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LARGE VARIANTS IN THE HISTORIC NORTH EUROPEAN STYLE

Charles Gilman

There has been quite a divide between Northern and Southern Europe in the evolution of Chess, as in much else (though quite unlike the U.S. or Chinese North-South divide - all of Europe is "up north"). It was Southern Europe, particularly the Latin countries, that took the lead in the introduction of the modern Queen and Bishop to the 8 by 8 board, and even enlargements such as Carrera's Chess were sparing in their adding of files. Further north they have been added more lavishly. One German-speaking principality added Bishops alongside the ancient pieces and expanded the Ferz to a "cabinet" of three central advisers, with four extra files for the newcomers, resulting in Courier. After the Latin game had spread north, John Manners devised a variant with no fewer than 14 files, called Duke of Rutland's Chess after his geographical title (Rutland is east of Leicester in the English Midlands). The variants on this page are derived from these many-file variants.

Pawn Rook Knight Bishop Queen King FIDE pieces are used in these variants, but so are pieces either supplanted or never used in the standard game.
Ferz Elephant Wazir Dabbaba Camel Simple short-range pieces include the 1:1 FERZ and 2:2 ELEPHANT that Courier inherited from early Chess; the 1:0 WAZIR, 2:0 DABBABA, and 3:1 CAMEL of Timur's Chess.
Prince Alibaba Gnu Triangulating short-range pieces include the PRINCE, ALIBABA, and GNU.
Chatelaine Marshal Primate Cardinal Enhanced linepieces include the CHATELAINE, MARSHAL, PRIMATE, and CARDINAL.
Yeoman Courier Ashtaranga also uses the YEOMAN, a Pawn with capturing and noncapturing moves swapped over.
All the array pieces in any one game can be represented using two standard sets distinguishable by size.

MODERN MANNERS

This is a development of Duke of Rutland's Chess, on the same 14x10 board but with less duplication and more symmetry, both between Kingside and Queenside and between the two types of radial. All the Pawns start off protected by first-rank pieces. Pawns reaching the far rank are promoted to any compound array piece.

MANNERS KAMIL

This is a cross between the previous variant and Wildebeest Chess, with an extra 2 files. Radial-oblique hybrids are dispensed with. All the Pawns start off protected by first-rank pieces. Pawns reaching the far rank are promoted to any compound array piece.

Here are suggested representations for these two variants. Large Kings/Queens/Knights, small Rooks/Bishops, and all Pawns represent themselves. Small Kings/Queens represent Cardinals/Marshals or Gnus as required. Large Rooks/Bishops represent Chatelaines/Primates. Small Knights represent Camels. Promotees are improvised in the usual manner. Small variations include: having only 8 ranks, to allow use of 2 standard boards; requiring promotion of simple back-rank pieces to an array compound with their move on reaching the far rank; allowing the same promotion optionally.

COURIER KAMIL

This is an extension of Courier to 16 files, retaining the standard 8 ranks and so playable on two identical FIDE boards. All Pawns start off protected except the Wazir's Ferz' Pawn. Pawn promotion is not to array pieces at all but to Queen, Prince, Gnu, or Alibaba. As well as the usual win by checkmate a player can win by having all four of these compounds.

COURIER ASHTARANGA

This is the same as Courier Kamil, but mixes Yeomen in front of the diagonal pieces and Camels with Pawns in front of the rest. The name refers to an "eightfold army", as each type of capturable piece from Chaturanga, meaning "fourfold army", is clearly paired with an additional type.

In these two variants all the large set except the Queen can represent themselves. The Queens and small King represent the Wazir and Ferzes in whatever order the players find clearest. Small Rooks/Bishops/Knights represent Dabbabas/Elephants/Camels. Small Pawns represent themselves in Courier Kamil and Yeomen in Courier Ashtaranga. Promotees are improvised in the usual manner.


Written by Charles Gilman.
WWW page created: September 4th, 2004.