Chess with different armies
Chess with different armies (or Betza's Chess or Equal Armies) 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.
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: 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.
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).
In this army, rooks, knights, bishops, and queen are replaced by the following pieces:
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.
This army includes a lot of leapers, but most of them have asymmetrical move patterns, with backward moves being restricted.
The rooks, knights, bishops, and queen are replaced by the following pieces:
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 (Ralph Betza);
- Cylindrical Cinders (Ralph Betza);
- Fighting Fizzies (Peter Aronson);
- Forward FIDEs (Ralph Betza);
- Pizza Kings (John Lawson);
- Meticulous Mashers (Ralph Betza);
- Seeping Switchers (Jörg Knappen).
In the initial version of the game there were 8 armies 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 and reduced the number of armies to four.
- Pritchard, D. (1994). The Encyclopedia of Chess Variants. Games & Puzzles Publications. ISBN 0-9524142-0-1.
- 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.
- Chess with different armies by Ralph Betza.
- The Amazon Army by Ralph Betza.
- The Cylindrical Cinders by Ralph Betza.
- The Fighting Fizzies by Peter Aronson
- The Forward FIDEs by Ralph Betza.
- The Pizza Kings by John Lawson.
- The Meticulous Mashers by Ralph Betza.
- The Seeping Switchers by Jörg Knappen.
- Different Kings and Pawns? by Ralph Betza