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Insane Flip Relay Shatranj


Insane Flip Relay Shatranj is my entry in the Short Range Pieces series. All pieces are short range and most are taken from Joe Joyce's Great Shatranj. Relays are used extensively and pieces flip to change to capturing or non-capturing state. The "insane" comes from having a "this game is insane" moment while play testing against Zillions of Games.


The game is played on a 10x10 board. Each player has ten Pawns on the second rank and ten pieces on the first rank. There are two copies of each piece, symmetrically located. From the corner inward: Modern Dababba, Knight, Modern Elephant, Power, and King.


King: The royal piece. Moves as an orthodox King. Since victory is by King capture rather than checkmate, it is legal (though highly inadvisable) to put or leave your own King in check.

Power: The Power piece has no move of its own, but can only move or capture by a relay. Any friendly piece adjacent to a Power may move or capture with its natural move without regard to its flip state (see below).

Elephant: Moves 1 or 2 squares diagonally. The move to the second square may leap over an occupied first square.

Knight: Moves as an orthodox Knight.

Dababba: Move 1 or 2 squares horizontally or vertically. The move to the second square may leap over an occupied first square.

Pawn: The Pawn is a Quick Pawn, moving 1 or 2 squares straight forward anywhere on the board. The move to the second square may not pass over an occupied first square. The Pawn captures one square diagonally forward. There is no en passant.


Turn order: Each player's turn consists or two parts: moving any piece which can legally do so, then flipping any piece to change it from move state to capture state or vice-versa. It is permissible but not required to flip the piece just moved. The two parts are both mandatory and must be played in the order given.

Flipping: Each piece (excluding the Power) can exist in one of two states: move or capture. A piece in move state can move but not capture, a piece in capture state can capture but cannot make a non-capturing move. A piece may disregard this rule and make either a non-capturing or a capturing move if it is adjacent to a friendly Power.

Relays: A piece which is adjacent to another friendly piece may move or capture as if it were that piece (depending on the other piece's state). Pawn do not particpate in relays, Kings do. Being adjecent to a Power does not allow a piece to ignore the state of the other piece for a relay move.

Winning: Capturing either of opponent's Kings wins. Stalemating the opponent wins. Triple repetition loses for the repeating player. The fifty move rule from orthodox Chess applies.


This is a strange but quite interesting game. The short range pieces and flipping make pieces that are weak enough to make pervasive relays feasible.

Joe Joyce suggested a fine variant. Play is as above, but on an 8x8 board with a one King and one Power on the center squares (Kings opposite each other). This variant is a bit sharper and more tactical than the main variant, but game length is similar. The greater number of turns to cross the larger board is compensated by having two Kings to shoot at.

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By Michael Nelson.
Web page created: 2006-11-24. Web page last updated: 2006-11-24