By Paul DeWitte
This game was developed for use with the Intermediate Chess Club at Notre Dame School in Kitchener, Ontario.
The game uses the standard 8X8, 64-cell chess board.
There is neither a king nor a queen. As a result, no piece in the game is royal. Instead of a king and a queen, each side has two squirrels. The squirrels occupy the squares on the board that are normally occupied by the king and the queen at the beginning of a regular chess game. Also, instead of bishops, each side has leaping elephants.
The game uses the same pieces and rules as regular chess, except for the differences noted in the description that follows.
According to the Piececlopedia, the squirrel is a chess piece invented by Dr. Francesco Piacenza in 1683. The squirrel, according to the Piececlopedia, jumps two spaces orthogonally, two spaces diagonally, or in the (1,2) pattern of a knight.
Each side also has two elephants that jump two spaces diagonally, in the manner of the elephants in Chaturanga and Shantraj. They cannot be blocked, as they are in XiangQi.
Rounding out the "game animals" in this variant are rooks ("crows" in this game) and knights ("horses").
A player wins by capturing at least one of each "trophy" animal crow (rook), elephant, horse (knight), and squirrel. A pawn can promote to any of the trophy animals, but such a promotion does not "buy back" a lost animal. For instance, if an opponent captures a rook, he needs to capture only one of each of the remaining animals to win, regardless of the number of pawns that promote.
Pawns act exactly as they do in regular chess. En passant captures are legal. A pawn promotes to a crow (rook), elephant, horse (knight) or squirrel. There is no castling.
Standard chess equipment can be used. Bishops can represent elephants. Inverted rooks can represent squirrels.