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Commodore Chess

This page contains one or more presets for playing a game online with Game Courier, an online server for playing Chess variants by correspondence.

The Commodore moves like a Queen but can capture an enemy only if there is another piece (of either side) in between, and any interim squares are empty. Thus to capture it leaps over the intervening piece and lands on the enemy piece, like a cannonball. Note that the cannon movement is also performed on the diagonals. Otherwise, rules are the same as in standard chess, except for the possibility of pawn promotion to Commodore. The Commodore's value is 5, that is, the same as a Rook.

The Commodore piece was invented in 1936 by Dr. P. Seyfert, although he gave it the name Leo (possibly it was introduced even earlier by T. R. Dawson). The board type was conceived by Gustav III of Sweden (1746-92) for his own chess variant Gustav III's Chess. The Gustavian board makes it possible to place additional pieces on the board without substantially increasing the board size. This often means that a strategical and tactical intensity is maintained. It also brings the advantage that the Knight and Bishop remain equal in value.

The Commodore is a very interesting piece for the tactician. Positionally, too, it could be quite dangerous because one can sometimes sacrifice a Commodore for a light piece (Knight or Bishop) to achieve positional ends. In the middlegame the Commodore is more valuable than a Rook, due to its dangerous tactical capabilities. But in the endgame it is less valuable than a Rook. An obvious case is the endgame King + Commodore vs. King, while it cannot give mate to the enemy King.

The following preset makes a good validity check of Commodore moves, etc. Moves are automated, including castling and the 'en passant' move. Pieces can be moved by pointing and clicking. When promoting a pawn, it will automatically turn into a Queen. Should you prefer another piece then you must type it manually (e.g., add N a8; capture a7). (If you wish to promote to a Commodore you must use the internal syntax Q1.) Use small piece-letters for black. E-mails to your opponent are generated, but you can play online by intermittently pressing the browser's update button.

Commodore Chess

You can download a Zillions implementation here.

See also my other Game Courier presets.

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By M Winther.
Web page created: 2006-08-31. Web page last updated: 2006-08-31