Buke," and a checkmate a "Quist."


Aldress' King behaves exactly like our own with one exception.  Instead of Castling, the King may, once per game, make a Cavalier's move instead (that is, a Knight's move).


Aldress' Pawn behaves exactly like one of ours, except it cannot move two squares on its first move of the game.  However, if its first move of the game is a capture, it may immediately move or capture again, and if that move was a capture it may move and capture again, and so on.  This is called "berserking."  A Pawn may berserk into promotion, which is exactly like FIDE promotion, except obviously to an Aldress piece.


This game follows the rules of Chess identically except for the previous points.


So, all in all, I present to you a game that isn't quite chess.  But almost.  That was my goal – to create another evolution of Shatranj.  Be careful not to get Berseked into a promotion – more than one Aldress grandmaster has erred and found himself down a dozen pawns of material and facing a back-row Castle.

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By Daniel Robert MacDuff.
Web page created: 2017-10-22. Web page last updated: 2017-11-04