Peter Aronson and Ben Good
The Golem piece is described in a small, cryptic entry for an Ultima variant called Bogart's Chess in Pritchard's Encyclopedia of Chess Variants. All the entry says is that the Golem only moves up to two squares, it captures by replacement, and that it must be captured twice to be removed from play. In Golem Chess, the Queens are replaced by Golem pieces, as we interpret them.
The rules of Golem Chess are identical to those of FIDE Chess, except that the Queens are replaced by Golems, and Pawns may promote to Golems in addition to Knights, Bishops, Rooks or Queens.
The Golem moves two squares in any direction, like a restricted Queen.
+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+ | |:::| |:::| |:::| | +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+ |:::| * |:::| * |:::| * |:::| +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+ | |:::| * |:*:| * |:::| | +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+ |:::| * |:*:| G |:*:| * |:::| +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+ | |:::| * |:*:| * |:::| | +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+ |:::| * |:::| * |:::| * |:::| +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+ | |:::| |:::| |:::| | +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
Restrictions on Golem Capture
There are restrictions on Golem (and Half-Golem) capture, designed to reduce the chance of Golems being exchanged. They are based on the restrictions on capturing Lions in Chu Shogi. The restrictions are:
- A Golem or Half-Golem may not capture an opposing Golem or Half-Golem if the opposing Golem or Half-Golem is two squares away and defended by a piece on its own side.
- If your opponent has on the immediately proceeding turn captured a Golem or Half-Golem of yours, you may not capture a Golem or Half-Golem belonging to your opponent, except with a Golem or Half-Golem of your own, subject to rule 1 above.
- A Golem or Half-Golem may always capture an adjacent Golem or Half-Golem.
- As an exception to rule 1 above, you may capture a defended Golem or Half-Golem two squares away with a Golem or Half-Golem if it is the only legal move you have.
1. d4 Nc6 2. Nf3 d5 3. Nc3 Nf6 4. e3 Bf5 5. Be2 e6 6. O-O Bd6 7. Nf3 Bg4 8. f3 Bh5 9. g4 g5 10. Ng2 Bg6 11. h4 h6 12. h5 Bh7 13. Bd2 Rg8 14. Be1 a6 15. Bf2 b5 16. a3 e5 17. d:e5 B:e5 18. Gd2 Ge7 19. Bd3 B:d3 20. c:d3 Bd6 21. e4 d4 22. Ne2 Ge5 23. b4 Be7 24. Gb2 O-O-O 25. Rc1 Rd6 26. Bg3 G:g3 27. N:g3=H Nd7 28. Kh1 Ne5 29. Ne1 f6 30. Rc2 Hh3+ 31. Kg1 Kb7 32. Rh2 Hg3+ 33. Kh1 Ka7 34. Rg1 Hf4 35. Rf2 Rd8 36. Gc2 Nf7 37. Ng2 Hg3 38. Rf1 Bd6 39. Ne1 Hh3+ 40. Kg1 Bg3 41. Rg2 B:e1 42. R:e1 H:f3 43. Rf1 H:f4 44. R:f4 g:f4 45. K:f2 Ne5 46. a4 N:g4 47. R:g4 R:g4 48. a:b5 a:b5 49. Gb3 Ne5 50. Ga3 N:d3+ 51. Kf3 Rg3+ 52. Ke2 Kb8 53. Ga5 Rg2+ 54. K:d3 Rg3+ 55. Kd2 Rg2+ 56. Kd3 Rg3+ 57. Ke2 d3 58. Kd2 Rg2+ 59. Kc3 Rc2+ 60. Kb3 Rb2+ 61. K:b2 Rg8 62. G:c7+ Ka8 63. Gb7++
This Chess variant actually came out of a discussion of Ultima variants between the authors. Peter Aronson had described all of the variant Ultima pieces he had found in Encyclopedia of Chess Variants, Ben Good commented that only the Golem seemed particularly interesting, and they discussed just what "captured twice" meant. Once they had the above rules, Ben commented the resulting piece could be used with FIDE Chess, although it might be rather dominating. This in turn led Peter to create Golem Chess to try it out, and Ben then proposed the adding the capture limitation rules from Chu Shogi.
According to Jewish legends, a Golem is a man made of clay, animated by mystical forces. The word golem comes from the Hebrew word gelem, meaning raw or unformed material.
Other Golem Pieces
All sorts of other Golem pieces are possible and interesting, of course. Harder to capture Golems, for example, such as triple or quadruple Golems that have to be captured three or four times, are possible (although this idea if extended far enough eventually turns into Ralph Betza's Hitpoint Chess 1). Differently moving Golems are also possible, of course. A R2 Golem might be more restrained than the Q2 used in this game, or a Knight-moving Golem would be a weakened version of an Iron Knight. A full Queen-moving Golem would almost certainly be too strong, since a King may not capture it, and it can not be defended against except by another Golem.
Golem Chess can be played with a normal Western Chess set, using rubber bands or checkers to distinguish Golems from Half-Golems from Queens (if present due to promotion).
An implementation of Golem Chess has been written for Zillions of Games. You can download it here:
Written by Peter Aronson.
WWW page created: March 12th, 2002.
WWW page revised: March 15th, 2002.