The Chess Variant Pages

Star Pool Chess

by Peter Aronson and Tony Quintanilla

Overview

Introduction

Star Pool Chess is based loosely on Thai Chess, Makruk.

Star Pool Chess is submitted to the 84-Spaces Contest as a non-competing variant!

Setup

The board, including the four citadels and subtracting the central non-square, here called the Star Pool, contains 84 squares to comply with the contest rules! 

See the piece images and descriptions below to explain the above setup. The citadels are a board feature borrowed from Omega Chess. The central non-square, here called the Star Pool, allows pieces to move across it as if it were not there. This board feature was borrowed from Fergus Duniho's Wormhole Chess.

Pieces


King
King: 

A King can move or capture to any adjacent square, but never to a square where it can be captured

When making its first move and not in check, the King may leap like a Knight. This move can capture.

The King may also move or capture orthogonally across the Star Pool as if it were not there.

Or, the King may move or capture diagonally across the Star Pool as if it were not there, or to the corresponding citadel.

The King may also move or capture orthogonally from citadel to citadel or one square diagonally out of a citadel.

The player that checkmates the opponent's King wins the game.

General
General: 

A General moves or captures any number of squares orthogonally on a  rank or a file, or takes a single diagonal step. It may not leap over other pieces. 

This piece originates in Shogi, where it is known as a or Ryu-O, and is the promoted form of a Rook. In Star Pool Chess, the Lieutenant promotes to a General if it reaches the opposing side's back rank or citadels. 

The General may also move or capture orthogonally across the Star Pool as if it were not there.

Or, the General may move or capture diagonally one square across the Star Pool as if it were not there, or to the corresponding citadel.

The General may also move or capture orthogonally from citadel to citadel or one square diagonally out of a citadel.


Captain
Captain: 

The Captain moves any number of squares on a diagonal, or may step one space orthogonally. It may not leap over other pieces. 

This piece originates in Shogi, where it is known as a Ryuha, and is the promoted form of a Bishop. In Star Pool Chess, the Sergeant promotes to a Captain if it reaches the opposing side's back rank or citadels. A Pawn also promotes to a Captain upon reaching the opposing sides citadels by jumping across the Star Pool

The Captain may also move orthogonally one square across the Star Pool as if it were not there.

Or, the Captain may move or capture diagonally any number of squares across the Star Pool as if it were not there, or to the corresponding citadel.

The Captain may also move or capture orthogonally from citadel to citadel or any number of squares square diagonally out of a citadel or to the citadel diagonally across.


Great Elephant
Great Elephant: 

The Great-Elephant steps one square diagonally or forward or jumps two squares diagonally or forward. 

The Great-Elephant may also move or capture orthogonally across the Star Pool as if it were not there.

Or, the Great-Elephant may move or capture diagonally across the Star Pool as if it were not there, or to the corresponding citadel.

The Great-Elephant may also move or capture orthogonally from citadel to citadel, but only in the forward direction, or diagonally out of a citadel.


Knight
Knight: 

A Knight moves first one square orthogonally then one square diagonally outward. Unlike in orthodox Chess, the order is important because it affects the influence of the Star Pool. The Knight hops over any pieces on the way. 

If crossing the Star Pool when making the diagonal part of its move, the Knight may move or capture diagonally across the Star Pool as if it were not there, or to the corresponding citadel.

If crossing the Star Pool when making the orthogonal part of its move, The Knight may also move orthogonally across the Star Pool as if it were not there. 

Note that if the Knight is in a citadel, it jumps over the non-board to reach the board. The Knight may not move from citadel to citadel.


Rook
Rook: 

A Rook moves any number of squares orthogonally on a rank or a file. It may not leap over other pieces. 

The Rook may also move or capture orthogonally across the Star Pool as if it were not there. 

The Rook has no way to reach the citadels by its own movement. However, if the Wizard swaps its place with the Rook, the Rook is placed in a citadel. Once in a citadel, the Rook may move and capture orthogonally from citadel to citadel. But, it cannot leave the citadels until swapped again by a Wizard!


Wizard
Wizard: 

The Wizard is classified as a leaper. It can move one square diagonally in all four directions. Or, like an exaggerated Knight move, the Wizard can jump two squares horizontally or vertically and then one square diagonally outward. 

The Wizard has a special power to swap positions with any adjacent friendly piece. 

The Wizard, except for its special swap move, is a piece borrowed from Omega Chess.

Note that if the Wizard is in a citadel, it jumps over the non-board to reach the board. The Wizard cannot move from citadel to citadel.

If crossing the Star Pool when making the orthogonal part of its leap move, The Wizard may also move orthogonally across the Star Pool as if it were not there.

If crossing the Star Pool when making the diagonal part of its leap move, the Wizard may move or capture diagonally across the Star Pool as if it were not there, or to the corresponding citadel.

When making its one square diagonal move, the Wizard may also move or capture diagonally across the Star Pool as if it were not there, or to the corresponding citadel.

Pawn
Pawn: 

A Pawn can move straight ahead one square. A Pawn captures by moving one square ahead and diagonally. 

If a Pawn reaches the rank on which the opposing Pawns started (the 6th for white, the 3rd for black) it promotes to a Sergeant. Note that Sergeants are not included in the initial board setup. They only come into play through Pawn promotion. If a Pawn reaches an opposing citadel by jumping across the Star Pool, it promotes to a Captain.

The end pawns may move two squares forward on their first move.

The Pawn may also move orthogonally across the Star Pool as if it were not there. 

Or, the Pawn may capture diagonally one square across the Star Pool as if it were not there, or to the corresponding citadel.


Sergeant
Sergeant: 

A Sergeant moves one square diagonally. The Sergeant has the capabilities of the ancient Ferz

The Sergeant may move and capture across the Star Pool as if it were not there, or to the corresponding citadel. 

If it reaches the opposing side's back rank or citadels, it promotes into a Captain

If a Pawn reaches the rank on which the opposing Pawns started (the 6th for white, the 3rd for black), or if it reaches a citadel, it promotes to a Sergeant. Note that Sergeants are not included in the initial board setup. They only come into play through Pawn promotion.

 


Lieutenant
Lieutenant: 

A Lieutenant moves one square left, right up or down. It may not leap over other pieces. The Lieutenant has the same movement as the ancient Wazir. 

If it reaches the opposing side's back rank or citadels, it promotes into a General

The Lieutenant may also move or capture orthogonally across the Star Pool as if it were not there. 

Like the Rook, the Lieutenant has no way to reach the citadels by its own movement. However, if the Wizard swaps its place with a Lieutenant, the Lieutenant is placed in a citadel. If this is the case, the Lieutenant may move and capture orthogonally from citadel to citadel. But, it cannot leave the citadels until swapped again by a Wizard!

 

Rules

  1. This game is played on an 84-hex board.
  2. The initial array is as shown in Setup, above.
  3. To win, checkmate your opponent's King by attacking it so it cannot escape, or stalemate your opponent or reduce your opponent to a bare King.
  4. Pawns promote to Sergeant's on the rank that the opposing Pawns start at, the 3rd and the 6th ranks. 
  5. Sergeant's  promote to Captains and Lieutenants promote to Generals on the back rank or in an enemy citadel.
  6. In addition to its normal move, a Wizard may swap position with an adjacent friendly piece.
  7. The central non-square, called the Star Pool, acts like it is not there for orthogonal or diagonal movement. In addition, for a piece moving diagonally towards the Star Pool, the Star Pool is also connected diagonally to the corresponding corner citadel. Note that the citadels are not connected to the Star Pool for pieces starting in a citadel. On the other hand, the citadels are connected orthogonally to each other. 

Playing Tips

You will find that all the basic principles of Chess still apply: maximize the activity of your pieces, gain material and space, use Pawns for support, and keep your King safe! 

Equipment

A paper set can be made by printing and cutting out the below board and pieces.

 

 

 

Above is a photo of Star Pool Chess set up with Tony Quintanilla's Chess variant set.

Credits:

Thanks to David Howe for the wonderful Alfaerie image set used on this page and in the Zillions implementation. The citadels are a board feature borrowed from Omega Chess. The Wizard, except for its special swap move, is a piece borrowed from Omega Chess. The central non-square allowing pass-through, here called the Star Pool, is a board feature borrowed from Fergus Duniho's  Wormhole Chess.


Written by Tony Quintanilla
WWW Page Created: December 21, 2002.