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This page is written by the game's inventor, Jörg Knappen. This game is a favorite of its inventor.

Lines of Relay (LoR)

This variant introduces a new kind of morphing piece, the Lore Apprentice (Zauberlehrling). It can move as any of the pieces currently in its file.


The setup is the same as in FIDE chess with the following exceptions: The pawn on files a and h are advanced one step. On their original squares there is a Lore Apprentice.

Standard chess pieces together with two checkers for each side can be used as playing material.


All the pieces move as in FIDE Chess. The pawn in files a and h have advanced one step, therefore they do not have the initial double move.

The Lore Apprentice has no move of its own. Instead it borrows the moves from the pieces placed in its current file. It get the moves from pieces of both parties, not only from friendly ones. From a pawn of the own party it gets the non-capturing move one forward and the capturing moves diagonally forward. The initial double move, capturing en passant, and promotion are pawn's priviledges and cannot be borrowed. From a pawn of the opposite party it borrow the non-capturing move one square backwards and the capturing moves diagonally backwards. From the King it get the one-step move in any of the 8 directions. It does not get the castling move and it is not subject to check and mate.


Aim of the game is to checkmate the opposite King. The standard FIDE rules apply.

Pawns may promote to Lore Apprentice, too.


The Lore Apprentice stems from a profound misunderstanding of the Querquisite. The Querquisite borrows its moves from the file on which it is placed regardless what pieces are currently occupying the file. In contrast, the Lore Apprentice borrows its moves from the pieces actually placed in its current file.

The german name Zauberlehrling translates literally as Sorcerer's Apprentice. But for the name of the Game (LoR) I choose a slightly different english name for this piece.

In the initial position the Lore Apprentice is quite strong, but hard to develop. This is intentional to prevent it from breaking into the game too early. In the midgame it is a formidable piece and it may even outpower a queen. In the late endgame it becomes almost useless. Without any piece on its file, it is immobile.

Playing hints:

If you place, e.g., a bishop on the border file to activate your Lore Apprentice, you activate your opponents' Lore Apprentice as well. Be carefull!

You may seek a decision in the midgame by sacrificing a major piece but keeping the Lore Apprentice. However, if this fails, you will loose the endgame.

You can strengthen your Lore Apprentice by moving a piece onto its file and you can weaken your opponents Lore Apprentice by removing a piece from its file. This introduces a new way to remove check.

Because the Lore Apprentice becomes weaker as the board empties out one has to find the right time to exchange it for a piece of the opponent.

Related games:

The idea of giving a piece temporarily additional power goes back to Knight Relay Chess. Usually relay is transferrred by watching or by being watched. A nice sumary on classical relays and anti-relays can be found in Anti-Relay Chess by Mike Nelson. Another form of relay is relay by direct contact. Relay by file or rank I have not encountered yet.

Future developments

Be prepared for Ranks of Anti-Relay featuring the mighty Roar!

This 'user submitted' page is a collaboration between the posting user and the Chess Variant Pages. Registered contributors to the Chess Variant Pages have the ability to post their own works, subject to review and editing by the Chess Variant Pages Editorial Staff.

By Jörg Knappen.
Web page created: 2009-11-20. Web page last updated: 2012-04-05