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Emperor Chess


Emperor Chess, invented by H. R. ("Bob") Lambert of New York City in 1954, was played on a board twelve squares by twelve, with a white square on each player's right.


White's first rank, left to right, is: Rook, Knight, Bishop, Emperor, Queen, Commander, King, Queen, Emperor, Bishop, Knight, Rook. The second rank was occupied by Pawns. Black's setup apparently mirrored White's.

The Pieces

The Emperor runs any number of squares along a diagonal, like a Bishop. Along a rank or file the Emperor moves any even number of squares. A man on the same rank or file as an Emperor, but on a square not of the same color as the one the Emperor stands on, blocks the Emperor's motion without being in any danger from it. In Fairy Chess terms, an Emperor is a Bishop plus a lame Dabbabah-rider (funny notation BnDD). The Emperor was represented by a miter within a crenellated wall.

The Commander combines the powers of Queen and Knight (this piece is better known as the Amazon).

Castling is not mentioned.

According to Pritchard, Gollon suggested that Pawns have the option of moving up to three squares initially.


John Ayer commented: "I find the emperor an interesting concept, but I suspect this game needs further work."

David Pritchard noted in Encyclopedia of Chess Variants: "The game is something of a misnomer since the emperor has less power than a queen or a commander."

This game should not be confused with R. Wayne Schmittberger's Emperor King Chess which is sometimes also called Emperor Chess.

Webpage by Peter Aronson, based on an e-mail of John Ayer, with additional material from Pritchard's Encyclopedia of Chess Variants
WWW page created: January 20th, 2003.