or Courier Chess
By Flynn Leek
This is a fairly simple variant, though it adds a
layer of complexity while at the same time speeding up the game in a dramatic
fashion. It adds one new piece, the Courier, which is necessary to win.
Traditionally, Chess is best thought of as a
battlefield, with the goal of taking the enemy's commander, or reducing their
army to the point that surrender is the only option. This version instead
places the power of victory in the hands of a lone piece, charged with
crossing enemy lines at all costs.
Setup is standard as for normal Chess, with the
exception that a pawn of each player's choice becomes their Courier. (White must
place their Courier first, helping to offset their first move advantage a bit)
The Courier moves as a King; one space in any
direction. As it is a non-combatant, the rules of war dictate that it cannot
capture, and more importantly, cannot be captured. It does not gain an
extra space when it moves from it's starting position.
The Courier is moved at the beginning of
each player's turn, followed by the regular move. If the Courier cannot move,
then only the regular move is taken. If the Courier is pinned down, and no
other moves can be made, then the player must pass their turn.
|_C_|_p_|_ "Let me
It is important to note that the Courier places a
higher value upon the King's freedom than upon the goal, so standard rules
regarding Check apply. If it can break Check or Checkmate, then it must,
even if the game could be won upon that move, and even if it could be broken
by another piece moved that same turn that the player would prefer to use. The
Courier may not place the King in Check to win, Note that the Courier is not
obligated to wander all the way across the board to break up a Checkmate, only
to do so if it can be taken in one step.
Example: White cannot move off the board to
win, since it would place the King in Check.
Standard rules apply except where noted, though it
is easy to work Messenger Chess into another game.
Goal: To move your Courier off the
opposing edge of the board. While there is usually very little an opponent can
do once the final rank is reached, the distinction is important, as seen
below. Checkmate of the opposing King will no longer win the game, though it
is likely to lead to it.
an opponent's King is successfully Checkmated, then his regular pieces cannot
move until the Courier either wins or the Checkmate is broken somehow. A
frozen piece may still Check an opponent's King, and it is possible (though
Discovered Check) that a condition of Double Checkmate may occur.
The moving of two second-rank pieces at the same
time makes for some very fast openings, and most games will be won in what would
normally be the middle of a game. Having to protect your King, block any
openings to your back row, and maneuver your Courier closer to its goal makes
for some exciting strategy, as well as periodic bouts of panic.
This variant also 'plays well with others', good
for a nonstandard board or some other odd pieces to keek it company. One extremely
fast variant is to make all Pawns into Couriers. They can be captured, but if
any of them cross the board successfully, the game is over.
Standard Chess equipment can be used. Some way of designating the Courier
Pawn is needed.