IntroductionThis is a variant that I put together while waiting to check online details for Man and Beast index poages. It was inspired by my Mitred Framing variants and how they made used of either FIDE and Shogi, Xiang Qi and Shogi, or promoted and unpromoted Shogi, physical sets. This one uses one set from each of the three standard games.
My first decision was that FIDE pieces always represent themselves. East Asian pieces, I decided, represent themselves only when they were neither single-step nor duplicates (not distinguishing leapers from steppers) of FIDE pieces. This gave the King/Queen, 2 each of Rook/Cannon/Bishop/Knight/Elephant/Wing/Helm, the last two both promotable to Gold, and 8 Pawns. For unused XQ pieces I drew on Yang Qi substitutions either straight - Ferzes as Arrows - or in reverse - Rooks as Dabbabas - before adding the compounds with General as Tank and Knights as Alibabas - two of these as they are bound. Unpromotable Shogi pieces I then used to similarly fill out the Knight famiily - King as Gnu, array Golds as Camels - and promotable ones the Wing and Helm families - Rook/Bishop as Princess/Handyman, both promotable to Prince, Silver/Point as Mitre/Hump, both promotable to Silver. Finally I decided to use the XQ Points as promotee Stewards. Promotion to Gold and Silver made up for these not being array pieces.
PiecesSymmetric pieces, unpromotable:
|The KING moves one step in any radial direction and must be kept out of Check. It is represented by the FIDE King.|
|The ROOK moves any distance through empty intermediate cells in any of the 4 orthogonal directions.|
|The BISHOP moves any distance through empty intermediate cells in the 4 diagonal directions.|
|The QUEEN is the compound of these two, moving in all 8 directions.|
|The KNIGHT leaps to any of the 8 cells 2:1 away from it.|
|The CAMEL leaps to any of the 8 cells 3:1 away from it.|
|The GNU is the compound of these two and can leap to all 16 cells.|
|The CANNON differs from the Rook in that capturing moves require exactly one intervening piece.|
|The ARROW differs from the Bishop in that capturing moves require exactly one intervening piece.|
|Their compound the TANK differs from the Queen in that capturing moves require exactly one intervening piece.|
|The stepping form of the DABBABA moves two steps through an empty intermediate cell in any of the 4 orthogonal directions.|
|The stepping form of the ELEPHANT likewise in the 4 diagonal directions.|
|The stepping form of the ALIBABA is the compound of these two, moving in all 8 directions.|
Forward-only piece, with FIDE-style promotion:
|The PAWN moves one step forward at a time, diagonally if capturing otherwise orthogonally. It is represented by the FIDE Pawn. It can be promoted to any unpromotable piece captured by the enemy or, if there isn't one, to a Steward.|
|The STEWARD moves one step along any diagonal if capturing, otherwise along any orthogonal, and is represented by the Xiang Qi Point.|
|The WING moves any distance through empty intermediate cells along the forward orthogonal.|
|The MITRE does moves any distance through empty intermediate cells along both forward diagonals.|
|The PRINCESS is the compound of these two, moving in all 3 directions.|
|The HELM leaps to either cell two ranks ahead on a neighbouring file.|
|The HUMP leaps to either three ranks ahead on a neighbouring file.|
|The HANDYMAN is the compound of these two and can leap to all 4 cells.|
Promotion is as follows, by flipping the piece:
|the Wing/Helm to GOLDGENERAL, which moves one step in any of the 4 orthogonal and 2 forward diagonal directions;|
|the Mitre/Hump to SILVERGENERAL, which moves one step in any of the 4 diagonal and 1 forward orthogonal directions;|
|the Princess/Handyman to PRINCE, which moves like the King but may be captured.|
RulesPawns have an optional double-step noncapturing initial move.
Castling involves the King moving three steps and the relevant Rook moving to the two-thirds square of the King's move.
Pawns entering, or moving within, the enemy camp can be promoted to a symmetric capturable piece captured by the enemy if there is one. If they reach the far rank promotion is compulsory, to the same kinds of pieces if there are any and to a Steward otherwise.
Other FO pieces entering, or moving within, the enemy camp can be promoted to the appropriate one-step piece. If they have no firther move unpromoted, promotion is compulsory. Note that the question of leaving the enemy camp unpromoted does not arise.
A player capturing an enemy FO piece, or its promoted form, can reintroduce it as part of their own army in place of a normal move. It must return in unpromoted form, on a square from which it has a valid move in that form.
Check, Checkmate, and Stalemate are as FIDE Chess. A player can also achieve a Machiavellian win by having all four Princes on the board (i.e. their own and the enemy's Princess and Handyman, all promoted), or an out-of-pieces win by moving a Pawn to the far rank when having a full array quota of symmetric pieces and five Stewards. Note that these last two wins cannot be countermanded by capturing a relevant piece.
NotesCould this variant be extrapolated to other geometries? Having looked at it I would have to say not directly. The Knight+Camel=Gnu and Helm+Hump=Handyman patterns do not extrapolate well to hex boards, and while the triplet Knightwise-Sextonwise-Ninjawise might balance out the three radial directions on a cubic board a large set and two small sets for each standard game would not provide all seven kinds of piece in all six groups. What could however be extrapolated to hex boards would be a "mini-MiTaWi" with only long-range pieces including FO Cannon-style ones and no XQ sets. The square and hex versions could be as follows, with the hex one having the Grandduke Swap of Liu Yang to ensure coverage of all cells by all piece types.
|Square cells||Hex cells|
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By Charles Gilman.
Web page created: 2011-01-29. Web page last updated: 2016-03-11