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The Chess Variant Pages

Hopper Chess (with Scorpions)

This page contains one or more presets for playing a game online with Game Courier, an online server for playing Chess variants by correspondence.

The hopper move functions as follows. Any piece (not Scorpion pawn) situated in front of any friendly piece (including Scorpions) can use the latter as a springboard for hopping over an enemy pawn standing on the same file, provided that there are no pieces in between. The piece lands immediately behind the enemy Scorpion. Note that the King can also make such jumps. This piece movement is logical as the pawn chain functions similarly as a palisade. How to overcome such hindrances has always been a tactical problem in wartime, and is a notorious problem in chess. This chess variant introduces a new technique of solving this problem. It opens up new and interesting tactical possibilities during all phases of the game. One such possibilty is to temporarily hinder the opponent's castle. Pieces that fulfil the requirements for making a hop are referred to as "hoppers", e.g., "a knight-hopper at f3". In the endgame the King can often become very active thanks to the new hop move. It's not easy to shut the enemy King out by closing the position. Another curious detail is that the King can give check to the enemy King by long distance. But this works fine.

Here the white bishop can jump and capture
the black bishop behind the black Scorpion.

In this variant there are Scorpions instead of pawns. The Scorpion has the additional moves of a knight, but only in two forward directions: east-north-east, and west-north-west. There are no additional capture moves. The Scorpion's value is half the value of a knight or bishop, that is, 1.5. This implies that a light piece can be exchanged for two Scorpions, a possibility which often occurs. The Scorpion opens up many new tactical possiblities, both in the defense and the attack. The Scorpion is denoted by S and s, respectively.

The two oblique moves in the image are the
Scorpions two extra movement possibilities.
It can only capture like a regular pawn.

The following preset makes a reasonably good validity check of Scorpion moves, etc. Moves are automated, including castling and the 'en passant' move. Pieces can be moved by pointing and clicking. When promoting a pawn, it will automatically turn into a Queen. Should you prefer another piece then you must type it manually (e.g., add N a8; capture a7). Use small piece-letters for black. E-mails to your opponent are generated, but you can play online by intermittently pressing the browser's update button.

It's necessary to watch out for hopper checks because they are easy to miss for the inexperienced. For instance, in an early stage, with pawns still on e2 and e7, if white moves his bishop to e3, this means that black's king is in check.

Hopper Chess (with Scorpions)

You can also download a Zillions implementation here.

See also my other Game Courier presets.

This 'user submitted' page is a collaboration between the posting user and the Chess Variant Pages. Registered contributors to the Chess Variant Pages have the ability to post their own works, subject to review and editing by the Chess Variant Pages Editorial Staff.

By M Winther.
Web page created: 2006-07-03. Web page last updated: 2006-07-03