The Chess Variant Pages




Amalgamated Chess

Introduction

Amalgamated Chess was designed with the goal of incorporating ideas from other major Chess variants (such as Xiangqi, Shogi, and Chaturanga) with FIDE Chess, while not requiring any additional equipment to play. Many of the pieces' moves and names are based on historic precedents. This variant also incorporates the Xiangqi river, and uses it to change the gameplay in such a way as to dramatically favor offense. Finally, I incorporated rules to eliminate draws. I expect that the result will be a very fast-paced, aggressive game.

Cheesy Story

Once upon a time, in the same sort of land which all fairy tales take place in, there was a great regime, the Monochrome Kingdom, which ruled over all the lands, as far as the eye could see.

There was a King (as befits a kingdom) who had twin sons. The King's ancestors had united two lesser kingdoms, the Most Enlightened Sovereignty of Whiteness, and the Great Everlasting Regime of Blackness, into the Monochrome Kingdom. However, these provinces had an ancient ongoing feud, which had grown worse through time, so the King was forced to spend all of his time mediating and preventing conflicts between the two provinces of his kingdom.

As he was too busy doing all of this to raise his children, he split the two princes up, placing one in each province, to grow up there, with the hopes that these princes, raised separately, would, as rulers of these regions, then unite as brothers and forge an undying link of mutual love and understanding between the two states.

Predictably, the King died in a horseback riding accident, and was unable to communicate this dream to his children. As a result, the two princes grew up totally isolated from one another, and were each separately completely subverted to the cause of the province in which they had been raised.

The last thing that both provinces could agree on was the rule of the charming, but politically ingenuous Queen Regent. However, Her Majesty has passed away and the throne is now vacant. Both princes have become of age, and are equally eager to rule the entire Monochrome Kingdom...

...without the hassle of submitting to a co-regency, which would bestow equal power and privilege to the despicable other province's ruler.

Thus, war.

Setup

The two provinces are evenly divided by the Rubicon river (which is between the fourth and fifth ranks). To enter the opposing province to do battle, an army must cross this natural boundary. Tradition states that any combatant who has crossed the Rubicon to serve their province in war should be rewarded and honored for their courage and commitment. As a result, crossing this river is desirable, and doing so has played a significant role in every war between the two provinces. However, there is also a stigma against withdrawing over the river during war that removes the prestige.

(Any piece which moves over the river promotes, and any promoted piece moving back over the river demotes.)

Position the Most Enlightened Sovereignty of Whiteness (henceforth referred to as "White") and the Great Everlasting Regime of Blackness (hereafter styled as "Black") armies as in regular Chess. The alterations to the pieces' names and moves are described below. All pieces that are promoted gain the additional ability to move as Chess Kings.

Pieces

Prince (replaces Chess King): An enterprising young ruler who seeks to become sovereign over a united kingdom. He moves one space orthogonally. Upon crossing the River, he promotes to:

King: A self-proclaimed overlord of the united kingdom, who has proven his mettle by crossing the River. He moves as a Chess King.

An ancient tradition of unclear origin states that any man who aspires to rule as King by right of conquest must not leave the central districts of the provinces during the process of waging war. Doing so would indicate weakness and cowardice, and thus a lack of suitability to be the ruler of the land. (The Prince and King pieces may not leave the four center columns (C, D, E, and F) of the board.) Similarly, withdrawing over the Rubicon without having secured victory would be unseemly for a royal. (The King may not move back over the river; however, it still delivers check.)

Advisor (replaces Chess Queen): A high-ranking noble and experienced warrior who is second to his prince in authority over his province. He moves as a Chess Bishop. Upon taking the initiative to cross the River, he promotes to the General of the invading army.

Elephant (replaces Chess Bishop): A powerful animal employed by both provinces to trample everything in its path. It leaps two squares orthogonally or diagonally (as an Alfil or a Dabbabah). Upon crossing the river, it promotes to a War Elephant.

Horse (replaces Chess Knight): A fast-moving beast of burden that carries an armed warrior. It moves as a Chess Knight. Upon crossing the river, this piece promotes to a Knight.

Chariot (replaces Chess Rook): A quick wheeled conveyance carrying several well-armed warriors. It moves as a Chess Rook. Upon crossing the river, it promotes to a Flying Chariot.

Pawn: An ordinary fighting man. He moves as a Chess Pawn, but with no double step, and thus no en passant. Upon crossing the river he promotes to a Soldier.

Rules

The goal is to capture the opposing team's Prince. If a Prince crosses the river, however, he is deemed to be of Kingly stature. It is improper for any King to be subjected to capture; instead, he must be checkmated.

If a side is reduced to just its Prince, that side automatically loses, as a prince is nothing with no one to follow him. However, this is not true for a King, who retains the privilege of royal dignity and must be checkmated to be defeated.

If a side can only make a move that would subject its Prince to capture, it must do so, and if a Prince can be captured, the attacking player is obligated to make the move (thus, a Prince cannot be stalemated). However, a King can never move anywhere that would subject him to capture; thus he can be stalemated as in Chess.

All Chess rules regarding draws are observed as usual, except for the 50-move rule, which is changed to the following: If 50 consecutive moves are made by each player without either the capture of any piece, or the promotion of a Prince to a King, it is a draw.

Whenever a draw occurs, the play is ended and the value of all of each of the players' pieces on the board is counted up. The value of the pieces is as follows:

  • Flying Chariot - 13
  • War Elephant - 12
  • Knight - 12
  • General - 11
  • Chariot - 10
  • Advisor - 7
  • Soldier - 6
  • Horse - 6
  • Elephant - 5
  • King - 3
  • Pawn - 2
  • Prince - 0

After the value of the pieces are added up, Black receives an extra 2.5 points. The side that has more points wins.