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This item is a game information page
It belongs to categories: Two dimensional, In a category all its own, Orthodox chess set but with different initial setups, Orthodox chess set but with special rules
It was last modified on: 2018-01-23
 By Zied  Haddad. Musketeer Chess. Adding 2 newly designed extra pieces. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
H. G. Muller wrote on 2020-06-30 UTC

Well, the author of that page is one of our new editors...

Jean-Louis Cazaux wrote on 2020-06-30 UTC

This page has several problems when displayed. I've tried both Safari and Firefox on a Mac Book and the result is really too bad. Also the rules are not all given: for instance the placement rules are not given. Instead there is a link to an external website ... where several diagrams are not displaying either. I suggest that this page is improved when possible.

H. G. Muller wrote on 2020-06-11 UTC
satellite=musketeer files=8 ranks=10 graphicsDir=/membergraphics/MSelven-chess/ whitePrefix=w blackPrefix=b graphicsType=png squareSize=34 useMarkers=1 maxPromote=1 promoZone=2 promoChoice=QMACSELFHURNB symmetry=mirror firstRank=0 autoGate=1 enableAI=2 hole::::a0-h0 pawn::::a2-h2 unicorn::NC:::1 hawk::ADGH:falcon::1 fortress::B3DvN:tower::1 elephant::KAD:::1 leopard::B2N:::1 cannon::KDsN:::1 archbishop:::::1 chancellor:M::::1 spider::B2ND:crownedrook::1 dragon:D:QN:dragon::1 knight:N:::b1,g1 bishop::::c1,f1 rook::::a1,h1 queen::::d1 king::::e1

Click on the name of a piece to see its move diagram

The autoGate option

I added a new option to the Interactive Diagram, to make it possible to use brouhaha squares also for Musketeer-style gating. This is mainly an AI thing: in the manual use of the diagram it was already possible to drag the pieces that should be gated from the brouhaha square where you put it to the board as a separate move. The design choice of not enforcing any turn order in the diagram was made precisely do allow that kind of double moving. The only thing that changes here by specifying autoGate=1 is that highlighting of the normal moves the piece has from the brouhaha square is suppressed on the extreme ranks.

But when the AI has to think ahead it has of course to know that the pieces are gated as side effect of any move of the piece in front of it. And the AI should not kinck in when the user has moved his back-rank piece before he had time to also perform the accompanied gating. This should now also work.

The Musketeer Chess demo

The diagram above gives a reasonable representation of Musketeer Chess, taking into account that we are not dealing with a program dedicated to a specific variant, but merely with an 'electronic chess board' intended to be a virtual representation of your woodware board at home. That it can indicate the pseudo-legal moves of the pieces you grab is merely an aid to the memory, which in chess variants can be pretty useful.

To use the above diagram as a Musketeer Chess demo, you can drag the selected Musketeer pieces from the piece table to the gating ranks. You would have to do that for both sides; the generic AI only knows how to push chess pieces over a board, and doesn't support any variant-specific stuff like selecting gating squares. After you placed the pieces, you can start the AI and play against it.

Zied Haddad wrote on 2019-08-27 UTCGood ★★★★

Hi, it's always good to hear criticism. And i think you've got it right.

Personally i give you the pieces i much like when playing Musketeer Chess: Hawk, Unicorn +++ and my favorite is the Archbishop combining Bishop and Knight abilities. I much like sacrificing my Queen for an Archbishop !!


Musketeer Chess idea was to get rid of the big amount of draws and also opening learning (long theoretical lines). The idea is also to give black a more important role by deciding the final combination of pieces, adapting his strategy to white's choice which will lower for sure the importance of white's advantage as the side who begins the game; But this needs for sure a precise play.


You pointed out the fact that the Board is overcrowded. Of course it becomes a problem if you choose to gate you r pieces whithout a prior clear strategy and this will hamper you from exploiting the huge potential of the new pieces.


The newly added pieces are strong and they bring so much excitment and tactics from the first move ! So the slightest lack of attention can be punished (more spectacular wins) but also if you lower your attention even with a huge material advantage on the board, your opponent can surprise you and mate you using the newest pieces whom some can mate alone.


Yes, Musketeer Chess is not a perfect game, but Classic Chess became mostly a game of "knowledge" and opening learning and is for sure less attractive for average kids and players that want to improve their level but are frustrated by this learning.

Elite tournaments are less spectacular and games most usually finish with draws.

Aurelian Florea wrote on 2019-05-23 UTC

I played some musketeer chess games, and I'm still playing one against Erik. I always was uncomfortable with the board crowding and I think I figured out why. Most of the added pieces fork to easily and that is painfully and frankly bad design. To be honest there is not much to be added on an 8x8 as far as I can see as the classic pieces of tamerlane and shatraj are many time to weak and uninteresting and the others, like in musketeer are game breaking. CWDA has a different approach and there are definitely cool ideas using orthodox material. But otherwise the orthodox game is kinda the best!...

Ebinola wrote on 2017-11-14 UTCGood ★★★★

IMO One of the better contemporary variants out there, featuring a great mashup of fairy pieces old and new. Where s-chess allows for a far more sly strategy concerning the pieces in hand, musketeer chess respects the integrity of chess’ perfect information by having players pre-determine their drops. My only critique would be my concern towards the inevitability of the piece roster expanding. Will the future second and third series pieces be welcomed updates, or will they sour the game as it stands? I can’t really say. As a commercial variant though, it is fair to say that musketeer chess, and the ‘Modern Chess Variants’ project in general, is highly ambitious.

I was approached by Dr. Haddad to write an introductory article to musketeer chess. It details my experiences and developed theories playing the game, plus some basic endgames and even an interview with the creator himself. Check it out, if you’d like! 

John Vehre wrote on 2016-12-21 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

I have had a chance to start 4 or 5 games using this variant.  I think it is an excellent game and has great potential for further development. Theoretically a game could be played with any piece ever thought up for chess variants and the wide variety of potential pieces reminds me of Navia Drapt, an oriental chess-like game, from a few years ago.  One would just have to make up a suitable piece to represent the desired piece. The game is similar to some ways to Seirawan chess, but the resticted deployment of the reserve pieces does add tricks and traps to the openings.  For instance I lost this quick little game White Hawk c0, Archbishop g1 Black Hawk f9 Archbishop b9.  1 d4 d5 2 Bg5/Hc1 Nf6 3 Hc3 Nc6/Ab8 4 Hc5 and black already is losing a piece! There is no defense against Hxf8 taking both the bishop and the Hawk deploying behind it.  The boards are easy to use although the 3D version is a little touchy and I prefer entering moves on the 2D version.

As far as new additional pieces that might be introduced, I would suggest pieces like the Shogi Horse and Dragon, maybe a King/Man and Knight combo, and a reflecting bishop or Horse, which was an interesting piece from Navia Dratp.  I like the chess-like feel and would not necessarily recommend changing the pawns.

Doug wrote on 2016-12-19 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

Hi Zied!

Any update on when we might see alternate pawn pieces? Any chance they'll be available in the the first quarter of 2017?

Chris Chradle wrote on 2016-10-28 UTCGood ★★★★

Hi Zied Haddad!

You pointed out, that you are searching for an alternative to the ordinary F.I.D.E. pawn. Are you still searching? I have an proposal for you. First of all, I think you should change the movement of the pawn. If not, there's not really a big difference between your variant and Seiravan chess.

At first, let's look at some alternatives from other chess variants. The most basic pawn of fairy chess is the Berolina Pawn. While the F.I.D.E. Pawn takes diagonal and moves orthogonal, for the Berolina pawn it's exactly the other way around: It moves diagonal and takes orthogonal.

There is also the Eurasian Pawn. It combines the abilities of the "Western" Pawn and the Chinese Pawn.

M. Winther invented the Scorpion Pawn. This pawn moves like the ordinary pawn with the addition that it also can move like a wide knight forward. So a Scorpion Pawn on d4 can move to d5 or take on c5 and e5 and additionally can go to b5 and f5. By the way my proposal resembles a bit this type of pawn.

When you want to develop a pawn for your chess variant, you at first have to make sure, that it fits to your chessvariant. Every chessvariant has its idea. The idea of Gothic Chess is that there is not only a combination out of Bishop an Rook (the Queen), the combination out of Rook and Knight (the Chancelor) and the combination out of Bishop and Knight (the Arcbishop) are introduced, too. The idea of Wildbeest Chess is, that there is not only a colorbound Rook (the Bishop), but also a colorbound Knight (the Camel). Ecumenical Chess is just a combination out of both ideas.

What is the idea of musketeer chess? I think it should be a variant, where the opening plays like in F.I.D.E. chess, but the midgame and the endgame should differ from that. The result should be, that the game becomes less drawish. I propose to use a pawn, that can move like an ordinary F.I.D.E. Pawn with the addition that it can take like a wide knight backward. Note that at the first move,it can only move like the ordinary F.I.D.E. Pawn.

What is the impact on strategy? Note that, when black has an half open c-file and white has a pawn on c2, it isn't really a backward pawn, when white has still a pawn on e3. An isolated pawn on d4 is not really isolated, when white is able to put a pawn on f5. We have to clarify, if such a pawn can take on the first row. If it is possible a passed pawn on e7 is not really a thread, if black has still a pawn on c7. After e7-e8Q black can simply play c7xe8. If the a file is open and white plays Ra1xRa8 black can play c7xa8. Should a pawn on the first row still have the option of the double step when it moves to the second row? It also could be possible that this pawn has a triple step from the first row.

When the pawn takes like a white knight backward, is it allowed to take en passant? If so, after black has moved a7-a5 a white pawn on c7 can just move c7xa6 e.p.

I think this is a pawn, that fits your variant. But it's just a proposal, you are the inventor, you make the rules. =)



Fergus Duniho wrote on 2015-12-21 UTC
Leopard leaps as a Knight or moves as a Bishop up to two spaces.

Cannon moves as Dabbabah, Wide Knight, or King.

Unicorn moves as Knight or Camel.

Dragon = Amazon

Chancellor: R+N

Archbishop: B+N

Elephant moves as King, Dabbabah, or Shatranj Elephant

Hawk leaps two or three spaces diagonally or orthogonally.

Fortress leaps as Narrow Knight or Dabbabah or moves as a Bishop up to three spaces.

Spider leaps as Knight or Dabbabah or moves as a Bishop up to two spaces. Spider = Leopard + Dabbabah.

Barry wrote on 2015-11-28 UTC
Main idea is still just steal from Seirawan (extra pieces appear when regular pieces move off of first row) with pieces that you renamed from other games without crediting. And is not good manners to rate your own game good. And if you want new pawns, "corporeal" is an adjective means "having a physical body" and would not be good name for piece.

Zied Haddad wrote on 2015-11-27 UTCGood ★★★★
This is not Seirawan Chess. You have to take a look at the rules. Leopard moves like a Knight and Bishop. But Bishop moves are limited to 2 squares which makes it a far less strong pieces than the Hawn in Seirawan Chess. This rules better fits 8x8 boards.

The Cannon got a newly published rules.

The pieces are commercial

Barry wrote on 2015-11-27 UTCPoor ★
Oh no. This is Seirawan chess with other already invented pieces, not original idea, ideas not credited (for example, Wildebeest Chess used piece here called "Unicorn" long time ago; Mastodon chess used "Elephant"; other pieces are also just renames.) And Spider is just slightly weak subset of Fortress, not interesting.

Jörg Knappen wrote on 2015-11-26 UTC

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