The Chess Variant Pages

Check out Metamachy, our featured variant for December, 2023.

[ Help | Earliest Comments | Latest Comments ]
[ List All Subjects of Discussion | Create New Subject of Discussion ]
[ List Latest Comments Only For Pages | Games | Rated Pages | Rated Games | Subjects of Discussion ]

Comments/Ratings for a Single Item

Later Reverse Order Earlier
Courier-Spiel. 19th century variant of Courier Chess. (12x8, Cells: 96) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Jean-Louis Cazaux wrote on Mon, Sep 26, 2022 07:48 PM UTC:

It is a little detail, but I recently observed that the initials of this 19th German author, Albers, is not H.G. but H.C. It is H.C. Albers. The mistake comes from the title page of his book, Unterricht im Schachspiele which is written (as well as the full book) with Gothic script. There is no doubt, the C of H.C. is the same than the C. of Courierspiele.

I don't know who was the first to make that mistake, then it crawled in many places including my own books. Fortunately we can also find some sources which are correct now, like Georgi Markov's papers.

Kevin Pacey wrote on Wed, Nov 20, 2019 02:25 AM UTC:

The odd/special pawn promotion rules of Courier-Spiel kind of remind me of the odd/special pawn-of-pawns promotion rules found in another (earlier) historic variant, Tamerlane Chess:

[edit: Also note that with the Centaur and Guard pieces chosen for Courier-Spiel, in the setup, for each side, there are 3 pieces with a guard-like component (king, centaur and guard) and 3 pieces with a knight-component (besides three with a bishop component and three with a rook component, thanks to the presence of a queen), though just 2 ferfils.]

Kevin Pacey wrote on Sun, Sep 29, 2019 05:47 PM UTC:

Today I've had an idea for a CV that might be called 'Accelerated Courier-Spiel'. The thought is to try to come up with a modified version of Courier-Spiel that one day just might be significantly more popular with modern day chess (and CV) players.

The rules would be the same as for Courier-Spiel, except:

1) Some form of fast-castling rules would be used - in particular such as those used for my own 'Wide Chess' CV:

2) The 'fool' pieces (move like guards) would be replaced by Archbishops, in the setup (a slight 'rationale' would be that thus for the new setup, one chess minor piece has been knighted [= the Archbishop] and the other chess minor piece has been crowned [= the Centaur]). [edit2: A slightly different setup seems advisible to make these and the other changes most feasible]

3) The pawns would behave as in standard chess, except that they can promote to any piece type in the (modified) setup, except for a king. [edit: if centaurs replaced archbishops in the setup, then the resulting CV idea might be called Centaur-Spiel]

Note I thought about somehow having Chancellors in the setup, too, but given that I wanted 12 non-pawn pieces per side still, I didn't mind excluding Chancellors as I've always worried they might trade each other off too easily in CVs where they can be developed to be able to do so in just one more move, if either player is willing or has no better option. [edit4: Below is an idea that might be called Capa-Spiel; See above for my own suggested castling, pawn rules. edit6: Perhaps it might often be hard to castle kingside completely safely, at least early on, owing to possible pressure by the enemy Q, bishop(s) and chancellor - in any case the position of the Archbishop in the setup might also cause some awkwardness (also the case in the previously diagramed setup, for Accelerated Courier-Spiel):]

[edit: Adding an Archbishop and Centaur to the FIDE army on 10x8 (like for Capablanca Chess' Archbishop and Chancellor addition) might be an interesting concept. edit3: A slightly different setup, after the changes, again seems advisible to me. edit5: The following (reverse symmetry) idea could be called Centaur Capa Chess; pawns would be like in chess, and castling rules would be like in my earlier Wide Chess. edit7: The setup may seriously limit the number of interesting opening variations, at least in the early stages of a game, I fear:]

[edit8: 22-Nov-2019: Currently I'm not liking any of these 3 CV ideas, as in their setups, very much.]

[edit9: Here's an idea of mine (with castling and pawn rules as suggested for my Accelerated Courier-Spiel idea above) that could be called Hurly-Burly Spiel; I'll study it at my leisure:]

Note that wikipedia's entry for Kirins states that 2 of opposite colours can mate a lone K without help from their own K; also, Dr. Muller's results elsewhere indicate that on 12x8, K & 2 fibnifs (also called lancers) can mate a lone K, and he opines that K & 2 horsewazir compound pieces really should be able to mate a lone K.

[edit11: I don't really like this CV too much since neither side has a full FIDE Chess army included, which is why I worked on edit10's CV idea.]

[edit10: Here's another idea of mine, somewhat similar to the last one (i.e. with same castling and pawn rules), which could be called Hurly-Burly Chess; I'll study it at my leisure:]

[edit12: I'm afraid I don't really like this CV idea too much either, since the enemy Archbishop in the setup might make castling queenside often/sometimes a somewhat unsafe idea, and the board is very wide in any case, which makes it especially impractical for over-the-board games (besides trying to recall the setup).]

Kevin Pacey wrote on Sat, Oct 28, 2017 05:43 PM UTC:Excellent ★★★★★

A variant with an interesting mix of past and present. It seems possible and desirable for White's (or sometimes Black's) central pawns to strive to both advance to the squares on the fourth rank relatively early in many cases, much as in chess. To me that's a healthy sign for a two army square or rectangular board variant with an even number of both files and ranks, as far as the richness and logic of the opening phase of a typical game of it might go.

As far as this variant's 12x8 board goes, in the old days such would be fine in someone's home on a table, but nowadays if it were to be played over-the-board in a tournament hall (as in a chess tournament) its being 12 squares wide would naturally count against it as far as having physical boards with squares (and thus pieces) that weren't somewhat small in size (otherwise the boards would often take up too much room on a table in a tournament hall). Luckily this isn't much of a consideration for internet contests involving a variant with this one's otherwise unwieldy board shape. Another concern would be that the game might take too many moves to play on average, say compared to chess, but I'd suppose it wouldn't be as bad as in the case of the original 12x8 Courier Chess variant, with its relative lack of more powerful piece types such as the modern queen.

Here's 3 different 12x8 CVs with a quirk or two:

John Davis wrote on Fri, Mar 27, 2015 09:50 PM UTC:Excellent ★★★★★
Courier-Spiel is the basis for my other favorite, Dragon Chess, so I chose it as my first addition to the Grand Chess & Beyond project. For my "Grand Courier" I chose the names Duke (KN), Elephant (FA) and Fool (WF) so they wouldn't conflict alphabetically with the other pieces of my basic set. I drew my E & F file placement from Chu Shogi.
King ; F1 & 10
Queen ; E2 & 9
Rook ; A1 & 10, J1 & 10
Knight ; B2 & 9, I2 & 9
Elephant ; C2 & 9, H2 & 9
Bishop ; D2 & 9, G2 &9
Duke ; F2 & 9
Fool ; E1 & 10
Pawns ; ranks 3 & 8

Christine Bagley-Jones wrote on Mon, Apr 2, 2012 03:21 AM UTC:Excellent ★★★★★
The 'Bishop' in this game moves as a 'Ferfil', and the 'Councillor' moves 
like a 'Centaur' (knight, wazir, fers).
Would this be the first appearance for these pieces?
Anyone know an earlier game they are in, or another old game anyway. 
I know 'Ferfil' is in the game 'Shako', 1990, by Jean-Louis Cazaux.

John Ayer wrote on Tue, Jul 28, 2009 02:29 AM UTC:
Thank you, Yu Ren Dong!

Yu Ren Dong wrote on Sun, Jul 26, 2009 08:02 AM UTC:

The zog.

John Ayer wrote on Wed, Jun 30, 2004 07:07 PM UTC:Excellent ★★★★★
On reviewing Murray and Gollon, I find that the pawn promotion rule for this game is unknown. The rule given is from another game, and its application to this one is a conjecture by Murray. Promotion determined by file is therefore as valid as any other rule agreed on by two players.

📝Eric Greenwood wrote on Thu, Oct 16, 2003 04:48 AM UTC:Excellent ★★★★★
To clear up any confusion, the name 'Prince' is ONLY used for our variant as a promoted piece, it moves as fool or Knight, and can only come into play in the rare instance of a pawn promoting on the King File. Prince is definitely *NOT* used as an alternate name for any piece in the original setup. The piece w/ the king-like move (w/o the restrictions about check, ewt.) is the Fool. While many princes may be, in fact, fools, ;} we do NOT use the name interchangeably in this game. I hope this clears up any confusion created. :)

📝Eric Greenwood wrote on Wed, Oct 15, 2003 12:49 PM UTC:Excellent ★★★★★
The rule Mr. Gilman suggests is the rule we are, in fact, using. Thank you for clarifying it for those who might have missed it. :)

Charles Gilman wrote on Wed, Oct 15, 2003 06:54 AM UTC:
Regarding the 'promotion by file' rule, Prince is an alternative name for a piece already in the array, the capturable version of the King. Therefore it would seem most logical to promote to that piece on the King's file.

📝Eric Greenwood wrote on Fri, Oct 10, 2003 10:42 PM UTC:Excellent ★★★★★

   An excellent idea-promotion according to John Ayers' rules make for a
better game!

   I have an idea: Let the Man have the Squirrel (or Castle from
Renniassance Chess) move to start with, and let the promoting Prince have
the original Man move (as Horse or Fool).

   If anyone wants to play me using these rules, my userid is:   cavalier
(another Renniassance piece!  :})

       Eric V. Greenwood        e-mail:   [email protected]

John Ayer wrote on Tue, Sep 2, 2003 11:34 PM UTC:Excellent ★★★★★
My son and I dislike the pawn promotion rules in this game, and have our own: A pawn reaching the last rank is immediately promoted to the rank of the master-piece of that file, except that a pawn promoting on the king-file is made a prince, moving as the squirrel. Thereafter, if the king is checkmated, he is removed from the board, the prince succeeds, and the game continues. This is idle speculation, though; neither of us has ever allowed the other to promote a pawn.

John Ayer wrote on Sun, Jun 1, 2003 12:46 AM UTC:Excellent ★★★★★
Of course the printable board and pieces for the Courier Game will also serve for this one.

John Ayer wrote on Tue, Jan 21, 2003 03:27 AM UTC:Excellent ★★★★★
This is my absolute favorite chess variant. It's great fun to play (I have found it so). It also has some interesting symmetries. The pieces with unlimited moves in a straight line number five, as in standard chess: rooks, couriers (German for bishops), and queen. The pieces with one-square moves also number five: the king, the councillor, the fool, and the two 'bishops' (ferz-alfils, elephants on my board). The leapers are, again, five in number: the knights, the councillor, and the 'bishops' or ferz-alfils. Unlike so many other games played on this board, it does not leave the couriers (bishops, we would call them) facing one another along shared diagonals.

16 comments displayed

Later Reverse Order Earlier

Permalink to the exact comments currently displayed.