The Chess Variant Pages




Mainzer Schach

By Jörg Knappen

The Name of the Game

This game is dedicated to the city of Mainz, my long-term living place, because Mainz is a stronghold of the rhenanian carnival and has a special connection to the number 11.

The Board

The game is played on a board with 11 files and 8 ranks. The corners on white's side are white, the corners on black's side are black. Queens are on squares of their respective colour.

Opening Setup and Pieces



The pieces from files a to k are:

Rook, Janus, Bishop, Bishop, Queen, King, Marshall, Knight, Knight, Janus, Rook.

The second rank is filled with 11 pawns.

The Janus, has the movement both of Bishop and Knight.

The Marshall has the movement both of Rook and Knight.

Castling is as in Janus Chess: The King moves to the square beside the Rook, the Rook jumps over the King. The usual restrictions on castling apply (King and respective Rook must not have moved before; the King must not be in check, and must not move through check). Marshall-side castling is denoted by 0-0; Queen-side castling is denoted by 0-0-0. Both castlings are of the same length, but Marshall-side castling probably occurs more often, because the Marshall-side last rank is easier to clear.

The Pawns promote on the last rank to any of the following pieces: Amazon, Marshall, Queen, Rook, Janus, Knight, Bishop. 

The Amazon has the moves both of Queen and Knight.

The Aim of the Game

The aim is to checkmate the opponents' King, as in FIDE chess. There is enough power on the board to checkmate, therefore I borrow the following rule on stalemate from Duke of Rutland's Chess: If you carelessly stalemate your opponent, you loose. Otherwise, the usual FIDE rules on draws apply.

Colophon

I designed this variant in order to repair the apparent flaws I see in Capablanca's Chess

* The initial array lacks symmetry and is therefore hard to remember.
* There is an unprotected Pawn in the initial array.

Mainzer Schach has a special symmetry: On the Queen-side all pieces (except the Rook) have the Bishop move, on the Marshall-side they have the Knight move. The Janus, having both moves, occurs on both wings.

I thought of fancier promotion rules (Pawns on Marshall-side can only promote to Marshall-side pieces and Pawns on Queen-side can only promote to Queen-side pieces; the King's Pawn can promote to all pieces plus Amazon). But finally I concluded, that the simpler rule given in the text is better.