The Chess Variant Pages

Bifold Halfgi

Rules

This game is played like Halfgi, except:

All pieces, except pawns, are bifold pieces (ie. they are half-sized pieces, able to fit two per square). These bifold pieces are able to combine with other same-colored bifold pieces and move as a single normal sized piece.

If two bifold pieces of the same color occupy the same square, then they may move as a unit, as either piece. In the case where the two pieces are the same type of halfling piece, they move together as the corresponding normal piece.

Setup

+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+
| bhR | bH  | bhB | bhQ | bW  | bhB | bH  | bhR |
| bhR | bH  | bhB | bhQ | bF  | bhB | bH  | bhR |
+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+
|  P  |  P  |  P  |  P  |  P  |  P  |  P  |  P  |
|     |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |
+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+
|     |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |
|     |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |
+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+
|     |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |
|     |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |
+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+
|     |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |
|     |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |
+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+
|     |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |
|     |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |
+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+
|     |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |
|  P  |  P  |  P  |  P  |  P  |  P  |  P  |  P  |
+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+
| bhR | bH  | bhB | bhQ | bW  | bhB | bH  | bhR |
| bhR | bH  | bhB | bhQ | bF  | bhB | bH  | bhR |
+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+

bh = bifold halfling-
b = bifold-
H = Horse
W = Royal Wazir
F = Royal Ferz

Movement

A bifold piece (moving alone) may move into a square that contains zero or one bifold pieces (of either color). No capture occurs.

A bifold piece (moving alone) may move into a square that contains one friendly and one enemy bifold piece. In this case, the enemy bifold piece is captured.

A bifold piece (moving alone) may move into a square that contains two enemy bifold pieces. In this case, the moving player picks one of the enemy pieces to capture.

A bifold piece (moving alone) may move into a square that contains a normal sized enemy piece. In this case, the enemy piece is captured.

A normal piece (or two bifold pieces moving as one piece) may move into a square that contains one or two enemy bifold pieces. The enemy bifold piece or pieces are captured.

A normal piece (or two bifold pieces moving as one piece) may move into a square that contains one enemy normal sized piece. The enemy piece is captured.

A bifold piece that is in the same square as another bifold piece of the same color is free to move/capture with that piece as a single unit, or to move/capture by itself with its own movement capabilities.

Pieces may only move through empty squares (eg. they may not move through a square which contains a single bifold piece).

Drops

A player may drop one piece that he has captured instead of moving a piece on the board. Bifold pieces count as one piece in this situation. A bifold piece may be dropped onto a square that contains a single bifold piece.

Pawns may not be dropped on the last rank.

Pawn Promotion

Pawns promote to either a bifold halfling Bishop, Rook or Queen, or to a bifold Horse.

Object

The object of the game is to capture your opponent's King (or both Royal bifold pieces). If just a single Royal bifold piece is captured, it is not held in hand, and is considered completely removed from the game.

A royal bifold piece, when combined with a non-royal bifold piece, may not move through a square which is threatened by the opposing player. The square it lands in, however, may be a threatened square.

As the goal of the game is to capture all Royal pieces, there is no check or checkmate.

Playing on a physical board

This game can be played on a board, but several sets of small chess pieces are required. Keeping track of which royal piece is a Ferz vs. a Wazir could be a pain, so a possible modification would be to simply use two bifold Royal Wazirs instead. Two bifold Royal Wazirs combined would be a King.

Why not the pawns too?

For those who feel the pawns should also be bifold pieces, here is a variant:

Left-handed bifold pawn + Right-handed bifold pawn = pawn

A left-handed pawn is a pawn which moves exactly like a normal pawn, but may not capture diagonally right. Right-handed pawns have the opposite restriction, they may not capture on their left-hand side.

Bifold lh/rh pawns are now free to combine with other pieces, as are other pieces free to combine with them. A bifold lh/rh pawn, when combined with another non-pawn piece, does not promote. Bifold lh/rh pawns promote to either a bifold halfling Bishop, Rook or Queen, or to a bifold Horse. Bifold lh/rh pawns stranded on the last row cannot move until they are rescued by other pieces combining with them, and moved to the frontward ranks.

+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+
| bhR | bH  | bhB | bhQ | bW  | bhB | bH  | bhR |
| bhR | bH  | bhB | bhQ | bF  | bhB | bH  | bhR |
+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+
| lbP | lbP | lbP | lbP | lbP | lbP | lbP | lbP |
| rbP | rbP | rbP | rbP | rbP | rbP | rbP | rbP |
+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+
|     |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |
|     |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |
+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+
|     |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |
|     |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |
+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+
|     |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |
|     |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |
+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+
|     |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |
|     |     |     |     |     |     |     |     |
+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+
| lbP | lbP | lbP | lbP | lbP | lbP | lbP | lbP |
| rbP | rbP | rbP | rbP | rbP | rbP | rbP | rbP |
+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+
| bhR | bH  | bhB | bhQ | bW  | bhB | bH  | bhR |
| bhR | bH  | bhB | bhQ | bF  | bhB | bH  | bhR |
+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+-----+

lb = left-handed bifold-
rb = right-handed bifold-
bh = bifold halfling-
b = bifold-
H = Horse
W = Royal Wazir
F = Royal Ferz

Another option would be to use weak pawns instead of left/right-handed pawns. A weak pawn cannot capture unless it is supported (ie. another friendly piece could make a capturing move into the square containing the weak pawn).

Comments

Sources for this game are:


Written by David Howe.
WWW page created: 25 April 2001.