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This page is written by the game's inventor, H. G. Muller.

Veteran Chess

Veteran Chess (8x8) is my third attempt to use promote-on-capture rules like those of Maka Dai Dai Shogi (19x19) in a more accessible game. Earlier attempts were Macadamia Shogi (13x13), Decimaka (10x10). In contrast to these earlier attempts Veteran Chess uses mostly orthodox Chess pieces.

The promotion rules of these games are peculiar. For one, not only Pawns can promote, but most pieces do. But these can or must promote when they make a capture: the combat experience turns them into 'veterans'. There is no promotion zone, and promotion can happen anywhere on the board. The pieces can be divided over 3 classes: unpromotable, 'promoting' to a rather weak piece (so it is actually a demotion), or (true) promotion to a much stronger piece. The strongest pieces in the initial setup tend to demote. (The fiercest warriors often do not survive combat in perfect health...). These all demote to the same piece as a Pawn promotes to. (In Shogi that would be the Gold General, a hefty improvement for a Pawn, but a bummer for most other pieces.)


The initial setup is as in orthodox Chess, except that a Lady replaces the Queen. The Queen only occurs as promoted piece. The Rook is therefore the strongest piece in the initial setup.


In Veteran Chess the three piece classes are represented by King and Bishop (unpromotable), Pawn and Rook (weak promotion) and Knight and Lady (strong promotion). Pawn and Rook promote to the same piece, which for the Rook is a strong demotion, but for the Pawn is an improvement.

Pawn - As in orthodox Chess, including initial double-push and e.p. capture. Promotes to Veteran.
Knight - As in orthodox Chess. Promotes to Mounted Veteran.
Bishop - As in orthodox Chess. Unpromotable (except for contageon).
Rook - As in orthodox Chess, including castling. 'Promotes' to Veteran.
Lady - Moves as an orthodox King. Promotes to Queen.
King - As in orthodox Chess, including castling. Unpromotable and immune to contageon.
Veteran - This is an 'omnidirectional Pawn': it captures in all diagonal and moves in all orthogonal directions, to the adjacent squares. It is not completely upward-compatible to a Pawn, as it cannot make e.p. captures or double pushes.
Mounted Veteran - Moves and captures as Knight or Veteran.
Queen - As in orthodox Chess.


The game is won by checkmate. Stalemate, 3-fold repetition or 50 moves without capture makes a draw.

Promotable pieces may or must promote when they capture. An exception to this occurs when a Pawn captures a Pawn; in this case there is no promotion, even though Pawns can promote when they capture something else. There is never any choice in what to promote to, but in some cases you can refrain from promoting.

Contageon - It would be pointless to have pieces promote to weaker ones if promotion was always optional: players would just never do it. Promotion is therefore sometimes mandatory, namely whenever you capture a promoted piece (Veteran or Mounted Veteran). One could say the promoted condition is 'contageous'. In general the term contageon describes that a capturing piece is endowed with some properties (the contageous ones) of its victim.

In Veteran Chess being Queen or Lady-like is also contageous: pieces capturing a Queen or Lady will promote not to their normal promoted type but to a Queen. Even pieces that are already promoted will do so. This is mandatory, but the King is immune to this, and will always stay a King. (This to avoid the problems associated with disappearance of the royal piece.)


Once a Queen appears it is difficult to remove it from the game, because of her contageous nature. Only when she is captured by a King or other Queen will the number of Queens decrease.

The fact that a piece can promote will make a latent contribution to its value. Rooks, which cannot capture certain pieces without demoting to the relatively worthless Veteran, are therefore worth less than in orthodox Chess. (Using the unpromotable Bishop, which is the same in both games, as a standard.) A Mounted Veteran will have approximately as much tactical value as a Rook. So a Knight, will be worth more than in orthodox Chess because of its good promotion.

Initially the description of this variant did allow promotion on PxP capture, and did have a non-contageous Lady. The original rules made the game very static, as Pawn chains were virtually unassailable: even attacking those with a Pawn was not a serious threat, as 'trading' would provide a promotion opportunity in the recapture. Making the Lady contageous makes it less likely that Queens would fail to appear at some stage in the game

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By H. G. Muller.

Last revised by H. G. Muller.

Web page created: 2019-10-11. Web page last updated: 2019-10-11