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Wildebeest Chess

In his very nice book New Rules for Classic Games, R. Wayne Schmittberger gives the rules and backgrounds of his large chess variant Wildebeest Chess. One of the design purposes of this variant was to balance the number of riders (pieces like rook and bishop) and leapers (pieces like the knight).

The game is regularly played in NOST.


The game is played on a board of ten rows and eleven columns. Each player has eleven pawns, two rooks, two knights, two bishops, two camels, one queen, one wildebeest, and one king.

The opening setup is as follows.

King f1; Queen e1; Wildebeest g1; Rook a1, k1; Knight b1, j1; Bishop c1, d1; Camel h1, i1; Pawn a2, b2, c2, d2, e2, f2, g2, h2, i2, j2, k2.

King f10; Queen g10; Wildebeest e10; Rook a10, k10; Knight b10, j10; Bishop h10, i10; Camel c10, d10; Pawn a9, b9, c9, d9, e9, f9, g9, h9, i9, j9, k9.

Kings, queens, rooks, knights, bishops, and pawns move as in orthodox chess, with the following modifications. Castling is with the same restrictions as in orthodox chess - but the king may move one, two, three, or four squares in the direction of the rook; the rook jumps over the king to the next free square. Pawns may move one, two, or three squares when on the second row, and one or two squares when on the third row. On all passed squares, the pawn can be taken en-passant. Pawns promote only to queens or wildebeests.

A camel has a kind of extended knight jump: it goes one square in one direction and three, not two, in the other. Thus, a camel on a1 can go to b4 or to d2. Camels may jump (like knights) over occupied squares. Thus, for instance, white can start with moving his camel from h1 to g4.

A wildebeest has the combined moves of a camel and knight.

A player wins by mating or stalemating the opponent.

Written by: Hans Bodlaender.
WWW page created: February 5, 1997.