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This page is written by the game's inventor, Jason Wittman.


On the field of battle, two mighty forces clash...

This is a chess variant designed for the 41 Square Contest sponsored by the Chess Variants Website. Equestrian Chess is designed by Jason D. Wittman, author of Tile Chess (published by Steve Jackson Games), Mad Chess (an entry in the 100 Square Contest), and Knight Court (believed by the author to be the smallest possible chess variant).

Equestrian Chess uses a diamond-shaped board. Most of the squares are either yellow or green, but there are also two blue squares and two purple squares. It is upon these squares that players may re-enter pieces that have been captured.

The players face each other from the north and south corners of the diamond. Each player has one Flying Empress, one Scythe-Wielder, one Monk, one Leper, one Warmaster, and four Mercenaries. The Flying Empress occupies the corner square in the first row. The second row contains, from left to right, Scythe-Wielder, Leper, and Warmaster. In the third row, the Monk occupies the center square, with two Mercenaries on either side.

The following diagram shows the initial array. The white pieces are represented by capital letters, the black pieces by lower case letters. (Mercenaries are represented by the letter c in order avoid confusion with the Monk.)


















































































Now to explain how the pieces move:


Tall, beautiful, with snow-white wings, she is the crux of the battle.

The Flying Empress is the royal piece of Equestrian Chess. She moves and captures like a normal chess king, but she can also capture like a bishop. Though this ability is seldom used, it can be a handy safety valve.


The infantry of Equestrian Chess.

Mercenaries are analogous to pawns. They move one square orthogonally, capture one square diagonally. They are never promoted.

What follows are the major pieces of Equestrian Chess. Though they each have distinguishing features, they all share two characteristics. First, they all move like knights (but they NEVER capture that way). Second, when they are captured, their owner may, instead of moving on a turn, replace a captured piece on a certain square. The white player may replace her captured pieces on either of the two purple squares (provided they are empty), while the black player may replace his pieces on the two blue squares. (It should be emphasized that Mercenaries do not have this ability. Once they’re gone, they’re gone.)


A haunting, shadowy figure, wielding a scythe, she is the most terrifying force on the battlefield.

The Scythe-Wielder moves like a knight, and captures like a queen.


Silent, contemplative, the Monk is the weakest of the major pieces.

The Monk moves like a knight, captures like a king.


Though sickly, she can still be devastating.

The Leper moves like a knight, captures like a bishop.


Militaristic, heavily armored, she is second only to the Scythe-Wielder herself in terms of power.

The Warmaster moves like a knight, captures like a rook.

Equestrian Chess has been playtested using Zillions of Games. Both sides have a roughly equal chance of winning. Games usually last around 50-70 moves.

Written by Jason D. Wittman.

WWW page created: March 29, 2001.