The most popular of these [large forms of Shogi] was Chu Shogi.... I am presenting its rules here, despite the game's complexity, for two reasons: It is my favorite chess variant, and its unusual pieces may give readers ideas for creating many other chess variants....
—R. Wayne Schmittberger, New Rules for Classic Games
Anything worth doing is worth overdoing.
Typhoon is a chess variant played on a 12 by 12 board. It was invented in 1999 by Adrian King (me), and is a submission for the the contest to design large chess variants.
This Revision (2009)
I've had a number of years now to playtest this game with Zillions, and as a result I've made some changes to strengthen slightly some of the pieces that weren't quite as useful as I had originally envisioned.
Two of the revised pieces are the Dervish and Harpy, whose changes are the same as in Scirocco. Also modified are the Cicada, Typhoon, Missionary, and Sorcerer, all pieces with novel movement or capturing powers that enliven the game, but that weren't enlivening it enough; and the Salamander, which was a little too easy to promote, leading to too many endgames dominated by the same piece.
Wherever there have been changes, I describe the original moves in small italics.
Experience with Typhoon
Since I've playtested this game, I've revised some of my original opinions on it. Those opinions (preserved in the text below) suggest that Typhoon is awkward and overly complex. In fact, I've realized that the game plays quite well. The piece designs with movement diagrams (and the fact that Zillions has a setup showing every promoted piece) help with the learning curve. The fact that the unpromoted pieces are uniformly on the weak side means there are no superstar pieces that steal the show; every piece can play a useful role. The pace of the game is pleasantly relaxed and strategic at the start, then builds to a dramatic crescendo (if the players are well matched) when the more powerful promoted pieces appear.
So give it a try.
The Origins of Typhoon
Shortly after I had submitted Scirocco, a 10 x 10 chess variant, to the contest to design large chess variants, I came down with a cold. Late one evening, after a long, overcaffeinated, slightly feverish day, a funny question popped into my brain: What if the inventor of Chu Shogi had based the game on Scirocco instead of (archaic) Shogi?
Each side in the 12 x 12 game of Chu Shogi starts out with some 46 pieces, and so if you had, say, just two or three types of pawn (Scirocco has two types), but otherwise had only one of each piece (as you do in Scirocco, except for the two Scirocchi, you'd start out with 30-odd different kinds of piece. If each piece promoted to yet another kind of piece, you'd have a game with around 70 different kinds of piece altogether.
You'd have a vast, sprawling, mess.
You'd have, in fact, something that looked like the aftermath of a typhoon.
Well, I had discovered a good name for a game;
it incorporated the wind theme (like
Scirocco) and the Japanese theme, for Chu Shogi (
comes from Japanese 台風 taifuu,
After an insomniac night I got up the
next morning and scribbled the first notes on what was to
become the game that goes with the name.
A Distressing Realization
I've never had much use for painter Jackson Pollock's untidier canvases, but I'm afraid I'm getting some insight into the impulse that led to their creation.
Typhoon is a game on a 12 x 12 board for two players, called Blue and Tan. Blue moves first.
The setup is rather flexible. Except for the pawn row, where the setup is fixed, the setup is designed in terms of pairs of pieces. One member of each pair goes on the left side of the board, and the other on the right, but it does not matter which one goes on which side, provided that the overall setup is symmetrical.
The symmetry requirement is as follows: Tan's setup must be either identical to Blue's (rotated 180 degrees about the center of the board), or it must be the mirror image of Blue's (reflected across the line running between ranks 6 and 7). If the setup has rotational symmetry, then Blue and Tan have the same pieces at a1 and l12, b1 and k12, c1 and j12, and so on; if the setup has mirror symmetry, they have the same pieces at a1 and a12, b1 and b12, c1 and c12, and so on.
Blue gets to choose the symmetry of the setup by first placing the Kings and Commoners for each player, and then Tan gets to choose all the rest of the initial setup. (This is only a modest compensation for the fact that Blue gets the first move, since no setup appears to provide much advantage for either player over any other setup.)
In the original version, Tan got to choose the entire setup, including the symmetry. But Zillions doesn't think Blue is the first player unless Blue does something first, so I gave Blue the choice of symmetry in this revision.
The initial setup looks like this for each player (either member of a pair may be placed in a spot where the name of a pair appears):
|Â||Â||Â||Go-Between Pair||Â||Â||Â||Â||Go-Between Pair||Â||Â||Â|
|Side Pair||Odd Pair||Square Pair||Horse Pair||Metal Pair||Princely Pair||Princely Pair||Metal Pair||Horse Pair||Square Pair||Odd Pair||Side Pair|
|Dagger Pair||Â||Colorbound Pair||Â||Ancient Pair||Short Pair||Short Pair||Ancient Pair||Â||Colorbound Pair||Â||Dagger Pair|
|Lance Pair||Fat Pair||Animal Pair||Queenlet Pair||Guardian Pair||Regal Pair||Regal Pair||Guardian Pair||Queenlet Pair||Animal Pair||Fat Pair||Lance Pair|
Lance Pair a1, l1; Fat Pair b1, k1; Animal Pair c1, j1; Queenlet Pair d1, i1; Guardian Pair e1, h1; Regal Pair f1, g1
Dagger Pair a2, l2; Colorbound Pair c2, j2; Ancient Pair e2, h2; Short Pair f2, g2
Side Pair a3, l3; Odd Pair b3, k3; Square Pair c3, j3; Horse Pair d3, i3; Metal Pair e3, h3; Princely Pair f3, g3
Two Fus a4, l4; Eight Pawns b4 - c4, e4 - h4, j4 - k4; Two Guards: d4, i4
Go-Between Pair: d5, i5
Lance Pair a12, l12; Fat Pair b12, k12; Animal Pair c12, j12; Queenlet Pair d12, i12; Guardian Pair e12, h12; Regal Pair f12, g12
Dagger Pair a11, l11; Colorbound Pair c11, j11; Ancient Pair e11, h11; Short Pair f11, g11
Side Pair a10, l10; Odd Pair b10, k10; Square Pair c10, j10; Horse Pair d10, i10; Metal Pair e10, h10; Princely Pair f10, g10
Two Fus a9, l9; Eight Pawns b9 - c9, e9 - h9, j9 - k9; Two Guards: d9, i9
Go-Between Pair: d8, i8
Here is a summary of the pieces used in the game. Their moves are described in a notation that I hope will not be too obscure (at least to those familiar with other chess variants), but if it is not clear, each piece is described in detail below.
All of the pieces from Scirocco also appear in Typhoon,
except for the Emperor (there is a piece with the name
Emperor, but it moves differently from the Scirocco Emperor).
The promoted values of a few pieces have changed from Scirocco,
and the Dabbaba and
Alfil, which appear only as promoted ranks in Scirocco,
appear unpromoted in Typhoon.
|Piece||Abbreviation||Abilities||Promotes to||Promoted Abbreviation||Promoted Abilities|
|Lance Pair: a1, l1, a12, l12|
|Fire Horse||FH||forward R + backward N||Flying Ox||FO||B + forward R + backward R|
|Ghost Warrior||GW||forward R + backward F||Free Boar||FB||B + side R|
|Fat Pair: b1, k1, b12, k12|
|Marquis||Ma||W + N||Abbot||Ab||N + B4|
|Priest||Pr||F + N||Duke||Du||N + R4|
|Animal Pair: c1, j1, c12, j12|
|Stork||St||W (capturing) + A||Queen||Q||R + B|
|Goat||Go||F (moving) + D||Lioness||Li||W + F + D + N + A|
|Queenlet Pair: d1, i1, d12, i12|
|Cicada||Ci||noncapturing Commoner; or like Q3, but must hop at least one piece (of either color; not captured) along the way||Typhoon||Ty||Q3; need not stop when it makes a capture, so may capture up to 3 pieces in a turn|
|Salamander||Sa||W + F; or noncapturing Q4 that must land next to friendly piece||Genie||Ge||Q3 + capture by igui on adjacent squares|
|Guardian Pair: e1, h1, e12, h12|
|Gold General||GG||W + forward F||Horned Owl||HO||B4 + side D + backward D + forward Parrot|
|Ferocious Leopard||FL||F + forward W + backward W||Diving Osprey||DO||R4 + backward A + forward Raven|
|Regal Pair: f1, g1, f12, g12|
|King||K||W + F; royal||Emperor||Em||Q2 + N; royal|
|Emperor of Emperors||EE||W + F + D + N + A + (3,0) leaper + C + Z + (3,3) leaper; also, capture by igui (shooting) along Q lines; royal|
|Commoner||Co||W + F||Wildebeest||Wi||N + C|
|Dagger Pair: a2, l2, a11, l11|
|Cuckoo||Cu||side W + back W + forward D; also, on forward-W, side-W, or back-D space, may convert an opposing piece to a friendly piece (this takes a turn)||Longleaper||Lo||Q (moving); to capture, hops along Q lines to empty space beyond opposing piece (immediately beyond or through any number of clear spaces beyond); opposing piece is captured; may capture again repeatedly on same turn in the same direction as long as a capture is available in that direction (but may stop while a capture is still available)|
|Hummingbird||Hu||side W + back W + forward D; also, may interchange its position with any piece (friendly or opposing) on a W, forward-D, or back-D space||Immobilizer||Im||Q (moving); paralyzes all adjacent opposing pieces; a paralyzed piece may capture itself (this takes a turn)|
|Colorbound Pair: c2, j2, c11, j11|
|Camel||C||C||Squirrel||Sq||D + N + A|
|Bishop's Dog||BD||B3||Centaur||Ce||W + F + N|
|Ancient Pair: e2, h2, e11, h11|
|Alfil||A||A||Scirocco||Sc||W + B|
|Dabbaba||D||D||Dragon Kite||DK||F + R|
|Short Pair: f2, g2, f11, g11|
|Wazir||W||W||Zag||Za||F + A + hop-capture over orthogonally adjacent pieces|
|Firzan||F||F||Zig||Zi||W + D + hop-capture over diagonally adjacent pieces|
|Side Pair: a3, l3, a10, l10|
|Otter||Ot||F + side R4 + forward W||Missionary||Mi||Q2 (moving); cannot capture, but converts opposing piece to friendly piece when the opposing piece is adjacent to arrival square of Missionary and on Missionary's line of movement|
|Beaver||Be||side R4 + back R + forward F + forward W||Sorcerer||So||Q2 (moving); captures one or more opposing pieces when first piece captured is adjacent to arrival square of Sorcerer and on Sorcerer's line of movement; additional pieces are captured along the same line as far as that line is occupied by opposing pieces, so Sorcerer can capture up to 10 pieces at a time on 12 x 12 board|
|Odd Pair: b3, k3, b10, k10|
|Overtaker||Ov||F + W (moving); hop-capture over adjacent piece||Nightrider||Nr||Nr (a series of N steps along a straight line, in the same way as a Rook is a series of W steps along a straight line)|
|Undertaker||Un||F + W (moving); captures by withdrawal (moving one step directly away from adjacent opposing piece, which is captured)||Dayrider||Da||F + W (moving); Dabbaba-rider + Alfil-rider (can repeat Dabbaba or Alfil move along a straight line, in the same way as a Rook is a series of W steps along a straight line)|
|Square Pair: c3, j3, c10, j10|
|Chariot||Ch||R4||Octopus||Oc||F then R outwards; can move but not capture as F|
|Wagon||Wa||R, but not to orthogonally adjacent space (blockable there)||Spider||Sp||W then B outwards; can move but not capture as W|
|Horse Pair: d3, i3, d10, i10|
|Dervish||De||D + A; also, adjacent friendly pieces can move as F, D, or A, provided that they land adjacent to the Dervish||Harpy||Ha||Q3 (moving); cannot capture; relays to friendly pieces on squares a Q3 can reach the ability to move as N|
|Metal Pair: e3, h3, e10, h10|
|Silver General||SG||F + forward W||Vulture||Vu||B (moving) + R (capturing) + W + F|
|Copper General||CG||forward F + forward W + backward W||Ibis||Ib||R (moving) + B (capturing) + W + F|
|Princely Pair: f3, g3, f10, g10|
|Drunk Elephant||DE||F + forward W + side W||Elephant Prince||EP||F + W (moving); N + A (capturing); royal|
|Blind Tiger||BT||F + side W + backward W||Tiger Prince||TP||F + W (moving); D + N (capturing); royal|
|Two Fus: a4, l4, a9, l9|
|Eight Pawns: b4 - c4, e4 - h4, j4 - k4, b9 - c9, e9 - h9, j9 - k9|
|Pawn||P||forward W (moving) + forward F (capturing)||Tadpole||Ta||F + (3,0) leaper (moving and capturing); W (capturing)|
|Two Guards: d4, i4, d9, i9|
|Guard||Gu||W (moving) + F (capturing)||Bishop||B||B|
|Go-Between Pair: d5, i5, d8, i8|
|Lantern||La||forward F||Parrot||Pa||W + D + igui capture on orthogonally adjacent spaces; also, hop-capture on orthogonally adjacent spaces, where destination space may also contain an opposing piece, in which case 2 pieces are captured; also, may pass a turn|
|Banner||Ba||forward W + side W||Raven||Ra||F + A + igui capture on diagonally adjacent spaces; also, hop-capture on diagonally adjacent spaces, where destination space may also contain an opposing piece, in which case 2 pieces are captured; also, may pass a turn|
As in Scirocco, most of the initial pieces are fairly weak, none being worth more than about a Rook. This leads to a relatively quiet opening. However, the promoted pieces are generally stronger than in Scirocco, so the endgame tends to be quite vigorous.
The King has a special promotion rule, as explained below.
In alphabetical order:
The Abbot moves and captures like a Knight, or like a Bishop, but not farther away than four spaces.
The Abbot is based on the frequently invented combination of Knight
Grand Chess was a part of the inspiration for this game,
I thought I should have a Knight + Bishop piece in the game somewhere,
but I seemed to have too many strong promoted pieces, so I limited the
range of the Bishop movement.
The Knight + Bishop combination is called the
Cardinal in Grand
Chess, and I thought I'd keep the ecclesiastical theme in the
Abbot's name (as well as the
The Alfil is a (2,2) leaper; that is, it leaps two spaces diagonally, ignoring any intervening piece.
The Alfil is a piece of ancient lineage, being the predecessor to the modern Bishop. It is a very weak piece, worth not much more than a Pawn, although it promotes fairly strongly (to the Scirocco, which is the piece I used in the game of Scirocco to replace the modern Bishop, which replaced the Alfil—so there is a logic behind this promotion).
The Banner moves and captures as a Wazir in the forward and side directions; it cannot move backwards.
The Banner, along with its twin the Lantern, replaces the Go-Betweens of Chu Shogi. The Go-Betweens move only straight forward and backward, but I thought that being confined to a single file was too limiting a life, so I gave the Banner a little more freedom.
The Beaver moves and captures as a Firzan in the two forward directions, or one step forward as a Wazir, or up to four steps to the left or right as a Rook, or straight backwards any distance as a Rook.
The Beaver and its twin the Otter are kin to the Chu Shogi Side Mover; they are difficult to advance, but their strong sideways movement makes them quite useful as defenders.
- Promoted Guard
The Bishop moves the same as its Orthochess equivalent; that is, it moves when not capturing diagonally any number of clear spaces, and captures by moving diagonally across any number of clear spaces to the first space occupied by an opposing piece, which the Bishop replaces.
Bishop's Dog (BD)
The Bishop's Dog moves and captures like a Bishop, but not farther than three spaces from its starting square.
The name is taken from the Bishop and from the Lion Dog, a piece from some of the larger Shogi variants that moves like a Queen up to three spaces.
Blind Tiger (BT)
- Promotes to Tiger Prince
- Twin: Drunk Elephant
The Blind Tiger moves and captures like a Commoner, but not straight forwards.
The Blind Tiger is retained from Chu Shogi. In that game, the Blind Tiger does not promote to a royal piece, as it does in Typhoon; however, the idea of twinning the Drunk Elephant and Blind Tiger (and making their promotions similar, too) seemed to good to pass up.
- Promotes to Squirrel
- Twin: Bishop's Dog
The Camel is a (3,1) leaper; that is to say, it leaps directly to any space that could be reached by moving three spaces along any rank or file, and then one space at right angles. It is thus a sort of extended, colorbound Knight.
As is typical of the initial Typhoon pieces, the Camel is fairly weak, but not worthless (it's worth a little less than a Knight). The Camel's movement geometry is also different from that of every other unpromoted piece, so that it can attack without being attacked.
- Promoted Bishop's Dog
- Twin: Squirrel
The Centaur moves and captures as a Wazir, Firzan, or Knight.
The Centaur's name is taken from its ability to move as a man (Commoner; German Mann) or horse (Knight).
The Chariot moves and captures like a Rook, but not farther away than four spaces.
The Chariot is one of the two Rook-like pieces I derived by reducing the strength of a Rook, the other being its twin, the Wagon.
Ralph Betza has conducted some experiments with this piece.
- Promotes to Typhoon
- Twin: Salamander
The Cicada can move without capturing like a Commoner. In addition, it moves and captures along Queen lines up to three spaces away. However, when moving more than one step, it must hop over at least one piece on the way to its destination square (it may hop over two). The piece or pieces hopped over are not captured. For example, given a Blue Cicada at b2, a Tan Bishop at b3, a Blue Guard at d4, a Blue Knight at c2, a Tan Rook at d2, and a Tan Spider at e2, the Cicada may make any of the following moves:
- Move without capturing to a1, a2, a3, b1, c1, or c3;
- Hop the Bishop to b4;
- Hop the Bishop and continue on to b5;
- Hop the Guard to e5;
- Hop the Knight to capture the Rook at d2; or
- Hop the Knight and Rook to capture the Spider at e2.
The Cicada is reasonably agile when there are plenty of pieces to hop over, but should be exchanged off or promoted before the board becomes too sparsely populated.
The Cicada is named for the insect whose loud droning song is characteristic of summer in many parts of the world; cicadas are particularly common in Japan, so many historical games of Chu Shogi must have been played to its accompaniment.
In the original version of this game, the Cicada had only the hopping move, and could not make the noncapturing Commoner move. The result was that the Cicada didn't get out much; there was only a narrow window between the board being too crowded to use it effectively and too empty to move it at all. The revision seems to give this piece approximately the strength I had originally envisioned.
- Promotes to Wildebeest
- Twin: King
The Commoner (known in some games as the
Mann) moves and captures exactly like a King, but is not
royal (capturing it does not end the game).
This piece was handed down from Courier Chess, where it also sits next to the King in the initial setup.
Copper General (CG)
- Promotes to Ibis
- Twin: Silver General
The Copper General moves and captures like a Commoner, but not orthogonally sideways or diagonally backwards; in the middle of an empty board, it can move to any of four squares.
The Copper General is a piece from Chu Shogi. It is part of a logical progression: a Gold General that can reach six squares, a Silver General that can reach five, and the Copper General, which can reach four. The pieces are set up in that order on the first rank of a Chu Shogi board.
- Promotes to Longleaper
- Twin: Hummingbird
The Cuckoo moves and captures like a Wazir sideways and backwards, or like a Dabbaba forwards. In addition, on the orthogonally adjacent squares to the left, right, and straight ahead, or on the square two steps straight back (ignoring any piece on the square one step straight back), the Cuckoo may, without moving, convert an opposing piece to a friendly piece; this takes a turn.
For example, given a Blue Cuckoo on a4 and a Tan Pawn on a5, the Cuckoo may transform the Tan Pawn into a Blue Pawn. This makes the Pawn effectively change direction; that is, the transformed Blue Pawn moves northwards like all other Blue Pawns, and does not somehow remember its previous southward orientation from its life as a Tan Pawn.
Because the Cuckoo is not particularly agile, its ability to change the ownership of a piece is not as formidable as you might suppose. However, the ability makes it more awkward to exchange an orthogonally moving piece for a Cuckoo.
- Promotes to Dragon Kite
- Twin: Alfil
The Dabbaba is a (2,0) leaper; that is, it leaps two spaces orthogonally, ignoring any intervening piece.
Dabbaba was used for various unorthodox pieces in
medieval Islamic chess variants.
The move we generally associate with this name today is the one
Timur's Great Chess.
dabbaba means a kind of war machine;
its English translation is
but I have no idea what it looks
- Promoted Undertaker
- Twin: Nightrider
The Dayrider may move and capture as a Dabbaba or Alfil; it may also repeat a Dabbaba's or Alfil's move as far as it wishes in the same direction through clear spaces until it reaches the edge of the board, or is blocked by a friendly piece, or lands on an opposing piece, capturing it. In addition, the Dayrider may move without capturing as a Commoner (to prevent the Dayrider from being colorbound).
In short, the Dayrider is a Dabbabarider plus an Alfilrider plus a noncapturing Commoner.
I invented the Dayrider as a complement to its twin, the Nightrider.
The Dervish moves and captures 2 steps orthogonally or diagonally. It leaps any intervening piece without capturing or being blocked by it. In addition, any friendly piece on any of the 8 adjacent squares may move or capture as a Firzan, Dabbaba, or Alfil, but only to a destination that is also adjacent to the Dervish. That is, a friendly piece can leap to the opposite side of the Dervish, or an orthogonally adjacent friendly piece can move one step diagonally around the Dervish, clockwise or counterclockwise. Thus, if you have a Dervish on g5 and Pawns on f4 and h5, the Pawn on f4 may leap to h6 (or make a normal Pawn move), and the Pawn on h5 can move to g6 or g4 (or make a normal Pawn move to h6, if empty).
A piece cannot promote on a turn when it uses the Firzan-, Dabbaba-, or Alfil-like move relayed by a Dervish; it can promote only when moving under its own power.
A dervish is a Muslim ascetic. Dervish orders are known for their whirling dances (to induce a trance-like state). The movements of the adjacent pieces around and across the Dervish reminded me of whirling, whence the name.
Before the 2009 revision, the Dervish did not relay the Firzan move, only the Dabbaba and Alfil moves.
Diving Osprey (DO)
- Promoted Ferocious Leopard
- Twin: Horned Owl
The Diving Osprey can move and capture like a Rook up to 4 steps, or like an Alfil in the backward directions. It can also move like a Raven in the forward directions only; that is, it can:
- Move or capture forwards as a Firzan.
- Move or capture forwards as an Alfil.
- Capture an opposing piece on either of the two squares diagonally forward by igui, that is, without moving.
- Capture an opposing piece on a square diagonally forward and land on the adjacent square two steps diagonally forward (effectively performing a hop-capture). If the destination square contains an opposing piece, that piece is also captured.
- Pass a turn.
The Diving Osprey was inspired by the Chu Shogi piece called the Soaring Eagle, but is less powerful.
Dragon Kite (DK)
The Dragon Kite moves and captures one step diagonally or any number of steps orthogonally, that is, as a Firzan or Rook. This is the same as the move of the promoted Rook (or Dragon King) in Shogi; the Dragon King also exists as an unpromoted piece in Chu Shogi.
I renamed this piece
Dragon King to preserve
the wind-related theme of its twin, the Scirocco
(which was itself renamed from
Drunk Elephant (DE)
- Promotes to Elephant Prince
- Twin: Blind Tiger
The Drunk Elephant moves and captures like a Commoner, but not straight backwards.
The Drunk Elephant is retained from Chu Shogi. As in that game, it promotes in Typhoon to a royal piece (although not to the Crown Prince of Chu Shogi, which moves just like a King).
In Chu Shogi, the Drunk Elephant starts on the first rank, and is such a good defender of the King that it almost never ventures far enough forward to promote. The Drunk Elephant in Typhoon starts on the third rank, somewhat increasing its chance of actually promoting to an Elephant Prince.
The abbreviations for the Drunk Elephant and the Dervish differ only
in case; if there is a chance of ambiguity, you might prefer the
The Duke moves and captures like a Knight, or like a Rook, but not farther away than four spaces.
The Duke is to the Marquis as the Abbot is to the Priest; it extends the one-step move to a four-step ride. However, I made the Marquis promote to the Abbot, not to the Duke, so that the promoted Marquis wouldn't be a superset of the Marquis (meaning there might be situations where you would decline promotion). Hence the Priest promotes to the Duke, not to the Abbot.
The Knight + Rook combination is called the
Marshall in Grand
Chess, and I thought I'd give this piece a vaguely military sounding
General sounded too much like
and is also the translation
The two-character abbreviation for
Colonel would have been
identical to that of
I settled on
Duke; the name is hard to confuse with that of
other pieces, and was
originally a military title, from Latin dux, meaning
Elephant Prince (EP)
- Promoted Drunk Elephant
- Twin: Tiger Prince
The Elephant Prince, a royal piece, moves when not capturing as a Commoner, and captures like Knight or Alfil.
The Elephant Prince can capture on more spaces than a King, and so is better than a King as an offensive piece; however, a King can single-handedly checkmate an Elephant Prince.
- Promoted King
- Twin: Wildebeest
The Emperor, a royal piece, moves and captures like a Knight, or like a Queen up to two steps; it is thus nearly as powerful as a Lioness. The strength of this promotion may give your King a powerful incentive to make the risky journey to the promotion zone.
The Emperor is only one of two possible promotions of the King; the other is the Emperor of Emperors. The entry for the King describes the difference.
Emperor Of Emperors (EE)
- Promoted King
- Twin: Wildebeest
The Emperor of Emperors is a royal piece.
It leaps to move or capture
to any square within three steps of its starting square;
that is, it moves as a non-capturing Wazir, Firzan,
Dabbaba, Knight, Alfil, (3,0) leaper, Camel, Zebra, or
The Emperor of Emperors may also
capture any piece a Queen could capture,
but the Emperor of Emperors does so without moving;
various authors have called this kind of capture
The game of
is based on rifle capture.
Players of Rifle Chess sometimes use the rule that capture is obligatory, but the Emperor of Emperors is never obliged to make a capture.
The Emperor of Emperors is an exceedingly powerful piece, but difficult to obtain. The Emperor of Emperors is only one of two possible promotions of the King; the other is the Emperor. The entry for the King describes the difference, and tells why it is easier to get an Emperor than an Emperor of Emperors.
Ferocious Leopard (FL)
- Promotes to Diving Osprey
- Twin: Gold General
The Ferocious Leopard moves and captures like a Commoner, but not sideways orthogonally; in the middle of an empty board, it can move to any of six squares.
The Ferocious Leopard is a piece from
It is certainly a useful piece in both defense and offense,
but the inventor may have overstated the case in calling it
Fire Horse (FH)
- Promotes to Flying Ox
- Twin: Ghost Warrior
The Fire Horse moves and captures forwards like a Rook, or backwards like a Knight.
Starting in a back corner of the board, the Fire Horse is difficult to get moving in any direction except straight ahead. Its inspiration was the Chu Shogi Lance, which starts in the same position, and also moves forwards like a Rook (but the Lance can't move backwards).
Firzan, also known variously as
moves and captures one step diagonally.
The Firzan (Arabic, from the Persian word for
was present in the oldest forms of chess of which we are
aware, but has been replaced in Orthochess by the Queen.
Flying Ox (FO)
- Promoted Fire Horse
- Twin: Free Boar
The Flying Ox moves and captures like a Queen, except that it may not move or capture sideways like a Rook.
The Flying Ox is a Chu Shogi piece, although in Chu Shogi it promotes from a different piece (the Vertical Mover, which doesn't appear in Typhoon).
Free Boar (FB)
- Promoted Ghost Warrior
- Twin: Flying Ox
The Free Boar moves and captures like a Queen, except that it may not move or capture forwards or backwards like a Rook.
The Free Boar is a Chu Shogi piece, although in Chu Shogi it promotes from a different piece (the Side Mover, which doesn't appear in Typhoon).
- Promotes to Zebra
The Fu moves and captures one step straight ahead.
The Fu is the pawn used in Shogi and
Chu Shogi, and
Fu is the usual
Japanese term for the piece
(the characters written on the piece actually read fuhyou
- Promoted Salamander
- Twin: Typhoon
The Genie moves and captures as a Queen, but not farther away than three spaces. In addition, the Genie can capture an opposing piece on an (orthogonally or diagonally) adjacent square without moving.
The Genie is a powerful piece in the endgame because of its ability to capture a protected piece without exposing itself to harm. However, it is debatable whether it is the most powerful piece in the game, as it is in Scirocco; it is relatively weaker on the 12 x 12 board compared with long-range pieces like the Queen, and there are a number of other powerful promoted pieces available.
Ghost Warrior (GW)
- Promotes to Free Boar
- Twin: Fire Horse
The Ghost Warrior moves and captures forwards like a Rook, or backwards like a Firzan.
Starting in a back corner of the board, the Ghost Warrior is difficult to get moving in any direction except straight ahead. Its inspiration was the Chu Shogi Lance, which starts in the same position, and also moves forwards like a Rook (but the Lance can't move backwards).
The Goat moves and captures by leaping two steps orthogonally (like a Dabbaba); it may also move one square diagonally, but not to capture. When moving two steps, it leaps any intervening piece without capturing or being blocked by it.
The Goat is a weakened form of Kirin, a piece from Chu Shogi. The Kirin can capture as well as move one step diagonally. I wanted to add the Kirin for a bit of Chu Shogi flavor, but I already had too many eightfold leapers, so I toned it down a bit and gave it a less exotic name.
Gold General (GG)
- Promotes to Horned Owl
- Twin: Ferocious Leopard
The Gold General moves and captures like a Commoner, but not diagonally backwards; in the middle of an empty board, it can move to any of six squares.
The Gold General is a piece from Shogi (as well as Chu Shogi). It appears to have replaced the less powerful Firzan back in the prehistory of Shogi.
- Promotes to Bishop
The Guard moves without capturing one step orthogonally, or captures one step diagonally. It is a sort of omnidirectional Pawn.
The Guard's Pawn-like nature allows it to participate in a Pawn chain, but unlike an easily blocked Pawn, it can get up and leave if it becomes bored.
The Harpy moves like a Queen up to 3 steps, but cannot capture by itself. However, any friendly piece on open Queen-lines up to 3 steps away from the Harpy is temporarily granted the additional power to move and capture like a Knight (as long as it starts its move a 3-step Queen's move away from the Harpy); pieces that can already move like a Knight are not affected. A piece cannot promote on a turn when it uses the Knight's move relayed by a Harpy; it can promote only when moving under its own power.
The Harpy is kin to the Knight in Knight-Relay Chess, but unlike the Relay Knight, a Harpy is not immune from capture.
The Harpy's usefulness varies, depending on how many pieces you have left. It is quite powerful if you can promote it early while you still have several Pawns and other weak pieces that can benefit from the additional Knight moves.
Before the 2009 revision, the Harpy moved as a Queen, but relayed the Knight's move to pieces a Knight's move away. Because fewer pieces benefited from the Knight relay, it was a distinctly weaker piece than the current Harpy.
Horned Owl (HO)
- Promoted Gold General
- Twin: Diving Osprey
The Horned Owl can move and capture like a Bishop up to 4 steps, or like a Dabbaba in the side and backward directions. It can also move like a Parrot in the forward direction only; that is, it can:
- Move or capture forwards as a Wazir.
- Move or capture forwards as a Dabbaba.
- Capture an opposing piece on the square straight ahead by igui, that is, without moving.
- Capture an opposing piece on the square straight ahead and land on the square two steps straight ahead (effectively performing a hop-capture). If the destination square contains an opposing piece, that piece is also captured.
- Pass a turn.
The Horned Owl was inspired by the Chu Shogi piece called the Horned Falcon, but is less powerful.
- Promotes to Immobilizer
- Twin: Cuckoo
The Hummingbird moves and captures like a Wazir sideways and backwards, or like a Dabbaba forwards. In addition, the Hummingbird may exchange places with any piece (friendly or opposing) on the four orthogonally adjacent squares and on the two squares that are two steps straight ahead and straight back (ignoring any piece on the square one step straight ahead or straight back); this takes a turn.
For example, given a Blue Hummingbird on a4, a Tan Pawn on a5, a Blue Otter on a2, and a Tan Squirrel on b4, the Hummingbird may move to a5 while moving the Pawn to a4, or it may capture the Squirrel by moving to b4, or it may exchange places with the Squirrel or the Otter. The Hummingbird may also leap to the empty square at a3 or a6.
In practice, the Hummingbird's ability to exchange places with a piece is usually easier to exercise on a friendly piece than on an opposing piece.
- Promoted Copper General
- Twin: Vulture
The Ibis captures like a Bishop and moves without capturing like a Rook. It may also capture like a Wazir and move without capturing like a Firzan, so that it can both move and capture on adjacent squares.
- Promoted Hummingbird
- Twin: Longleaper
The Immobilizer moves like a Queen, but cannot capture.
However, any opposing piece orthogonally or diagonally adjacent to
an Immobilizer is incapable of movement as long as it remains next
to the Immobilizer, except that the immobilized piece
may capture itself (
An immobilized piece cannot make any type of move under its own power except self-capture; for example, an immobilized Cuckoo cannot convert an opposing piece, an immobilized Harpy cannot relay the ability to move as a Knight, and an immobilized Raven cannot pass a turn. However, a piece with relay power (such as a Dervish or Harpy) or the ability to exchange places with another piece (a Hummingbird) can allow an immobilized piece to make a move with the relayed ability (as long as the relaying piece is not itself immobilized).
An immobilized Immobilizer cannot move, but is still capable of immobilizing adjacent opposing pieces. This means that two adjacent Immobilizers immobilize each other until one is captured or until some other piece relays a move to one of the Immobilizers.
The purpose of the self-capture move allowed to immobilized pieces is to disclose a line of attack on the Immobilizer.
The Immobilizer, like its twin the Longleaper, is taken directly from Robert Abbott's unusual and innovative game Ultima.
- Promotes to Emperor or Emperor of Emperors
- Twin: Commoner
The King moves and captures one step to any of the eight orthogonally and diagonally adjacent squares. It is a royal piece, one of five in the game; capturing all your opponent's royal pieces wins the game (by convention, the game more commonly ends with checkmate, an unstoppable threat to capture the last royal piece. However, note that the victory conditions for Typhoon are different from those of Orthochess).
The King has moved the same way for almost a millenium and a half.
Special rules govern the promotion of the King. If there is no Emperor on the board (belonging to either player), then the King promotes to an Emperor. However, if either player has an Emperor, the King promotes to an Emperor of Emperors, which is far more powerful than an Emperor.
This rule came about as follows: I wanted to encourage players to try to promote the King, since marching the King across the board is generally risky, and adds to the excitement of the game. The best way to encourage promoting the King is to have it promote strongly. However, if the King promotes to a strong Emperor, the Emperor will be difficult to catch; if both players have an Emperor, the game may be a draw, since neither can pin the oppponent's Emperor down. After a game as long as Typhoon, a draw is hardly a satisfying outcome, so I built into the game a strong disincentive to promote to an Emperor unless you are confident that your opponent won't be able to do the same: if you have an Emperor and your opponent promotes a King, your opponent gets an Emperor of Emperors, a piece of overwhelming power.
This promotion rule means that an Emperor of Emperors won't appear in games of Typhoon very often, unless the player who promoted to Emperor made a serious miscalculation; however, the threat that one player might get an Emperor of Emperors can have a real effect on the course of the game, by preventing promotions to Emperor.
Note that although the reasoning behind introducing the Emperor of Emperors is to try to avoid the situation where both players have equally mobile strong royal pieces, it is possible (although not very likely) for the same player to acquire both an Emperor and an Emperor of Emperors. If your opponent has two royal pieces (after, say, promoting the Drunk Elephant to an Elephant Prince), your Cuckoo or Missionary can convert the opponent's King to your ownership, so that you may have two Kings on the board. In such a case, if you promote both Kings, the first becomes an Emperor and (provided you don't lose your Emperor in the meantime) the second becomes an Emperor of Emperors.
The Knight is a (2,1) leaper; that is to say, it leaps directly to any space that could be reached by moving 2 spaces along any rank or file, and then one space at right angles.
The Knight is a piece retained from the earliest known forms of chess.
The Lantern moves and captures as a Firzan in the two forward directions; it cannot move backwards.
The Lantern, along with its twin the Banner, replaces the Go-Betweens of Chu Shogi. The Go-Betweens move only straight forward and backward, but I thought that being confined to a single file was too limiting a life, so I gave the Lantern a little more freedom.
The Lioness can leap to any square a King could reach in two moves; that is, it is a combination of Wazir, Firzan, Dabbaba, Knight, and Alfil.
The Lioness is inspired by the Chu Shogi piece called the Lion. In addition to moving like the Lioness, the Lion can make two full King-type moves on a single turn, with the ability to capture pieces on both parts of the move, or to move back to the starting square. The Chu Shogi Lion is generally valued at about twice a Queen; the Lioness is probably a little weaker than a Queen on a 12 x 12 board.
The promotion of Goat to Lioness also has a Chu Shogi origin; in Chu Shogi, the Kirin, which inspired the Goat, promotes to a Lion.
- Promoted Cuckoo
- Twin: Immobilizer
The Longleaper moves when not capturing like a Queen. To capture, it hops along Queen lines over an opposing piece to an empty space beyond the piece along the same line; the opposing piece is captured. The space immediately beyond the opposing piece on the Longleaper's line of movement must be empty. If there are more opposing pieces along the same line of movement, the Longleaper may continue to capture pieces along that line as long as the square beyond each captured piece is empty and no friendly pieces are interposed between the captured opposing pieces. The Longleaper may land on any empty space along the line of movement beyond the last captured piece.
The Longleaper may never leap an empty space or land on an occupied square.
The Longleaper is extremely powerful when opposing forces consist mainly of widely scattered weak pieces; it can often position itself so that it threatens to capture in several different directions.
The Longleaper is taken directly from Robert Abbott's Ultima.
The piece description section in member submissions seems to be limited to 64k characters or thereabouts, which doesn't do for Typhoon, so you aren't at the rules yet; this is a continuation of the piece descriptions. The real rules follow the last piece.
The Marquis moves and captures like a Wazir or a Knight.
The antecedent of the Marquis is the Marshall (Rook + Knight) of Christian Freeling's Grand Chess, but the Marshall is too powerful to be a starting piece in Typhoon.
The Missionary moves up to two steps as a Queen. It cannot capture, but if it ends its move adjacent to an opposing piece along the line of the Missionary's movement, then the Missionary converts the opposing piece to a friendly piece.
For example, given a Blue Missionary on a3 and a Tan Pawn on d6, the Missionary may move to c5 and convert the Tan Pawn to a Blue Pawn. This makes the Pawn effectively change direction; that is, the transformed Blue Pawn moves northwards like all other Blue Pawns, and does not somehow remember its previous southward orientation from its life as a Tan Pawn.
The Missionary's twin, the Sorcerer, can capture multiple pieces on the same turn, but the Missionary can convert only one piece per turn.
The Cuckoo's ability to change the ownership of a piece is slightly different, since the Cuckoo cannot move and convert in the same turn, while the Missionary cannot convert without moving.
The Missionary's ability to start its move at a distance from the piece to be converted makes it moderately strong, but its low mobility means that it is not really formidable.
Before the 2009 revision, the Missionary could move only one step orthongonally, and exercising its conversion power was optional.
The Nightrider may move and capture as a Knight; it may also repeat a Knight's move as far as it wishes in the same direction through clear spaces until it reaches the edge of the board, or is blocked by a friendly piece, or lands on an opposing piece, capturing it. In short, the Nightrider is to the Knight as the Rook is to the Wazir.
The Nightrider is a well-known fairy chess piece, introduced to many readers by Anthony Dickins's A Guide to Fairy Chess.
The Octopus moves one step diagonally, then like a Rook orthogonally, but only in a direction away from its starting square. That is, it cannot reach an orthogonally adjacent square. It can both move and capture on the Rook-like part of its move, but it can only move without capturing to the diagonally adjacent square. That means that the closest square on which it can make a capture is a Knight's move away.
this piece comes from a copy of some unpublished
material on a game concept called
by the great game inventor Wayne Schmittberger,
forwarded to me by Edward Jackman.
It wasn't clear from Wayne's description whether his Octopus could
actually move one space diagonally or had to move at least as far
as a Knight, so I split the difference and allowed my
Octopus to move like a Firzan but not to capture like one.
The ultimate ancestor of the Octopus is probably the Giraffe of Timur's Great Chess. Timur's Giraffe moves differently from the piece we usually know today as the Giraffe; Timur's Giraffe moves like the Octopus, but must move a minimum distance of four steps, i.e., at least as far as a modern Giraffe's move.
- Promotes to Missionary
- Twin: Beaver
The Otter moves and captures as a Firzan, or one step forward as a Wazir, or up to four steps to the left or right as a Rook.
The Otter and its twin the Beaver are kin to the Chu Shogi Side Mover; they are difficult to advance, but their strong sideways movement makes them quite useful as defenders.
- Promotes to Nightrider
- Twin: Undertaker
When not capturing, the Overtaker moves like a Commoner. To capture, it may leap an orthogonally or diagonally adjacent hostile piece to capture it, provided that the space immediately beyond (where the Overtaker winds up) is empty.
For example, given a Blue Overtaker on a4 and a Tan Pawn on a5, the Overtaker may capture the Pawn by hopping it to a6.
The Overtaker cannot hop a friendly piece.
The Parrot has a complex move. It can do any of the following:
- Move or capture as a Wazir.
- Move or capture as a Dabbaba.
- Capture an opposing piece on an orthogonally adjacent space by igui, that is, without moving.
- Capture an orthogonally adjacent opposing piece and land on the square immediately beyond that (two steps from the Parrot's starting square; effectively a hop-capture). If the destination square contains an opposing piece, that piece is also captured.
- Pass a turn.
The Parrot is derived from a Chu Shogi piece called the Horned Falcon, which moves like the Parrot but only forwards (it moves like a Queen in the other directions). I eliminated the Queen-like movement and extended the forward movement to all four orthogonal directions.
Promotes to Tadpole
The Pawn moves one step straight ahead when not capturing, or one step diagonally forwards (left or right) to capture. Unlike the Orthochess Pawn, the Pawn in Typhoon does not have the option of making a two-step move.
The Priest moves and captures like a Firzan or a Knight.
The antecedent of the Priest is the Grand Chess Cardinal (Bishop + Knight), just as that of the Marquis is the Grand Chess Marshal.
The Queen moves and captures like a Rook or Bishop, as in Orthochess.
The promotion of the Stork to the Queen was inspired by the Chu Shogi Phoenix's promotion to Free King. In Chu Shogi, the Free King moves just like an Orthochess Queen, and the Stork was derived from the Phoenix.
The Raven has a complex move. It can do any of the following:
- Move or capture as a Firzan.
- Move or capture as an Alfil.
- Capture an opposing piece on a diagonally adjacent space by igui, that is, without moving.
- Capture a diagonally adjacent opposing piece and land on the square immediately beyond that (two steps from the Raven's starting square; effectively a hop-capture). If the destination square contains an opposing piece, that piece is also captured.
- Pass a turn.
The Raven is derived from a Chu Shogi piece called the Soaring Eagle, which moves like the Raven but only forwards (it moves like a Queen in the other directions). I eliminated the Queen-like movement and extended the forward movement to all four diagonal directions.
The Rook moves the same as its Orthochess equivalent; that is, it moves when not capturing orthogonally any number of clear spaces, and captures by moving orthogonally across any number of clear spaces to the first space occupied by an opposing piece, which the Rook replaces.
The Rook has moved the same way since the earliest forms of chess.
The Salamander moves and captures like a Commoner. It may also move without capturing like a Queen, up to four steps away, but only if it lands next to a friendly piece.
The Salamander is an agile defender, but not particularly powerful, and not as easily advanced into the promotion zone as some pieces. That said, trying to promote it is often a good idea, because of the Genie's ability to exploit weaknesses in your opponent's position.
A salamander is an amphibian with a lizard-shaped body. Did you know that the largest salamander in the world is the Japanese Salamander? (If that's a reference to Chu Shogi, it's an oblique one.)
The pre-2009 revision of this file contained a typo in the table of pieces: it described this piece as being able to move as a noncapturing Q3, instead of Q4. The Zillions file implemented a 4-step movement.
Experiments in early 2009 showed that fewer endgames were dominated by Genies, resulting in greater variety, with the rule requiring the Salamander to land next to a friendly piece; this restriction was added then.
- Promoted Alfil
- Twin: Dragon Kite
The Scirocco moves and captures one step orthogonally or any number of steps diagonally, that is, as a Wazir or Bishop. This is the same as the move of the promoted Bishop (or Dragon Horse) in Shogi; the Dragon Horse also exists as an unpromoted piece in Chu Shogi.
This piece appears as an initial piece in the game of Scirocco, but only as a promoted piece in Typhoon.
Silver General (SG)
- Promotes to Vulture
- Twin: Copper General
The Silver General moves and captures like a Commoner, but not orthogonally sideways or backwards; in the middle of an empty board, it can move to any of five squares.
The Silver General is a piece from Shogi (as well as Chu Shogi). It appears to have replaced the less powerful Alfil in many chess variants in the eastward branch of chess evolution; the same piece is found today (in what Westerners think of as the Bishop's slot) in the native chess variants of Burma and Thailand.
- Promoted Beaver
- Twin: Missionary
The Sorcerer moves up to two steps as a Queen. It cannot land on an opposing piece, but if it ends its move adjacent to an opposing piece along the line of the Sorcerer's movement, then the Sorcerer captures the opposing piece and all contiguous opposing pieces along the same line of movement.
The type of capture the Sorcerer performs is sometimes called
capture by approach.
In the unlikely event that opposing pieces are lined up just right, the Sorcerer can capture as many as ten pieces in a single turn.
For example, given a Blue Sorcerer on a3, a Tan Pawn on c3, a Tan Camel on d3, and a Tan Knight on f3, the Sorcerer can move to b3, capturing the Pawn and Camel. It cannot capture the Knight because there is a gap between the Knight and the Camel.
The Sorcerer's ability to end its move on a square other than one previously occupied by a captured piece and its ability to capture multiple pieces at a time may make it sound powerful, but its mobility is low, so it's not as tough as you might think.
Before the 2009 revision, the Sorcerer could move only one step orthogonally, and exercising its capturing power was optional.
The Spider moves one step orthogonally, then like a Bishop diagonally, but only in a direction away from its starting square. It can both move and capture on the Bishop-like part of its move, but it can only move without capturing to the orthogonally adjacent square. That means that the closest square on which it can make a capture is a Knight's move away.
The Spider is the diagonal counterpart of the orthogonal Octopus, and like the Octopus, was taken from an unpublished piece by Wayne Schmittberger.
The Squirrel moves and captures as a Dabbaba, Knight, or Alfil.
The Squirrel is among the many interesting pieces that appears in Anthony Dickins's A Guide to Fairy Chess. Dickins ascribes its invention to N. Kovacs of Budapest.
The Stork moves and captures by leaping two steps diagonally (like an Alfil); it may also capture one square orthogonally, but not move there without capturing. When moving two steps, it leaps any intervening piece without capturing or being blocked by it.
The Stork is a weakened form of Phoenix, a piece from Chu Shogi. The Phoenix can both move and capture one step orthogonally.
- Promoted Pawn
The Tadpole moves and captures as a Firzan or as a (3,0); that is, it can move to an adjacent square, or leap to a square three steps away orthogonally or diagonally (ignoring any intervening pieces). It may also capture as a Wazir, but not move without capturing as a Wazir.
The Tadpole is a slightly weaker version of the Scirocco Frog. Since the Pawn doesn't go through a complex promotion cycle in Typhoon, I figured it shouldn't promote quite as strongly.
Tiger Prince (TP)
- Promoted Blind Tiger
- Twin: Elephant Prince
The Tiger Prince, a royal piece, moves when not capturing as a Commoner, and captures like Dabbaba or Knight.
The Tiger Prince can capture on more spaces than a King, and so is better than a King as an offensive piece; however, a King can single-handedly checkmate a Tiger Prince.
The Typhoon moves and captures like a Queen up to three spaces. However, it does not have to stop when it makes a capture; it can continue in the same direction as long as it does not hit a friendly piece or exceed the three-step limit. This means it can capture up to three pieces in a single turn.
Since the game of Scirocco includes a piece with the same name as the game, I thought I'd put one in this game as well.
The Typhoon is not especially mobile, but its ability to capture multiple pieces or to keep moving after a capture make it fairly valuable.
Before the 2009 revision, this piece's moved diagonally as a Firzan or Alfil, but could not capture multiple pieces diagonally.
- Promotes to Nightrider
- Twin: Undertaker
When not capturing, the Undertaker moves like a Commoner. To capture, it moves on step (like a Commoner) away from an orthogonally or diagonally adjacent hostile piece; if the hostile piece lies along the line of the Undertaker's movement, it is captured.
For example, given a Blue Undertaker on a4 and a Tan Pawn on a5, the Undertaker may capture the Pawn by moving to a3.
An Undertaker cannot move to an occupied square.
- Promoted Silver General
- Twin: Ibis
The Vulture captures like a Rook and moves without capturing like a Bishop. It may also capture like a Firzan and move without capturing like a Wazir, so that it can both move and capture on adjacent squares.
An adjacent-space restriction similar to the Wagon's
is also found in the Talia, or Scout, in
Timur's Great Chess (the web page translates
However, the Talia moves as a restricted Bishop, rather than a
I wanted a weakened form of the Rook so that the Rooks would not
dominate the board too early.
Of all the spaces a Rook can move to, the immediately adjacent spaces
are probably the most important (at least until the board opens up),
so removing the ability to reach an adjacent space makes the
Wagon weaker than the Rook by more than you might expect
(although less so on the 12 x 12 Typhoon board than on the 10 x 10
I chose the name
Wagon because its meaning is similar
Chariot, the original name of the Rook;
wagons are generally less maneuverable than chariots, so the name
The Wazir moves and captures one step orthogonally.
vizier, meaning a government minister or
like the name
Dabbaba, was used for pieces with
different moves in different medieval Islamic chess variants.
The Wazir's move in this game is the one commonly used today, and is
the same as in
Timur's Great Chess.
The Wazir has sufficiently low mobility that it is seldom worthwhile advancing it, and it often winds up as a defender of the King in the endgame.
- Promoted Commoner
- Twin: Emperor or Emperor of Emperors
The Wildebeest moves and captures like a Knight or Camel.
The Wildebeest, also called the Gnu
gnu being another word for
wildebeest), is among the pieces described
in Anthony Dickins's
A Guide to Fairy Chess.
Wayne Schmittberger liked the piece well enough to name a chess
Wildebeest Chess, after it.
The Zag moves and captures like a Firzan or Alfil; in addition, it may leap an orthogonally adjacent hostile piece to capture it, provided that the space immediately beyond (where the Zag winds up) is empty. The Zag may not move orthogonally when not capturing, however.
I made up the name and the move of this piece for the game of Scirocco. The Zag is the diagonal counterpart of the orthogonally moving Zig.
- Promoted Fu
Knightthan a Camel.
Because of its long reach, the Zebra is fairly weak as leapers go; it has relatively few squares on the board from which it exercise its full power.
The Zig moves and captures like a Wazir or Dabbaba; in addition, it may leap a diagonally adjacent hostile piece to capture it, provided that the space immediately beyond (where the Zig winds up) is empty. The Zig may not move diagonally when not capturing, however.
I made up the name and the move of this piece for the
game of Scirocco.
The Zig is the orthogonal counterpart of the diagonally moving
The Real Rules
A piece may promote at the end of any move it makes that starts or ends (or both starts and ends) in its owner's promotion zone. Blue's promotion zone is ranks 9 through 12, or Tan's pawn row and beyond; Tan's is ranks 1 through 4, Blue's pawn row and beyond.
Promotion is always optional. Even when you move a Pawn onto the last rank, you are within your rights (if not in your right mind) not to promote it.
Promotion cannot occur when a piece moves using a movement capability relayed by another piece, e.g., a Dervish, Harpy, or Hummingbird (a Hummingbird may itself promote if it changes place with another piece, provided that the Hummingbird starts or ends its move in the promotion zone). If a piece to which a movement capability could be relayed already has the movement capability in question (as in the case of a Goat leaping orthogonally over a Dervish), the piece is considered to be moving under its own power, and may promote if its move starts or ends within the promotion zone.
A piece is not entitled to promote when a Cuckoo or Missionary changes its ownership within the promotion zone; the piece itself must make a subsequent move (starting or ending within the zone) in order to promote.
If a Dervish located within the promotion zone relays a move to another piece, the Dervish does not thereby gain the right to promote on that turn. Similarly, a Cuckoo changing the ownership of a piece within the promotion zone is not entitled to promote.
Victory ConditionsYou lose the game (and your opponent wins) if any of the following occurs:
The last of your royal pieces (King, Emperor, Emperor of Emperors,
Elephant Prince, or Tiger Prince) is captured.
Your last royal piece is bared; that is,
your forces are reduced to a single piece.
Unlike the usual version of this Bare King rule, there is no provision for a draw if you can immediately bare the opponent's last royal piece; as soon as you are down to one piece, you lose, period.
- It is your turn and you have no legal move.
It is not, strictly speaking, illegal to move your last royal piece into check. It is certainly foolish, though. On the other hand, there is no constraint on moving a royal piece into check when you have more than one royal piece; in fact, there are situations where it is advantageous to do so.
Note that these rules make stalemate a loss for the stalemated player, not a draw.
The Bare King rule means that when you are reduced to two pieces, both are effectively royal.
You can move your King into what looks like check if it captures your opponent's last piece, since you win the game before your opponent can recapture.
It is illegal to make a move that causes a given game situation to occur a third time in the same game. Two game situations are considered the same if the same types of pieces are in the same places and it is the same player's turn to move.
Specifically, repetition does not result in a draw; one player must make a move that leaves the cycle of repeating moves. When a player is to move but has no move that would not cause an illegal repetition, that player loses the game.
As an example of this repetition rule, consider how it would apply to a trivial game played on a 2 by 3 board, with rules the same as Typhoon except as specified. The game starts with a White King on a1 and a Black King on b3; in this microscopic chess variant, there is no Bare King rule (so the game is not already over at the beginning). This game must proceed as follows:
1. K-b1 K-a3
2. K-a1 K-b3 ; 2nd occurrence of initial position
3. K-b1 K-a3
At this point, the move 4. ... K-b3 would recreate the initial position again; this would be the third occurrence of that position, so the move is not legal. If this variant allows a King to move into check, Black must do so (with 4. ... K-a2 or 4. ... K-b2), in which case White will capture the King and win on the next move; if this variant does not allow moving into check, then Black has no legal move, and loses immediately.
If you have read the above rules carefully, you will realize that any game of Typhoon played to the bitter end cannot result in a draw. Even if neither player is checkmated or reduced to a single royal piece, the repetition rule ensures that the game will end, because the number of possible board positions is finite, and each position cannot occur more than twice. When no more positions are available, the player whose turn it is will lose.
Players may, however, agree to a draw if they are so inclined.
It is conceivable that both players may be reduced to a small number of weak but highly mobile pieces, so that the repetition rule must be invoked to determine who wins the game.
I'm not going to pin down exactly when agreeing to a draw is advisable, but if I hear of anyone playing a game of Typhoon that lasts thousands of moves, I will be very disappointed.
I've had time enough now to playtest Typhoon fairly extensively with Zillions, which is not the same as playing it with a human, but it has let me figure out some of the flavor of the game.
Although a game of Typhoon begins relatively sedately, endings can be quite wild. The rest of this section is more conjectural; human players may discover different strategies from the ones I've encountered with Zillions.
The weak, short-range pieces available at the start of a game of Typhoon lead in the opening to a series of distinct battles scattered along the horizontal midline of the board. Later in the midgame, as pieces start to promote to more powerful, long-range pieces, the smaller battles coalesce into a single, highly tactical, very complex mess. If the game has been fairly even up to this point, the advantage can appear to shift sharply several times before the end of the game.
The most powerful pieces late in the endgame include the Genie, the Longleaper, and the Immobilizer, any one of which can quickly decimate poorly positioned defenders. However, more conventionally powerful pieces like the Queen and Lioness can also be decisive (the Lioness especially if you can catch the opposing King still close to home). Much of Typhoon strategy is devoted to shepherding your weak pieces with strong promotions to the promotion zone.
Most games of Typhoon seem to last around 150 to 200 moves or more, although I've seen some that were only around 120.
NotationSeveral of the types of moves in Typhoon are unconventional and pose a slight problem for notation. Some possible points of difficulty:
Simple moves: Because the abbreviations of many piece names are
2 characters, it looks less confusing to me to use a dash
consistently between a piece abbreviation and the piece's
Waa7), but leaving out the dash does not actually introduce any ambiguity.
- Relayed moves: These can be recorded as normal moves; it should be obvious from context when a move was relayed.
Promotions: You can record these as
=promoted or Shogi-style as unpromoted
+, since it is always obvious from context what a piece promotes to.
Igui captures: I suggest using the
x!notation usual for Chu Shogi; e.g.,
Gex!c6for a Genie capturing a Pawn on c6. This notation can also be used for the long-distance igui capture by an Emperor of Emperors.
Hop-captures: This can be notated as a normal capture or normal move,
since there is no ambiguity (a Zig or Zag always winds up one square
beyond where the capture occurred);
however, a notation showing both the capture square and destination
Zixd4-e5) may avoid momentary confusion in the mind of a reader.
Multiple captures: Some pieces can capture more than one piece on
a turn; use something like
Change of ownership: When a Cuckoo changes the ownership of a
piece, you can use a notation like
a3=Tan(it should be obvious that a Cuckoo caused the change of ownership). A Missionary's move might look like
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By Adrian King.
Web page created: 2009-01-18. Web page last updated: 2018-07-30