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The Chess Variant Pages


John Gollon, well known by chess variant enthousiasts for his book on chess variants, now unfortunately out of print, was working on a second book on chess variants. Also unfortunately, this second book was never published. Gollon has sent some materials from a draft of the book to Eric Greenwood (in 1976): the description given here is based on part of these writings by Gollon.

This game was invented by Dr. Francesco Piacenza, and described in his book I camoeggiamenti degle Scacchi, which appeared in Turin (Italy) in 1683. He called the game Arcisacchiere, translated: Archchess.


The game is played on a checkered board with 10 rows and 10 columns. The left corners at each players side are dark colored. In addition to the normal pieces of a chess game, a player has a centurion, a decurion, and two additional pawns. The opening setup is as follows:

King e1; Queen f1; Centurion d1; Decurion g1; Rook a1, j1; Knight b1, i1; Bishop c1, h1; Pawn a2, b2, c2, d2, e2, f2, g2, h2, i2, j2.

King e10; Queen f10; Centurion d10; Decurion g10; Rook a10, j10; Knight b10, i10; Bishop c10, h10; Pawn a9, b9, c9, d9, e9, f9, g9, h9, i9, j9.

King, Queen, Rook, Knight, Bishop, and Pawn move as in orthodox chess, but castling is different as are promotion and the en passant rule.

The centurion moves two squares horizontally, vertically, diagonally, or it moves as a knight. It may jump when moving.

The decurion moves one square diagonally.

Pawns may make an initial double step, but not if they could be taken en passant by the rules of orthodox chess and at the same time block check. So, for instance, when there is a black pawn on c4, and a black bishop on a5 checks the white king on e1, then white may not move a pawn from b2 to b4. Pawns always promote to queens when reaching then tenth row.

The most likely castling rule to be used is the following: the rook moves one or more squares towards the original position of the king; the king moves one or more squares towards the original position of the king. Instead, the king could make a jump of two squares straight forward or horizontally: this move is called `the king's leap'. When castling or making a kings leap, the following conditions must be fulfilled: the king may not have moved earlier in the game; when castling, the rook that castles may not have moved earlier in the game; no square crossed by the king is attacked by a piece of the opponent; the king does not move into check. (It is not mentioned that castling or kings's leap is forbidden when the king is in check; it is not unlikely that this is not forbidden.)

Stalemate is a draw; a player wins by mating the opponents king.

Written by Hans Bodlaender, based upon material written by John Gollon, sent to Eric Greenwood in 1976, and sent to me by Eric in 1997.
WWW page created: July 14, 1997.