The Chess Variant Pages

Chess and a Half (revised)


I'm quite a fan of the knight piece in FIDE chess, but not mostly not because of it's L-shaped move. Rather, the fact that it could jump over other pieces was what I found attractive. I decided to incorporate that abillity into a piece with straighter movement. I decided to add them as new pieces, instead of adding the jumping power to existing pieces. Since cats like to jump, I decided to use "Cat" as the name for the new pieces. Thankfully, I managed to find some cat images that match my other pieces which I downloaded from wikipedia. I also found out about the "Guard" piece and decided to add it as a kind of "super pawn". For those of you that don't know, a Guard moves one square any direction.

NOTE: I have revised this game recently. The new version has better promotion rules, and interesting new pieces, but still keeps a small learning curve. I've also added an interactive diagram which should tell you everything you need to know about the pieces.


files=12 ranks=12 royal=12 castleFlip=1 maxPromote=2 promoChoice=QCRGBN graphicsDir=../membergraphics/MSchess-and-a-half/ whitePrefix=w blackPrefix=b graphicsType=gif squareSize=51 lightShade=#DDDDDD darkShade=#B8B8B8 startShade=#0000FF symmetry=mirror pawn:P:ifmnDifmnHifmR4fmWfceF:Pawn:a2-c2,e2-h2,j2-l2 sidepawn:PP:ffsmWfceF:Pawn:, knight:N:NimafN:Knight:b1,k1 speedy knight:NN:NN:Nightrider:, cat:C:KADcafK:Cat:e1,h1 star cat:S:KADGHcafKcafmpafKmpafcafK:StarCat:d1,i1 guard:G:WF:Guard:d2,i2 eques rex:X:WFN:Centaur:, rook:R:R:Rook:a1,l1 bishop:B:B:Bishop:c1,j1 queen:Q:QirO5isO4isO3isO2isO1isO0:Queen:f1 king:K:KilO5isO4isO3isO2isO1isO0:King:g1 kraken:∞:U:Kraken:,

Click on names below to see how the piece moves.

  • Pawn (a2-c2, e2-h2, j2-l2)
  • Guard (d2, i2)
  • Rook (a1, l1)
  • Knight (b1, k1)
  • Bishop (c1, j1)
  • Star Cat (d1, i1)
  • Cat (e1, h1)
  • Queen (f1)
  • King (g1)

Only available through promotion.

  • Sidepawn/Superpawn (Pawn that has passed the center line)
  • Speedy Knight (Knight that has reached last rank)
  • Eques Rex (Guard that has reached last rank)


Guard: Moves 1 square in any direction, as stated above. May promote to an Eques Rex on the last rank.

Cat: Jumps 1 or 2 squares in any direction. May promote to Star Cat upon reaching the last rank.

Star Cat: Jumps 1, 2, or 3 squares in any direction. Does not further promote.

Knight: Moves as a FIDE chess Knight, but with an intial double step. (i.e. a move as a 2-step nightrider.) May not double-capture during the 2-step move. Promotes to Speedy Knight (i.e. nightrider) on the 12th rank.

Speedy Knight: Can continue after a Knight move, but only in the same direction. This piece is not in the starting array. It is only available as a promoted Knight.

Eques Rex: Moves as Knight or a King, plain and simple. It is not a royal piece, unlike in Fusion Chess. Again, this piece is only a promotee, and not in the array.

Pawn: Moves as a FIDE chess Pawn, but has an initial double, triple, or quadruple step, instead of just a double step. Promotes to Queen, Rook, Bishop, Knight, Cat or Guard on the very last rank.

Other pieces: Move exactly as they do in FIDE chess.



0. All rules are identical to FIDE Chess, unless stated otherwise.

1. Promotion is optional if the piece is capable of retreating from the final rank.

2. If one declines promotion, such unpromoted piece must leave the final rank, then re-enter it in order to promote. It can't promote by making a move that stays on the back rank, although it may still move along the back rank without promoting.

3. Pawns may now promote to Guard or Cat, in addition to the standard pieces. You still may not promote a Pawn to a King or another Pawn. Additionally, you may not promote it to a Speedy Knight, Eques Rex or Star Cat, because those are promoted forms of other pieces.

4. However, you are allowed to first promote a Pawn to one of the three other promotable piece types, then move the new piece off of the 12th rank, and finally promote it by returning it to the 12th rank.

5. The new leapers/jumpers are capable of an optional multi-capture. (i.e. capturing the pieces on the intermediate squares, as well as the piece on the destination square)

6. Castling is done by moving the king any number of spaces towards the rook, and then jumping the rook over the king. This is sometimes called flexible castling.

7. The fifty-move rule has been changed to an eighty-move rule. (i.e. a draw only occurs after eighty moves with no capture or pawn push)

8. Pawns can move without capturing sideways, but not backwards once they have crossed the center of the board.

9. Moving a King to the very last rank wins the game. (Formally, the King promotes to a universal leaper, immediately mating the opponent.)


If you want to play this game over the board, I have a printable chess set. It uses circular chess pieces with images attached. i.e. XiangQi style.
Unfortunately, I don't have an actual printable board. A Chess Variant Construction Set with spaces 1 inch by 1 inch or larger would work, however. You could also use a Canadian Draughts board. Additionally, the interactive diagram doesn't allow you to decline promotion of a Cat, Knight, or Guard.

I would provide the values here, but I have neither Zillions nor enough money to buy it.  Is Jocly capable of valuing pieces? And how would I make a Jocly game?

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By Nicolino Will.
Web page created: 2017-08-30. Web page last updated: 2017-08-30