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GraTiA

Introduction

It has often struck me that early forms of Great Chess have lacked a certain something, or to be more exact, different things. Timur's or Tamerlane's Chess seems odd to modern Chess players in that the Picket has the feel of a not-quite-complete Bishop and another piece seems not to have made up its mind whether to be a Giraffe or a Gryphon. The Citadel squares are a bit odd too. Grande Acedrex, on the other hand, has distinct Giraffe and Gryphon pieces but has a low piece density and lacks the short-range leapers familiar to followers of early Chess, including the enduring Knight.

Reflections on these made me wonder what effect combining the two games would have, and this is my attempt at it. It is not quite as obvious a "Why did neither I nor anyone else¹ ever think of this before?" combination as Bachelor Kamil or Liu Yang, so I had to think a little more about how exactly to combine them. The pieces are a mixture of the most clearly-defined from both games, plus a modification of one of the GA pieces, which I justify for its resulting resemblance to the Gryphon. The shortest-range Timur pieces I have made promotable - to another Timur piece, its orthogonal counterpart, and a pair of Commedia dell'Arte Chess pieces to make them of more potential use. I give pieces their modern names, but include historic names in brackets. The variant's own name is a snappier version of what it might have been called: Grande Timur Acedrex.

¹ particularly Fergus Duniho, whose Hex Shogi and Storm the Ivory Tower are surely an inspiration to all "combiners"

Setup

Pieces

Pieces common to both variants:
The KING can move one square in any orthogonal and diagonal direction and must be kept out of check.
The ROOK moves any distance orthogonally, and is blocked by intervening pieces.
Grande Acedrex pieces:

The BISHOP (called Crocodile in GA) moves any distance diagonally, and is blocked by intervening pieces.
The GIRAFFE makes any 4:1 leap, moving simultaneously 4 ranks and 1 file or vice verse. It cannot be blocked.
The GRYPHON makes one step as a Bishop and then continues as a Rook. In this variant it has to make both stages of its move.
Modified Grande Acedrex piece:
The ANCHORITE (modified from the GA piece called Rhino or Unicorn) makes one step as a Rook and then continues as a Bishop. In this variant it has to make both stages of its move.
Timur's Chess pieces:
Unpromoted Promoted
The KNIGHT makes any 2:1 leap, moving simultaneously 2 ranks and 1 file or vice verse. It cannot be blocked. The NIGHTPOTENTATE² makes one or two Knight leaps in the same direction, and can be blocked only at the halfway mark of the longer move.
The WAZIR steps one square orthogonally. The PANDA³ moves like the Rook, but must move an odd number of squares.
The CAMEL makes any 3:1 leap, moving simultaneously 3 ranks and 1 file or vice verse. It cannot be blocked. The CAMELPOTENTATE² makes one or two Camel leaps in the same direction, and can be blocked only at the halfway mark of the longer move.
The FERZ steps one square diagonally. The BEAR³ moves like the Bishop, but must move an odd number of squares.
The DABBABA leaps two squares orthogonally, and cannot be blocked. The POCKET³ moves like the Rook, but must move at least two squares.
The ELEPHANT or ALFIL leaps two squares diagonally, and cannot be blocked. The PICKET³ moves like the Bishop, but must move at least two squares.
The PAWN moves one step along the forward orthogonal except when capturing which it does one step along either forward diagonal. The promoted form of a Pawn starting on a Rook, Bishop, Giraffe, Gryphon, or Anchorite file is the piece starting two ranks behind it, moving as described in the array.

The promoted form of a Pawn starting on a King or Knight file is the QUEEN, moving as a Rook or a Bishop.


² of the short-leap variety; there is also a standard-leap variety not blockable even at the halfway square.
³ of the Stepping variety; there are also several leaping kinds described in Man and Beast 06: The Heavy Brigade.

Rules

Because of the large board the Pawn's optional initial double-step move, capturing En Passant, and Castling are as in FIDE Chess, except that in the last the King moves 3 squares and the Rook 4.

Short-range Timur's pieces reaching an enemy non-Pawn rank can ve promoted to the promotee listed against them in the pieces section. Pawns reaching an enemy non-Pawn rank can be promoted to Queen if they started on a King or Knight file, otherwise to the longest-range piece on whose file it starts. Promotion is optional except in the case of a Pawn that can go no further, for which it is required.

Check, Checkmate, and Stalemate are as in FIDE Chess.

A subvariant allows a win by marriage as per Bachelor Chess and Bachelor Kamil. It is however significantly harder to achieve here as only three of each player's Pawns can become Queens.



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By Charles Gilman.
Web page created: 2010-07-26. Web page last updated: 2018-07-21