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Vimes Chess

Introduction

In Dartboard Chess I made a cross-reference to Thud pointing out that the hero of that particular Discworld novel, Commander Vimes of the Ankh-Morpork City Watch, confesses to having "never got on with any game much more complex than Darts". A footnote explains that he dislikes the way that in Chess the Pawns capture enemy Pawns while the Kings sit back and do nothing. He would prefer it if they ganged up on the rest of the pieces to achieve a republic!

Well, here's my attempt at making a reality of that wish.

Setup

Same array as FIDE Chess

Pieces

Same pieces as FIDE Chess, although promoted Pawns need distinguishing from pieces that are symmetric from the array.

Rules

Two players, termed the Royalists, play like the two FIDE players except that they cannot capture Pawns with Pawns. A third player, termed the Republican, moves only Pawns, of either colour, and again cannot capture Pawns with them, but can capture pieces with Pawns of the same as well as the opposite colour. This player's moves are inserted between normal moves, so that the subsequent move is by the opposite Royalist to the previous one. These moves fit in as follows:
* The first is after the first moves of both Royalists.
* Thereafter there are three moves by Royalists (two by one and one by the other) between each move by the Republican, unless a Pawn is captured (necessarily by something stronger).
* If no moves by Pawns or promoted Pawns are possible, the Republican must wait for another move by each Royalist.
* If a Pawn is captured, the Republican can move immediately in reply to that,
* After such a reply, play continues as if it had been a normal Republican move.

Pawns have the usual initial double-step noncapturing move, except that the Republican can also make that move. As Pawns cannot capture each other, however, there is no En Passant.

Castling is as in FIDE Chess.

A promoted Pawn, or a Pawn that has captured a piece of the same colour, can be moved only by the Republican and captured by pieces of either colour, though still by Pawns and promoted Pawns of neither.

The Republican cannot have more than four of any one kind of promotee at a time.

The Republican loses by having all their pieces captured while both Royalists are playing. A Royalist loses by being Checkmated, and their remaining pieces are removed, except for Pawns as the Republican can still move these. After a player loses moves alternate between the two remaining players. A Royalist wins by Checkmating the remaining player if the other Royalist, or capturing all their pieces if the Republican. The Republican wins by Checkmating the remaining player, or by any Stalemate regardless of whether one or both Royalists remain.

Notes

As certain pieces have to be marked out it is recommended to have a second set of a different design to the array one for pieces that only the Republican can move. A set in which both armies are modelled on the same characters on a different-coloured base (e.g. Simpsons) would suit this purpose particularly well.



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By Charles Gilman.
Web page created: 2007-04-22. Web page last updated: 2007-04-22