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Joshua's Chess

Introduction

Invented by Joshua Nelson, aged 5 years 359 days.

The usual pieces are given greatly enhanced powers and placed on a larger board.

Setup

The standard Chess armies are set up on a 12 by 12 board so that each army is on the two back ranks and there are two empty files on each side of the armies.

Pieces

There are no divergent pieces; every piece captures in the same way it moves.

Pawn: Moves one or two squares straight forward, diagonally forward, or sideways. The move to the second square is allowed only if the first square is empty. There is no en passant capture. A Pawn whose move ends on the twelfth rank may promote to any non-pawn piece which its owner has lost. If there is no piece available or the owner chooses not to promote, the Pawn continues to move one or two squares sideways on the twelfth rank and may promote after any such move.

Knight: Has its ususal move and can also leap 3 squares orthogonally or move a single square orthogonally.

Bishop: May move any distance in an unobstructed diagonal line, optionally adding a single square "hook move": moving one square at right angles to the original line of movement. May also move diagonally leaping over a single friendly piece anywhere between the starting and ending squares of the move. A Bishop may not hook after leaping.

Rook: May move any distance in an unobstructed orthogonal line, optionally adding a single square "hook move": moving one square at right angles to the original line of movement. May also move orthogonally leaping over a single friendly piece anywhere between the starting and ending squares of the move. A Rook may not hook after leaping.

Queen: May move as the Rook or Bishop.

King: May move to any adjaent square, may leap 2 squares in any orthogonal or diagonal direction, and may move as a (FIDE) Knight. Leaping over check is allowed. Castling is not permitted.

Rules

All FIDE Chess rules apply unless otherwise stated. A non-capturing sideways Pawn move does not reset the count of moves for the 50 move rule unless it results in a promotion.

Notes

Six days before Joshua's sixth birthday we were playing Chess. He knows all the moves and is learning checkmate, stalemate, etc. During the game, Josh started playing around with "What if the Knight could . . ." and so on.

In the course of this exploration, he reinvented the Chinese cannon move and the Japanese hook move. He worked out the enhancements to the pieces very largely on his own. He had originally used an unlimited hook move and found it too strong, so he reduced it to one square.

He also realized that the stronger pieces required a stronger King and devised one. Josh also suggested that the strong pieces would work better on a larger board. After some testing I chose 12 by 12.

I have made one change from Josh's original movement rules: he allowed the cannon move with no restrictions--the move could be capturing or non-capturing and the piece leaped over could be friendly or hostile. When playtesting with Zillions of games indicated that this would be problematic (the Queen can leap the Pawn line and give immediate check), I suggested the rule that only a friendly piece could be leaped over. Joshua readily understood the problem and enthusiastically accepted my suggestion.

I find the resulting game rather pleasing (though I am highly predjudiced, as I should be). In any event, it is playable. It amazes me and fills me with pride that my six year old son could devise a variant with so little help from Daddy.

Joshua has no previous knowlege of Chess variants except that:

  1. They are possible: you can play Chess with different pieces, boards, and rules.
  2. That his Daddy invents them.


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Author: Michael Nelson. Inventor: Joshua Nelson.
Web page created: 2005-12-31. Web page last updated: 2005-12-31