A Possible Chess Variant

Jul 15, 2013, 9:57 AM |

   With all the talk on Chess.com about chess variants, I thought that I might suggest what I would believe to be a logical and aesthetic extension of the original game.  In fact, I would keep all the current rules of chess for the variant I call Chex.  Please feel free to leave a comment whether it is a critism or a suggestion.

   I start with a regular chessboard set-up for the start of play.  I would add a file to the side of each Rook.  I would then add a rank behind the White pieces and behind the Black pieces.  So, it is now a 10 x 10 square board.  Notice that the right corner on each player's side would still be White.

   The new piece I would add in Chex would be called the Guard; represented by a 'G', for Captain of the Guards.  This is in keeping with the medieval theme of Chess.  In chex diagrams I would represent the Guard by crossed spears.

   The Guard would move similar to the old Queen of chess during the middle ages:  one or two squares, at the player's discretion, in any one direction if not blocked by its own men.  (Like a super King.)  Of course the Guard would capture enemy pieces like the Rook or Bishop, depending upon which direction it was being moved, if the enemy piece is within the Guard's range.

   Here is a text diagram of a Chex game at the start:

  9  -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --  -- = Space
  8  BG BR BN BB BQ BK BB BN BR BG  W = White
a 6  -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
n 5  -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --  G = Guard
k 4  -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --  R = Rook
s 3  -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --  N = Knight
  2  WP WP WP WP WP WP WP WP WP WP  B = Bishop
  1  WG WR WN WB WQ WK WB WN WR WG  Q = Queen
  0  -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --  K = King
      0  1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9  P = Pawn

   Chex would have the rules of chess embedded within it.  The special moves of chess:  en passant and castling would still be as before.

   Now, some of the differences I have noticed:

   -The notation for moves on the board would be <Piece><Start File><Start Rank><End File><End Rank><Status>.  Piece is obvious, as is start file, start rank, end file, and end rank.  Status would be a space for a non-capturing or non-checking move, a 'x' for capture, a '+' for check, a '*' for double check, a 'C' for castling short (O - O), a 'L' for castling long (O - O - O), a '-' for a resignation, a '=' for a draw, and a "#" for a checkmate.  (The new notation is used to avoid confusion between chex and chess games.)

   Example:  the Sicilian.

       Chex                    Chess
    1. P5254    P3735     1.   e4       c5
    2. N7163    N2836     2.  Nf3      Nc6   
    3. P4244    P3544x    3.   d4      cxd4
    4. N6344x   ...       4.  Nxd4

   -Notice that the all the major pieces have legal moves at the very start of the game, into the rank behind them.  There would be practically no back rank mates early in the game.  Moves like 1. R1110, 1. G0110, 1. K5150, etc. are possible.

   -White pawns will promote on rank 9 while Black pawns will promote on rank 0.  Pawns will promote to either a Guard, Rook, Knight,  Bishop, or Queen.

   -When castling long, the Rook pawn that is not guarded in chess is guarded in chex by the Guard.  For White:  Castling short would be K5171S, long K5131L.  For Black:  K5878S and K5838L, respectively.

   -If you wished to play regular chess on your chex board you could.  You already have the pieces and would only need an overlay to cover the unused squares.