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Four Double-Acts Chess

Introduction

This variant arises from an idea that I had in my piece article MAB 21: Lords High Everything-Else for pieces imitating other pieces' directions but retaining intrinsic characteristics of being long-range or short-range. As directions potentially imitated would usually include the orthogonal I paired names into masculine for the short-range and feminine for the long-range piece. The names should be recognisable as based on the Joker, Friend, and Orphan familiar to problematists, which move exactly as the piece type they imitate (adjusted for their own army). Any variant using such pieces would of course need pieces with intrinsic directions, and the FIDE pieces seemed a good enough lot of those. In fact I decided on two identical, FIDE sets to keep up the stock of pieces to imitate.

Setup

Pieces

The KING, QUEEN, ROOK, BISHOP, KNIGHT, and PAWN are the same as in FIDE Chess, except that there are two extra aside of the last four. Short-range imitating pieces move one step along any orthogonal when imitating a Rook, one step along any diagonal when imitating a Bishop, either when imitating a King or Queen, and like the same piece of their own army when imitating a Knight or Pawn. These pieces include:
the COMEDIAN imitating the enemy that has just moved;
the FIANCÉ imitating any ally protecting it; and
the WIDOWER imitating any enemy attacking it.
Long-range imitating pieces move like the same piece when imitating a Rook or a Bishop, a Queen when imitating a King or Queen, a Nightrider when imitating a Knight, or a Pawnrider of their own army when imitating a Pawn. These pieces include:
the COMEDIENNE imitating the enemy that has just moved;
the FIANCÉE imitating any ally protecting it; and
the WIDOW imitating any enemy attacking it.

Rules

Starting with White, players alternate their moves. Each player moves a piece, touching it in order to do so. The player then takes the following actions until they are touching a FIDE piece:
* If they are touching a FIDE piece they keep hold of it until the opponent had finished moving their next piece.
* If they are touching a Comedian or Comedienne they let go and touch the piece that the other player (who now lets go) was touching. This is necessarily the piece ultimately being imitated and the piece that the other player will be imitating if they involve a Comedian or Comedienne in their move.
* If they are touching a Fiancé(e) or Widow(er), they let go, touch the piece that it was imitating, and reiterate until a FIDE piece is being touched.

Unpromoted Pawns, and short-range pieces imitating them, have an optional double-step noncapturing move from either rank of their own camp. This is not inherited by imitating pieces which are outside their own camp. Pieces making this move can be immediately captured En Passant by an unpromoted enemy Pawn, or short-range piece imitating one, as if they had made only the single step. Long-range pieces imitating unpromoted Pawns can move any number of steps anyway and can neither capture En Passant nor be so captured.

Castling follows the Wildeurasian Qi requires that the King has not left the middle two files, the Rook involved has not left its own and the adjacent file, neither has left the back two ranks, and both are on the same rank with no intervening piece. They move toward each other within that rank, the King to the Bishop file and the Rook to the Camel file. The King may not castle into, out of, or through Check.

A Pawn reaching the far rank must immediately be promoted to any other capturable array piece, including imitating ones. Imitating pieces on the far rank cannot imitate unpromoted Pawns.

Check, Checkmate, and Stalemate are as standard as regards the King itself. They do not affect pieces imitating Kings.



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By Charles Gilman.
Web page created: 2009-08-22. Web page last updated: 2016-04-19