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This page is written by the game's inventor, Charles Gilman.

Dartboard Chess

An early variant of mine, Modern Manners, added to Duke of Rutland's Chess the element of Rook-Bishop symmetry found in the various variants using one each of Marshal and Cardinal. One of the latter variants is Bird's Chess, which like D of R is British. This got me considering other possible combinations of British Chess variants, with a view to a "Best of British" variant combining several. One thought that occurred to me en route to that was putting Bird's compounds in an enlarged version of Lincoln Circular Chess. The latter variant is regularly played in that English city's Tap and Spile public house, although the more usual pastimes in such buildings generally are Dominoes, Pool, and... Darts. It suddenly occurred to me that a large enough round board would have the same divisions as a dartboard, but with the bullseye an empty space rather than a cell.



Pieces are the FIDE set plus a Marshal and Cardinal (and two extra Pawns) each.


On odd files Rook moves, whether by Rooks themselves or their compounds, are limited to 7 steps (the maximum on a FIDE board), representing the dartboard's broad "single-score" rings. On the second outermost file they are limited to 14 steps, representing the narrow "double-score" ring. On the second innermost file they are unlimited, including a null move by the only piece on the file, representing the narrow "triple-score" ring.

Pawns move away from their own camp toward the enemy one. They have an optional double-step initial move. Because of the larger number of ranks I make it a Eurofighter move - it may comprise two capturing steps, two noncapturing, or one of each in either order. For the same reason they may be promoted on any of the first three ranks reached in the enemy camp. Should they reach the third, promotion is compulsory there to avoid having to distinguish clockwise and anticlockwise ones.

Castling involves the King moving to either Bishop cell and the corresponding Rook to the corresponding Knighted-piece cell. Usual restrictions apply, Castling with the Queen's Rook being taken to move the King via the Queen square.

Check, Checkmate, and Stalemate, are as in FIDE Chess.


By a curious coincidence, while I was planning to post this page I received as a present the book named after the game Thud. Its hero, Commander Vimes of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch, is described on seeing a Thud set as having "never got on with any game much more complex than Darts". I have since developed his thoughts on games further in Vimes Chess. Even more astonishingly I have since read that at around the same time a Thud tournament, or something of the kind, was set up in Wincanton, near the Somerset-Dorset border, that might become as regular and distinctive a feature there as the Circular Chess one is at Lincoln.

This was my last posting of 2006, and the theme of this page is oddly appropriate to the turning of the year too, as it has been known for public houses to open their function rooms for New Year parties.

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By Charles Gilman.
Web page created: 2006-12-30. Web page last updated: 2007-04-22