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The Emperor's Game

John Gollon, well known by chess variant enthousiasts for his book on chess variants, now unfortunately out of print, was working on a second book on chess variants. Also unfortunately, this second book was never published. Gollon has sent some materials from a draft of the book to Eric Greenwood (in 1976): the description given here is based on part of these writings by Gollon.

This game was invented by L. Tressan of Leipzig in 1840.


The game is played on a 10 by 10 board. In addition to the usual set of pieces, there are two additional Pawns and two new pieces: a General and an Adjutant. The game starts with the following opening setup:

King e1; Queen f1; General d1; Adjutant g1; Rook a1, j1; Knight b1, i1; Bishop c1, h1; Pawn a2, b2, c2, d2, e2, f2, g2, h2, i2, j2.

King f10; Queen e10; General g10; Adjutant d10; Rook a10, j10; Knight b10, i10; Bishop c10, h10; Pawn a9, b9, c9, d9, e9, f9, g9, h9, i9, j9.

Note that the Black pieces are reversed from White pieces: Black's Queen is on the same column as White's King, etc.

Movement of pieces

The General has the combined moves of Queen and Knight; i.e., it can move as Rook, Bishop, or Knight (such a piece has also known as the Amazon or Empress).

The Adjutant has the combined moves of Bishop and Knight (also widely known as the Cardinal).

Pawns may make at their first movement a triple or double step (or a normal single step movement), so a White Pawn on e2 can move to e3, e4, or e5 (or capture at d3 or f3). At each of the squares passed by, the Pawn can be taken en passant. Pawns can promote to General, Queen, Adjutant, rook, knight, or bishop, but only to a piece that has been lost by the player.

A player can castle under the same conditions as Orthodox Chess. When castling at the Queen's side, the King moves four squares towards the Rook; when castling at the other (short) side, the King moves three squares towards the Rook, i.e., the King ends up at b1, i1, b10, or i10. The Rook always moves two squares, jumping over the King to respectively c1, h1, c10, or h10.

Other rules are as in Orthodox Chess.

Written by Hans Bodlaender, based upon material written by John Gollon, sent to Eric Greenwood in 1976, and sent to me by Eric in 1997.
WWW page created: September 1, 1997.