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This item is a game information page
It belongs to categories: Orthodox chess, 
It was last modified on: 2001-09-29
 Author: Eric V. Greenwood. Courier-Spiel. 19th century variant of Courier Chess. (12x8, Cells: 96) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Kevin Pacey wrote on 2017-10-28 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

A variant with an interesting mix of past and present. It seems possible and desirable for White's (or sometimes Black's) central pawns to strive to both advance to the squares on the fourth rank relatively early in many cases, much as in chess. To me that's a healthy sign for a two army square or rectangular board variant with an even number of both files and ranks, as far as the richness and logic of the opening phase of a typical game of it might go.

As far as this variant's 12x8 board goes, in the old days such would be fine in someone's home on a table, but nowadays if it were to be played over-the-board in a tournament hall (as in a chess tournament) its being 12 squares wide would naturally count against it as far as having physical boards with squares (and thus pieces) that weren't somewhat small in size (otherwise the boards would often take up too much room on a table in a tournament hall). Luckily this isn't much of a consideration for internet contests involving a variant with this one's otherwise unwieldy board shape. Another concern would be that the game might take too many moves to play on average, say compared to chess, but I'd suppose it wouldn't be as bad as in the case of the original 12x8 Courier Chess variant, with its relative lack of more powerful piece types such as the modern queen.

John Davis wrote on 2015-03-27 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
Courier-Spiel is the basis for my other favorite, Dragon Chess, so I chose it as my first addition to the Grand Chess & Beyond project. For my "Grand Courier" I chose the names Duke (KN), Elephant (FA) and Fool (WF) so they wouldn't conflict alphabetically with the other pieces of my basic set. I drew my E & F file placement from Chu Shogi.
King ; F1 & 10
Queen ; E2 & 9
Rook ; A1 & 10, J1 & 10
Knight ; B2 & 9, I2 & 9
Elephant ; C2 & 9, H2 & 9
Bishop ; D2 & 9, G2 &9
Duke ; F2 & 9
Fool ; E1 & 10
Pawns ; ranks 3 & 8

Christine Bagley-Jones wrote on 2012-04-02 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
The 'Bishop' in this game moves as a 'Ferfil', and the 'Councillor' moves 
like a 'Centaur' (knight, wazir, fers).
Would this be the first appearance for these pieces?
Anyone know an earlier game they are in, or another old game anyway. 
I know 'Ferfil' is in the game 'Shako', 1990, by Jean-Louis Cazaux.

John Ayer wrote on 2004-06-30 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
On reviewing Murray and Gollon, I find that the pawn promotion rule for this game is unknown. The rule given is from another game, and its application to this one is a conjecture by Murray. Promotion determined by file is therefore as valid as any other rule agreed on by two players.

Eric Greenwood wrote on 2003-10-16 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
To clear up any confusion, the name 'Prince' is ONLY used for our variant as a promoted piece, it moves as fool or Knight, and can only come into play in the rare instance of a pawn promoting on the King File. Prince is definitely *NOT* used as an alternate name for any piece in the original setup. The piece w/ the king-like move (w/o the restrictions about check, ewt.) is the Fool. While many princes may be, in fact, fools, ;} we do NOT use the name interchangeably in this game. I hope this clears up any confusion created. :)

Eric Greenwood wrote on 2003-10-15 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
The rule Mr. Gilman suggests is the rule we are, in fact, using. Thank you for clarifying it for those who might have missed it. :)

Eric Greenwood wrote on 2003-10-10 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

   An excellent idea-promotion according to John Ayers' rules make for a
better game!

   I have an idea: Let the Man have the Squirrel (or Castle from
Renniassance Chess) move to start with, and let the promoting Prince have
the original Man move (as Horse or Fool).

   If anyone wants to play me using these rules, my userid is:   cavalier
(another Renniassance piece!  :})

       Eric V. Greenwood        e-mail:   [email protected]

John Ayer wrote on 2003-09-02 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
My son and I dislike the pawn promotion rules in this game, and have our own: A pawn reaching the last rank is immediately promoted to the rank of the master-piece of that file, except that a pawn promoting on the king-file is made a prince, moving as the squirrel. Thereafter, if the king is checkmated, he is removed from the board, the prince succeeds, and the game continues. This is idle speculation, though; neither of us has ever allowed the other to promote a pawn.

John Ayer wrote on 2003-06-01 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
Of course the printable board and pieces for the Courier Game will also serve for this one.

John Ayer wrote on 2003-01-21 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
This is my absolute favorite chess variant. It's great fun to play (I have found it so). It also has some interesting symmetries. The pieces with unlimited moves in a straight line number five, as in standard chess: rooks, couriers (German for bishops), and queen. The pieces with one-square moves also number five: the king, the councillor, the fool, and the two 'bishops' (ferz-alfils, elephants on my board). The leapers are, again, five in number: the knights, the councillor, and the 'bishops' or ferz-alfils. Unlike so many other games played on this board, it does not leave the couriers (bishops, we would call them) facing one another along shared diagonals.

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