The Chess Variant Pages

Dueling Archbishops

Dueling Archishops is a small chess variant, invented by Jason Wittman.


The game is played on a 2x3 board, with the short sides facing the players. Each player has an Archbishop (the royal piece, which moves like a knight and a bishop), and a Changeling, which turns into a different piece each time it moves. In the initial array, White has his Archbishop on a1 and his Changeling on b1, and Black has his Archbishop on a3 and his Changeling on b3.

Royal archbishop a1; Changeling b1

Royal archbishop a3; Changeling b3.

The Changeling starts out as a Thorny Rose, which moves like a king, but can only capture like a bishop. Upon moving, it turns into a Rook. When it moves again, it turns into a bishop. When it moves yet again, it turns into Queen. On moving a fourth time, it turns back into a Thorny Rose, and so on.

The Drop Rule: When a player's Changeling is captured, that player may, on any subsequent turn drop it back onto any empty square (this counts as a move). However, the Changeling can only be dropped in the same form in which it was captured. Bishops can only be dropped as bishops, rooks can only be dropped as rooks, and so on.

The object is checkmate the opponent's Archbishop. Whoever does that first wins.

Written by Jason Wittman; edited by Hans Bodlaender.
WWW page created: May 14, 2003.