Fairy Chess is a tribute to his creator, Jean-Louis Cazaux
Fairy chess is a type of chess where new pieces are invented to move in ways not normal to chess. These pieces are decided upon before the game begins by both players, usually for the purpose of trying out different strategies or offering new challenges. There are thousands of different recognized fairy chess pieces, and the option to invent a new one for any purpose is always there. There are, however, a number of chess pieces that are more commonly used which have been created using a number of strategies commonly referred to for inventing new pieces. These strategies include creating hybrid pieces, putting additional restrictions on normal pieces, adding movements or directions, or creating new movements entirely, such as hopping. There are, in addition, pieces that are given special powers for alternate types of boards, though the following pieces can all be played in regular chess. What follows are a number of pieces that are good exemplars of these new types of movements that can be used as additions in any otherwise classical game of chess.
Here is a Chess variant with 24 different pieces on a 16 x 16 board, an unrealistic summum. They are 256 cases and 64 pieces per side which gives the same density than for Orthodox Chess.
The board is a 16 x 16 checkered squares with a white one at the right end of each player. There are 64 pieces per side:
- 1 Unicorn, 1 Dragon Woman, 1 Diablo, 1 Star, 1 Rhinoceros, 1 Buffalo, 2 Cannons, 2 Bulls, 2 Bows, 2 Camels, 2 Antelopes on 1st row,
- 1 Lion, 1 Gryphon and 14 Centurion on 2nd row,
- 1 King, 1 Queen, 2 Buffoon, 2 Ships, 2 Bishops, 2 Knights, 2 Rooks, 2 Machines, 2 Elephants on 3rd row,
- 16 Pawns on 4th row.
The white King is placed on the center of the third row on a black square, the black King being on a white square. The Queen lays beside the King. The Gryphon is just behind the King, and the Lion is behind the Queen. They are the only major pieces on the second raw, the rest being populated by the Centurions. On the 1st row, the Unicorn is in the back line of the King and commands a side with Dragon Woman and Diablo. On the opposite side, there is the Star on Queen side with Rhinoceros and Buffalo.
Moves and Captures
- Exactly as in usual Chess : Knight- Bishop - Rook - King - Queen
- Pawn (16) : When the Pawn reaches the last row it simply promotes to an Unicorn. There are two differences: It can advance one or two square from ANY position on the board. However, its capturing move is unchanged: one square diagonally forward. As a consequence, the en-passant capture is possible every time the opposite Pawn has advanced two squares.
- Centurion (14) : The Centurion is an improved Pawn: It can advance one or two square from any position on the board and its capturing move is one square diagonally forward. The improvement is that the Centurion can also advance 1 step diagonally forward. (So, with or without capturing). The Centurion can take en-passant every time an opposite Pawn or Centurion has advanced two squares. When the Centurion reaches the last row it promotes to one of the three major pieces: Queen, Lion or Gryphon.
- Buffoon (2) : It moves one square in an arbitrary direction, like the king, but without being hindered by check. A Buffoon reaching the first opposite row (the 9th rank for White) can be promoted to a Queen.
- Elephant (2) : moves one or two squares diagonally. When an Elephant moves two squares, it is allowed to jump, i.e., the intervening square does not have to be empty.
- Machine (2) : it is an orthogonal counterpart of the Elephant as it moves 1 or 2 cases orthogonally; jumping over the first case if it is occupied.
- Lion (1) : In this game, the Lion may move as a King (a single step move in any direction), or it may jump to a position two squares away, jumping in any orthogonal or diagonal direction, or alternatively jumping as a Knight in Western Chess.
- Gryphon (1) : moves one square diagonally and then, goes away of an indefinite number of cases vertically or horizontally. It is authorized to go only one square diagonal. It cannot jump and the unobstructed path must start with the diagonal movement. This piece is almost as powerful as the Queen. The Griphon is a powerful piece that is more effective in the endgame where it has more open space to move.
- Ship (2) : moves one square diagonally and then, goes away of an indefinite number of cases vertically, never horizontally. It can move one square diagonally only. It cannot jump and must begin its move with the diagonal step. The Ship is more limited than the Gryphon (which can move horizontally). Nevertheless its move power is comparable to the Rook and the Bishop. A Ship reaching one of both opposite corners can be promoted to a Gryphon.
- Camel (2): It jumps to the opposite case of a 2x4 rectangle, like an extended Knight. No matter what intermediate cases contain. Note that it always stays on the same colour of square. The camel is a jumper. This means that it reaches its destination square by moving either three squares horizontally and one vertically, or one square horizontally and three vertically. The camel is a jumping piece, meaning it can move to its destination square whether the intervening squares are occupied or not. If the destination square is occupied by an enemy piece, then it captures that piece.
- Cannon (2) : When the Cannon does not take, it moves like a Rook, i.e., on an orthogonal line an arbitrary number of empty squares. When it takes, it must jump: when taking, the Cannon also moves over an orthogonal line, jumps over the first piece it meets (which may either be friendly or from the opponent) and then continues over the line until the next piece it sees: if that is from the opponent, the Cannon can take it by moving to that position. To make a capture, a Cannon must jump over a screen. This is an intervening piece, which may be of either color, that must stand between the Cannon and its target. Without a screen between the Cannon and its target, it cannot capture the piece. The Cannon moves as a Rook without capturing, and once it jumps over its screen, it continues along as a Rook but only to capture. It cannot jump the screen to make a non-capturing move. When a Cannon attacks, it can be blocked by two pieces, or the opponent can defuse the Cannon's attack by moving the screen out of its path.
- Bow (2) : it is the diagonal counterpart of the Chinese Cannon. It moves like a Bishop and needs an intermediate piece between itself and its victim to capture it. The Bow jumps the intermediate and takes the victim on its square. The intermediate is left unaffected.
- Buffalo (2) : combines the leaps of the Knight (3x2), the Camel (4x2) and the Bull (4x3). The buffalo can either move two squares in one orthogonal direction and then one in the other orthogonal direction (like a Knight), or three squares in one orthogonal direction and then one in the other orthogonal direction, or three squares in one orthogonal direction and then two in the other orthogonal direction. When moving, the buffalo jumps, i.e., the move can be completed regardless of whether intervening squares are occupied.
- Dragon Woman (1) : may move like a orthodox chess Rook, OR like a orthodox chess Knight.
- Diablo (1) : may move like an orthodox chess Bishop, OR like an orthodox chess Knight.
- Unicorn (1) strongest piece on the board, it combines the powers of Queen and Knight. so as to move in any direction like a Queen or in the L formation of a Knight.
- Bull (1) : jumps to the opposite case of a 3x4 rectangle, like an extended Knight. No matter what intermediate cases contain. Note that it always changes the same color of its square.
- Antelope (2) : jumps 2 or 3 step orthogonally or diagonally. No matter what intermediate cases contain.
- Rhinoceros (1) : jumps as a Knight then slides diagonally away, forward or backward.
- Star (1) : it moves like a Queen and needs an intermediate piece between itself and its victim to capture it. The Star jumps the intermediate and takes the victim on its square. The intermediate is left unaffected. Like the Queen is Bishop + Rook, the Star is Cannon + Bow.