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The Chess Variant Pages

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pepperbeard wrote on 2006-11-12 UTCAverage ★★★
A while back, some friends and I brainstormed a variation we called
Machiavelli Chess:  Before play begins, each player randomly determines
which of his opponent's six nobles (bishop, knight, and rook on kingside
or queenside) he has subverted, but doesn't reveal it until he uses a
turn to turn the coat of that piece.  Then, he assumes complete control of
it.  The general consensus was that immediate checkmate by turncoat not be
allowed. ('The knife in your kidney is held by your most trusted

It's necessary to distinguish kingside nobles from queenside. For
face-to-face games, my idea was to paint a red stripe around the base of
each queen and each queenside noble, which wouldn't interfere with using
the set for orthodox play. A distinctive band could be used to mark the
turncoat. Dice or chits could be used for the random selection.

Another rule we discussed fits with the 'Machiavelli' designation:  The
king can escape check by eliminating one of his own pieces that blocks his

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