Chess with different armies

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Chess with different armies (or Betza's Chess[1] or Equal Armies[2]) is a chess variant invented by Ralph Betza in 1979. Two sides use different sets of fairy pieces. There are several armies of equal strength to choose from, including the standard FIDE army. In all armies kings and pawns are the same as in FIDE chess, but the four other pieces are different.

Rules[edit]

Before the game players choose their armies in a certain way, predefined by tournament rules. This can be done either randomly or secretly by both players. Each player has a choice of 4 armies:[3] the Fabulous FIDEs, which are the standard chess pieces, the Colorbound Clobberers, the Nutty Knights, and the Remarkable Rookies.

All armies are designed to be equal in strength, but have significantly different properties. Kings and pawns move the same as in chess for all armies. Pawns can only promote to pieces of either army on the board at the start. Castling is done as in standard chess with the exception of the case when the rook replacement is colorbound, like in the Colorbound Clobberers army. In the latter case the king when castling long moves to b1 and the rook replacement to c1. This is so colorbound pieces don't change square color.

a5 b5 c5 d5 e5
a4 b4 black circle c4 d4 black circle e4
a3 b3 c3 white bishop d3 e3
a2 b2 black circle c2 d2 black circle e2
a1 b1 c1 d1 e1
Ferz (notation F).
a5 black circle b5 c5 d5 e5 black circle
a4 b4 c4 d4 e4
a3 b3 c3 white bishop d3 e3
a2 b2 c2 d2 e2
a1 black circle b1 c1 d1 e1 black circle
Alfil (notation A), can jump.
a5 b5 c5 d5 e5
a4 b4 c4 black circle d4 e4
a3 b3 black circle c3 white rook d3 black circle e3
a2 b2 c2 black circle d2 e2
a1 b1 c1 d1 e1
Wazir (notation W).
a5 b5 c5 black circle d5 e5
a4 b4 c4 d4 e4
a3 black circle b3 c3 white rook d3 e3 black circle
a2 b2 c2 d2 e2
a1 b1 c1 black circle d1 e1
Dabbaba (notation D), can jump.

Many pieces in the following armies are combination of standard chess pieces and 4 fairy pieces: ferz, alfil, wazir and dabbaba (see their movement diagrams above). The game can be played with standard chess pieces and the following move diagrams use standard pieces as well (except queens).

Colorbound Clobberers[edit]

In this army, rooks, knights, bishops, and queen are replaced by the following pieces:

a b c d e f g h
8
Chessboard480.svg
a8 up-left arrow
b7 up-left arrow
h7 up-right arrow
c6 up-left arrow
e6 black circle
g6 up-right arrow
d5 up-left arrow
f5 up-right arrow
c4 black circle
e4 white rook
g4 black circle
d3 down-left arrow
f3 down-right arrow
c2 down-left arrow
e2 black circle
g2 down-right arrow
b1 down-left arrow
h1 down-right arrow
8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
Bede (notation BD). Moves as bishop or dabbaba. Can jump for dabbaba moves.
a b c d e f g h
8
Chessboard480.svg
c6 black circle
g6 black circle
e5 black circle
d4 black circle
e4 white knight
f4 black circle
e3 black circle
c2 black circle
g2 black circle
8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
Waffle (notation WA). Moves as wazir or alfil. Can jump for alfil moves.
a b c d e f g h
8
Chessboard480.svg
c6 black circle
e6 black circle
g6 black circle
d5 black circle
f5 black circle
c4 black circle
e4 white bishop
g4 black circle
d3 black circle
f3 black circle
c2 black circle
e2 black circle
g2 black circle
8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
FAD (notation FAD). Moves as ferz, alfil or dabbaba (hence the name.) Can jump for all moves.
a b c d e f g h
8
Chessboard480.svg
a8 up-left arrow
b7 up-left arrow
h7 up-right arrow
c6 up-left arrow
d6 black circle
f6 black circle
g6 up-right arrow
c5 black circle
d5 up-left arrow
f5 up-right arrow
g5 black circle
e4 white archbishop
c3 black circle
d3 down-left arrow
f3 down-right arrow
g3 black circle
c2 down-left arrow
d2 black circle
f2 black circle
g2 down-right arrow
b1 down-left arrow
h1 down-right arrow
8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
Cardinal (notation NB). Moves as bishop or knight. Can jump for knight moves.

As mentioned, when using this army and castling queenside, the king moves three squares (from e1 to b1) and the bede moves from a1 to c1.

Nutty Knights[edit]

This army includes a lot of leapers, but most of them have asymmetrical move patterns, with backward moves being restricted.

a b c d e f g h
8
Chessboard480.svg
e8 up arrow
e7 up arrow
e6 up arrow
e5 up arrow
a4 left arrow
b4 left arrow
c4 left arrow
d4 left arrow
e4 white rook
f4 right arrow
g4 right arrow
h4 right arrow
d3 black circle
e3 black circle
f3 black circle
8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
Charging rook, originally furlrurlbakking (notation frlRrlbK) moves forward and sideways as a rook, or backward as a king.
a b c d e f g h
8
Chessboard480.svg
d6 black circle
f6 black circle
d5 black circle
f5 black circle
e4 white knight
d3 black circle
f3 black circle
d2 black circle
f2 black circle
8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
Fibnif (notation fbNF). Moves as ferz, or as a knight for its two longest forward and backward moves.
a b c d e f g h
8
Chessboard480.svg
d6 black circle
f6 black circle
c5 black circle
g5 black circle
d4 black circle
e4 white bishop
f4 black circle
d3 black circle
e3 black circle
f3 black circle
8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
Charging knight, originally forfnibakking (notation fhNrlbK). Moves as king backward and sideways or as a knight forward.
a b c d e f g h
8
Chessboard480.svg
e8 up arrow
e7 up arrow
d6 black circle
e6 up arrow
f6 black circle
c5 black circle
d5 black circle
e5 up arrow
f5 black circle
g5 black circle
a4 left arrow
b4 left arrow
c4 left arrow
d4 left arrow
e4 white queen
f4 right arrow
g4 right arrow
h4 right arrow
d3 black circle
e3 black circle
f3 black circle
8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
Colonel, originally forfnifurlrurking (notation fhNfrlRK). Moves as king, or as rook forward and sideways, or as knight forward.

Remarkable Rookies[edit]

The rooks, knights, bishops, and queen are replaced by the following pieces:

a b c d e f g h
8
Chessboard480.svg
d8 left arrow
e8 left arrow
f8 left arrow
g8 left arrow
h8 white rook
h7 down arrow
b6 up arrow
h6 down arrow
b5 up arrow
h5 down arrow
b4 up arrow
h4 down arrow
b3 up arrow
a2 left arrow
b2 white rook
c2 right arrow
d2 right arrow
e2 right arrow
f2 right arrow
b1 down arrow
8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
Short rook (notation R4). Moves as rook, but not more than 4 spaces.
a b c d e f g h
8
Chessboard480.svg
e6 black circle
e5 black circle
c4 black circle
d4 black circle
e4 white knight
f4 black circle
g4 black circle
e3 black circle
e2 black circle
8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
Woody rook (notation WD). Moves as dabbaba or as wazir. Can jump for all moves.
a b c d e f g h
8
Chessboard480.svg
e7 black circle
e6 black circle
d5 black circle
f5 black circle
b4 black circle
c4 black circle
e4 white bishop
g4 black circle
h4 black circle
d3 black circle
f3 black circle
e2 black circle
e1 black circle
8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
Half duck (notation HFD). Moves as ferz or dabbaba or jumps 3 squares in orthogonal directions (the move of jumping 3 squares in orthogonal directions is called the threeleaper or trébuchet).
a b c d e f g h
8
Chessboard480.svg
e8 up arrow
e7 up arrow
d6 black circle
e6 up arrow
f6 black circle
c5 black circle
e5 up arrow
g5 black circle
a4 left arrow
b4 left arrow
c4 left arrow
d4 left arrow
e4 white chancelor
f4 right arrow
g4 right arrow
h4 right arrow
c3 black circle
e3 down arrow
g3 black circle
d2 black circle
e2 down arrow
f2 black circle
e1 down arrow
8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
Chancellor (notation RN). Moves as rook or knight.

Other armies[edit]

The four armies described above were playtested by Ralph Betza and selected as the most balanced ones. There are other armies, invented by Betza and other people:

  • Amazon Army[4] (Ralph Betza);
  • Cylindrical Cinders[5] (Ralph Betza);
  • Fighting Fizzies[6] (Peter Aronson);
  • Forward FIDEs[7] (Ralph Betza);
  • Pizza Kings[8] (John Lawson);
  • Meticulous Mashers[9] (Ralph Betza);
  • Seeping Switchers[10] (Jörg Knappen).

In the initial version of the game there were 8 armies[1] and in these armies the king moved differently from the king in the standard chess. Instead of normal pawns, fairy pawns could be selected, for example berolina pawns. However, later Betza abandoned the idea of using fairy pieces for king and pawn[11] and reduced the number of armies to four.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Pritchard, D. (1994). The Encyclopedia of Chess Variants. Games & Puzzles Publications. ISBN 0-9524142-0-1. 
  2. ^ Pritchard, D. B. (2007). "Equal Armies". In Beasley, John. The Classified Encyclopedia of Chess Variants. John Beasley. pp. 186–87. ISBN 978-0-9555168-0-1. 
  3. ^ Chess with different armies by Ralph Betza.
  4. ^ The Amazon Army by Ralph Betza.
  5. ^ The Cylindrical Cinders by Ralph Betza.
  6. ^ The Fighting Fizzies by Peter Aronson
  7. ^ The Forward FIDEs by Ralph Betza.
  8. ^ The Pizza Kings by John Lawson.
  9. ^ The Meticulous Mashers by Ralph Betza.
  10. ^ The Seeping Switchers by Jörg Knappen.
  11. ^ Different Kings and Pawns? by Ralph Betza