Central Point Chess
Central Point Chess is a chess variant played on a small 7x7 board with different pieces and a different setup. The initial position is arranged to have many pieces point toward the central d4 square. Tension around the center tends to develop as the game progresses.
Central Point Chess has Pawns, Knights, Rooks, Bishops, Aancas, and Kings.
Pawns start on the 2nd rank and move the same way as in regular Chess except that they cannot go forward two spaces on their first turn. Consequently, there is no en passant. They promote to Knight, Rook, Bishop, or Aanca upon reaching the last rank.
Knights start on c1 and e1 for White and c7 and e7 for Black. They move the same as in orthodox Chess.
Rooks start on d1 for White and d7 for Black. They move the same as in orthodox Chess.
Bishops start on a1 and g1 for White and a7 and g7 for Black. They can move like a Bishop in orthodox Chess, or may move one space orthogonally. This piece is known as the Dragon Horse in Shogi. The White Bishop on d4 can move to any of the locations with red circles or capture the pawn on f6.
Aancas start on b1 for White and f7 for Black. They move by sliding one space orthogonally and then optionally sliding any number of spaces diagonally outwards. They cannot jump over pieces. The White Aanca on d4 may move to any of the locations with red circles or capture the black pawn on e6.
Kings start on f1 for White and b7 for Black. They move the same way as regular Chess except they cannot castle.
Besides pieces and setup, all rules are the same as regular Chess except the following:
- Pawns may only move one space on their first turn.
- En Passant does not exist.
- Castling does not exist.
- Pawns may only promote to Knight, Rook, Bishop (Dragon Horse), or Aanca.
As you can see, the Bishops, Aancas, and Rooks could easily support the d4 square from their initial positions with a few opening pawn moves. Knights can easily develop in one move to control the d4 square.
I would estimate piece values as follows:
- Pawn: 1
- Knight: 3
- Rook: 4
- Bishop (Dragon Horse): 5
- Aanca: 6~7
Note that Rooks may be less valueable in Central Point Chess than in regular Chess due to the smaller board and more dense initial setup. Also, the single Rook for each player and lack of Queens makes batteries on orthogonal lines impossible without promotion. However, the Rook gains power quickly as pieces get traded off.
The Bishop (Dragon Horse) is a fairly powerful attacker in the middlegame. It can give checkmate to a king on the edge of the board with the aid of a supporting piece. The two Bishops can form a battery as well. The Bishop next to each player's King can also serve as a good defender.
Kings are initially on opposite sides so pawn storms can be a good strategy.
Despite the Aanca being the most powerful piece, a pawnless K+A vs. K endgame is a draw due to the Aanca being a color-changing piece. However, K+R vs. K and K+B vs. K are fairly simple wins. Usually the Rook and Bishop are better choices for promotion.
In the opening and early middlegame, it is important to maintain control of the central d4 square. 1. b3 is a good move for White as it opens both the Bishop and the Aanca. Note that 1... f6 cannot be copied by Black without losing material.
Central Point Chess can be played with a regular chess set. Only use a 7x7 section of the board by either not using one file and one rank or using the vertices between squares and omitting the edge of the board. Set up the pieces and replace Aancas with Queens. Allow the bishops to move one space orthogonally.
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Last revised by H. G. Muller.
Web page created: 2019-04-28. Web page last updated: 2022-12-01