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True King

Format: 10 by 10 Chessboard

Setup: 2 sides (Black/ White) of each 20 pieces: 1 King, 1 Queen, 1 Cardinal, 1 Duke, 2 Bishops, 2 Earls, 2 Rooks, 10 Pawns

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King (Royal): FIDE King- move and capture one space diagonally & orthogonally; no castling; promote to True King when reached the 10th row.

True King (Royal): FIDE Queen + Earl- move and capture arbitrary space diagonally & orthogonally or a 1-2 jump.

Queen: FIDE Bishop + Earl- move and capture arbitrary space diagonally or 1 space orthogonally or a 1-2 jump.

Cardinal: FIDE Queen- move and capture arbitrary space diagonally & orthogonally.

Duke: FIDE Rook + Earl- move and capture arbitrary space orthogonally or a 1-2 jump.

Bishop: FIDE Bishop- move and capture arbitrary space diagonally.

Earl: move and capture 1 space orthogonally or a 1-2 jump.

Rook: FIDE Rook- move and capture arbitrary space orthogonally, no castling.

Pawn: move 1 space orthogonally or move 2 space forward on 1st move, capture 1 space diagonally or en passant, no backward move or capture, promote to Bishop or Earl or Rook when reached the 10th row or to Chancellor or Duke or Queen if there is vacancy- only one of these pieces at any time.

The chessboard is still divided into the familiar King’s side & Queen’s side. The Cardinal who has the same power as the FIDE Queen is still placed beside the King. With this setup, every Pawn is initially supported.

The Bishop, the Earl, and the Rook represent the three basic movement types in True King. The Bishop represents the Church. The Earl represents the Nobility. The Rook represents the Land.

The Cardinal as head of the Clergy represents the Church and the Land.

The Duke as head of the Nobles represents the Nobility and the Land.

The Queen draws her support from both the Church and the Nobility. Although her power might seemed more subtle when compared to the other two major pieces, she is the only piece capable of a checkmate with no support- an unfortunate reality?

Once the King proved himself, he became the True King (where’s the Excalibur). He has consolidated the support of the Church, the Nobility and is now ready to rule the entire Land. He is unstoppable- if the rival cannot even prevent his coronation (promotion), it is very unlikely that they can stand up to the might of the True King. The game therefore tends to have fewer draws than the FIDE chess.

The Earl is made more powerful than its FIDE cousin for two reasons:

1, With the larger 10 by 10 board the Bishop and the Rook each has their max movement options increased by 4 squares, but the Knight still remained the same.

2, In the FIDE chess, the Knight is the only piece capable of attacking the all-mighty Queen without putting itself under attack. But with the addition of two very capable pieces, the Queen (although still very powerful) is no longer "the" piece. And since both of these new pieces have the Knight’s movement capability, it effectively reduces the Knight to little more than a jumping Pawn.

The Earl’s added movement represents the cavalry’s ability in close combat, it increases its max movement option by 4 squares. A desirable side effect is that, the three major pieces are now roughly equal in their overall power.

The Pawn now has the ability to "regroup" i.e. move 1 square sideways. This compensates for the dual handicaps of low mobility in an enlarged chessboard and restricted promotion options. And with so many powerful pieces on the board, this also make it a little bit more capable in its role of shielding the King- the name of the game is True King, not Pawn promotions!


Written by Roxy Wu. HTML conversion by David Howe.
WWW page created: March 20, 2000.