The Chess Variant Pages

The Pizza Kings

An Experimental Army for Chess with Different Armies

By John Lawson

Introduction

I inferred from Ralph Betza's series of articles on Ideal and Practical Values that I could create my own army for his Chess with Different Armies by combining the basic ingredients he identified, like a recipe in a cookbook. I had spent some time casting about for inspiration when I came across the Mushroom in the Piececlopedia. After abortive attempts to develop pieces on vegetable and salad themes, I hit upon the Pizza Kings

The Pieces

The Pizza Kings' theme is pizza toppings. I should note here that this piece set is not well seasoned, playtesting having been neglected, and that I am being somewhat saucy proposing it.

The Pieces, by equivalent FIDE pieces:

The Rooks: the Sausage

The Sausage is a rook-value piece of my own invention. It has no long-range sideways moves, but leaps forward and backward by way of compensation. This proved to be a problem during testing, so its starting position was interchanged with that of the Bishop piece. Its funny notation is rlWFfbNfbH. It moves as a Ferz, sideways as a Wazir, a narrow Knight, or leaps vertically only as a (0,3) leaper. An ASCII diagram showing its move follows. Note how its target squares form a sausage shape.

 . . . . . . . .
 . . . . 1 . . .
 . . . 1 . 1 . .
 . . . 1 . 1 . .
 . . . 1 0 1 . .
 . . . 1 . 1 . .
 . . . 1 . 1 . .
 . . . . 1 . . .

The Knights: the Mushroom

The Mushroom was invented by Ralph Betza in 1996, according to the page concerning it on this website. Betza was trying for a Knight-like piece, with a value close to that of a Knight. The Mushroom (funny notation: fbNfsLbF) moves like a narrow Knight, or forward as a wide Long Knight, or to the rear as a Ferz. The ASCII diagram illustrating its move follows. Note how the pattern of movement resembles a mushroom.

 . . . . . . . .
 . . . . . . . .
 . . . 1 . 1 . .
 . 1 . . . . . 1
 . . . . 0 . . .
 . . . 1 . 1 . .
 . . . 1 . 1 . .
 . . . . . . . .

The Bishops: the Pepperoni

The Pepperoni is also my own invention. Its funny notation is rlDfAfbWF; that is, it moves sideways as a Dabbabah, vertically as a Wazir, as a Ferz, or forward as an Alfil. Although it does not have the ranging move of a FIDE Bishop, it substitutes the ability to leap to some target squares, it is not colorbound, and it has short moves in many directions. It seems to actually be too strong for this role, and since the Sausage seems be weaker than a Rook, and interchanging these pieces should compensate. Imagine two slices of pepperoni, sitting on top of the pizza, nicely curled from the baking. Its ASCII diagram is:

 . . . . . . . .
 . . . . . . . .
 . . 1 . . . 1 .
 . . . 1 1 1 . .
 . . 1 . 0 . 1 .
 . . . 1 1 1 . .
 . . . . . . . .
 . . . . . . . .

The Queen: the Meatball

The Meatball was originally a more straightforward compendium of Betza's "atomic pieces", but proved to be too powerful in practice, so it has been weakened. Its funny notation is FWADfN. It moves like a Ferz, Wazir, Alfil, Dabbabah, or a Knight (to the two most forward directions only). When looking at its movement diagram, imagine a nice slice of spicy meatball lying on your pizza. The ASCII diagram, please:

 . . . . . . . .
 . . . . . . . .
 . . 1 1 1 1 1 .
 . . . 1 1 1 . .
 . . 1 1 0 1 1 .
 . . . 1 1 1 . .
 . . 1 . 1 . 1 .
 . . . . . . . .

The King is still the Big Cheese, and the Pawns are the Crust on which everything else rests.

This army completely lacks ranging pieces, but every piece has leaping power. If experience shows that a piece is still too powerful for its role, it would be easy to modify it by laming or eliminating some of the leaping moves.

I have also toyed with alternative pieces, which I called the Onion and the Garlic, but their moves stank. I also devised a different Queen-substitute called the Anchovy, but I didn't like it.

Zillions of Games

I have written a Zillions Rules File that pits the Pizza Kings vs the standard armies for Chess with Different Armies, as well as the Avian Airforce, the Spacious Cannoneers and the Fighting Fizzies. You can download it here:


Written by John Lawson.
WWW page created: November 12th 2001.