Jean-Louis Cazaux (March 2001)
Even bigger ! This is a chess variant with 20 different pieces on a 14
x 14 board: such a board was used by some maharadjahs in old India. They are
196 cases and 48 pieces per side which give almost the same density than for
In Gigachess one will find again all 13 kinds of men encountered in Shako
II and Perfect
12. The new 7 are the Amazon (Queen+Knight), the Marshall (Rook+Knight)
and the Cardinal (Bishop+Knight) so often used in chess variants, the Crossbow
is the diagonal version of the Cannon, the Machine is the orthogonal counterpart
of the Elephant and the Buffalo is terrific leaper combining the powers of Knight,
Camel and more.
In addition to these officiers, animals or weapons, there is a new improved
Pawn : the Corporal whose inclusion here gives some interesting battle arrangements.
Like a Pawn, it moves but cannot capture forward and gets a promotion on reaching
the last row. Its difference is that it can move diagonally forward, advancing
The board is a 14 x 14 checkered squares with a white one at the right end
of each player.
There are 48 pieces per side:
- 2 Crossbows, 2 Cannons, 2 Camels, 2 Ships, 1 Buffalo, 1 Lion, 1 Gryphon,
1 Amazon, 1 Marshall, 1 Cardinal on 1st row,
- 1 King, 1 Queen, 2 Princes, 2 Bishops, 2 Knights, 2 Rooks, 2 Elephants,
2 Machines on 2nd row,
- 6 Corporals on 3rd row and 14 Pawns on 3rd and 4th rows.
The white King is placed on the center of the second row on a black square,
the black King being on a white square. The Queen is also placed on the center,
beside the King. The Amazon is just behind the King. On the 1st row there is
the "animal side" with Gryphon, Lion, Buffalo from inside to outside,
and the "knighted side" with Amazon, Marshall and Cardinal in this
order. On 3rd row, Corporals occupy the six central columns.
Moves And Captures
- King, Queen, Bishop, Knight and Rook are orthodox.
- Pawn: the Pawn is almost similar to FIDE Chess. There are two
It can advance one or two square from ANY position on the board. However,
its capturing move is unchanged: one square diagonally forward. As a consequence,
the en-passant capture is possible every time an opposite Pawn (or Corporal)
has advanced two squares. (This is like for Perfect 12 chess. It allows
the Pawn to reach the opposite side in 5 or 6 steps which is comparable
to Orthodox Chess)
When the Pawn reaches the last row it simply promotes to an Amazon.
- Corporal: the Corporal is an improved Pawn:
It can advance one or two square from any position on the board and its
capturing move is one square diagonally forward.
The improvement is that the Corporal can also advance 1 step diagonally
forward. (So, with or without capturing).
The Corporal can take en-passant every time an opposite Pawn or Corporal
has advanced two squares.
When the Corporal reaches the last row it promotes to an Amazon.
- Amazon: strongest piece on the board, it combines the move of
Queen and Knight. It was used in the Turkish-Indian
Grand Chess (as a Giraffe).
- Marshall: it combines the move of Rook and Knight. It can be
found in many, many chess variants since Carrera,
and many others like Grand Chess or Gothic
Chess. (under many other names: Champion, Guard, Empress, Concubine,
Chancellor, etc. The later is sometimes preferred, however it is confusing
since Capablanca used it once for R+N and once for B+N).
- Cardinal: it combines the move of Bishop and Knight. It can be
found in many, many chess variants since Carrera, Bird, Capablanca, Modern
and many others like Omega or Gothic Chess. (under many other names: Centaur,
Minister, Equerry, Janus, Archbishop, Princess, Chancellor, etc.).
- Lion: the Lion is inspired (although with some simplification)
Shogi, the most popular variant of the Japanese Chess. This game
is also played on a 12 x 12 board and was mentioned as long ago as the twelfth
century and therefore predates modern Shogi by centuries. In this game,
the Lion may move as a King (a single step move in any direction), or it
may jump to a position two squares away, jumping in any orthogonal or diagonal
direction, or alternatively jumping as a Knight in orthodox chess. (Then
this Lion has the same range but is more restricted than the Lion in Chu
Shogi which can move 2 times in a turn).
- Gryphon: this piece comes from the Grande
Acedrex, which is described in one of the very first game books in Western
Europe appeared in 1283, under `editorship' of the Spanish King Alphonso
X. This Libro del Acedrex contains many rules of old games.
The Gryphon moves one square diagonal, followed by an arbitrary number of
squares horizontal or vertical. It is authorized to go only one square diagonal.
It may not jump over other pieces, and the unobstructed path must start
with the diagonal movement.
- Ship: moves one square diagonally and then, goes away of an indefinite
number of cases vertically, never horizontally. It can move one square diagonally
only. It can not jump and must begin its move with the diagonal step. It
can be considered as an half-Gryphon. The Ship is also used in Tamerlane
- Camel: a well known piece since medieval muslim great chess like
Chess. It jumps to the opposite case of a 2x4 rectangle, like an extended
Knight. No matter what intermediate cases contain. Note that it always stays
on the same color of square.
- Buffalo: combines the leaps of the Knight (3x2), the Camel (4x2)
and the Zebra (4x3). The latter is a fairy piece used by problemists for
- Cannon: borrowed from Xiang-Qi,
the Chinese Chess. It moves like a Rook and needs an intermediate piece
between itself and its victim to capture it. The Cannon jumps the intermediate
and takes the victim on its square. The intermediate is left unaffected.
(Also known as Pao by problemists)
- Crossbow: also known as Vao, it is like a diagonal Cannon.
It moves like a Bishop and needs an intermediate piece between itself and
its victim to capture it. The Crossbow jumps the intermediate and takes
the victim on its square. The intermediate is left unaffected.
- Elephant: it is a modern extension of the Elephant found in Shatranj.
It moves 1 or 2 cases diagonally (combines Fers+Alfil). It can jump over
the first case if it is occupied. This form is also used in other games
from the same author like Shako
- Machine: it is a modern extension of the Dabbaba found in Tamerlane
Chess. It moves 1 or 2 cases orthogonally (combines Wazir+Dabbaba).
It can jump over the first case if it is occupied.
- Prince: this piece is simply a non-royal King. It can be found
in medieval games like the Courier
chess , an old chess variant, played in Germany, where it is called
"Man". It moves one square in an arbitrary direction, like the
king, but without being hindered by check.
Castling: there is no castling in
End Of Game
Victory is obtained when the opposite King is checkmated.
All other types of endgame (pat, perpetual check,...) are classic.
Zillions gives these average values, normalized to 5 for the Rook :
Pawn: 0.8, Corporal: 1.2, Camel: 2, Elephant: 2.2, Knight: 2.2,
Prince: 2.5, Crossbow: 3.3, Bishop: 3.4, Ship: 4.5, Cannon: 4.9,
Cardinal: 5.5, Buffalo: 5.9, Lion: 6.7, Marshall: 7.1, Gryphon: 8.1,
Gigachess is the latest and most complex stage of a series:
10 x 10 board: Shako
11 x 11 board: Tamerlane
12 x 12 board: Perfect
14 x 14 board: Gigachess
for Gigachess is available from here.
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Written by Jean-Louis Cazaux.
WWW page created: March 28, 2001.