The Chess Variant Pages



Little Cheops Glossary


Glossary  
 
While this section would normally be found alphabetized at the end, it is provided up front in a leading manner in order to facilitate communication of the game's concepts for beginners:

ARENA - All of the playing squares of a pyramid chess game.

LEVEL - A horizontal game board of an arena.  Each level of a standard arena has a checkered pattern and odd-square dimensions.

KING'S LEVEL - The top level in the arena, where all of the major game pieces start.  Additionally, the rank and file designations of the other levels are taken from this level.

APEX [a.k.a., QUEEN'S LEVEL] - The lowest level in the arena, which contains only one square.

DEMARCATOR - The vertical cross-section of the arena containing the middle rank of each level (including the Apex); perpendicular to the levels.

STATION - A term used to describe the square that a given game piece occupies.  It can also be used as a verb which describes the act of moving a game piece to a square.

RANK - A row of squares on a given level, which is parallel to the edges facing the players.

FILE - A horizontal column of squares on a given level, which is perpendicular to the edges facing the players.

POST - A vertical column of squares, which is perpendicular to the levels.

ORTHOGONAL - A direction of game piece movement that remains within the initial station's rank, file, or post.  This movement travels squares of alternating color and is at right angles to the the edges of the levels.

DIAGONAL - A game piece movement that remains on the line of squares of the initial station's color.  TIP:  When moving diagonally between levels, it may help to count out one square in an orthogonal direction (rank or file) for each level a player wishes to travel; from there, count up/down the same number of squares to the find the actual square that may be stationed.

OBLIQUE - A 3D (only) diagonal game piece movement that travels in the line of squares of alternating color from the initial station, which are not within the same rank, file, or post as the initial station.  TIP:  When moving obliquely between levels, it may help to count out one square in a diagonal direction on a given level for each level a player wishes to travel; from there, count up/down the same number of squares to the find the actual square that may be stationed.

JUMP - A form of movement in which a game piece may bypass another piece:  No jump may bypass an active Castle.  In the case of the Knight only, any game piece that exists on a square between the station and the projection may be bypassed as if it was not there.  While a Master moves like Tower normally, it must capture by jumping over one intervening game piece of either player (called a SCREEN or SHIELD) anywhere within the orthogonal direction of movement.  The other kind of jump requires that a game piece in an adjacent square may be bypassed (hopped over) if the square on the opposite side (in the orthogonal, diagonal, or oblique) is vacant... a jump/hop like that of checkers/draughts but in all directions.  More than one jump in a given turn is a JUMP CHAIN, and if it remains in the same game direction, it is a BRIDGE.  [Denoted by a pair of :'s enclosing the number of jumps in recorder notation.]

(GAME PIECE) FIELD [of influence] - The pattern of squares for a given game piece's movements and captures, regardless of arena boundaries or obstructions; that is, how a piece may move/capture.

(GAME PIECE) PROJECTION [of field of influence within the arena] - The unobstructed squares of a given game piece field within arena boundaries; that is, where a piece can actually move/capture.

PROJECTION FRONTIER - The combined projections of a player's active game pieces; that is, the front-line.

(GAME PIECE) SANCTUARY/SAFE ZONE - The squares of a given game piece projection that do not intersect with the enemy projection frontier; that is, where a piece can move safely or capture without reprisal.  A safe zone created/reserved for the King is a LUFT; that is, the King's backdoor.

(GAME PIECE) COVERAGE - The squares of a given game piece projection that intersect with the station or projection of another game piece; that is, where a piece may support another game piece.

FRIENDLY - Game pieces, Castles, and players that belong to one side.

ENEMY - Game pieces, Castles, and players that belong to the opponent's side.

ACTIVE - A game piece within the arena and not an arrestee or bastion/pillar of a Castle; also, used in reference to a Castle with a Castle Effect.

MOVE [a.k.a., TURN] - The movement of one of the friendly active game pieces from its station to a square in its projection; this action should be conducted in the presence of the opponent (and Umpire).  A move/turn ends after a player's movement is completed and confirmed [the nature of this confirmation must be mutually agreed upon prior to start of play].  A series of related moves to achieve an objective is known as a COMBINATION.  When the opponent is forced to make a given move due to the particular game setup, it is known as a FORCE, SQUEEZE, or ZUGZWANG.  Once a game piece is moved from its opening station, it is DEVELOPED.  [A move is denoted by a - (i.e., dash) in recorder notation.]

ROUND - The combination of one move/turn from each player.  Every round always begins with the "White" player's turn and ends with the "Black" player's turn:  [Denoted by a and b (respectively) in recorder notation.]

CAPTURE [a.k.a., TAKE] - A move in which a player occupies a square stationed by an enemy game piece.  Captured game pieces are retired from the arena.  A series of successive captures and opponent reprisals that occur at one station is known as an EXCHANGE or a SKIRMISH.  [An X in recorder notation denotes a capture.]

ADJUSTMENT - Any contact with an active game piece that does not result in a legal move/capture.

NOBILITY/NOBLE GAME PIECES - The collective term for Kings, Queens, and Heirs.  These game pieces have scoring potential. {Refer to CASTLE EFFECT.}

HEIRS - The collective term for Duke and Duchess game pieces. {Refer to ABDICATION and ASSUMPTION.}

BARONIAL GAME PIECES - The collective term for Baron and Baroness game pieces.

ROOKS - The collective term for Tower and Master game pieces.  NOTE:  A Rook is one type of game piece needed to form the bastions/pillars of a Castle. {Refer to CASTLE.}

MAJOR GAME PIECE - Any game piece that is not a Pawn or Civilian (including Deputies).

PROMOTION - A condition in which a player's Pawn is exchanged for a major game piece (excluding a King or an additional Queen) after reaching the final rank of any level or stationing any hall of any friendly active Castle.  [This is also known as queening in traditional/orthodox chess.]  {Refer to CASTLE EFFECT.}

CHECK - A condition in which a player's King lies within an enemy game piece projection.  If check is established from a level above the King's station, it is also known as an OVERCHECK; if check is established from a level below the King's station, it is also known as an UNDERCHECK.  The checking player should insure that the opponent is aware of any check; though failure to do so does not alter the condition of check.  Similarly, if a player erroneously proclaims check(mate), it is ignored.  A King may not move into check or be placed into check by friendly game piece movements and must attempt to parry all imposed checks.

MATE - A term which denotes either a checkmate or a stalemate.  These conditions can terminate game play (except as noted by abdications) and satisfy the precondition of the secondary game objective.

CHECKMATE - The primary game objective in which a checked King has no defense and no sanctuary.  {Refer to ABDICATION.}

STALEMATE - A game-ending condition in which play has become stale; this is achieved by any of the means stated below.  {Also refer to ABDICATION.}

  • DEADLOCK - A condition in which a King is not in check but has no sanctuary, and its movement would be the only legal move available.
  • REPETITION - A condition in which a given arrangement of all the game pieces reoccurs in three different turns, with the same player to move.
  • PERPETUAL CHECK - A condition in which one player is able to constantly check (but never checkmate) the opponent; that is, check can always be imposed no matter how the opponent moves.
  • MINIMAL STRENGTH - A condition in which there is insufficient strategies or game piece counts to achieve checkmate.  A player may challenge the opponent demonstrate the ability to checkmate:  If after fifty moves (or other count determined prior to game play) no Pawn has been moved, no capture has occurred, and checkmate has not been achieved, then a stalemate occurs.  This condition also occurs if it has been proven that the combination of active game pieces definitely lack the necessary strength to achieve checkmate.
  • OFFICIAL JUDGMENT - A condition in which an accepted regulation requires a stalemate as a remedy to a specified game setup or action (to be determined prior to the start of play).
  • MUTUAL AGREEMENT - Finally, a stalemate occurs if both players mutually agree to end play for any reason.
  •  
    ABDICATION - A type of movement available to a King but only when a condition of mate exists, excluding a stalemate resulting from minimal strength, official judgment, or mutual agreement.  This also requires that a Duke is among the active game pieces, not within the opponent's projection frontier, and not receiving a block from the King.  In this move, the King is removed from its station, and the chosen Duke is replaced by and assumes the role of the King; thus, avoiding mate.  [Denoted by -> in recorder notation.]

    REIGN - A game objective in which a player's Queen is stationed at the Apex.

    ASSUMPTION - A condition in which a player's Duchess is stationed at the Apex when there is no Queen within the arena.  Under this condition, the Duchess becomes the Queen, instantly reigning.

    APPOINTMENT - A condition which may arise when the King of a Castle is stationed at the chair/seat/throne.  A player may use a turn to designate any one of the friendly Civilians as a Deputy.  Initially, the designated Civilian remains unknown to the opponent, but the player must seal the appointment (called PAPERS) for future reference.  [Denoted by appoints C in recorder notation.]  {Refer to INSPECTION OF PAPERS and CASTLE EFFECT.}

    INSPECTION OF PAPERS - A condition which may arise when an apparent Civilian lies within the enemy projection frontier.  If a challenge to an apparent Civilian is desired (in an effort to capture a Deputy), the opponent must use a turn for Inspection of Papers, and the sealed appointment is revealed to the Umpire.  If the Civilian in question is not listed in the sealed Papers, then the game piece is a certified Civilian and cannot be captured; otherwise, the game piece is a Deputy and may be captured in any following round.  When a Deputy moves beyond a Civilian projection or after the last Civilian is appointed, the identity of a Deputy is COMPROMISED; thus, it may be captured without an Inspection of Papers.  [An Inspection of Papers is denoted by the word inspects and the inspection results in recorder notation.]

    ARREST - A condition in which a player's Deputy jumps an enemy game piece and dispatches it to any hall of any friendly active Castle.  Also, if an enemy game piece is stationed at any hall of an active Castle, it is considered an arresteeArrested game pieces have suppressed fields; thus, they cannot move/capture, but they may be captured (excluding Civilians).  [Denoted by jump notation with the arrestee's abbreviation and parenthesized detention hall location in recorder notation.]  {Refer to CASTLE EFFECT.}

    CASTLE - A permanent structure formed by two Rooks and two Civilians (or Deputies) from one player on a given level.  A Castle is formed by any combination of these game pieces (called BASTIONS or PILLARS) stationed at the four corner squares of a nine square grid within the arena (called the FOUNDATION):  No Castle exists if its Castle Effect would overlap that of an existing Castle.  Before a Castle is initially activated or after an active Castle is abandoned, it is inactive (without the Castle Effect), and the bastions/pillars are neutral obstructions.  Stationing the center square (called the CHAIR, SEAT, or THRONE) may activate the Castle.  The three squares in the center post (containing the chair/seat/throne) of an active Castle form the AXIS.  The other squares (within the defensive field; excluding the bastions/pillars and the Axis) of an active Castle are called ROOMS.  {Refer to CASTLE EFFECT.}

    CASTLE EFFECT - A special condition that arises when one of either player's active game pieces is stationed at the chair/seat/throne of an inactive Castle or when a Castle is constructed around a game piece stationing the chair/seat/throne.  If the activating game piece is the King, it is known as the King of the Castle.  When the Castle Effect occurs, the Castle is active.  When a Castle is inactive, there is no Castle Effect, and the bastions/pillars are neutral obstructions.

    A player that maintains an active Castle has ownership of the bastions/pillars, which count as friendly active game pieces in a point tally.  The field of any friendly game piece stationed within an active Castle (or its Axis) is obstructed by the bastions/pillars and occupied squares; but not the Castle Effect itself.  However, an active Castle obstructs all external game piece fields, except for that of an Assassin.  An Assassin is the only game piece that may penetrate the Castle Effect (excluding the bastions/pillars).

    The Nobility are the only game pieces that may move off the chair/seat/throne of a Castle and maintain its defensive field; as long as the Noble piece remains stationed within the halls.  If such activating Nobility is captured, then that Castle may be reactivated by either side:  If another game piece is already stationing the chair/seat/throne, it instantly takes control of the Castle.  When a friendly game piece is stationed within a Castle's halls, it may only be attacked by an enemy game piece stationing the Castle's axis or by an Assassin.  While a friendly game piece is stationed at the chair/seat/throne, it may only be attacked if the enemy projection frontier extends through the Castle's axis (or by an Assassin within the Castle itself).

    While a King is stationed at the chair/seat/throne of a Castle, he may repeatedly use a turn to appoint any one of the active Civilians as a Deputy.  A Deputy may arrest any enemy game piece and dispatch it to any hall of any friendly active Castle.  If an enemy game piece (excluding an Assassin) is stationed at any hall of an active Castle, it is considered an arrestee. Arrested game pieces (excluding Assassins) have suppressed fields; thus, they cannot move/capture.  Arrested game pieces (excluding Civilians) may be captured; however, only Nobility and external pieces may capture arrestees and leave a Castle active.  In order for an external game piece (excluding an Assassin) to attack/guard an arrestee, it must first be stationed within the Axis.  If a Castle is abandoned or captured, any uncaptured arrestee becomes fully active again and may resume play from its station.

    A Pawn may use a turn for promotion to a major game piece if it is stationed within a friendly active Castle's halls from the time the Castle was activated.  If a Pawn stations any hall of any friendly active Castle, it is promoted as if it had reached the final rank of a given level; though, this can only occur by a capture initiated from the Axis.

    SENATE - The two squares of the first rank on the King's Level immediately to the right of the Prime Minister's Tower; that is, where the Ministers start play.

    STABLE - The two squares of the first rank on the King's Level immediately to the left of the Queen's Tower; that is, where the Knights start play.

    CABINET - The three center squares of the first rank on the King's Level; that is, where the King, Queen, and Prime Minister start play.  This term is also used to refer to the game pieces that open from these stations.

    COURT - The center squares of the first rank on the King's Level between the Senate and Stable, including the opening stations of the Cabinet, Heirs, and Baronial game pieces.  [The Court is equivalent to the Cabinet in a Common setup.]  This term is also used to refer to the game pieces that open from these stations.

    CAMPAIGN - A particular game setup; including specific game pieces (and positions), arena structures, and regulations involved for play.  Usually used for cooked up Cheops drills or as a result of noteworthy game play.

    UMPIRE - In official tournament play, an Umpire (individual or committee) must be appointed to act as an unbiased arbitrator and witness to game play, as well as to judge the accepted rules and regulations.  The Umpire shall also insure that all game piece movements are legitimate and recorded properly.  During The Parley, the Umpire and players shall be formally introduced; then, the Umpire shall review any rules, regulations, information, or standards of conduct deemed relevant, necessary, or prudent to insure proper sportsmanship and game play.  Also, the Umpire shall respond to any reasonable, game-related petitions from the players; however, once play has begun, the Umpire's primary role as an unbiased arbitrator and witness limits responses to brief and necessary remarks only.  The Umpire is not permitted to offer guidance on specific moves or strategies available to either player; likewise, the Umpire may not provide any warnings against particular actions, provided such actions would not violate accepted rules and regulations.


    Written by B. Gregory Johnson. Some HTML editing and consolidation by David Howe.
    WWW page created: June 10, 1999.