Zero Relay Chess
Adding the rules or Relay Chess to the rules
of All Go Together Chess is a perfect fit.
Unfortunately, the purest form of the rules produces an
The Rules of Pure Zero Relay Chess
As usual, we begin with Rule Zero.
Pieces may freely move onto squares occupied by friendly pieces,
and when a capture is made, all pieces on the square are
captured at once.
When there are multiple pieces on the same square, any of the
pieces on that may move or capture using the powers of any piece
on that square, with the usual exceptions -- in deference
to Mannis Charosh, Kings may not give or gain relay power,
and Pawns may not use relay powers to go to their first nor
8th ranks, nor may a piece use a Pawn's power to promote itself,
nor do Pawns give their power to other pieces.
Clarifications to the Rules
The rules as stated are extremely simple, but a few things
should be added to avoid possible misunderstandings.
You may move onto, but not through, your own pieces.
Thus, 1.Qd1-b3 is not a legal move but 1.Qd1-c2 is legal.
The power that is gained is temporary. Thus, after 1.Qd1-c2
Qd8-c8 2.Pc2:h7, the Pawn at h7 is now only a Pawn (it no
longer has the power of a Queen).
The Pure Rules Have a Problem
1. Qd1-c2 is too strong.
If 1.Qc2 c7-c6 2. Qc2-b2 forking; therefore
1. Qd1-c2 Qd8-c8 (passive but forced)
2. Pc2:h7 Ng8-e7 (the other moves are worse)
3. Qc2-b2 Ke8-f8 (...f7-f6 is too weakening)
and although Black might be able to hold on and
fight back (4. Qa2 Qc7!), this forceful opening does
gain some advantage and spoils the game.
There are Many Solutions
It is necessary to spoil the purity of the rules to make the
game playable. What one rule should be added?
To begin with, one could simply forbid the winning move. There
are a few games already that restrict White's first move for
the sake of balance, and they have names like "Balanced Zero
Another solution is to use a different Queen, for example
the Chancellor. This also works, but both this and the previous
solution cause difficulties when you play with different armies.
Forbidding Pawns to use their relay powers for capturing is
an interesting and playable game which I hereby name "Mild Zero
Relay Chess". It is too mild for me; powerful Pawns are what
makes Relay Chess fun to play.
Forbidding all Pawns and pieces to use their relay powers
for capturing is "Very Mild Zero Relay Chess" and is much too
mild for me. However, it is certainly playable and interesting and
I know that some people would prefer its relative tactical
Forbidding Pawns to use their relay powers when capturing an unmoved
enemy Pawn appeals to me. Of course, they can still capture a
crowded square (the P takes one of the other pieces, which also kills
the unmoved Pawn). Therefore a P must be both alone on its square
and unmoved to be exempt from this type of capture. This leads
to another idea.
Why not simplify the rule, and make any solo Pawn exempt from
this type of capture? I love this! It's the perfect rule because
it creates an advantage to being solo; there is already an
advantage to being crowded, and so now we have a strategic and
tactical tension between the two advantages -- this can only
make the game more interesting to play.
This rule might make normal Relay Chess playable as well!
Other possible solutions to the problem exist. Having found such
a good one, I see no reason to examine the others.
The Rules of Zero Relay Chess
The rules of Pure Zero Relay Chess apply except as follows.
A Pawn which wishes to capture an enemy Pawn which is alone on
its square must do so using only its natural Pawn powers.
Relay is intrinsically value-preserving and so you ought to
be able to play it with different armies; however, themed
armies such as the Colorbound Clobberers suffer from having
too many similar powers -- you gain little from having a BD on
the same square as a FAD.
The Clobberers, the Nutty Knights, and the Remarkable Rookies all
are expected to do poorly in any form of Relay Chess.
The Forward FIDEs should be okay.
Sample Play of Zero Relay Chess
In this sample, both sides use the Fabulous FIDE army.
1. Qd1-c2 Bf8-g7 2. Rh1-h2 h7-h6
The interesting gambit idea 2...Ke8-f8!? 3. Rh2:h7 Rh8:h7
4. Qc2:h7 Qd8-c7 fails because of 4.Pc2:h7 Ng8-e7 5. Qc2-h7!
Notice that 1. Qc2 Bb7 2. Qb2 b6 3. Bb2 f6 is an alternative
The idea of 1. Qd1-c2 Bf8-g7 2. Rh1-h2 h7-h6 is that after
3. Pc2-h7, Ng8-e7 and the Ph7 will eventually be captured;
however, 2...g7-g6 was better.
3. Bf1-g2 c7-c6
Needed because Rh2-g2 would threaten Rg2:b7.
4. Rh2-g2 Pg7-g6 5. Bg2-f2 a7-a6 6. Rg2-f2 f7-f5
5...a6 was forced because 6 Rf2 f6 7 Rf2:a7 makes a new Queen after
either 7...R:a7 8 Pf2:a7 or 7...Ra8-b8 8. Ra1-a2.
The weakness caused by 2...h7-h6 now makes Black's game
1. Qd1-c2 Bf8-g7 2. Rh1-h2 g7-g6 3.Bf1-g2 c7-c6 4.Rh2-g2 Ng8-e7
5.Bg2-f2 a7-a6 6. Rg2-f2 f7-f5 7. Rf2-e2 e7-e6 8.Ra1-a2 O-O
White's opening advantage is larger than it is in FIDE Chess, but
it does not make the game unplayable.
Wild Zero Relay Chess
In normal relay chess, power is passed to defended pieces;
for example, 1. a2-a6 is legal because the Pa2, being defended by Ra1,
temporarily gains Rook powers.
The simple form of the game
is obviously unplayable, although my new rule forbidding relay
capture of solo Pawns may well make the game playable.
Maybe Relay Chess with my new rule should have a name?
"Limited Relay Chess". Sounds good?
Adding normal relay to zero relay produces Wild Zero Relay Chess.
Note that all pieces on the defended square gain the
relayed power, and so when a piece moves off a crowded square it
may still give power to that square.
I assume without examining the game that White's initiative will be
Wild Mild Zero Relay Chess
The "Mild" form of the game forbids Pawns to make any relay
captures at all.
Both Wild Mild Zero Relay Chess and Wild Very Mild Zero Relay Chess
(no relay captures at all)
ought to be playable and interesting games.
Wilder Mildewed Zero Relay Chess
I have no idea what this game would be.
Can you help?