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Grand Betza

By John Davis


Grand Betza is an invention of John Davis as a tribute to Ralph Betza. He was very impressed by Chess on a Really Big Board, but did not like the Rose. John liked the 10x10 decimal board size, finding it gives room for more pieces but still preserving the worth of the range-two leapers. He also liked the Rhino, and found it to be effective on the 10x10 board, and preferable to the Nightrider. John also wanted to use the Phoenix and Kylin pieces from Chu Shogi, both of which were used by Ralph Betza, but under different names. Everything came together nicely on the decimal board, with Pawns on the third row as in Grand Chess. The only change from the original design was a small change to the opening position suggested by Greg Strong after playtesting.


satellite=gbetz files=10 ranks=10 graphicsDir= whitePrefix=w blackPrefix=b promoZone=1 maxPromote=1 squareSize=50 graphicsType=png lightShade=#DED6E4 startShade=#5555AA rimColor=#000071 coordColor=#FFFFFF borders=0 firstRank=1 useMarkers=1 promoChoice=QCAUORBYXN pawn::::a3-j3 knight:N:::c2,h2 phoenix:X:WA:elephantwazir:b2,i2 kylin:Y:FD:warmachineferz:e2,f2 bishop::::d2,g2 rook::::a1,j1 rhino:O:(afz)8W::h1 buffalo:U:NCZ:knightcamelzebra:c1 archbishop:::cardinal2:d1 chancellor:::chancellor2:g1 queen::::e1 king::KisO3::f1

King f1; Queen e1; Chancellor g1; Archbishop d1; Rhino h1; Buffalo c1; Rook a1, j1; Phoenix b2, i2; Knight c2, h2; Bishop d2, g2; Kylin e2, f2; Pawn a3, b3, c3, d3, e3, f3, g3, h3, i3, j3.

King f10; Queen e10; Chancellor g10; Archbishop d10; Rhino h10; Buffalo c10; Rook a10, j10; Phoenix b9, i9; Knight c9, h9; Bishop d9, g9; Kylin e9, f9; Pawn a8, b8, c8, d8, e8, f8, g8, h8, i8, j8.

Initial Setup:


The King, Queen, Bishop, Knight, Rook, and Pawn are as in orthodox Chess. An unmoved Pawn may still move two spaces, subject to En Passant.


The Chancellor moves as either a Rook or a Knight


The Archbishop moves as either a Bishop or a Knight


The Buffalo (notation "U") moves as either a Knight, a Camel, or a Zebra. Like a Knight, it can make a (2, 1) leap. Like a Camel, it can make a (3, 1) leap. Like a Zebra, it can make a (3, 2) leap.


The Phoenix (notation "X") either steps one space horizontally or vertically, or leaps exactly two spaces diagonally. This piece, although recently used by Ralph Betza under the name Waffle, has existed for hundreds of years in Chu Shogi under the name Phoenix.


The Kylin (notation "Y") either steps one space diagonally, or leaps exactly two spaces horizontally or vertically. Ralph Betza used this piece in Chess on a Really Big Board without giving it a name. The name Kylin also comes from Chu Shogi.


The Rhino (notation "O") first steps one space orthogonally, and then may continue by alternately steping one space diagonally and then again orthogonally, always continuing outward. The Rhino slides along 8 rays, like a Queen, but the Rhino's rays are in between the Queen's rays.


Unless otherwise noted, all rules are the same as in orthodox Chess.

Castling: The King slides three spaces either left or right to castle with the corner Rook, subject to the usual restrictions.

Pawn Promotion: Upon reaching the tenth rank, a Pawn may promote to any piece in this game except for the Pawn or King. NOTE: This is the typical Chess pawn promotion rule. Although this game is partially inspired by Grand Chess, it does not use the Grand Chess promotion rules.

Computer Play

Play Online: Grand Betza can be played on this site with Game Courier. Fully automated, rule-enforcing presets for this game can be found here. You can also view games that have previously been played on Game Courier here.

Computer Play: Grand Betza is fully supported by ChessV, a free open-source program for playing chess variants.

Interactive Diagram: You can also play against a very basic AI with the interactive diagram above (click on "Play it!" under the diagram).

Written by Greg Strong.
Web page created: 2020-08-28.
Web page updtaed: 2021-05-30.