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This page is written by the game's inventor, Michael Nelson.

Pocket Mutation Chess


Playing Tips



Pocket Mutation Chess was invented in response to a comment thread under Pocket Knight Chess. Each player has a "pocket" to keep one piece in to drop on the board. A piece put in the pocket may mutate into an equivalent value piece if the owner desires.



The setup is identical to FIDE Chess.



Initially, players have the usual Chess army. Other piece types may appear in the game as described under Rules. The pieces are divided into eight value classes as follows (pieces with no move description move as in FIDE Chess):

Class 1

Class 2

Class 3

Class 4

Class 5

Class 6

Class 7

Class 8

Most of these pieces are known under other names--I have used these names to simplify memorizing the pieces.



All FIDE Chess rules apply except as follows:

  1. Each player has a "pocket" in which at most one piece may be kept. At the start of the game, each player's pocket is empty.
  2. If a player's pocket is empty, the player may remove any of his pieces (except his King) from the board and put it in his pocket as a move. White may not use the pocket on the first move.
  3. If the piece put in the pocket was removed from its owner's first through seventh ranks, it remains the same value class, but may may optionally mutate into a different piece of that class. This must be done immediately upon putting the piece into the pocket.
  4. If the piece put into the pocket was removed from its owner's eighth rank, it promotes to the next higher value class (except the AmazonRider--there is no higher value class). The exact piece promoted to is chosen immediately. There is no other form of promotion is this game: a pawn moved to the eighth rank remains a pawn until it is pocketed and promoted.
  5. If the player has a piece in his pocket, he may drop that piece on any empty square as his move, except he may not drop the piece on the eighth rank.
  6. There is no castling in this game.
  7. A pawn on the first rank cannot make a double step; a pawn on the second rank can take a double step, whether it is on its original square, was dropped on the second rank, or moved up from the first rank. En passant applies as usual.
  8. The game is drawn if fifty consecutive moves have elapsed without a capture or a promotion.



Pocket Mutation Chess could be played with a different lists of pieces, or with different starting armies.


Playing Tips

Don't get too caught up in using the pocket: while it is a powerful tool for attack and defense, it is best used sparingly. Make sure that the advantage you seek is worth the loss of a tempo. Particularly, don't use the pocket just to mutate a piece--you should also be aiming for a favorable drop.


Written by Mike Nelson.

WWW page created: March 1, 2003.