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Flying Bombers Grand Chess

Introduction

Flying Bombers Chess is a 10X10 board variant that uses the standard Chess pieces in addition to a new piece pair.

The new pieces - the Flying Bombers - possess excellent short-range and long-range capabilities, and together with the larger board, considerably enhance the strategy and tactics of the game.

Setup

Flying Bomber Chess starting position Start Position for white. (black mirrors white)
flying bombers on a1, j1
Rooks on b1,i1
knights on c1,h1
bishops on d1, g1
queen on e1
king on f1

Pieces

The Flying Bomber’s Moves

The flying bomber's odd combination of long-range and short-range moves makes it a deadly weapon against an unsuspecting opponent. As a rule, the bomber moves along horizontal and vertical lines and never diagonally.

Standard Move:
  • The flying bomber eliminates an enemy piece by flying over it, and landing on any empty square after it on the same orthogonal line. It cannot fly over or capture a second piece.
  • The flying bomber can fly along any amount of empty squares (1-9) orthogonally, but not over any friendly pieces. This is identical to the movement of a rook.
For a successful bombing, there must be at least one empty square immediately after the first enemy piece on the same line.

Special Alternative Move: the Helicopter Landing
The Flying Bomber's peculiar short-range prowess is explained below:
  • The Flying Bomber can fly over one friendly piece adjacent to it (left, right, up or down) and land on an empty square immediately after it. When it flies over a friendly piece adjacent to it, its range is limited to two squares.
  • If an enemy piece is exactly 2 squares away orthogonally and no other piece is in-between, then the flying bomber can capture the usual way by flying over it and landing on any empty square after it. It can also capture by landing on the same square as the enemy like a Helicopter.
  • If two enemy pieces lie on the same line,the first one adjacent to the bomber, and the next two squares away, then the flying bomber can eliminate both pieces by landing on the square of the second enemy piece. (see diagram 1) It cannot fly over the second enemy piece.
  • Similarly, if there was a friendly piece in immediate vicinity of the bomber, and an enemy piece right after it, the Flying Bomber can fly over the friendly piece and destroy the piece right after by landing on the same square. Here too it cannot fly over beyond the enemy piece as it cannot fly over two pieces.
  • The Flying Bomber needs at least one square to fly over for a bombing. e.g. it can destroy any enemy piece in its vicinity (1 square to left, right, up or down) by flying over it and landing on any empty square after it, but if a friendly piece occupies a square immediately after the enemy piece, no capture can be made. (see diag 2)
The 2 square range helicopter move/capture is identical to the Dabbabah except for the double capture. It flies two spaces horizontally or vertically, capturing (if possible) on square it lands.
It is easier to remember the flying bomber moves as a combination of the standard move with the move of the Dabbabah - a leaping move two squares in any orthogonal direction.

Flying Bomber moveset
diag 1 (sideways rook rep. flying bomber)
Diag. 1: The flying bomber on f4 is posing multiple threats to black's pieces.
It is threatening to destroy the black bishop on f7 by moving f4-f8.
Using its special 2 square helicopter capability, it is threatening the black rook on d4 by moving f4-d4 (flying over its own piece and bombing/landing on d4). It cannot land on any squares beyond d4.

This same short-range prowess gives it the ability to threaten f4-h4, flying over and bombing pawn on g4 and landing/bombing rook on h4. Note that the bomber cannot move to g4 by capturing the pawn, it must eliminate both the pawn and the rook. If there was no rook on h4 then the bomber can just capture the pawn by moving f4-h4.

Note that the bomber IS giving check to the king because it is exactly 2 squares away, and the bomber can land on f2.
However the bomber is not threatening the knight on f1 since it is more than 2 squares away and there is no empty square beyond it. If the king moves, the knight will not be under attack either.
Flying Bomber moveset 2
diag 2 (sideways rook rep. flying bomber)
Diag 2: Here the Flying Bomber is hampered by Black’s Pieces.

It is not checking the king at d7 because there is no empty square behind it (and it is not exactly 2 squares away from it). The rook on d8 is pinned, because moving it would enable the king to be captured. However, the king can simply move away and the rook on d8 is not threatened because there is no empty square beyond it.

The rook on e4 is adjacent to the flying bomber and threatening it. But the Flying Bomber cannot do anything because the white pawn occupies f4 and the bomber needs at least one empty square after its target. If f4 was an empty square, the bomber could capture the rook, and if there was another enemy piece on f4 instead of the white pawn, then the bomber could have captured both pieces.

The Flying Bomber does attack the pawn on d2. It can play d4-d1 OR it can even play d4-d2 to eliminate the pawn. Because it is 2 squares away, the bomber can land on the same square as its target.
Flying Bomber moveset 3
diag 3 (sideways rook rep. flying bomber)
Diag 3: Here the black Flying Bomber is threatening white’s pawn at d4.

Black can capture the pawn by landing safely on h4. The squares e4,f4, and g4 are under attack.
The bishop could have blocked the bomber by sliding to e4 but the black king would capture it.
If white plays e3-e4+, then black plays d5xd4.

For simplicity, the above diagrams showed a standard 8x8 chessboard, and not the actual 10X10 board space used by Flying Bombers Grand Chess.

Rules

The rules in Flying Bombers Grand Chess are the same as in chess except for using the new pieces and for the following modifications :
  1. Castling: The usual castling criteria apply: No piece must be in between the spaces travelled by the king and castling rook, cannot castle out of check, King cannot pass over or land on squares attacked by enemy, but rook can. Also the flying bomber can remain at j1, j10, a10 or a1.
    Unlike standard Chess, there are a total of FIVE Castling positions for each side, the player must make the decision based on whether centralization of rook or king closer to wing is more desirable.
    1. 2 space transposition - King Side Castling
      White moves King two spaces from f1-h1 and rook from i1-g1
      Black moves King two spaces from f10-h10 and rook from i10-g10
    2. 2 space transposition - Queen Side Castling
      White moves King two spaces from f1-d1 and rook from b1-e1
      Black moves King two spaces from f10-d10 and rook from b10-e10
    3. 3 space transposition - King Side Castling White moves King three spaces from f1-i1 and rook from i1-h1
      Black moves King three spaces from f10-i10 and rook from i10-h10
    4. 3 space transposition - Queen Side Castling White moves King three spaces from f1-c1 and rook from b1-d1
      Black moves King three spaces from f10-c10 and rook from b10-d10
    5. 4 space transposition - Queen Side Castling White moves King four spaces from f1-b1 and rook from b1-c1
      Black moves King four spaces from f10-b10 and rook from b10-c10
  2. Pawn moves: The pawn can move from its original position either 1, 2 or 3 squares forward. Subsequently as in normal chess, it can only move 1 square forward. If a pawn moves 1 square forward from its original position, it loses its ability to move more than 1 square forward and can only move forward 1 square at a time.
  3. En Passant: If a Pawn moves two or three squares initially and passes an opposing Pawn on the fourth or fifth rank, the Pawn may be captured en passant. E.g. White pawn on a2 black pawn on b4. If the white pawn moves from a2 to a4 or a5, the black pawn on b4 can capture it as if it had moved to a3. Similarly, if the black pawn is on b5 instead and the white pawn moves to a5 from a2 then the black pawn can capture the white pawn as if it moved to a4. Note in this case the white pawn can still avoid the black pawn by moving to a3 instead.
    Capturing en passant is optional unless it is the only legal move available. The capture must be made on the next move.
  4. Pawn promotion: Pawns can now promote to: queen, bishop, knight, rook or flying bomber on the 10th rank only.

Notes

Strategical Considerations

  • Endgame: During the endgame, flying bombers work better than rooks against pawns. The power of the Flying Bomber poses a serious threat to pawns, so the side with more pawns should attempt to exchange off both flying bombers before they prove to be a liability.
  • Ability to Checkmate: The flying bomber with the aid of the king still cannot checkmate a lone king It cannot check the king at the edge of the board unless it is two squares away. There are some situations where it could mate but it cannot be forced.
  • Relative Value: The value of the flying bomber relative to the rook is hard to determine, but as a general rule, the rook is a bit more powerful than the flying bomber whose action can be easily blocked.
    In early middle game, it is possible that one side may have obtained a "slight advantage" by gaining a rook for a flying bomber, but careful play is needed to stave off an attacking flying bomber. In many cases it can be demonstrated that the bomber is more powerful than the rook.
  • Knight vs Bishop: Because of the larger board, exchanging a bishop for a knight (if not using the super jump knight) is definitely losing the exchange, though there are cases where the knight is at least as powerful as the bishop.

Optional Variation: "Immediate Landing" Flying Bomber

A more limited version of the bomber can be used, instead. In this case, instead of landing on any square after the enemy piece, the bomber must land immediately on the first empty square after the enemy piece. The special Helicopter landing move remains unchanged.
While both versions are perfectly playable, this version might allow for more dynamic pawn play as the pawns are less susceptible to attack from the flying bombers.

Other chess inventors are free to experiment with the moves of this piece.

Optional Variation: Super Jump Knights

It is possible to play with knights that possess an extended leap (a 3,1 jump move) in addition to their regular move i.e. the knight can also move 3 steps orthogonally and 1 step perpendicular.

In this subvariation, the roles are reversed since the knights can be more powerful than the bishops for the duration of the game, though on an empty board the bishops can be at least equal because of their improved mobility.
In this subvariation, white's first move: c1-d4 threatens mate by d4-e5. But e2-e5 or h10-g8 prevents it.

Related Games

Birds and Ninjas is an extended version of this game with extra squares. It is an excellent game and highly recommended.

Flying Bombers with Hangars is an 8x8 version of this game that is of some interest.


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By Charles Daniel.
Web page created: 2007-09-14. Web page last updated: 2007-09-14