The Chess Variant Pages

Bifocal Chess

By Antoine Fourrière

Introduction

Bifocal Chess is kind of the opposite of V.R. Parton's Neutral King, where both teams try to mate the same King. Here, most pieces threaten both Kings. Another characteristic is that it satisfies Roberto Lavieri's idea of a game without capture or promotion.

Board and Setup

White
King (K): e1
Mann (M): e2
Firzes (Z): d2 f2
Wazirs (W): c2 g2
Black
King (K): e9
Mann (M): e8
Firzes (Z): d8 f8
Wazirs (W): c8 g8
Neutral
Immobilizer (I): e5
(PS-)Bishops (B): d5 f5
Falcons (F): c5 g5
Kan(n)ons (H/V): b5 h5
Rooks (R): a5 i5
Knights (N): a1 a9 i1 i9

The Pieces

The King, Mann, Firz and Wazir move as usual but, like anyone else, never capture. (The Mann comes from Courier Chess and moves either as a Firz or a Wazir.)

The Rook and the Knight move as they do in International Chess.

The Bishop is a Promoted-Bishop from Shogi: it moves like a regular Bishop or a Wazir.

The Falcon is George Duke's Falcon in Falcon Chess: it moves as a Camel or a Zebra, but there must be a broken line between its starting square and its arrival square inside the rectangle defined by these two squares. It is a (not very) lame 16-square leaper.

The Kan(n)on is a convergent, Korean-like, version of my Can(n)on: it moves as a jumping Rook or a jumping Bishop, and may change orientation at each move. It cannot change orientation without jumping.

The Immobilizer is like Robert Abbott's Ultima piece, but it doesn't affect the Kings: it moves as a Queen, and freezes any other adjacent piece.

Rules

The goal is to checkmate your opponent's King with a neutral piece.

A player moves either one of his pieces, or a neutral piece which his opponent has not just moved.

The Shields - the Mann, the Wazirs and the Firzes - aren't restricted to empty squares. They can swap with any adjacent - and friendly - Shield. (Thus the Firzes are not colorbound.)

Optional rules

These rules don't seem necessary, but they are certainly playable.
They are more difficult for Zillions, who anyway plays badly, so I've removed them from the main variant.


Written by Antoine Fourrière.
WWW page created: August 9th, 2004.