LARGE VARIANTS IN THE HISTORIC NORTH EUROPEAN STYLE
There has been quite a divide between Northern and Southern Europe in the evolution of Chess, as in much else (though quite unlike the U.S. or Chinese North-South divide - all of Europe is "up north"). It was Southern Europe, particularly the Latin countries, that took the lead in the introduction of the modern Queen and Bishop to the 8 by 8 board, and even enlargements such as Carrera's Chess were sparing in their adding of files. Further north they have been added more lavishly. One German-speaking principality added Bishops alongside the ancient pieces and expanded the Ferz to a "cabinet" of three central advisers, with four extra files for the newcomers, resulting in Courier. After the Latin game had spread north, John Manners devised a variant with no fewer than 14 files, called Duke of Rutland's Chess after his geographical title (Rutland is east of Leicester in the English Midlands). The variants on this page are derived from these many-file variants.
FIDE pieces are used in these variants, but so are pieces either supplanted or never used in the standard game.
Simple short-range pieces include the 1:1 FERZ and 2:2 ELEPHANT that Courier inherited from early Chess; the 1:0 WAZIR, 2:0 DABBABA, and 3:1 CAMEL of Timur's Chess.
Triangulating short-range pieces include the PRINCE, ALIBABA, and GNU.
Enhanced linepieces include the CHATELAINE, MARSHAL, PRIMATE, and CARDINAL.
Courier Ashtaranga also uses the YEOMAN, a Pawn with capturing and noncapturing moves swapped over.
All the array pieces in any one game can be represented using two standard sets distinguishable by size.
Here are suggested representations for these two variants. Large Kings/Queens/Knights, small Rooks/Bishops, and all Pawns represent themselves. Small Kings/Queens represent Cardinals/Marshals or Gnus as required. Large Rooks/Bishops represent Chatelaines/Primates. Small Knights represent Camels. Promotees are improvised in the usual manner. Small variations include: having only 8 ranks, to allow use of 2 standard boards; requiring promotion of simple back-rank pieces to an array compound with their move on reaching the far rank; allowing the same promotion optionally.
In these two variants all the large set except the Queen can represent themselves. The Queens and small King represent the Wazir and Ferzes in whatever order the players find clearest. Small Rooks/Bishops/Knights represent Dabbabas/Elephants/Camels. Small Pawns represent themselves in Courier Kamil and Yeomen in Courier Ashtaranga. Promotees are improvised in the usual manner.
Written by Charles Gilman.
WWW page created: September 4th, 2004.