The Chess Variant Pages




Lilliputian Monochromatic Alice Chess

by

Peter Aronson

Introduction

Lilliputian Monochromatic Alice Chess (or LMA Chess) is a combination of Monochromatic Chess (where pieces are not allowed to make moves that land them on squares of a different color than they started on) with V.R. Parton's Alice Chess (where pieces change board each time they move) with the array from George Deckle Sr.'s Lilliputian Chess.

Board and Setup

This game is played on two 6 x 7 boards for a total of 84 squares. Coordinates of squares on the first board are prefixed with a "1", those on the second board are prefixed with a "2". The two boards are checked in opposing patterns.
Board 1 Board 2














  +---+---+---+---+---+---+
7 |:r:| c |:q:| k |:c:| r |
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+
6 | p |:p:| p |:p:| p |:p:|
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+
5 |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+
4 |   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+
3 |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+
2 |   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+
1 |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+
    a   b   c   d   e   f  
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+
7 |   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+
6 |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+
5 |   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+
4 |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+
3 |   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+
2 |:P:| P |:P:| P |:P:| P |
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+
1 | R |:C:| Q |:K:| C |:R:|
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+
    a   b   c   d   e   f
Black:
  • Pawns: 1a6 1b6 1c6 1d6 1e6 1f6
  • Rooks: 1a7 1f7
  • Cardinals: 1b7 1e7
  • Queen: 1c7
  • King: 1d7
White:
  • Pawns: 2a2 2b2 2c2 2d2 2e2 2f2
  • Rooks: 2a1 2f1
  • Cardinals: 2b1 2e1
  • Queen: 2c1
  • King: 2d1

General Rules

The rules of Lilliputian Monochromatic Alice Chess are identical to those of FIDE Chess, except where noted otherwise below.

The Movement of Pieces

All pieces in LMA Chess are colorbound, but not in the usual way. Rather, when a piece makes a move that would result in it moving to a square of a different color, it changes board to the equivalent square on the other board instead. So, if the White Cardinal on 2b1 makes a Knight's leap to 2c3, it instead ends its turn on 1c3. Thus, instead of moving from a dark square to a light square and changing color, the Cardinal moves from a dark square to a dark square, and stays on color.

Here's the full move of a Cardinal (Knight + Bishop) with both boards empty:

Board 1 Board 2














  +---+---+---+---+---+---+
7 |:::|   |:::|   |:::| * |
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+
6 | * |:::|   |:::| * |:::|
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+
5 |:::| * |:::| * |:::|   |
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+
4 |   |:::| C |:::|   |:::|
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+
3 |:::| * |:::| * |:::|   |
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+
2 | * |:::|   |:::| * |:::|
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+
1 |:::|   |:::|   |:::| * |
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+
    a   b   c   d   e   f  
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+
7 |   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+
6 |:::| * |:::| * |:::|   |
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+
5 | * |:::|   |:::| * |:::|
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+
4 |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+
3 | * |:::|   |:::| * |:::|
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+
2 |:::| * |:::| * |:::|   |
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+
1 |   |:::|   |:::|:::|   |
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+
    a   b   c   d   e   f
Notice the while the colorbound Bishop portion of the move remains on the same board, the (normally) colorchanging Knight portion of the move causes a change to the other board.

However the following constraints hold on moves that change board to avoid changing color:

  • All moves must be legal on the board they are made on; and
  • The square on the other board that they fall through to must be empty.

Thus the King can not move into an attacked square, then fall through to an unattacked one, and you may not move into a square occupied by a friendly piece, then fall through to an empty square.

You may capture a piece on a square of the other color than the capturing piece is bound to, as long as the equivalent square on the other board is empty. This makes off-color captures (there's a term for you!) rather like Locust (leaper) captures. A pair of pieces occupying equivalent squares on different boards (say 1a1 and 2a1) are immune from capture by off-color pieces, but not, of course, from pieces on their own color.

Specific Piece Moves

Aside from the differences noted above, Rooks and Queens move and capture as in FIDE Chess.

The Cardinal is the usual Bishop plus Knight.

Pawns also move and capture as in FIDE Chess, including the two square initial move, except that there is no en passant capture, and promotion is to Rook, Queen or Cardinal only.

Kings also move as in FIDE Chess; including castling by moving two squares toward the Rook (which when castling kingside lands the King on the Rook's starting square), even though the board is smaller. Note that castling on kingside lands the Rook on a square of the opposite color, and thus causes it to land on the other board. So, if White castles on kingside, the White King ends up on 2f1, and the White Rook on 1e1.

Notes

The beginnings of this game came to me one day while musing over the Monochromatic Chess page. The issue with Monochromatic Chess is that Knights can't move at all (they change color when they do, which isn't allowed), and Pawns can only make their initial double-step and capturing moves for the same reason. This is OK for a problem theme, but not so hot for a game. Then for some reason I thought of Alice Chess with its two boards. What if the boards were checkered in opposite patterns, and a piece that would otherwise change color changed boards instead?

That got me to Monochromatic Alice Chess, but it still had some issues. Bishops would never change boards, and Knights would be forced to with every move. This would reduce their value relative to the Queens and Rooks.

Along came the 84 Squares design contest, and it occured to me that 6 x 7 x 2 = 84. When I wondered what I could do with this fact, I remembered Monochromatic Alice Chess. Cut it down to an array of 6 Pawns and 6 pieces? Then I thought about Lilliputian Chess -- because it squashed the Knight and the Bishop together into an Archbishop (which I called a Cardinal in this game, as the name Archbishop is used for a number of different pieces), removing the strictly color-changing and colorbound pieces.

The game was almost ready. Initially I had both sides starting on a single board, as in Alice Chess. However, pieces on the same color square as the King have an advantage in attacking the King, since the King can't protect itself from them by having a friendly piece occupy the equivalent square on the other board. Considering the example of Ralph Betza's games Colorboundmost and Nearly Colorboundmost Chess, I decided that the game would play better if the Queen and opposing King were bound to the same color square. Moving the White array to the 2nd board did that neatly, and also preserved the traditional "Queen on color" rule.

The final thing to be tweaked was the Pawns. Initially I had followed the rule from Lilliputian Chess that Pawns had no initial double-step. However, in playtesting the poor things never really got anywhere, so I restored the double-step. I left off en-passant capture for two reasons: first, it is highly unlikely given the board, the movement rules, and the starting locations of the Pawns; and two, in general I feel it a bad idea on a board only seven ranks deep.

While pieces on squares of the same color as the King attack the King more effectively, it is not necessarily true that pieces attack other pieces on squares of the same color more effectively. This is because while off-color captures can be blocked by a piece on the equivalent square on the other board, they are harder to defend against by threatening to capture back, since a piece that protects another piece against same-color capture by definition does not protect it against off-color capture -- it's on the wrong board for that.

With its theme of colorbound pieces and differing same-color and off-color captures, this game seems to have a thematic relationship with both Interweave, where pieces are colorbound, and only capture pieces on the other color, and Separate Realms Chess, where most pieces are colorbound, except when they capture.

Thanks to Tony Quintanilla for his help in playtesting.

Double Lilliputian Monochromatic Alice Chess

Double Lilliputian Monochromatic Alice Chess is played just like regular LMA Chess, except that the arrays are duplicated, except for the Kings, on each board.
Board 1 Board 2














  +---+---+---+---+---+---+
7 |:r:| c |:q:| k |:c:| r |
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+
6 | p |:p:| p |:p:| p |:p:|
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+
5 |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+
4 |   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+
3 |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+
2 | P |:P:| P |:P:| P |:P:|
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+
1 |:R:| C |:Q:|   |:C:| R |
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+
    a   b   c   d   e   f  
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+
7 | r |:c:| q |:::| c |:r:|
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+
6 |:p:| p |:p:| p |:p:| p |
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+
5 |   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+
4 |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+
3 |   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+
2 |:P:| P |:P:| P |:P:| P |
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+
1 | R |:C:| Q |:K:|:C:| R |
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+
    a   b   c   d   e   f
Black:
  • Pawns: 1a6 1b6 1c6 1d6 1e6 1f6 2a6 2b6 2c6 2d6 2e6 2f6
  • Rooks: 1a7 1f7 2a7 2f7
  • Cardinals: 1b7 1e7 2b7 2e7
  • Queen: 1c7 2c7
  • King: 1d7
White:
  • Pawns: 1a2 1b2 1c2 1d2 1e2 1f2 2a2 2b2 2c2 2d2 2e2 2f2
  • Rooks: 1a1 1f1 2a1 2f1
  • Cardinals: 1b1 1e1 2b1 2e1
  • Queen: 1c1 2c1
  • King: 2d1

Computer Play

I've written an implementation of LMA Chess for Zillions of Games. You can download it here:

It includes both regular and double LMA Chess.


Written by Peter Aronson.
WWW page created: November 26th, 2002.