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This page is written by the game's inventor, Peter Aronson.

Illusionary Piece Chess


Peter Aronson


In Illusionary Piece Chess, each player has a Pawn and another piece replaced by illusionary versions of themselves. Illusionary pieces and Pawns are more powerful then normal forms, but they do not give check. Additionally, if a player is reduced to just a King or just a King and illusionary pieces, they lose immeadiately.

General Rules

The rules of Illusionary Piece Chess are identical to those of FIDE Chess, except where noted otherwise below. The standard setup is used.

One piece (other than a King) and one Pawn on each side is replaced by an "illusionary" version of that piece or Pawn. Illusionary pieces gain extra moves but may not attack Kings.

If a player has no pieces other than his King and illusionary pieces, they lose immeadiately. There is no chance for mutual baring as there is in Shatranj.

At the start of play, Black chooses a Pawn to make illusionary, then White chooses a Pawn and a piece, then Black chooses a piece, then White moves, and play proceeds normally.

The Moves of Illusionary Pieces

The Illusinary Pawn has the move of the Sergeant or Complete Pawn, which combines the movement of the FIDE Pawn and the Berolina Pawn, being able to move or capture in any of the three forward directions. An Illusionary Pawn may make a non-capturing double from from its initial position in any of those three directions (this differs from the Sergeant). An Illusionary Pawn may capture regular Pawns en passant, but may not itself be so captured. An Illusionary Pawn promotes to an Illusionary Knight, Illusionary Bishop, Illusionary Rook or Illusionary Queen.

The Illusionary Knight has the move of the Squirrel, able to jump to any square exactly two squares away.

The Illusionary Bishop has the move of the Cardinal, moving as a FIDE Bishop or a FIDE Knight.

The Illusionary Rook has the move of a Chancellor, moving as a FIDE Rook or a FIDE Knight. It may castle with the King as per normal.

The Illusionary Queen has the move of an Amazon, moving as a FIDE Rook, Bishop or Knight.

Notes and Comments

Illusionary Piece Chess was inspired by the behavior of illusionary dream creatures in the Magi-Nation collectable card game. Illusionary dream creatures cost half as much to summon, but can't attack opposing Magi or prevent your Magi from being defeated, though they can attack opposing dream creatures. I trust the analogies are reasonably clear.

Thanks to John Lawson and Tony Quintanilla for playtesting.


A standard Western Chess set and four pieces of ribbon or four poker chips should do.


Simplist is to place an "I" before the illusionary piece's type, so INf7. The Illusionary Pawn could either be a bare I or IP.

Computer Play

I've written an implementation of Illusionary Piece Chess for Zillions of Games. You can download it here:

Written by Peter Aronson.
WWW page created: November 24th, 2003.