The Chess Variant Pages

Lancers Chess


This variant introduces a new chess piece: "Lancers," instead of knights. A sub-variant idea is mentioned in the Notes section to include one knight and one lancer. Its value is currently a bit ambiguous, as this author believes a piece like this has unique advantages and disadvantages.


In these diagrams I shrunk a knight and used an arrow to denote the direction it faces.  A simple arrow would work well in computer versions, but in person, the players can simply use knights and face them accordingly (being mindful that direction matters).


All orthodox rules remain in place, except that knights are replaced with lancers. A lancer begins the game facing forward, and it can "jump" to a square in the direction that it faces (all the way across the board in some cases). It can capture the first enemy piece or pawn in that direction, but it cannot jump to - or capture on - any square beyond that first enemy piece/pawn. After the movement (during the same turn) the player may immediately turn the lancer in any other of the 7 directions (or leave it facing the direction it just moved). In the starting position shown, any lancer could take an enemy pawn, but it could not capture the lancer all the way across the board (as that would be the 2nd enemy piece in that direction)


Notation for a lancer's move is with the letter L and the square it lands on, followed by T if it turns, followed by the direction as displayed on a compass (always from the perspective of White. For example, in the starting position, White lancers face North and Black lancers face South) Here is an example for the notation when a lancer moves, then turns. See below:


If it's White's turn, a great move would be La1TNE: 


Now the Black queen is pinned by the White lancer, and the Black queen can only take the pawn (Black cannot win). If the player chooses not to turn the lancer after the movement, then he/she does not need to notate "T" or the direction.  Logically as seen in this example, a player would hardly ever move a lancer to the corner and choose not to turn it (except maybe in a losing position as a forced stalemate attempt)

In Lancers Chess, one may promote a pawn to a lancer if desired, and then he/she may turn that lancer immediately after promotion.

As an alternative to this version of Lancers Chess, a sub-variant is Single Lancer chess, in which only the Queen's side has a lancer, while the King side has a traditional knight.

Promoting a pawn to a knight is illegal in Lancers Chess but is legal in Single Lancer chess.

(graphics created in the Tools section of the website

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By Jeffrey T. Kubach.
Web page created: 2017-09-03. Web page last updated: 2017-09-03