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1st Email Championship Chess with Different Armies

Chess with different armies is a chess variant, invented by Ralph Betza. In 2001, a championship will be held, where the games will be played by email.




Signing up for participation is no longer possible.


The precise format depends on the number of participants. Games will be played by email, but participants may agree to play the game by meeting in person, or playing it on-line in one session. Participants will play approximately three games simultaneously, and have three days thinking time per move average. If players exceed this time, their game will be declared lost. Player may and should declare a win when their opponent has not completed 5 moves in 15 days thinking time, or 10 moves in 30 days thinking time, etc. For verification purposes, emails with moves should be cc-ed to a special email address for the competition, that will be only announced to the players.

If players of specifically different strengths sign up, it may be decided to have different sections.

In addition to the thinking time allowed, players may pause some weeks playing when they are on holiday. They must announce this before they go on holiday.

Different Armies rules

  • Players must select an army from the following list:
    1. The Fabulous FIDE's: the standard chess army.
    2. The Nutty Knights.
    3. The Colorbound Clobberers.
    4. The Remarkable Rookies.
  • First black decides which players makes the first selection. That player then chooses from the list of these four different armies.
  • Then, the other player selects a army, but it may not be the same army as had been chosen by his opponent.
  • Then, white makes the first move.
  • Except for piece movement and rules, detailed below, the rules of (FIDE-)chess are followed.
  • Castling is as usual, except for the Colorbound Clobberers: pieces that start the game on a1, a8, h1, or h8 can castle like a rook in FIDE-chess. The only difference for the Colorbound Clobberers is that when castling Queenside, the king moves three squares and the BD moves two squares.
  • When a pawn promotes, it may be promoted to any type of piece that was present in the opening setup, but not to a king or a pawn. E.g., when the Fabulous FIDE's play against the Remarkable Rookies, a white pawn reaching a8 can promote to a white Rook, Knight, Bishop, Queen, R4, WD, HFD, or Chancellor.

The armies

Each player starts with 8 pawns on the second line, and a king on e1 (for white) or e8 (for black). In addition, it has seven pieces, that differ between the different armies. The setup is described for white; for black, the setup is similar but on the 8th instead of the 1st line.

The Fabulous FIDE's

The Nutty Knights

  • On a1, h1, a Furlrurlbakking: the piece moves forwards and sideways like a rook, but backwards one square diagonally or vertically.
  • On b1, g1, a Fibnif: moves one square diagonally or jumps like a knight, but only two vertically and one horizontally.
  • On c1, f1, a Forfnibakking: jumps like a knight in forwards direction, or moves like a king sideways or backwards.
  • On d1, a Forfnifurlrurking: moves one square in any direction, or moves like a knight, but only forwards, or moves like a rook, but only sideways or forwards.

The Colorbound Clobberers

  • On a1, h1, a BD: moves like Bishop or jumps two squares orthogonally (i.e., like Dabbabah).
  • On b1, g1, a Waffle: moves one orthogonally, or jumps two diagonally.
  • On c1, f1, a FAD: moves one diagonally, or jumps two diagonally or orthogonally.
  • On d1, a Cardinal: moves like bishop or as knight.
While all other teams castle like in normal chess, when the Colorbound Clobberers castle Queen-side, O-O-O, their King goes from e1 to b1 and their BD goes from a1 to c1. (This keeps the BD colorbound. Similar for black Colorbound Clobberers.))

The Remarkable Rookies

  • On a1, h1, a Short Rook: R4: a piece that moves like a rook, but may move at most four squares.
  • On b1, g1, a Woody Rook: WD: a piece that can move one square orthogonally, or jump two squares orthogonally.
  • On c1, f1, a Half-Duck: HFD: a piece that can move one square diagonally or jump two or three squares orthogonally.
  • On d1, a Chancellor: a piece that moves like knight or rook.


The winner of the competition (on in case there are more sections, the winner of each section) will win a book prize of approximate 25 - 30 US dollars value. The winner may choose among several chess or chess variant related books.
Written by Hans Bodlaender.
WWW page created: April 19, 2001. Last modified: September 26, 2001.