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The Chess Variant Pages

Gunnery Chess (with Scorpions)

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

In Gunnery Chess (with Scorpions) there are Scorpions instead of pawns. The Scorpion has the additional moves of a knight, but only in two forward directions: east-north-east, and west-north-west. There are no additional capture moves. The Scorpion's value is half the value of a knight or bishop, that is, 1.5. This implies that a light piece can be exchanged for two Scorpions, a possibility which often occurs. The Scorpion opens up many new tactical possiblities, both in the defense and the attack. The endgame is much more aggressive, while Scorpions, unlike pawns, are not easy to block. Unlike in orthodox chess, a broken pawn chain is not a big defect while the Scorpion pawn chain is not static. The fact that two Scorpion pawns equal a light piece contributes to the stability of the positions, despite the increase in the tactical possibilities. A strategical depth is retained, while new tactical themes are introduced.

The two oblique moves in the image are the
Scorpions two extra movement possibilities.
It can only capture like a regular pawn. Enemy pieces (including the king) are safe on the oblique squares, because they are not threatened.

The cannon move functions as follows. By the term 'piece' I mean all pieces, including Scorpions. Any Scorpion situated on the same file as a friendly piece, with zero or more empty squares in between, can leap forwards over the latter and land on an enemy piece standing on the same file, provided that there is just one friendly piece in between. The Scorpion can land on all enemy pieces on the file, but not on empty squares. However, enemy pieces positioned behind an enemy Scorpion (or yet another friendly piece) cannot be reached, although the enemy Scorpion, in itself, can be captured. When the Scorpion lands it behaves like a cannon shell and "explodes", that is, it is removed together with the enemy piece.

This piece movement functions similarly as a cannon. It opens up interesting tactical and strategical possibilities during all phases of the game. Scorpions that fulfil the requirements for making a jump are referred to as "cannons". In all other respects regular chess rules apply. According to the dictionary the term gunnery refers to the use of guns; esp: the science of the flight of projectiles and of the effective use of guns. Note! A more thorough explanation of the cannon rules, with exemplifying images, can be found here.

The following preset makes only a scarce validity check of cannon moves. Moves are automated, including castling, the 'en passant' move, and the emptying of the destination square at cannon moves. Pieces can be moved by pointing and clicking. When promoting a Scorpion, 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). 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. You must watch out for cannon Scorpion checks, because it's easy for the inexperienced to miss them.

Gunnery Chess (with Scorpions)

You can also download a Zillions implementation here.

See also my other Game Courier presets.

This 'user submitted' page is a collaboration between the posting user and the Chess Variant Pages. Registered contributors to the Chess Variant Pages have the ability to post their own works, subject to review and editing by the Chess Variant Pages Editorial Staff.

By M Winther.
Web page created: 2006-07-07. Web page last updated: 2006-07-07