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Capture the Scepter

Introduction

The idea behind this game was suggested by many before in several variants, but had not reached fruition because of fundamentally flawed assumptions that were made regarding the drawing nature of chess .
Fortunately, this variant does not attempt to take away any aspect of standard chess that governs draws. Stalemate, 3-move repetition, perpetual check and 50 move draws are all as in orthodox chess.

Setup

As in orthodox chess, or the particular variant you are trying to use with these new rules.

Pieces

The pieces move exactly as in orthodox chess except for:

The Extra-mobile sliding pawn

Normally, when a pawn faces an opposing pawn or an enemy piece, the pawn is blocked. However, the sliding pawn can, under these circumstances only if it is blocked, slide pass the enemy piece or pawn with the same 1-step diagonal movement that it would make when capturing.
Example of sliding pawn move Sliding Pawn movement
If it is white's turn to move:
The pawn at c5 can slide past c6 by going to either d6 or b6.
If it is black's turn to move, the pawn on c6 can slide to b5 or d5.
Also the pawn at g5 can either capture the pawn at h4 (as usual) OR it can also slide past the white knight by moving to f4!

Rules

The rules are exactly as in orthodox chess except for the sliding pawn and the following:

The Scepter

This is a magic wand, possessed by both sides, which must be protected at all cost, for losing it to the opposing king loses the throne, the kingdom … everything. So in addition to checkmate - the surrender to the enemy - this is an additional objective in the game, but only a king can capture a scepter.

The scepter is normally kept on the king's original square on e1 or e8. In some variations, Omega Chess, for instance, it can be kept on the king's wizard's square or in other variations, it might be kept on two or even three squares. No matter how many squares it is kept on, the objective is for the king to capture the opposing king's scepter.

The scepter is never moved, and even if the king castles, the scepter remains on the same square.

Stalemate where the opponent's king, even though surrounded, has tricked your forces and avoided checkmate (visualize as a secret getaway or committing suicide), is still a draw.
A 3-time repetition of position that results from nether side unable to gain ground by engaging each other, is also a draw.
So, bearing this in mind not all games will end with a win or loss (though a much greater percentage will now). For example, the white king can guard its own scepter and prevent the black king from getting it. If black has no piece to attack the white king then it cannot pry it out, and the game will be drawn.

Notes

It is established that the capture the scepter component is strategically rich and can be used, not just with orthodox chess, but also in other chess variants. Games like Asylum Chess and Omega chess can all employ this idea. In Asylum Chess, the scepter will be at f1 and f10, but in Omega Chess, the scepter will be at the king's wizard squares, w2 and w3, (this seems best). In other variants, it can be on more than 1 square.

Similarly, the sliding pawns can be used as a feature in many different types of variants, especially variants that are not very chess-like i.e. dissimilar to standard chess. The author, being a bit cautious, will not suggest that the sliding pawns be used for chess-like variants simply because they change the nature of the game completely! However, other variant inventors are welcome to use the sliding pawns in their variants if they desire a more dynamic sort of pawn.

In the meantime why not play a totally different game of chess with mobile pawns and the kings’ scepters - Capture the Scepter!


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By Charles Daniel.
Web page created: 2007-09-11. Web page last updated: 2007-09-11