The Chess Variant Pages


Sissa is a chess variant invented in 1998 by Carlos Cetina. The new piece, called Sissa is taken from another chess variant of Cetina, called Coherent Chess. The piece is named after a historic figure from the history of chess, or, as Cetina writes:
Such a name is a homage, an acknowledgment, a gratitude, a tribute that I want to make and dedicate to the Grand Father of all the chess variants inventors: to the Chaturanga's inventor, according the majority opinion of the chess historians.


The setup is as follows:



A sissa moves like the knight in Coherent Chess (another chess variant by Carlos Cetina), as follows: in one turn, first, the sissa moves one or more squares like a rook or a bishop, and then the sissa moves the same number of squares like the other of the two (bishop or rook.) So, the sissa has the following options:

  1. First, it moves a number of squares as a rook. Then it makes a corner of 45, 135, 225, or 315 degrees, and then moves the same number of squares as a bishop. All squares that are passed by must be empty, i.e., a sissa does not jump over pieces.
  2. First, it moves a number of squares as a bishop. Then, it makes a corner of 45, 135, 225, or 315 degrees, and then moves the same number of squares as a rook. Again, all squares passed by must be empty.
See below for an example. (The white sissa has the possibility to take the rook or the queen.)

Bishops have, in addition to their normal diagonal movement, one extra possibility (which is, in a certain sense, also obligatory): the bishop moves one square horizontally or vertically at the first time it moves during the game. This may be done only once, with one of the players bishops. Also, for one of the bishops of the player, the first move made with this bishop must be of this special type. This move is called conversion. Note that a player may choose which bishop he converts, but if he makes a normal move with one of his bishops, the first move made with the other bishop must be a conversion move. Note also that a player never can make more than one conversion move in a game, and a promoted bishop does not make conversion moves. It is possible to take a piece of the opponent by conversion. (See also a more detailed description of this `Bishops Conversion rule'.)

The other pieces move like in usual chess. Kings always move three squares when castling, the rook jumping over them to the next square. Pawns may promote to queen, rook, knight, bishop, or sissa, to the owning players choice when they reach the last row.

Sample Game

White: Carlos Cetina, Black: Albino Lara.
Villahermosa, Mexico; February 1998.

Comments by Carlos Cetina

Note: Castling is described only by the king's movement.

 1.e4      e6
 2.d4      f6
 3.c4      Ng7
 4.Nc3     Bb4
 5.Qb3     Qf8
 6.a3      Bxc3+
[Note the b8-pawn is not protected, since the first movement of the c9- bishop must necessarily be toward b9, c8 or d9]
 7. ...    c6
[Now the d9-sissa protects the b8-pawn by the path d9-c8-b8]
 8.h3      Nc7
 9.Bh2     Kh9
[Path: f1-e2-e3]
10. ...    Bc8
[Now the b8-pawn is protected by the d9-sissa by the path d9-c9-b8, not by d9-c8-b8 since the c8-bishop now obstructs this path]
11.f4      d6
12.Nf2     b7
13.Kh1     Nge8
14.Bc2     Se7
[Path: d9-d8-e7]
15.Rae1    g6
16.Rgf1    Rg7
17.f5      Rag9
18.fxe6    Bxe6
19.d5      Bg8
[Path: e3-c5-a5]
20. ...    Ri7
21.Ng4     c5
22.e5      f5??
[22. ... Nxd5! 23.Sxe7 (path a5-c7-e7; 23.cxd5?? Sxa5) 23. ... Nxe7 24.exf6 Nc6 25.Bxg6 Bf7 26.Be4 Na5 27.Qd1 Nxc4 and the coin is gyrating at the air yet!]
23.exd6    Sd7
[Path: e7-d8-d7 or e7-e6-d7]
24.dxc7    Nf6
25.Nxf6    Qxf6
26.Bd1     g5
27.Qc2     f4
28.Bg4     Sxc7
[Path: d7-c6-c7 or d7-c8-c7 or d7-d6-c7 or d7-d8-c7]
[Path: a5-b5-a4 or a5-b4-a4]
29. ...    Bf9
[Path: a4-c6-e6]
30. ...    Qxe6
31.Bxe6+   Bg8
32.Bxg8+   Rxg8
33.Re9+    Rg9
34.Rxg9+   Kxg9
[35.g3?? Sxc2 (path c7-h7-c2)]
35. ...    Rg7
36.Qd6+    Kg8
37.Bg1     Sxa3
[Path: c7-a5-a3]
38.Bxc5    Sxc3?!
[Path: a3-a5-c3 or a3-a1-c3 or a3-c1-c3; it was better 38. ... Sxc4 by the paths a3-b3-c4 or a3-b4-c4]
39.Bd4     Sxc4
[Path: c3-b4-c4 or c3-b3-c4 or c3-d3-c4. The path c3-d4-c4, obviously, is obstructed by the d4-bishop. If 39. ... Sb3!? attacking both d4-bishop and f1-rook (this last by b3-d1-f1 or b3-d3-f1), then by all manners after 40.Bxg7 Sxf1 41.Qf8+ Kh7 42.Qxh8+ Kg6 43.Qh6+ Kf7 44.Qf6+ Kg8 45.Qf8+ Kh7 46.Bi5, Black would follow being lost]
40.Qe6+    Kh7
41.Bxg7    hxg7
42.d6      Sd2
[Normal FIDE-knight movement attacking the f1-rook]
43.Re1     Sf2+
[Path: d2-d4-f2; giving check by f2-g1-h1]
[Better 44.Kh2]
44. ...    Sxi2+
[Path: f2-i5-i2; giving check at the same time by i2-h2-g1 and i2-h1- g1]
45.Kh1     Si3+
[Path: i2-h2-i3]
46.Kh2     Sg3
[Path: i3-i5-g3]
47.d7      Sc5
[Path: g3-e3-c5]
48.Qe8     f3
49.d8      Sc2+
[Path: c5-f2-c2 or c5-f5-c2; giving check by c2-c7-h2]
[Obstructing the c7-h2 diagonal]
50. ...    Sd4+
[Giving check by d4-f2-h2]
51.Ki2     f2
[Giving check by d9-f9-h7]
52. ...    Ki7
[Path: d9-d5-h9; giving check as normal knight]
53. ...    Ki6
[Unique. The h9-sissa covers the squares h8 (by the paths h9-g9-h8 or h9-i9-h8 or h9-g8-h8), h7 (by the path h9-f9-h7) and h6 (by the path h9-e6-h6)]
54.Qh5 mate!!!
[The h9-sissa protects the queen by the path h9-d9-h5 and, of course, covers the i7-square as normal knight]

An invitation to play

Readers who are interested in playing a game of Sissa Chess with the inventor by email should write to (email removed contact us for address)
Written by Hans Bodlaender and Carlos Cetina.
WWW page created: March 10, 1998. Last modified: March 17, 1998.