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This page is written by the game's inventor, Luiz Campos.

Afterlife Chess

By Luiz Carlos Campos


          In the eyes of the Egyptians, the afterlife was much more complex than the earthly life. You walked a long way until judgment, and if your fate was bad, my, was it bad . . . This chess variant, designed for the 42 square contest, tries to capture a little of that spirit.

General Rules

          The rules of Afterlife Chess are identical to those of FIDE Chess, except where noted otherwise. For any ambiguous points, refer to Rule Zero.

          One general difference from FIDE Chess is that you are allowed to capture your own pieces, not just opposing pieces.

The Boards and the Layout

          There are four boards in Afterlife chess:

  1. The World: This board is a 4x7 rectangle. Most action occurs here. Columns are named a through d. Ranks are numbered 1 through 7. The pieces are laid out as following:
       7 |:w:| p |:h:| w |   
       6 | s |:s:| s |:s:|   
       5 |:::|   |:::|   |   
       4 |   |:m:| m |:::|   
       3 |:::|   |:::|   |   
       2 | S |:S:| S |:S:|   
       1 |:W:| H |:P:| W |   
           a   b   c   d   
    Pharaoh (P): c1
    High Priest (H): b1
    Warrior (W): a1, d1
    Slave (S): a2, b2, c2, d2
    Pharaoh (p): b7
    High Priest (h): c7
    Warrior (w): a7, d7
    Slave (s): a6, b6, c6, d6
    Mercenaries (m): b4, c4
    If a Black or White piece is captured on this board, it goes to Limbo.
  2. The Limbo: Pieces captured in the World always come to this 1x1 square board, capturing any piece that is already here. After their owner's first movement after they're in Limbo, they may proceed to their Destiny. If a piece is captured in Limbo, it Ceases to Exist.
         |:::| Limbo
  3. The Twelve Hours of the Night -- this board is shaped like a bone and has four columns, named alpha, beta, gamma and delta. Alpha and delta have three ranks, 1 through 3, while the others have only one rank, number 2. In the beginning of the game, there are four Gray pieces on the board: Sethlings, at alpha 1, alpha 3, delta 1 and delta 3. A piece captured in this board Ceases to Exist.
         +---+       +---+   
       3 |:e:|       | e |   
       2 |   |:::|   |:::|   
       1 |:e:|       | e |   
         +---+       +---+   
           a   b   g   d   
           l   e   a   e   
           p   t   m   l   
           h   a   m   t   
           a       a   a   
    Sethlings (e): alpha-1, alpha-3, delta-1, delta-3
  4. The Hall of Truth -- this board is a 1x5 corridor, with only column H and ranks 1 through 5.
       5 |:::| Feather of Ma'at
       4 |   |
       3 |:::|
       2 |   |
       1 |:::| Entrance
    The important features of this board are three:

  5. All pieces move like a Wazir in this board (one step forward or back), but can capture either as a Wazir or as a Dabbabah (a leap of two squares forward or back, possibly passing over a friendly or opposing piece in the lept over square);
  6. Square H1 is the Entrance, and all pieces coming from Limbo or The Twelve Hours of the Night are dropped here, capturing any piece occupying this space;
  7. In square H5 lies the Feather of Ma'at, and any piece that occupies this square may be dropped in any empty square of the World, in a move called Reincarnation. This spends one's move.
  8. As in Limbo and the Twelve Hours, pieces captured here Cease to Exist.

The Destiny

          When a piece leaves Limbo, where it goes depends on what it was in life. If it's the High Priest, it always goes to the Hall of Truth. If it's a Slave, it always goes to the Twelve Hours of the Night. If it's a Warrior or the Pharaoh, it goes to the Hall of Truth if it captured any piece during its last passage in the World. Otherwise, it goes to the 12 Hours.

          Pieces going to the Hall of Truth are always dropped on the Entrance. Pieces going to the Twelve Hours must be dropped in an empty square. If there aren't any, tough luck, the piece Ceases to Exist. Both drops are instantaneous and do not require a move.

Gray Pieces

          Any player can move (or capture) a gray piece, but gray pieces can never capture other gray pieces. Moving a gray piece spends one's turn. The gray pieces are:

Normal Pieces

          They are the following:


          There is still a way out for a piece in the Twelve Hours, albeit a tough one. Whenever a piece is the sole occupant of the Twelve Hours, it is immediately dropped on the Entrance of the Hall of Truth. This does not require a move, but killing the Sethlings and other enemies (and allies!) is a chore by itself and probably required a lot of moves. After this happens, the 12 Hours is instantly reset, that means, the four Sethlings are repositioned on squares alpha 1, alpha 3, delta 1 and delta 3.


          Is this complicated? I hope not. Anyway, this is my first major chess variant. Whether or not it's playable is an issue I haven't really addressed, but the idea is neat . . .

Written by Luiz Carlos Campos. HTML Conversion by Peter Aronson.
WWW page created: July 29th, 2002.