HORSEMAN’S CHESS is a chess variant in which a piece’s movement capabilities can change during play. The primary actors are the familiar chess pieces (Pawn, Rook, Knight, Bishop, Queen, and King) with their traditional movement capabilities except that none of them can move more than two spaces nor jump spaces without assistance.
Pieces augment their movement by using mounts. The Charger mount allows a piece to move an unlimited number of spaces, while the Jumper mount allows a piece to jump over an intermediate space when moving two spaces.
For most pieces, the change in movement with or without a mount is straightforward. The effects upon the Pawn and the Knight may not be obvious. The full movement rules for each piece (dismounted, riding a Jumper, and riding a Charger) are detailed in the Pieces section. Note that the symbols for the Rook and Knight are nonstandard to make sense with the mounts.
|The dismounted Pawn behaves exactly like the Pawn from orthodox chess. Any Pawn that reaches the far end of the board is promoted to any piece of the player’s choice. That piece has the same mount that the Pawn did, if any.||Betza's Notation: m[fW]c[fF]im[fW2]|
|The initial movement of a Pawn mounted upon a Jumper is immune to en passant and can jump a piece immediately in front of it.||m[fW]c[fF]im[fD]|
A Pawn mounted upon a Charger may move any number of unobstructed spaces forward, but cannot capture in that direction. It may also move any number of unobstructed spaces diagonally forward to capture. It cannot be captured en passant but can capture dismounted Pawns that way.
(Identical to the “Superpawn” from Fairy Chess Problems except that it can capture en passant.)
The dismounted Rook can move or capture up to two spaces forward, backward, left, or right. A Rook that has not moved can participate in castling; no mount is required, but any mount moves with the Rook. That is, castling cannot be combined with a dismount.
(Acts as the Rook on its weak color in Contrast Chess.)
If mounted upon a Jumper, a Rook can jump over an intervening piece to move two spaces.
(Behaves like the “Wazaba” in several chess variants.)
|The Rook mounted upon a Charger behaves exactly like the Rook from orthodox chess.||WW|
The dismounted Knight moves one square forward, backward, left, or right, then one square diagonally away from the starting square. The square that the Knight passes through must be unoccupied, but the destination square may be open (for movement), occupied by a friendly Jumper or Charger (for mounting), or occupied by an enemy piece (for capture).
(Behaves like the “Mao” from Chinese Chess.)
|A Knight mounted upon a Jumper behaves exactly like the Knight from orthodox chess.||N|
The Knight mounted upon a Charger moves one space forward, backward, left, or right, then any number of spaces diagonally away from the starting square. The initial square passed through must be unoccupied. After that, the Knight may move through any number of unoccupied squares or capture an enemy piece in the destination square.
The dismounted Bishop moves or captures up to two spaces diagonally.
(Behaves like the Bishop on its weak color in Contrast Chess.)
A Bishop mounted upon a Jumper can jump over an intervening piece to move two spaces.
|The Bishop mounted upon a Charger behaves exactly like the Bishop from orthodox chess.||FF|
The dismounted Queen moves or captures up to two spaces in any direction.
(Behaves like the Queen on its weak color in Contrast Chess.)
A Queen mounted upon a Jumper can jump over an intervening piece to move two spaces.
(Behaves like the “Pasha” in Paulovits's Game.)
|The Queen mounted upon a Charger behaves exactly like the Queen from orthodox chess.||WWFF|
|A dismounted King behaves exactly like the King from orthodox chess. The King cannot move into or through check, and the game ends if the King is in checkmate or stalemate. A King that has not moved can participate in castling; no mount is required, but any mount moves with the King. That is, castling cannot be combined with a dismount.||kWF|
|A King mounted upon a Jumper also behaves exactly like the King from orthodox chess.||kWF|
A King that is mounted upon a Charger moves like the Queen from orthodox chess, except that it may not move into or through check.
(In standard chess variant terms, this is a “Royal Queen.”)
Jumper / Charger
A Jumper by itself cannot move at all. It does, however, block movement for any piece that is not itself mounted upon a Jumper. A dismounted friendly piece that ends its turn in the same square as a Jumper mounts it and may use the improved movement next turn.
A mounted friendly piece cannot move into the same square as a mount, but a piece can change mounts by dismounting its current mount and reaching the new mount using its dismounted movement.Any opposing piece can capture the Jumper as if it were a piece, removing it from the board.
A Charger by itself cannot move at all. It does, however, block movement for any piece that is not mounted upon a Jumper. A dismounted friendly piece that ends its turn in the same square as a Charger mounts it and may use the improved movement next turn.
A mounted friendly piece cannot move into the same square as a mount, but a piece can change mounts by dismounting its current mount and reaching the new mount using its dismounted movement.Any opposing piece can capture the Charger as if it were a piece, removing it from the board.
Standard Horseman's Chess
Each player arranges their pieces as in orthodox chess, except that each Pawn is set upon a mount. From left to right, the first two Pawns are mounted on Chargers, the middle four on Jumpers, and the last two on Chargers.
The simplest tokens to use for Chargers and Jumpers are bits of folded paper. Use a rectangular shape for a Charger and a triangular shape for a Jumper.
White moves first, and pieces move according to the rules detailed above in the Pieces section.
If you capture a piece while it is riding a mount, remove both the piece and the mount from the board. You may capture an enemy unoccupied mount as if it was a piece.
As an alternative to normal movement, you may elect to dismount a piece. Dismount by moving that piece according to its dismounted capability and leaving the mount in the starting space.
If any piece ends its movement on an unoccupied friendly mount, the piece mounts the Jumper or Charger and gains the appropriate movement abilities next turn.
In “Equestrian” the Pawns start dismounted and all eight pieces in the back row start on Jumpers.
In “Rush” the mounts are neutral (may be mounted by pieces of either color) and start in the fourth and fifth ranks. Flip a coin: on heads, the white squares are Jumpers and the black squares are Chargers; on tails, the white spaces are Chargers and the black spaces are Jumpers. Players will need to rush to the middle to claim the mounts!
HORSEMAN’S CHESS can also be played with any combination of starting mounts to which the players mutually agree. In such a game, the starting arrangement should be noted before the algebraic notation recording the turns (see Notes section below).
HORSEMAN’S CHESS uses standard chess “long algebraic notation” that has been modified slightly to account for mounts.
- Start each line with the turn number and the piece moved by White using the abbreviation for the mount (if any) in lowercase and the piece in uppercase. For example, “jR” for a Rook mounted on a Jumper.
- Record the starting square of the move. For example, “e2”.
- Use “-” for movement, “x” for capture, “/” for mounting, “\” for dismounting, “V” for changing mounts, and “X” for capture while dismounting.
- Record the ending square of the move. For example, “e4”.
- For Pawn promotion, use “=” followed by the abbreviation for the new piece.
- For castling, use “O-O” for King’s side and “O-O-O” for Queen’s side instead of the start and end.
- In the second column, use the same method to record Black’s move.
- At the end of the game, “1-0” indicates that White won, “0-1” indicates that Black won, and “½‑½” indicates a draw.
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By Frank MacCrory.
Last revised by Frank MacCrory.
Web page created: 2020-12-31. Web page last updated: 2020-12-31