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Karen Robinson wrote in July 2000:

When my mother was a girl in the 1930s, she was given a game called Citadel, which was like a simplified chess game.

I played it as a child, before I learned real chess. It has lovely turned pieces which do not resemble chessmen, but it could easily be played with chess pieces.


Each player has:
  • 1 Citadel, which moves like a King
  • 2 Barons, which move like a Queen
  • 3 Heralds, which move like a Bishop
  • 4 Archers, which move one space orthogonally. Archers can jump over one of their own pieces to move, but cannot capture on a move in which they jump.
Capture is as in chess. The object of the game is to capture (not checkmate) the opponent’s Citadel.

The game is played on an 8 by 8 board, turned 45 degrees. The starting setup is as follows:


This game is a good preliminary game for children, before they learn chess, because it has fewer pieces to learn, and has capture of the Citadel as its object, instead of the more confusing rules of check and mate. When I learned real chess at the age of nine or ten, it came easily after playing Citadel.

The game seems to be one of those rare occasions where a game that should have been in the Encyclopedia of Chess Variants is not there. Is there anyone who has seen this game also or has more information on it?

Written by Karen Robinson. Web page posted by Hans Bodlaender.
WWW page created: 8 Aug 2000. Last modified on: 8 Aug 2000.