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Amalgamated Chess

Introduction

Amalgamated Chess was designed with the goal of incorporating ideas from other major Chess variants (such as Xiangqi, Shogi, and Chaturanga) with FIDE Chess, while not requiring any additional equipment to play. This variant also incorporates the Xiangqi river, and uses it to change the gameplay in such a way as to dramatically favor offense. Finally, I incorporated rules to eliminate draws. I expect that the result will be a very fast-paced, aggressive game. Clarifications of important rules are pointed out in bold. All rules not mentioned or altered below are presumed to be as in FIDE Chess.

Setup

Position the White and the Black armies as in FIDE Chess, but with all of the pawns on the third and sixth ranks respectively. The alterations to the pieces' names and moves are described below.

The two halves of the board are evenly divided by the river (which is between the fourth and fifth ranks, and is represented by the blue line in the diagram picture). Any piece which moves over the river promotes, and any promoted piece moving back over the river demotes.

Promotions

As stated above, a piece crossing over the river promotes, and a piece moving back over the river demotes. Promoted pieces have different names than their regular form and are valued differently on the point chart (see "Tiebreaking" at the bottom). Concerning their movement, except for the Pasha to Alibaba promotion, all other pieces that are promoted gain the additional ability to move as FIDE Kings.

Pieces

gGeneral: He moves one space orthogonally. Upon crossing the river, he promotes to:

kKing: Moves one space orthogonally or diagonally, as in FIDE Chess.

The General and King pieces may not leave the four center columns (C, D, E, and F) of the board. The King may not move back over the river; however, he still delivers check backwards.

diagram

bBishop: Same as in FIDE Chess. While across the river it is promoted to a Primate bk.

kadPasha: Leaps two squares orthogonally or diagonally (as an Alfil or Dabbabah), or moves one space as a King. While across the river it is promoted to an Alibaba ad, losing the ability to move one step as a King.

nKnight: Same as in FIDE Chess. While across the river it is promoted to an Acelandernk.

rRook: Same as in FIDE Chess. While across the river it is promoted to a Chatelainerk.

pPawn: Moves as a FIDE Chess Pawn, but with no double step and thus no en passant. While across the river it is promoted to a Man.m.

Winning

The goal is to checkmate the opposing General or King.

If a side is reduced to just a General, or their General is stalemated, that side instantly loses. These stipulations do not apply to a King!

Otherwise, all Chess rules regarding draws are observed as usual, except for the 50-move rule, which is changed to the following: If 50 consecutive moves are made by each player without the capture of any piece or the promotion of a General to a King, it is a draw.

Tiebreaking

If and only if a draw occurs, the play is ended and the value of all of a players' pieces on the board are added up for that side. The value of the pieces are as follows:

  • Chatelaine - 13
  • Acelander - 12
  • Primate - 11
  • Rook - 10
  • Bishop - 7
  • Man - 6
  • Knight - 6
  • Alibaba - 3
  • King - 3
  • Pawn - 2
  • General - 0
  • Pasha - 0

After the piece values for each side are counted up, Black receives an extra 2.5 points. The side that has more points wins.

Notes

This fourth revision is streamlined to address reader commentary on understanding the rules, axing the flavor story that had accompanied the first few versions and was deemed to be an impediment rather than an aid, and changing piece names to a more standardized format, specifically, using the names either coined or preferred by Charles Gilman, with one exception: Gilman prefers "Prince" for the non-royal Wazir + Ferz compound. As it doesn't seem quite logical to have a royal general and yet non-royal princes on the same board, I made the substitution of the equally familiar "Man" in that latter role.

Special thanks to Christ Jesus, to the ChessVariants staff (especially Fergus Duniho, Ben Reiniger, and Greg Strong), Ralph Betza for his key contributions to the Chess variant community, and Cameron Miles for playtesting and crucial input in the revision and balancing process.


Written by James Gryphon.
WWW page created: January 8, 2014.
WWW page updated: April 10, 2018.