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EXISTENTIALIST CHESS

    +----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+
    | BD |:BS:| BCN|:BV:|BBob|:BK:| BV |:BCN| BS |:BD:| 10
    +----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+
    |:BY:| BT |BLSc| BH |:BX:| BA |:BZ:|BRSc|:BT:| BY |  9
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    | BP |:BP:| BP |:BP:| BP |:BP:| BP |:BP:| BP |:BP:|  8
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    |::::|    |::::|    |::::|    |::::|    |::::|    |  7
    +----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+
    |    |::::|    |::::|    |::::|    |::::|    |::::|  6
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    |::::|    |::::|    |::::|    |::::|    |::::|    |  5
    +----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+
    |    |::::|    |::::|    |::::|    |::::|    |::::|  4
    +----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+
    |:WP:| WP |:WP:| WP |:WP:| WP |:WP:| WP |:WP:| WP |  3
    +----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+
    | WY |:WT:|WLSc|:WH:| WX |:WA:| WZ |WRSc| WT |:WY:|  2
    +----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+
    |:WD:| WS |:WCN| WV |WBob| WK |:WV:| WCN|:WS:| WD |  1
    +----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+----+
      a    b    c    d    e    f    g    h    i    j


EXISTENTIALIST CHESS is probably the most complex chess variant I have ever created. It utilizes some chess pieces which I have used in some of my previous chess variant inventions, along with some new pieces, some of which borrow ideas from other pieces in other variants, and some of which are completely brand new.

In the diagram above, the letter "W" preceding a piece indicates a white piece, and the letter "B" preceding a piece indicates a black piece. The object of the game is to checkmate the enemy king. The pieces used in this game move and capture in the following manner:

KING (K) - Like an orthodox chess king, one square in any direction. A king can be affected by other pieces in special ways, see below. The king may castle with either squire in a manner which would resemble castling in orthodox chess (O-O and O-O-O) and the standard prohibitions against castling apply.

BOBBER (Bob) - The BOBBER is a piece which increases its firepower the longer it is able to stay in the game. On its first move of the game, it may move or capture one square in any direction. On its second move of the game, it may move or capture up to two squares in any direction. On its third move of the game, it may move or capture up to three moves in any direction, and so on and so forth, sequentially extending its powers by one ply after each successive move, all the way up to its ninth move, when it may move up to nine squares in any direction (the maximum number of possible squares it could move to on this board) after which time it is essentially an orthodox chess queen and will continue to move and capture like a queen for the rest of the game. A bobber can have its moves augmented by other pieces, see below.

SQUIRE (S) - Like an orthodox chess rook but may also move one square diagonally in any direction. A squire can have its moves augmented by other pieces, see below.

VICEROY (V) - Like an orthodox chess bishop but may also move one square horizontally or vertically in any direction. A viceroy can have its moves augmented by other pieces, see below.

PAWN (P) - Moves one square forwards, or captures one square diagonally forwards. On its initial move of the game may move two squares forwards. Upon reaching the last rank it may promote to a queen, rook, bishop or knight. A pawn can have its moves augmented by other pieces, see below. Pawns may capture each other en passant.

CROWNED KNIGHT (CN) - Moves as an orthodox chess knight or king. A crowned knight can have its moves augmented by other pieces, see below.

DAZZLER (D) - A DAZZLER moves one or two squares in any direction (either in a capturing or non-capturing way) and may also jump pieces of either color when it moves two squares (in either a capturing or non-capturing way). Additionally, any piece it jumps is affected in the following way: if it jumps a friendly piece, that piece is invulnerable to capture on the opponent's next move (it may still be killed by an enemy Archer, though--- see below), or if it jumps an enemy piece, that piece may not move on the opponent's next turn. Also, a dazzler may capture like a CANNON from AL-CES*: that is, it may capture an enemy piece by moving in a straight line and jumping one piece of either color between it and the enemy piece which it is capturing. The jumped piece is also affected the same way: invulnerability (except from enemy archer's arrows) for friendly pieces, immobility for enemy pieces.

A dazzler is the only piece which is immune from the effects of a hyena. See below.

*- see note in ZEDNICK rules for additional information on the dazzler's jumping ability.

HYENA (H) - The HYENA is an annoying piece. It moves up to three squares in any direction, but it can never capture anything, nor can it ever be captured. It can be destroyed in other ways, and it can also be demoted in its piece status. See below.

Enemy pieces which are 1 square away from a hyena in any direction are immobilized and cannot move. If a hyena is jumped by an enemy dazzler, rather than being immobilized, the effect is just the opposite: it MUST move away on the player's next turn, unless the hyena has no legal move because the player is in check. (But if the hyena can interpose check it must move and do so.) There is no piece that is immune from a hyena's effects (except for the dazzler), and two hyena's can trap each other, and all pieces of both colors within 1 square in any direction of each particular hyenas are also immobilized. A hyena which is jumped by a dazzler must move away on its next turn, and when the hyena moves away the spell it had cast on enemy pieces is removed-- of course it will still immobilize the pieces it moves to on its next move. When two hyenas are immobilizing each other and one of them is jumped by a dazzler, the dazzler's influence takes precedence. The hyena must move, unless doing so would result in the player exposing his own king to check.

If a friendly dazzler jumps over a friendly hyena, and on the very next move by his opponent, the hyena is shot by an enemy archer, or the enemy existentialist makes its 20th move and the friendly hyena is caught in the blast of the explosion, it is not destroyed, but rather transformed into a WILDCAT. A WILDCAT is a piece that can move and capture up to three squares at a time. It has lost its immunity, and no longer immobilizes other pieces. It is a normal piece like all the others now and can receive one-turn immunity from a friendly dazzler. It may confabulate with the archer. Normally a dazzler jumping over a friendly hyena has no effect, since a hyena cannot be captured anyway. This is the only exception. Otherwise, without this protection, the hyena can be killed outright by an enemy archer's arrow, or the blast of the enemy existentialist's 20th move (see below).

The dazzler is the only piece which is totally immune from the effects of a hyena. Not only can a hyena not immobilize a dazzler by moving 1 square next to it, but the reverse is also true.A dazzler can move next to a hyena and still be unfrozen by it. It is then free to jump it on its next move, thus forcing the hyena to move away. A hyena cannot be captured, but by giving the hyena one piece it cannot affect this also helps to prevent the hyena from being an overly powerful piece.

ARCHER (A) - In order for the ARCHER to be utilized, it must first CONFABULATE itself with a friendly piece (the only exceptions are that the archer may not confabulate with the hyena, yanzee or existentialist-- see below for their piece descriptions) It does this by moving one square in any direction into a square occupied by a friendly piece. This completes the player's turn and the opponent makes his next move. The archer now is confabulated with whatever piece it has merged itself with. The original piece, in addition to being able to make its regular move, may also utilize the archer's powers instead of making a regular move. The archer may fire an arrow into an enemy piece up to two squares in any direction, killing it and having it removed from the board as if it were captured. The archer piece does not move when it fires an arrow. The archer always kills only the first piece within a direct line of sight. It cannot fire over friendly pieces, or hit other enemy pieces behind its first immediate target.

Even if an enemy dazzler jumps over a confabulated archer piece, the archer may still fire its arrow even though the piece may not make a regular move. Thus, a player cannot remove check on his own king by trying to dazzle and immobilize an archer. An archer may also be confabulated with the ZEDNICK (see below).

An archer may not fire arrows on more than 3 consecutive turns. After it has fired arrows for 3 consecutive turns, it must wait at least one turn to re-load before it can fire again. That is to say, the player must make at least one other type of move before the archer is eligible to fire an arrow again. Any time the archer does not fire on a turn, it is eligible to fire for up to the next three consecutive turns before it will be forced to reload and not fire on one turn again.

When an archer confabulates with a Schizzy, it may only fire its arrows when the Schizzy is on the side of the board where it moves like a knight or wizard. On the side of the board where it moves like a queen, the archer must be dormant. Moving the Schizzy as a queen, however, still counts as a rest move for the archer, of course.

Archers are well known for having very weak constitutions. They are not used to the sorcery of wizards. When an archer confabulates with a teleporter, it gets very dizzy and light headed every time the teleporter blinks itself in and out of existence, disappearing from one spot and reappearing in another spot. So although it is legal to confabulate an archer with a teleporter, the archer may not fire an arrow on the move immediately after the teleporter has just teleported. Failing to fire an arrow on this turn however does suffice as its rest move too.

The king may confabulate itself with an archer. When confabulated with the archer, the king may sacrifice the archer's life in order to save itself when the king would otherwise be in checkmate. The king may thus move into check or otherwise ignore check from an enemy piece when it is confabulated with an archer and make any other move with any of its other pieces. The enemy piece may then move into the same square as the player's king, thus capturing the archer. For the time being, the square is occupied by two pieces, both the king and the enemy piece. The king may then capture that enemy piece (unless the piece is protected by another enemy piece and remaining there would leave it in check), which leaves the king in the original square and the enemy piece is removed, or it may move to any other square to get out of check. If it cannot get out of check then the king is checkmated and the game is lost, defeat was only staved off for one move in a vain attempt. However often the sacrifice of the archer in this manner will enable the player to find a way to subsequently avoid being checkmated.

The blast of an enemy existentialist's 20th move upon a confabulated King/Archer piece kills only the archer, leaving the king bare. A King/Archer piece will always take at least two moves to checkmate, one move to kill the archer and another to checkmate the king. The only exception to this is if the king is checkmated on the turn in which the archer must rest to reload. If this happens, the king is checkmated immediately. A king cannot be protected by an impotent archer! A king can be killed (checkmated) by either the attack of an enemy archer, or the explosion of an enemy existentialist piece, immediately if the archer is on its rest turn. Basically what this means is that as long as the archer is not on its forced rest turn, the king may ignore the standard rules of check. The king/archer may fire arrows when it is in check.

An archer piece which is dazzled may still fire arrows.

Furthermore, the hyena may immobilize a confabulated archer piece and in this case the archer may not fire arrows EXCEPT to fire one square at the hyena which menaces it. This may seem pointless, to try to immobilize an archer in this manner, unless the hyena moves with a double attack on the archer, allowing the player to capture it on the next move. There is an exception to this too. If a hyena is immobilizing the ARCHER/ZEDNICK piece, its range is cut back from the normal three squares to two squares. It may attack any piece in that two square radius. Nevertheless, any time a hyena is one square away from an enemy archer piece, that archer piece cannot make a non-firing move. Normally, when the archer has confabulated with another piece, it may make its regular move or fire an arrow, and the archer/zednick piece may move one square in any direction in a capturing or non-capturing manner when it is not firing an arrow. The hyena will prevent an enemy archer from making all non-firing moves.

These rules may somewhat help prevent the archers from being totally unstoppable monster machines.

ZEDNICK (Z) - The ZEDNICK in order to be used must first confabulate itself with a friendly piece in one of the following four ways:

1. by moving one square in any direction into a square occupied by a friendly pawn. That pawn now becomes an ADVENTURIST and has the following powers: moves like an OMEGACHESS PAWN or KING. An OMEGACHESS PAWN moves one square at a time, but may also move two squares or three squares on its initial move of the game. It may still be captured en passant when moving in this manner. It also may move (like a king) one square in any direction.

2. confabulates with the BOBBER by moving one square in any direction into the square occupied by the BOBBER, which thus immediately accelerate's the BOBBER's growth by three ply. For example, a BOBBER-1 becomes a BOBBER-4, a BOBBER-2 becomes a BOBBER-5, a BOBBER-3 becomes a BOBBER-6, etc.

3. confabulates with a previously UNCONFABULATED archer by moving one square in any direction into the archer's square. The confabulated ARCHER/ZEDNICK piece now moves one square in any direction in a CAPTURING or NON-CAPTURING manner, and the archer may also fire its arrows up to THREE squares in any direction!

4. confabulates with a teleporter to create a two-square long shield. The shield is formed in the square the zednick and teleporter occupied before the merge. Archers (of both colors) cannot shoot over the shield. The shield may move, one rank forwards or backwards, or up to two files to the left or right. (For example, a shield which fills the squares d2 and e2 could move up to d3-e3, back to d1-e1, or laterally to b2-c2, c2-d2, e2-f2 or f2-g2. Of course, both squares (or the one square when moving only one square laterally) the shield is moving into must be unoccupied. Knights, and schizzys and the existentialist moving as a knight or wizard, can still jump a shield, but archers cannot fire over them. A shield cannot be captured, and enemy dazzlers and hyenas have no effect on a shield. A shield can, however, be destroyed by the explosion of an enemy existentialist's 20th move (see below). A player may never move his shield beyond his own 5th rank (rank #5 for white, rank #6 for black).

If both teleporters surround the zednick in a straight line horizontally or vertically, or the zednick is next to one teleporter and the other teleporter is next to it, so that they form a three piece formation like T-Z-T or Z-T-T or T-T-Z then in one move a player may, if he wishes, confabulate the zednick with both teleporters thus creating a 3-square long shield. A 3-square long shield can be moved up to 3 squares laterally or one rank forwards or backwards, and again all squares the shield moves through when moving must be empty.

Shield pieces must be constucted so that they face either horizontally or vertically, not diagonally. A ZEDNICK attempting to confabulate diagonally into a teleporter's square is an illegal move. No part of the shield upon its creation may beyond the player's own 5th rank.

A friendly dazzler can jump a friendly shield and capture the first enemy piece it comes into contact with, when making the long cannon like jump, and use the shield as its jumping object instead of a friendly or enemy piece. In other words, a dazzler can capture an enemy piece if there is only the shield between itself and the piece it wishes to capture along the same rank or file. A dazzler may not jump over an enemy shield. A dazzler jumping the shield has no immunity or immobility effect.

A shield cannot be jumped by non-jumping pieces. It can prevent pawns from capturing each other en passant if the pawn would have to jump over any part of the shield. En passant capture is legal if no part of the shield is on the left or right side of the square the pawn finishes its move on after making the en passant capture.

Please note that the act of confabulating an archer or zednick completes a player's turn. Also note that unconfabulated archers and unconfabulated zednicks may move one square in any direction to make a non-capturing move, but may not capture in this manner if unconfabulated.

Also note that even when the archer/zednick piece is on its rest move, it still has the ability to capture an enemy piece one square away from it in any direction. It can, of course, also do this on any turn. Any time a player makes a move without the archer firing an arrow, it counts as a rest move, making it legal to use the archer to fire arrows for up to the next three consecutive moves before it will have to rest again.

Please note that the ZEDNICK may only confabulate with a pawn, bobber, teleporter or archer. The archer may confabulate with ANY other piece in the game with the exception of the hyena, yanzee or existentialist.

YANZEE (Y) - A piece which is seemingly worthless at first, it moves one square in any direction, but may never capture nor be captured. It may be killed by an enemy archer, and it may be frozen by a hyena or immobilized by a dazzler. However, upon reaching the last rank of the board, it may be promoted to a queen, rook, bishop or knight.

LEFT SCHIZZY- Moves and captures like a knight (in an "L" shaped 1-2 move), wizard (like an extended "L" shaped 1-3 move, or one square diagonally in any direction) IF IT STARTS ITS MOVE FROM ANY SQUARE IN FILES a, b, c, d, or e; or may move or capture like a QUEEN (any number of squares in any direction) IF IT STARTS ITS MOVE FROM ANY SQUARE IN FILES f, g, h, i, or j.

RIGHT SCHIZZY- Moves and captures like a knight (in an "L" shaped 1-2 move), wizard (like an extended "L" shaped 1-3 move, or one square diagonally in any direction) IF IT STARTS ITS MOVE FROM ANY SQUARE IN FILES f, g, h, i, or j; or may move or capture like a QUEEN (any number of squares in any direction) IF IT STARTS ITS MOVE FROM ANY SQUARE IN FILES a, b, c, d, or e.

The reader should note that it is possible for a SCHIZZY to reach a square from which it will be able to make its next move like a queen after making two knight and/or wizard moves from its starting square.

Thus the LEFT SCHIZZY increases its firepower on the RIGHT side of the board, and the RIGHT SCHIZZY increases its firepower on the LEFT side of the board! A SCHIZZY may (when legally empowered to do so) move (either in a capturing or non-capturing manner) as a queen from one side of the board to the other, and may continually move back and forth from one side of the board to the other as it wishes, but its move will always be determined by what file it starts its move on. A LEFT SCHIZZY which starts its move on files f to j moving like a queen back to files a to e will make its next move only as a knight or wizard, and vice versa for the RIGHT SCHIZZY. Likewise, the LEFT SCHIZZY moves as a knight or wizard from files a to e but if it ends its move on a square in files f to j will be eligible to move like a queen on its next move, and vice versa for the RIGHT SCHIZZY. A LEFT SCHIZZY MAY NOT MOVE LIKE A KNIGHT OR WIZARD FROM FILES f to j!! ONLY AS A QUEEN! A RIGHT SCHIZZY MAY NOT MOVE LIKE A KNIGHT OR WIZARD FROM FILES a to e!! ONLY AS A QUEEN!

EXISTENTIALIST (X) - THE EXISTENTIALIST is the most bizzare piece (perhaps) ever created. It wanders the universe searching for the meaning of life and has somehow managed to stumble its way into this game. The existentialist moves and/or captures in a different way each time for the first 10 moves it makes during the game, in the following order:

1. move to any unoccupied square on the board

2. move or capture one square in any direction

moves 3 to 10 below can all be made either in a capturing or non-capturing manner:

3. like a bishop or knight but it MUST move back towards its own side of the board. It must move backwards at least one rank. If it is already on the player's own first rank, it may move one square to the left or right in either a capturing or non-capturing manner, but not as a knight or bishop for this turn.

4. like a rook but only laterally (left or right) OR one square diagonally forwards.

5. Makes TWO knight (L-shaped 1-2 move) moves in a row. The first MUST be non-capturing, the second may be capturing or non-capturing. These moves may be in any direction. (The player may NOT use this double-knight move to "capture" the enemy king!! This is illegal!!) (However, the existentialist MAY capture an enemy archer confabulated with the enemy king on the 2nd move of this two consecutive knight moves turn, but only if the resulting position does not checkmate the enemy king.)

6. Like a WIZARD (like an extended knight in a 1-3 move, or one square diagonally in any direction)

7. Like a KNIGHT or WIZARD.

8. Like a QUEEN.

9. Like an AMAZON (combines powers of QUEEN and KNIGHT).

10. Like an AMAZON or WIZARD.

After the existentialist has made its 10th move of the game, a curious thing happens to it. It goes into hybernation for the next 10 moves of the game. Each side must make 10 moves before the existentialist may come out of hybernation. While an existentialist is in hybernation, it may NOT move, it may NOT be captured, it may NOT be jumped, it may NOT be killed by an arrow. It is totally impervious to the effects of all other pieces on the board. When it comes out of hybernation, it reverts back to the original cycle. Revert back to step one of the above chart, and proceed as specified above. After the existentialist has made its 20th move of the game, it does not go into hybernation but instead it EXPLODES, killing the first piece of either color in each direction. An enemy piece caught in the blast is killed, and thus a player who's king is killed in this manner immediately loses the game, unless BOTH kings are simultaneously killed in this manner, in which case the game immediately ends in a draw.

TELEPORTER (T) - moves to any unoccupied square on the board which is of the opposite color from which it began (from a light square to a dark square, or from a dark square to a light square). The teleporter moves like this when making a non-capturing move. However, when capturing it may move one square in any direction. A teleporter which has been dazzled by an enemy dazzler may not make a capturing one-square move but may still teleport to any unoccupied square of the opposite color.

A king which is placed in check by any enemy piece is unaffected by the spell of a dazzler or hyena and may move to save itself.

additional notes about EXISTENTIALIST CHESS:

A teleporter may teleport away when dazzled, but may still be immobilized by a hyena and cannot escape.

Confabuated pieces cannot un-confabulate themselves normally. When a confabulated piece is killed by an arrow, both the original piece and the merged piece are both killed and removed from play. The only exception is a king confabulated with an archer. A confabulated king/archer piece threatened by an enemy archer, when the enemy archer fires, first only the archer dies. This leaves the king alone, unconfabulated. It is still considered to be in check and must escape on its next move or else it is mated and the game is lost.

The archer always fires its arrows in a straight line, either horizontally, vertically or diagonally.

No pieces move into the archer or zednick's square to confabulate. Confabulation is achieved when the archer or zednick move into the square containing the piece it wishes to confabulate with. To confabulate an archer/zednick piece, either piece may move into the other's square.

A confabulated KING/ARCHER piece may castle if the king has not moved and all of the other standard prohibitions against castling are not violated. A KING/ARCHER piece which has previously fired arrows may still castle as long as the king itself has never moved.

If an ADVENTURIST pawn reaches the last rank it still promotes, to either a queen, rook, bishop or knight.

The invulnerabilty spell a piece has placed on it by a friendly dazzler which has just jumped it cannot protect it from the archer's arrows or the blast of an enemy existentialist's explosion resulting from its 20th move. The only exception to this is the hyena, which will not be destroyed but rather transformed (see above).

One might think that the king can shield itself by hiding in the corner, surrounded by the invulnerable hyena and two yanzees. However, a king in this position would be vulnerable to a smother mate by a piece moving as a knight or wizard's 1-3 jump.

The king may be dazzled or immobilized by a hyena or dazzler but may ignore these effects if remaining in its square would subject it to capture (i.e. it is in check) Furthermore, when a confabulated KING/ARCHER piece is in check, while it has the right to ignore a dazzler or hyena's effects if it so chooses, it may also voluntarily (if it wishes to) ignore check and lose the archer when an enemy piece enters the square occupied by the king. If the king is not otherwise in check or threatened, it can be dazzled or immobilized and thus be prohibited from moving. The spell is only unenforceable if it the king is in check.

friendly pieces made invulnerable for one turn by a friendly dazzler are still subject to themselves being dazzled by an enemy dazzler or immobilized by an enemy hyena

immobilized pieces may not move in order to remove checks on their own king (to interpose them or try to capture the enemy threatening piece)

the existentialist piece may (of course) be itself dazzled, immobilized or made invulnerable

a dazzler may dazzle an enemy dazzler

a hybernating existentialist is also invulnerable from the blast of an enemy existentialist's explosion following its 20th move. thus the hybernating existentialist is the ultimate black hole, totally impervious to everyone and everything

I should add that part of the inspiration for existentialist chess is Peter Jackson's KNIGHTMARE CHESS, especially the idea of confabulating pieces together which comes from that game. There are many potential conflicts between special rules in KNIGHTMARE CHESS which must be addressed. I am trying to think of as many potential conflicts from the regular rules of chess which my variant may present. Here's another one:

An ADVENTURIST pawn moving as a king may move back to the player's own first rank. It will still retain the ability to make its next move two or three squares forwards if it likes. Also if it moves back to any square on the second or third rank, it will STILL retain its ability to move two or three squares forwards. Once the ADVENTURIST pawn has made a forwards move two or three squares, it will move for the rest of the game essentially like a king, but it will retain its ability to capture en passant (moving into the square where the enemy pawn would have been, instead of capturing it on the square that it occupies). An ADVENTURIST pawn may capture any enemy pawn en passant* if possible, even an opposing ADVENTURIST pawn. Of course, it cannot do this if it is immobilized. And remember, the ADVENTURIST pawn promotes upon reaching the last rank. An ADVENTURIST pawn is not elligible to ever move two or three squares forwards once it has moved into the player's 4th rank or beyond, though it will still retain its ability to capture enemy pawns en passant.

(*- captures en passant in the manner consistent with how pawns capture each other in Omegachess, in which there are three different possible examples of capturing en passant)

enemy pieces which are dazzled and immobilized may of course be captured. Hyenas only immobilize enemy pieces, not friendly pieces.

Note that the archer is vulnerable from attacks by wizards (moving in a 1-3 pattern), knights, and from bishops, rooks and queens which are outside of its firing range. The archer will be able to easily kill any enemy piece which threatens it from close range, unless it is double attacked.

The dazzler's spell of immunity by jumping over a friendly piece cannot save it from an enemy archer's arrow, nor can it save it from the blast resulting from the explosion of an enemy existentialist's 20th move. The only exception to this is when a friendly dazzler jumps a friendly hyena. The resulting attack demotes the hyena to a wildcat (see above).

Regarding the existentialist, note the sequence of moves: Player A moves his existialist for the 10th time. It now goes into hybernation. The sequence of move follows:

Turn 1: Player B moves, Player A moves

Turn 2: Player B moves, Player A moves

Turn 3: Player B moves, Player A moves

etc. until

Turn 10: Player B moves, Player A moves

The existentialist now comes out of hybernation and can be moved on Player A's next turn. (its 11th move would be to move it to any unoccupied square on the board, once again repeating the prescribed set of powers 1-10 for it.) But wait! First it is Player B's turn! Player B will have one opportunity to capture the existentialist which is now vulnerable to capture before it has a chance to move away! Player B cannot do this if he is in check, unless he is capturing it with his king and thus getting himself out of check. Players will want to be careful not the leave their existentialist piece in a position where it may be vulnerable after coming out of hybernation. It may be a wise idea to have it hybernate on their own side of the board, protected by many of one's own pieces. Remeber, the existentialist threatens enemy pieces not on the basis of the move it just completed, but on the basis of what its move powers will be for its next turn. The effect of all this is that the existentialist has no influence on the game immediately after its 10th move. It cannot threaten the enemy king. It immediately goes into hybernation. Also note that it cannot threaten the king on the move immediately prior to its 11th move, which requires it to move to an empty space.

The ZEDNICK's most powerful use is probably to increase the firepower of an archer. However, it may only confabulate with an unconfabulated archer, and the archer/zednick piece may not confabulate with any other pieces. Therefore if one has confabulated their archer with another piece (probably the best use of the archer), it remains to be seen which of the Zednick's other three uses is more useful than the other. A shield may be a powerful defensive weapon, but it is worth giving up a powerful teleporter to create one?

It is legal to castle when the resulting position would leave one's own king and/or squire immobilized by an enemy hyena, as long as neither piece was immobilized before the move. The standard prohibitions against castling say that a player may not castle on to or over a square controlled by an enemy piece, but a hyena does not control squares in the traditional sense. The traditional sense indicates squares that pieces can capture enemy pieces, and the hyena does not capture anything.

Please note that a piece which has been dazzled or immobilized cannot move, so therefore neither can it give check or checkmate, so a king can ignore what would otherwise be check, or move into check, from a piece which has been dazzled or immobilized.

ZILLIONS OF GAMES isn't always perfect in preventing illegal positions from occurring. It can usually prevent a king from moving into check, or allowing it to stay in check when threatened, but there is one possible illegal scenario which it might not be able to forsee and make illegal to occur beforehand, and that is the resulting position that can occur which leaves a player's own king in check after the explosion of the existentialist's 20th move, creating new discovered attack on the king. If this happens, zillions will usually allow the opponent to "capture" the king and the game continues. Obviously, common sense tells us that this is illegal. It is very easy to take back moves with zillions of games, so if this happens just undo the moves and restore the position. Here's another example: Player # 1 fires an arrow into an enemy hyena which was just jumped by Player # 2's dazzler. The resulting attack turns the hyena into a wildcat, and the wildcat is within 3 squares of Player # 1's king. Player # 2 can now seemingly capture Player # 1's king. The point is that it is illegal for either player to create a situation where there own king can be subject to capture on the opponent's next move, unless their king is confabulated with their archer and will take at least two moves to be defeated.

I do not believe I have left anything else out, overlooked any conflicts in the rules of the pieces, but if I have readers are welcome to point them out in the comments section to this page.

I look forward to seeing this game implimented with ZILLIONS OF GAMES!!

EXISTENTIALIST CHESS FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

This section was written by the game's inventor to help readers better understand the rules and best strategies to be used for this variant.

  1. May the archer confabulate with a queen which has come into the game as a result of the promotion of a pawn or yanzee? Answer: Yes
  2. Is the archer unstoppable?
    Answer: It can be at times, but notice that as it starts out on each player's own second rank behind a wall of pawns, it will not be easy to get into the game right away. Players will have to defend vigourously against allowing the archer to penetrate their defences. However, just because an archer piece has an enemy piece within its sights at its mercy, doesn't always mean that the archer will fire. First, the player needs to concern himself with what new lines of sight will be open for enemy pieces to attack his own pieces (including, possibly, the archer itself) once the attacked piece is shot and removed from play. Secondly, is the opponent threatening to capture a piece of higher value than the archer is threatening to shoot? If so, then perhaps discretion is the better part of valor, and the opponent's threat should be addressed first, even if it means allowing the archer's intended victim the opportunity to move away on the next move.
  3. How strong is the existentialist?
    Answer: Pretty strong, once it gets up to around the 5th or 6th move of each move series. On a congested board it will be vulnerable to attack from enemy pieces, so it's probably a good idea to try to save it for later in the game when it can do more damage on a more open board.
  4. What's the best piece to confabulate the archer with?
    Answer: It depends on how you wish to use it. If you want to use it offensively, then either with a squire, schizzy or teleporter. If you wish to use it defensively, then either with the king or zednick. The archer/zednick piece moves only one square in a capturing or non-capturing manner when it doesn't fire an arrow, so it's rather clumsy to use it as an offensive attacking piece, but instead makes an excellent "stay-at-home" defender, where it can fire arrows up to three squares away.
  5. If two hyenas immobilize each other, is there any way to break the spell?
    Answer: Only by having a dazzler jump an enemy hyena, or by killing one of them with an arrow. When two hyenas immobilize each other, they also prevent all enemy pieces one square away in any direction from each particular hyena from moving. If one hyena is destroyed by the blast of the enemy existentialist's 20th move, the pieces it held are free to move, but the other hyena will of course still continue to exert its spell on enemy pieces. This will also happen if the hyena is changed into a wildcat as a result of the explosion because on the previous move it was jumped by a friendly dazzler.
  6. Can an adventurist pawn move two or three squares forwards if it has already moved out of its own starting square?
    Answer: Yes, as long as it is in the player's own second or third rank and has never moved beyond the player's own third rank already in the game.
  7. Can a king castle with an immobilized squire?
    Answer: No
  8. A player has no legal moves with any of his pieces but he has a shield. Is he stalemated?
    Answer: If the shield can make a legal move, no he is not. If it can't make a legal move, yes he is.
  9. Which pieces may jump a shield?
    Answer: Knights, and the schizzies and existentialist moving as a knight or wizard may always jump over a shield. A dazzler may only jump over friendly shields, either in a two-square move, or by using the shield as its "in-between" piece to capture an enemy piece in the long cannon-like jump. A dazzler may never jump over an enemy shield. Archers cannot fire over a shield, and en passant capture is not legal if a vertical shield is between the square where the pawn which wishes to make the en passant capture started its move on, and either the square the piece it wishes to capture ended its move on, or the square it wishes to end its move on, or both. Hyenas and dazzlers have no immobilization or immunity effect on a shield. Shields cannot capture anything. Shields can be "pinned" like other pieces can and be prevented from moving if doing so would expose the player's own king to check. Shields cannot be captured, but could be destroyed by the blast of any existentialist's 20th move.
  10. Can you elaborate on how a dazzler exectutes the cannon-like jump?
    Answer: This is particularly important because the text of the rules failed to mention that this jump cannot be done diagonally. It can only be done either horizontally or vertically. A dazzler may capture an enemy piece if it moves along a straight line horizontally or vertically and jumps one piece of either color (or a friendly shield) between itself and the piece it wishes to capture. Friendly pieces which are jumped in this manner may not be captured on the opponent's next move, and enemy pieces which are jumped in this manner may not move on the opponent's next move.
  11. What is the value of the yanzee?
    Answer: It is primarily a defensive piece, for it can never capture anything nor can it be captured. It may however be destroyed by the arrow of an archer, or the explosion of an existentialist. It is best used defensively by interposing it between one of your own pieces and an enemy piece which threatens it. It is best used offensively in an endgame position, where there are few pieces left on the board. March it down the board, like a pawn except remember that since it may move one square in any directions, unlike a pawn, it may switch ranks. If it reaches the last rank, it may be promoted ONLY to either a queen, rook, bishop or knight.
  12. Can an unconfabulated archer or unconfabulated zednick capture anything?
    Answer: No. These pieces, when unconfabulated, may only move one square in any direction in a non-capturing manner. Remember that the act of confabulation completes a player's turn. A player may not confabulate a piece if the resulting position would leave his own king in check, unless it is the king/archer piece in check.
  13. Is the schizzy worth more than a squire? How do you relate the value of the bobber to the other pieces? How strong is a teleporter? How strong is a dazzler?
    Answer: There are many pieces in Existentialist Chess which are going to take some play-testing to become familiar with before these pieces true values can be ascertained. A schizzy probably is worth more than a squire, and its value increases on an open board when it has greater ability to move from one side of the board to the other. The bobber is a piece which, obviously, increases its value the longer it can stay in the game and increase its powers after each move. A dazzler is about the equivelent to the champion from Omegachess, it's a nice piece to have, and the jumping effects make it more intriguing.


Written by David Short.
WWW page created: June 6, 2002. ´╗┐