Relay Chess is based on the fundamental concept of pieces inheriting the movement of friendly pieces they are in the attack range of, while losing their own.
This simple concept however, creates an extremely dynamic and richly layered game.
All kinds of new tactics and possibilities arise, Kings can checkmate other Kings, Queens are less dominant, piece values are more amorphous, Bishops are liberated, and players have access, by proxy, to 11 of the fundamental fairy Chess piece types.
The game can be viewed as a generalisation of Knights Relay Chess, from which it gets its name.
As in FIDE Chess.
No castling, double first move, or en passant capture. Stalemate is a win.
Everything else as in FIDE Chess, except that pieces that are in the range of friendly pieces inherit their movement ability, while losing their own. Pieces that are not in the range of friendly pieces revert back to type.
Pawns do not pass on ability to pieces or pawns, but also inherit extra movement from friendly pieces, albeit in limited form, as follows;
Pawns in range of rooks; move and capture one forward, or move sideways.
...in range of bishops; move and capture one diagonally forward.
...in range of knights; move and capture one forward and two sideways.
...in range of royal piece; move and capture one diagonally or orthogonally forward.
More of a discovery than an invention, this in my opinion deserves to be seen as one of the fundamental chess variants, such Alice Chess, suicide chess, progressive etc.
Rare for a chess variant I would argue that it is fundamentally better game than chess, in that it loses none of its balance, compactness or length, and for one simple extra mechanic becomes a far more fluid and rich gameplay experience.
Indeed even this is largely cancelled out by the games ability to safely dispense with some of the contrived special rules that chess requires to streamline its gameplay.
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By Johnny Luken.
Web page created: 2012-11-03. Web page last updated: 2012-11-03