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This item is a game information page
It belongs to categories: Orthodox chess, 
It was last modified on: 2007-10-05
 By (zzo38) A.  Black. Bland Chess. Chess with no diagonal moves. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Charles Gilman wrote on 2010-08-05 UTC
The idea of using dice to vary what moves are available would be most interesting applied to a 4-player variant with one player using the Pawn, one the Yeoman (Berolina Pawn), one the Point (Foot Soldier), and one the Cross (Stone General). The players with the divergent pieces would have the obvious advantage unrestricted, but who'd gain most with the dice added?

George Duke wrote on 2010-08-03 UTC
Like Bland Chess, ''Bishops are immobile'' in Frolov's subvariant of Monochromatic Chess from an article, The reasons are different though overlapping: the Black brothers' Bland for no diagonal allowed, reverse Monochromatic for the required colour-switching Frolov describes. In reverse Monochromatic, Pawns can never use their f.i.d.e. two-step, which is too much trouble for them to delete official rules.

Daniil Frolov wrote on 2010-08-03 UTC
What about this variant: throw dice (or coin) to chose, wich moves (orthogonal or diagonal) are allowed. If played with Carrera-like set (maybe, with maharjas), variant with 3 separate kinds of moves (orthogonal, diagonal or kight's leap) is possible.
Here it's intersting to combine pawns, berolina pawns, shogi pawns, stone generals and iron generals.
Checkmate rules must be chosen from other variants with dice (for example: 1. Win by capturing king; 2. Make any move when in check. 3. Throw dice for next turn).

George Duke wrote on 2008-07-28 UTCGood ★★★★
Bishops cannot move at all, and Pawn cannot capture. King is royal Wazir. The brother's opposite Sharp Chess permits only diagonal moves. So, in Sharp Chess, Pawns can only capture, and Rook cannot move. How to expand Rules minimally-aesthetically to make it playable? Stipulate cannibal Pawns, still unable to move as such -- no orthogonal allowed at all -- may capture backwards diagonally too. That would be the correct completion of Sharp Chess. Then the opening strategy would be Pawn capture(s) of own back-rank piece (frozen Rook likely candidate), Pawn takes own Pawn probably couple of times too rather early, and then everything opens up fine for normal-enough development. Nice game Sharp ''all-diagonal'' Chess.

(zzo38) A. Black wrote on 2007-10-08 UTC
OK, I think I fixed the problem now.

Abdul-Rahman Sibahi wrote on 2007-10-08 UTC
Ok .. I do think there's a mistake in the problem. The only legal move for Uppercase is 1.e8(R,B,N) .. Whatever piece it promotes to, it can be captured by the Queen or the Rook, resulting in stalemate = draw.

I would suggest promotion to a Bishop. Threatening stalemate. But I can't see how white can avoid loss even afterwards.

Gary Gifford wrote on 2007-10-08 UTC
I believe I know the answer... but, will not spoil it for others.

(zzo38) A. Black wrote on 2007-10-08 UTC
See the chess problem I added to this page. I wonder how many people can figure it out, or if someone thinks there is a mistake in the problem.

Gary Gifford wrote on 2007-10-07 UTC
A pre-set can be found here:


and will be submitted through the normal channels shortly.

Gary Gifford wrote on 2007-10-07 UTC
I will make a preset for Bland Chess. I understood why you used a regular set. In fact, I played it on a normal Fide set. But at times I wanted to move a Bishop, or move the Queen diagonally.. etc. so I thought a different piece set would make it much easier. Best regards, g

zzo38 wrote on 2007-10-07 UTC
Yes, you can make a preset of this game if you want, using the different icons for some pieces if you want to (such as rooks instead of queen, blocks instead of bishops, etc). But this rules page I wrote uses normal chess pieces because it is a modest variant that can be played using standard equipment with few rule changes.

Gary Gifford wrote on 2007-10-06 UTCGood ★★★★
I just played a game of Bland Chess against myself and must give it an initial rating of 'good' as the game stands now.  Due to the diagonal restrictions I do highly recommend the following:  (a) replace Bishops with Blocks that can't move  (b) replace Queen with Rook (or maybe a Knight?)  (c) Replace King with Wazir.  (d) replace pawn images to represent the non-diagonal capable pawns.  The reason for all this in a pre-set is to make the game more user friendly.  For example... when I just played it I would occasionally want to make a diagonal move.  Correct images would discourage that illegal nature.

What I found:  (1) The Knights, as one would expect, become wonderful pieces...  This game can really emphasize the value of the Knight... good Knight play is crucial in this game. (2) The central traffic jam I expected did not take place.  Knights and Rooks could tear into the pawns because it is hard to defend 8 pawns that can't capture or protect.  (3) When one just thinks about the game, it does seem like it would be bland... but when you actually play it it seems to be rather interesting and a bit fun.  So it seems we have here, another example of 'Green Eggs and Ham.'  We need to try it before complaining about it.  We just might like it.

(zz038) A. Black - If you want I will make a pre-set for this... but if so, I would like to substitute piece images with ones that correspond to correct ortho movement... otherwise the brain keeps slipping back into chess mode.  I believe once people play your game they will see it in a whole different light.  Some may even rate it 'Excellent.'  Best regards, g

Joe Joyce wrote on 2007-10-06 UTC
First, my apologies to Gary, for misrepresenting his game: I'd remembered his pillars as immobile, when actually they are Medusae, and immobilizers. Thank you, Abdul-Rahman, for a better example. [And I think everyone here would think the vast majority of chessplayers are too narrow-minded.] Doug, you might look at Separate Realms Chess; it's probably not exactly what you're looking for, but it's an excellent idea with elements of what you're asking about. Another game similar to what you're looking for is/was Dada, by Abdul-Rahman Sibahi. His entire army is colorbound, but half of each army is on white squares, the other half of each on black. We played a game, during which he discussed possibly changing it. Other than those two, I can't think of any.

Doug Chatham wrote on 2007-10-05 UTC

'Bland Chess' seems to me to be an unfortunate name. If Taxicab weren't taken, I'd suggest 'Taxicab Chess' since the rules remind me of taxicab geometry. Unfortunately, I don't have a better alternative. ('SNEW Chess'? 'Straight and Narrow Chess'?)

Is there a variant where the pieces are only permitted to move to, say, white squares? (I suppose there have to be an extra rule to force the White King off its black square so it could be threatened.)

Abdul-Rahman Sibahi wrote on 2007-10-05 UTC
A better example Joe could've provided is Monochromic Chess, where all piece must land on the same color of the square they started from; i.e. Knights can't move. It's a famous fairy condition in problems. A pretty implementation of this rule into a game is Alice Liliputian Monochromic Chess (not sure about the order of adjectives) by, I guess, Peter Aronson. Check it out.

I don't think Bland Chess is the reason Chess players hate Chess Variants. I think the real reason is Bughouse, and that they are too narrow minded.

Gary Gifford wrote on 2007-10-05 UTC
A few comments: (1) We still see a diagonal component in the Knights moving, so the absence of diagonal movements is not complete. To maintain the non-diagonal aspect it seems the Knights should move like War Machines with one leap forward or sideways. (2) Since Bishops can't move, why not remove the C and F files? Do that and kill 2 more cells and you have yourself an entry for 46 squares contest (3) Since Queens can only move like Rooks, why not have no Queen and have 3 Rooks per side? (4)In regard to Joe's comment about a non-moving piece precedent set in Pillar's of Medusa, no, that is not the case. That scenario is not at all related to the immobile bishops in bland chess. All pieces move in PoM... it is just that Medusas can freeze (turn to stone) pieces... enemy pieces cannot move while under the Medusa's influence. (5)Some players used to promote pawns to 'Dead Wood' which could not move.... (6) To sum up Bland Chess... I'd recommend a make over: (a) 3 rooks / no queen... (b) no bishops-no c and f files, except after a renaming (c) no knights, but 2 War Machines (d) 46 squares to get a contest game... and if you want to keep this variant, then call the other '46 Square Bland Chess' or perhaps, 'Bland Chess 46'... Just a few ideas. Best regards, Gary P.S. With no diagonal elements I suspect a massive jam up near the center.

Charles Daniel wrote on 2007-10-05 UTCPoor ★
Bland chess? 
And we wonder why chess players avoid chess variants!

Joe Joyce wrote on 2007-10-05 UTC
Hey, Joshua. A little too bland for you? Well, there's historical precedent in non-moving pieces - see Gary Gifford's Pillars of Medusa. His other pieces worked okay, though. 
Could I propose Blander Chess, where the orthogonal move is not allowed? Pawns would not be able to move except to capture. Rooks and knights, not having a diagonal move, would be stationary. And then there's Blandest Chess, where only leapers may move. We could call that 'The Four Knights Game'. Oh, thinking about the possible moves, I have the last two names [Blander and Blandest] the wrong way around. 
Is this too modest a variant? Maybe.

Joshua Morris wrote on 2007-10-05 UTC
Is this a joke? I ask because of the name... and because the line 'The bishops cannot move at all in this game' cracked me up. :)

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