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Querquisite Chess

While reading through the article : Two's Company, in the British Chess Variants Society's website, a small paragraph caught my attention, describing a wild and whimsical piece called the Querquisite. (For the desription see 'Pieces' below.)

Needless to say, I was intrigued by this piece. And adding it to the normal chess set seemed the most natural thing to do. A simple Google search didn't find anything about a game which uses the piece. So I created one.


To use this piece properly, it shouldn't disturb the pieces arrangement on files. The Templar Chess board seemed perfect for this purpose, since it also allows for the normal chess openings. Simply replace the Templar with the Querquisite (see note.)

In the starting setup and notation, the Querquisite is symboled by the letter U. Since the letter Q is already taken by the Queen.

9          |:::| u |:u:|   |          
8  | r |:n:| b |:q:| k |:b:| n |:r:|  
7  |:p:| p |:p:| p |:p:| p |:p:| p |  
6  |   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|  
5  |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |  
4  |   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|  
3  |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |  
2  | P |:P:| P |:P:| P |:P:| P |:P:|  
1  |:R:| N |:B:| Q |:K:| B |:N:| R |  
0          |   |:U:| U |:::|          
     a   b   c   d   e   f   g   h    

For those who can't see the ASCII diagram, the board and setup is the normal chess setup, with the c, d, e, and f file are extended two squares, one on each side. The Querquisites start behind the King and the Queen.

NOTE : Originally, I had the Querquisites behind the Bishops, like the Templar was, but this somehow left the f-pawn too weak.


All piece move and capture as in normal chess. There is no Castling (as in Templar Chess.) Pawns are a little different.

There's only one unorthodox piece, the Querquisite (U). To quote from the article Two's Company :

   "The Querquisite can be thought of as a type of Chameleon; it has
    the power of movement of the piece upon whose file it stands, e.g.
    a rook on the a- and h- files, a king on the e-file, etc. [...].
    The piece was invented by J. E. H. Creed, FCR  June 1947 (and, as
    the Odysseus, by H. Schmid 10 years ago)."

The King's Querquisite starts the game by moving like a King. The Queen's Querquisite starts the game by moving like a Queen.

Pawns move and capture as they do in normal Chess (for this article's purposes, they start on the second rank.) Pawns promote upon reaching the 8th rank to any normal Chess piece. Pawns on the Bishops' and central files, however, can refrain from promotion when reaching the 8th rank, to promote the next step. When reaching the ninth rank, they also can promote to Querquisites.

For example, let's assume white has two pawns, on f7 and g7. The g-Pawn, if advances, has to promote immediately to a Queen, a Rook, a Knight, or a Bishop. The f-Pawn, may or may not promote when moving 1. f8 . However, when it moves 2. f9 , it may promote to any of the afore mentioned pieces or to a Querquisites. ( 2. f9=U )


All rules are as in Standard Chess, except what is noted above. There is no Castling.

OPTIONAL RULE - 2007-08-20 : The King's Leap. A King on his starting square has the right to leap in his first move like a Knight. He may not do so when he is in check or to capture a piece.


Since It's easy to create positions where a King a Querquisite checkmate a lone King, a Querquisite is enough mating material. I believe it can be forced, but not quite sure how.


To show the whimsical powers of the Querquisite, I devised a simple mate in two. 9 - - - - 8 - - - - - - - - 7 - - - - - - - - 6 - - - - - - - - 5 - - - - - - - - 4 P - - N - - - - 3 - - - - - - - - 2 k - U - - - - - 1 - - K - - - - - 0 - - - - a b c d e f g h W: Kc1 Uc2 Nd4 Pa4 B: Ka2 Solution is in the end of the page. -- Again, it's possible to play this game with all kinds of mutators. Suicide, Atomic, Up-Side-Down, Extinction, Progressive, etc. A Fischer Random style is possible as well. You will have to redefine the files, though. A mutator that is of interest to me is Kings. I propose this setup : (x) u k k u r n b q q b n r p p p p p p p p - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - P P P P P P P P R N B Q Q B N R (X) U K K U On the central file, Querquisites move like Queens. Kings should relate to the imaginary squares a0 (for white) and a9 (for black,) marked with x's. Pawns promote as described, but on the ninth rank they may promote to Kings as well. (They may not promote to Kings on the 8th rank.) -- UPDATE - 2007-08-20 : Fischer-Randomization. The initial idea for a Shuffle variant of this is to shuffle the Querquisites WITH the pieces, leaving two vacant square in Rank-0 (so to speak,) while the King is restricted to be on the first rank. The Querquisite's move is defined by the Standard setup. Example starting setup (The symbols under the board define the Querquisite's move.): - u r - b n r b n u k q p p p p p p p p - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - P P P P P P P P B N R B N U K Q - U R - r n b k q b n r The restrictions for the shuffle are : 1. King must be on Rank-1. 2. Only the two center squares of Rank-0 are to be filled. 3. Bishops must start on different colors. The King's leap is necessary here (and is natural.) * The other idea is to leave the Querquisites where they are initially, and shuffle the Pieces on Rank-1. The restrictions are: 1. No piece other than the Querquisites may start on Rank-0 2. The Bishops must start on different colors. The main difference is this : The Querquisite's move is defined by the starting SHUFFLED setup. Example starting setup (The symbols under the board define the Querquisite's move.): - u u - n b k n b r q r p p p p p p p p - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - P P P P P P P P N B K N B R Q R - U U - n b k n b r q r Note the difference ? This might make a very interesting game. -- The simplest possible game to use the Querquisite in the 8x8 board is to use it instead of the Queen. On the Queen's file, there are two option, it should either move like a King or like a Queen. This is a matter of personal preference. -- Other ways to add the Querquisite to the Chess board are by using the Gustavian board, or an Omega-Chess-style board. While these extra squares don't belong to any particular file, it's possible to make some extra rule hat states they should move like Knights or Camels when inside those squares. A Brouhaha-Style board is perfectly acceptable, where the additional squares are removed as soon as the square is vacated. Another possibility is to use M Winther Drops technique, which he used in Swedish Cannon Chess. It allows the pieces to be dropped on a friendly pawn on the second rank, with that pawn advancing two steps. -- It's also very possible to add this piece to any game which stacks all pieces in a rank and all pawns on another. Examples being Falcon Chess, Capablanca Chess, Wildebeest Chess, or my own Chess with Wizards (but this would need some adjustments to the starting setup and the way the Querquisites are added.) They can be added to The Tower Game. Just add a 3x3 Rectangle behind each King. Place the Querquisites on the corners of that Rectangle. To devise a Hexagonal Variant of this game requires some extra thought. -- The Querquisite is related to the Family that includes the Jester (which moves like the last piece moved,) and the Ultima Chameleon. It has some interesting midgame and endgame possibilities. I might make a study later of some pieces values (including the Falcon, the Querquisite, the Magician from Chess with Wizards,) using the Safe Check principle. I will sure let you know of the Querquisite's value when I do. -- Links of some pages mentioned in the article : 1 Two's Company, the article that started it all. There are many interesting problems there, including other usable mutators !! 2 Templar Chess. 3 Kings. 4 Chess with Wizards. -- Solution to the problem: 1. Ub1 Ka1 (only legal move) 2. Ua3 mate. To explain, the Querquisite moves from c2 to b1 like a Bishop, from there is acts like a Knight, blocking the escape square a3, (b3 is blocked by the original Knight.) Then it leaps to the a-file to deliver checkmate like a Rook would. Very whimsical!! I am sure other problemists could create better problems.

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By Abdul-Rahman Sibahi.
Web page created: 2007-06-29. Web page last updated: 2007-08-20