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Mighty-Lion Chess

Introduction

Mighty-Lion Chess is a modest Chess variant, which replaces the queen-side Knights by a Lion super-piece, taken from the historical Japanese game Chu Shogi. It also has borrowed the rule from Chu Shogi that restricts trading the Lions, thus preventing what is usually the weak point of Chess variants with only a single non-orthodox piece: that it can be quickly traded to degenerate into normal Chess.

Setup

  • Click on the pieces below to see their moves:
  • e1, e8: King
  • b1, b8: Lion
  • d1, d8: Queen
  • a1, a8, h1, h8: Rook
  • c1, c8, f1, f8: Bishop
  • g1, g8: Knight
  • a2-h2, a7-h7: Pawns

Pieces

All rules are exactly as in orthodox Chess, except that the Knights in the b-file are replaced by Lions (which can be represented by putting a Knight on a checker-chip pedestal, or tying a rubber band around it).

A Lion moves like an orthodox King, but up to twice per turn, and can move through an occupied square on the first step of such a pair without disturbing it, if it wants. This means it can:

  • Leap directly to any square in the 5x5 area surrounding it (KNAD).
  • Capture two pieces in one turn.
  • Capture a piece and move on to an empty square ('hit-and-run' capture).
  • Capture a piece and move back to its starting square ('shooting' the piece).
  • Move to an adjacent empty square and step back, effectively passing a turn.

Pawns cannot promote to Lion, so each player can at most have a single Lion.

Rules

There are restrictions on capturing Lions, to prevent they can be easily traded:

  • A Lion that captures a non-adjacent Lion will be considered 'royal' for the next move: it is only allowed to make the capture when a King could have safely made it. So it is not allowed to do it when the Lion was protected, even when the protector is pinned on its King. (Note that this rule puts no restrictions on capturing an adjacent Lion, even when it is protected, by any method, be it replacement, hit-and-run or shooting.)
  • An exception to this rule is when a piece other than a Pawn was standing between the Lions. It is then always allowed to take that piece and the Lion together in a double-capture.
  • A second exception to the first rule is that protection by King will be ignored. (To make Lion trading somewhat easier in an end-game with only Pawns and Lions, which otherwise would almost always be a draw.)
  • When a non-Lion captures a Lion, the opponent Lion will become 'iron' for the next turn: capture of it will not be allowed by any means.

Notes

The Lion is extremely powerful, and probably worth more than Queen + Rook in the middle-game. It devaluates somewhat in the end-game, when there is no material left to shelter it from slider attacks.



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By H. G. Muller.
Web page created: 2014-04-24. Web page last updated: 2014-04-24