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This page is written by the game's inventor, Johnny Luken.

Pawn Vault Chess

Pawn Vault Chess is an attempt to introduce what I see as the most fundamental fairy pieces, the berolina pawn, and missing rook/knight, bishop/knight compound pieces, plus an additional pawn compound, the "castellan", in as compact a fashion as possible, with the additional boost to the 2 pawn types abilities,that they have now the ability to hop over pawns of opposite type.


As in Chess, but with pawns now alternating between Berolina and FIDE pawn along starting array, such that the kings pawn is still a FIDE pawn.


Same starting setup, but with 4 FIDE pawns replaced by 4 Berolina pawns. The, in my own personal nomenclature, dragon (bishop+knight), is also available as a drop in piece, and the hero (rook+knight) as the promotion piece. The castellan, which is a pawn that moves and captures in all 3 forward directions and can hop over both pawn types, is played by dropping it onto a starting pawn square after the pawn is played.


Same as in FIDE Chess, but with the adjustment that king+piece stalemating king with no piece is now victory to the stalemating side.

Pawns promote to heroes.

The dragon may be dropped into play as a turn anywhere on the board at any time, but with the restriction that it cannot be placed on a square where it might change the material or gaming outcome in a positive manner for its side in its next turn, for example protecting an otherwise unprotected piece threatened by a weaker piece, threatening an unprotected piece, or blocking an attack on a more valuable piece (ie queen, hero or king).

The pawn castellan, as mentioned, is played by placing it on the second rank after a pawn has immediately vacated that square. If when the last pawn is played, it still hasn't been introduced, then it is automatically brought into play.

Pawns have the ability to hop over pawns of the opposite type along their natural direction of movement, the castellan being able to hop over both. A pawn may not hop over to make capture. Pawns of both type may hop over a castellan.


The game is largely centred around the cooperation of the 2 pawn types, and utilising their ability to hop over eachother for increased mobility. This is a rule I felt that was a necessary addition to such a setup, as ordinary berolina and FIDE pawns will otherwise endlessly bumble into eachother, making for a practically unplayable game.

The addition of the pawn castellan I felt was necessary to to shore up the pawn ranks, which are fragmented by the reduced ability to set up cohesive chains and the aggression of the drop in dragon piece. Having such a powerful pawn on the board is an interesting addition in its own right...

The bishop/knight descends on and terrorises the board early on in a very "dragonlike" manner, hence why I prefer that name over cardinal/princess etc. Names like chancellor and marshall feel a bit out of sync with the chronology of chess to me, while a hero seems like the natural compliment to the dragon, and rising from humble beginnings as it does, seems like an equally appropriate piece name...

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By Johnny Luken.
Web page created: 2012-10-20. Web page last updated: 2012-10-20