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Blunderbuss Chess

Introduction

This variant is an offshoot (excuse the pun) of Rifle Chess, inspired by two further thoughts. One is that the further away a target is the harder it is to hit, the other is of a bullet bouncing off a strong enough shield. The name comes from a weapon name that suggests clumsiness.

My later variant 3 Strikes Chess also uses Rifle capture in a way that does not guarantee removal from the board.

Setup

As in FIDE Chess

Pieces

As in FIDE Chess. A pair of dice are also required.

Rules

`Initial double-step Pawn moves are as in FIDE Chess.

Pieces attack, that is, attempt to capture, an enemy that is their FIDE capturing move away (one step diagonally forward if the attacker is a Pawn) but do not themselves move. If the pieces are one or two steps apart, including any capture by a Knight or Pawn, the attempt succeeds exactly as in Rifle Chess. En Passant is also exactly as in Rifle Chess.

If the pieces are three or more steps apart, the attacked piece has the chance to dodge the bullet or raise a shield, so this chance is marked by rolling the two dice. If the numbers rolled add up to 6, 7, or 8 the bullet hits its target and the piece is removed, again exactly as in Rifle Chess. Otherwise the bullet misses and continues along a trajectory determined by the sum of the numbers rolled:
2 deflects the bullet 135° to the right;
3 deflects the bullet 90° to the right;
4 deflects the bullet 45° to the right;
5 and 9 mean that the bullet continues straight on;
10 deflects the bullet 45° to the left;
11 deflects the bullet 90° to the left;
12 deflects the bullet 135° to the left.

The bullet continues until it either goes off the end of the board or reaches another occupied square. If the latter is the case, the dice are rolled again (regardless of distance moved this time) with the same effect on its trajectory from that square. This continues until the bullet hits a piece, leaves the board, or is deflected twice. In the last case it is judged to have lost too much momentum to continue beyond the second and goes no further. Another difference after the bullet has missed its intended target is that the subsequent, accidental targets need not be enemies of the piece firing it.

Pawns reaching the far rank must be promoted to Rook, Knight, Bishop, or Queen.

Check, Checkmate, and Stalemate apply only to threats to the King from 1 or 2 steps away (again including Knight moves away). A King threatened from further away may stand its ground, although this is not recommended unless there is no other choice. Castling is the same as in FIDE Chess except that the King's path must be entirely out of Check only in that limited sense. An enemy threatening the King from further can attack, and one threatening the start or middle of the King's Castling path can attack En Passant, but the dice may save the King. If a King is hit, either as the intended target or as a side effect of a bullet missing or being deflected from that target, the player whose King it is loses as if they had been Checkmated.



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By Charles Gilman.
Web page created: 2007-07-03. Web page last updated: 2007-07-03