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The Duke of Rutland's Chess

John Gollon, well known by chess variant enthousiasts for his book on chess variants, now unfortunately out of print, was working on a second book on chess variants. Also unfortunately, this second book was never published. Gollon has sent some materials from a draft of the book to Eric Greenwood (in 1976): the description given here is based on part of these writings by Gollon, and on the description of this game from The Encyclopedia of Chess Variants.

This game was invented by John, third Duke of Rutland (from England), in 1747. The game was most propagated by Sir Abraham Janssen, and it enjoyed some popularity in the years after its invention till his death in 1763. Sir Abraham Janssen taught the game to Philidor (by far the strongest chess player of that time), who played this game, offering soon other good chess players a knights odd and still beating them.


The game is played on a checkered board with 10 rows and 14 columns. The left corners at each players side are dark colored. In addition to the normal pieces of a chess game, a player has two crowned rooks, a concubine, one additional knight, two additional bishops and six additional pawns. The opening setup is as follows: