Chess with Different Armies: The Colorbound Clobberers

This is an army with a theme, and the theme is the Bishop.

The Colorbound Clobberers have two kinds of colorbound pieces, that is, two kinds of pieces whose moves are restricted to squares of one color.

In addition, the Clobberers have an unusual material balance: their Queen is notably weaker than the FIDE Queen, and their Bishop (the FAD) is noticeably stronger.

The List of Pieces

The Opening Lineup

The traditional initial disposition of this army has the BD on a1 and h1, WA on b1 and g1, FAD on c1 and f1, and of course the NB on d1.

Perhaps it would be just as good, or even better, to begin the game with WA on c1 and f1 and FAD on b1 and g1. Anyone using this lineup should call their army the "Colorbound Clobberers II".

Special Rules

These rules apply to all the armies, but are of special importance to the Clobberers:

Castling: When the Colorbound Clobberers castle Queen-side, O-O-O, their King goes from e1 to b1 and their BD goes from a1 to c1; this is not optional, and the purpose of the rule is that the BD must not change from one color of square to the other.

Promotion: Either player can promote Pawns to any piece that's in the game.


The Clobberers were the first new army designed for Chess with Different Armies, in April 1996.

Observations About Colorbound Clobberers

The Clobberers are a team with a weak "Queen" but an overstrength "Bishop". The weakness of one makes up for the strength of the other. There are disadvantages to having so few weak pieces, of course, and advantages to having a weak "Queen" (for an example of this, look at move 19 of FIDE-CC-02.html where White chose not to trade Q for NB, and thereby lost his King).

If you just look at the values of the individual pieces, the Clobberers seem to have the advantage. Add to this the fact that the Clobberers can develop quickly, without moving too many Pawns, and things begin to look sticky for the FIDEs.

On the other hand, the Clobberers are awfully colorbound. They can easily get into situations where all their strength is concentrated on squares of a single color, leaving them either unable to exploit an advantage or vulnerable to attack on the other color.

The real equalizer is the hard-working, straightforward, and steadfast FIDE Rook. This piece has great endurance, and actually gains strength as the game goes along. I have seen games where things looked bad for the FIDEs from the opening kickoff, and seemed to be getting worse and worse, until suddenly there were just a few chessmen left standing on the field and the Rooks began scoring goal after goal.

Supplementary Materials

Actual games played between chessmasters:
A Colorbound Clobberers Game!
Another One! (5/15/96)
A Third Game! (5/15/96)
A Fourth Game! (6/19/96)
Guess what...

A Problem (Mate in 2)

The Original Clobberers Description

Next in series: The Remarkable Rookies

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