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Courier Chess. A large historic variant from Medieval Europe. (12x8, Cells: 96) (Recognized!)[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Anthony Viens wrote on Mon, Sep 3, 2018 06:25 AM UTC:Good ★★★★

The historicity of this variant vastly increases it's's possible this is the beginning of pawn's double move, and the first appearance of a diagonal slider.  Very important.

Kevin Pacey wrote on Thu, Mar 1, 2018 07:40 AM UTC:Excellent ★★★★★

A great historic variant. Games may last a large number of moves, but the slow pace may prove heavenly for some players.

Zombienomicon Eisege wrote on Sat, Jul 30, 2016 10:29 PM UTC:Excellent ★★★★★

We play that the pawn is "elevated" ie ennobled, and becomes the "courtier" or "man".

Joseph Ruhf wrote on Tue, Apr 28, 2015 12:44 AM UTC:
I can imagine that a "square Courier" assize did ultimately arise out of this game, but not such as H. G. Muller proposes, due to the influence of the free-sliding Courier piece and the perceived clumsiness of the 12x8 board and the statutory opening moves. One way I imagine that this arose is that first the Elephants and their files were dropped from the game, but their move was compounded with that of the Commoner, Schleich and Queen. Very soon subsequently, the statutory opening moves changed into optional initial moves of the same pieces. Now made mostly redundant by her new natural double step, the Queen's optional first move quietly fell into disuse and the restriction on which three Pawns were initially permitted a double step option fell into disuse along with it.
Finally, the redundant Queen and Schleich and their files were removed and the Queen's name transferred to the Commoner. The other way is that first it was the redundant Queen and Schleich and their files which were removed and the Queen's name was transferred to the Commoner. As in the first progression, the statutory opening moves very soon changed into optional initial moves of the same pieces. Next, the Elephants and their files were dropped from the game, but their move was compounded with that of the Queen. Finally, now made mostly redundant by her new natural double step, the Queen's optional first move quietly fell into disuse and the restriction on which three Pawns were initially permitted a double step option fell into disuse along with it.

John Ayer wrote on Wed, Mar 31, 2010 12:31 AM UTC:
This game is documented from 1202, Grande Acedrex only from 1283, so this is earlier.

Anonymous wrote on Tue, Mar 30, 2010 01:54 PM UTC:
Good game. From our century it looks like hybrid of modern and ancient
chess, altrough it's not.
By the way, when this game was invented?
Move of modern already was in game Grande Acedrex (this piece's name was
crocdile), and they already was adjecent to king and piece, wich replaced
queen (griffon).
So which game used this piece first?

Yu Ren Dong wrote on Tue, Jul 7, 2009 02:53 PM UTC:

Alexander Krutikov wrote on Mon, Jan 5, 2009 06:32 PM UTC:
What's interesting is that in the standard setup the Rooks are able to move to the 3rd rank the first turn and be quite active that way.

H. G. Muller wrote on Mon, Dec 29, 2008 02:57 PM UTC:
Indeed, very good observation! There are just so many details in Courier that reek of modern Chess (or its known precurser with a 'sane Queen', moving as a Commoner) that it can hardly be dismissed as just coincidence.

John Ayer wrote on Mon, Dec 29, 2008 01:16 AM UTC:
Splendid thought about the two-square pawn move. I wish it were mine!

Jose Carrillo wrote on Sun, Dec 28, 2008 03:26 PM UTC:
I also want to add to Muller's theory that Courier Chess' initial forced 2-step pawn moves might have inspired the same move for all the pawns in Orthodox Chess.

Jose Carrillo wrote on Mon, Dec 22, 2008 12:31 AM UTC:
H.G. Muller,

I so much liked your 'missing link' theory that I quoted it in my Courier Chess Moderno CV page on my latest variation of Courier Chess.

Hope you don't mind.

🕸Fergus Duniho wrote on Sat, Dec 20, 2008 11:26 PM UTC:
I agree. Muller's theory makes sense.

Jose Carrillo wrote on Sat, Dec 20, 2008 09:39 PM UTC:Excellent ★★★★★

I love H. G. Muller's missing link theory! Actually makes sense! Even if it's not the case, makes for a nice little story to tell about this game.

This story goes well with the 1508 painting.

Jose Carrillo wrote on Sat, Dec 20, 2008 08:29 PM UTC:
New Game Courier Preset for 'Courier Chess':

H. G. Muller wrote on Wed, Oct 15, 2008 06:25 PM UTC:
Standard Staunton-style piece set for this game:

David Paulowich wrote on Tue, Jun 24, 2008 11:58 PM UTC:

The Alfil is a very weak piece indeed. I substituted an Elephant in my 10x10 variant Shatranj Kamil X, moving exactly like the Chained Padwar in JETAN (Martian Chess). This nonleaping piece moves to the same squares as an Alibaba.

Nuno Cruz wrote on Tue, Jun 24, 2008 09:26 PM UTC:Excellent ★★★★★
I love this game! It is by itself a very interesting and entertaining
Some people have proposed modifications to it in order to become a more
modern game. The only modifications I would make it would be to change the
Alfil to Alibaba, to increase this almost 'stupid' piece to one with a
slight wider range. It could now hit 1/4 of the board, with Couriers 1/2
and rooks the hole! ;)

George Duke wrote on Thu, Jan 24, 2008 08:34 PM UTC:
From the 13th Century and the 1995/1996 interface, Courier's on 8x12,
already having the modern Bishop, has thirteen(13) bounces possible, when
overlaying the Billiards Mutator from mid-20th Century. For convenience,
put the Courier on c2. Then c2-b1-(bounce)a2-(bounce)-b3-c4-d5-e6-f7-g8-
Someone can easily systematize this formulaically -- provided of course that Leonhard Euler has not already so much as looked at the problem.

h.g.muller wrote on Thu, Feb 16, 2006 11:14 AM UTC:Excellent ★★★★★
Could it be that this game is on the direct line of the evolution from Shatranj to orthodox FIDE Chess? It seems a nice 'missing link', with all Shatranj pieces still present, but introducing a modern piece in the form of the Couriers. Especially if this game was popular it might have spread the fame of the modern Bishop, so that people that did not happen to have the clumsy 8x12 board around but just the old fashioned 8x8 might have decided on playing a more exciting game of 'mini-Courier' rather than that slow and boring Shatranj, throwing out the weakest pieces of Courier Chess: the Alfils and Wazir (Sleich). I can even imagine that they sacrificed the weaker Ferz for the Commoner (Man), using the latter as Queen. After all, the Man was already standing next to the King (at the correct side!). This would have provided the first step of the evolution of the Queen to her modern form, adding orthogonal directions to here move repertoire. Replacing one piece by another in a popular game is quite a big step, since conservatism will bias people against the relatively unknown newcomer. But if one shrinks a popular game to a smaller board out of necessity, a concious decision has to be made which piece to keep, and the pieces compete on an equal footing!

Charles Gilman wrote on Thu, Apr 1, 2004 04:14 PM UTC:Good ★★★★
The most famous of all military couriers was Phidippides, who ran with a message from the battle of Marathon. It is his achievement that is honoured and mimicked in the sporting Marathon. If these details were added to this page it might help get it into the Themed Variants list.

Nuno Cruz wrote on Mon, Dec 29, 2003 04:23 PM UTC:Good ★★★★
This is not publicity 'cause I really don't earn any money with it.. but you can try out my courier chess variant COURIER DE LA DAMA presented on this pages, or even the MODERN COURIER CHESS by Paul Byway, on the british chess variant pages... Try them out an tell me what you think! :-)

Charles Gilman wrote on Sat, Jun 14, 2003 07:53 AM UTC:Good ★★★★
The array in this game must be of fairly similar total strength to standard modern Chess, as it differs in lacking a Queen usually valued at 9 Pawns, but has 9 extra short-range pieces, including Pawns. However the relative power as the game progresses depends on the promotion rule. If it is as thought most likely Courier will start to lag behind the modern game. On the other hand allowing promotion to any piece would mean that each quarter of all Pawns to be promoted could generate 3 Rooks, a good parallel to 2 Queens. Of course a variant with the Bachelor Chess rules (see small variants) of promotion to modern Queen and win by marriage would be interestingly different.

bob wrote on Mon, Mar 17, 2003 12:07 AM UTC:Excellent ★★★★★
it is great!

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