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This page is written by the game's inventor, Aurelian Florea. This game is a favorite of its inventor.

Apothecary Chess-Classic

Before joining this website, I've read many of the articles on games found here. Back then it quickly became clear that there is more to chess than the orthodox game. I have enjoying the fruitful imagination of many inventors and the fine craft applied to their inventions so I decided to join the fun. I wanted to do it too, so I took inspiration mostly out of the 2 popular games Cristian Freeling's Grand Chess and Daniel MacDonald's Omega Chess with it's advanced variation. For the promotion rules I used Fergus Duniho's Gross Chess rules because I liked the idea of 3 tier 3 rank promotion. It is true that the orthodox chess is hard to be compared with, but it is my opinion that GM chess has become stale. So my declared purpose is to add contributions to the idea that a new kind of chess will eventually happen, more or less naturally. This game is part of the apothecary series of games designed by myself along with apothecary chess-modern and future games on bigger boards.


The board is 10x10 with 8 brouhaha squares (more on them later) so 10x10+10. The ranks are numbered (0),1,2,3,...9,10,(11) and the files are denoted with a,b,c,...i,j. The parentheses stand for ranks that have only brouhaha squares.

There are 24 possible initial setups for this game. For the purpose of explaining the initial setup pieces are split in eight categories:

1. The king has a fixed start location f2 for white f9 for black.

2. The classic average pieces are the two rooks of each player which also have fixed start locations, a1 and j1 for white and a10 and j10 for black

3. The strong pieces (three of them Queen, Chancellor,Archbishop; are the three most powerfull  pieces in the game). They are placed on the board according to two variables. The first is a binary variable (may be represented by a coin toss) which can take the values winged (false,0,tails) or grand classic(true,1,heads). If the variable is winged then the three major pieces occupy the b2,e2,i2 squares for white and b9,e9,i9 for black. If the variable is grand classic (a reference on how the pieces are arranged in Cristian Freeling's Grand Chess) then the three major pieces occupy the d2,e2,g2 squares for white and d9,e9,g9 squares for black. Either way there are three spots and three major pieces to fill those spots. For that we have the second variable with six possible values (3 factorial). A dice throw may decide where pieces go like below:

   1. from left to right Archbishop,Chancellor,Queen 

   2. from left to right Archbishop,Queen,Chancellor

   3. from left to right Chancellor,Archbishop,Queen

   4. from left to right Chancellor,Queen,Archbishop

   5. from left to right Queen,Archbishop,Chancellor

   6. from left to right Queen,Chancellor,Archbishop  

4. The classic auxiliary minor pieces are the bishops and knights. They start on the 2nd (for white) and 9th (for black) rank, never on the a or j files in the spots left free by the major pieces. They too have two ways of arranging that could be represented by a coin toss. The first way is named bishops in (true,1,heads) and means the bishops are in the positions closer to the king (c2,h2,c9,h9 in grand classic, d2,g2,d9,g9 in winged). The second way is named knights in (false,0,tails) and means that the knights are in the above mentioned closer to the king position. So two coin tosses and one dice throw means 2x2x6=24 possibilities.

5. The new auxiliary pieces are the siege elephant and the mameluk that start on bruhaha squares. The siege elphants start on e0 and h0 for white and d11 and g11 for black . The mameluks start on d0 and g0 for white and c11 and f11 for black. Bruohaha squares disapear when they become empty. The only way for other pieces than the usual ones to land on the brouhaha squares is to capture a piece already there.

7. The joker (jester,fool) starts on f0 for white and e11 for black. The lack of simetry is meant to aleviate the first move advantage of white. That is because the white joker starts on the king side hindering the develoment of an offensive piece (as the joker can't do much on defensive because it is unpredictable).

8. Pawns fill the third rank of each player (3rd rank for white, 8th rank for black)

The starting positions are numbered from 1 to 24. A position is obtained throgh the formula 12xclassicminor+6xstrong+dicethrow. For example below we have initial position number 14. Notice the pink brouhaha squares.



files=10 ranks=12 symmetry=none holdingsType=1 promoZone=4 promoChoice=!P*N*B*L*E*R3*J3*A2*Q2*C2 graphicsDir=../graphics.dir/alfaerie/ whitePrefix=w blackPrefix=b graphicsType=gif squareSize=54 hole::::a1-j1,,a12-j12 pawn:P:ifmnDfmWfceF:pawn:a4,b4,c4,d4,e4,f4,g4,h4,i4,j4,,a9,b9,c9,d9,e9,f9,g9,h9,i9,j9 rook::::a2,j2,,a11,j11:1 queen::::e3,,e10:1 bishop:B:B:bishop:d3,g3,,d10,g10 knight:N:NmZ:knight:c3,h3,,c10,h10:1 mamluk:L:WL:camel:d1,g1,,c12,f12:1 siege elephant:E:FAH:elephant:e1,h1,,d12,g12 joker:J:fI:fool:f1,,e12 Chancellor:C:RN:chancellor:i3,,i10 archbishop:A:BN:cardinal:b3,,b10 king:K:KimbsLimbsN:king:f3,,f10 symmetry=mirror shuffle=A:BC,:BN,ACQ

The interactive diagram above show both the initial position (you must press restart in ordered to see it randomized) and piece movement while providinng a simple AI that plays the game.

This game has 25 pieces per side of 11 different types (king and pawns included). From the perspective of strength and for pawns promotion purposes the pieces are split in 4 categories:

1. Strong pieces - they are the strongest in the game; there are 3 strong pieces:

Queen- like orthodox chess queen on a 10x10 board

Chancellor- moves as an orthodox knight and an orthodox rook

Archbishop- moves as an orthodox knight and an orthodox bishop

2. Average pieces

Rook- just an orthodox rook on a 10x10 board

Joker (Jester, Fool)- Average piece in the opening;the strength of this piece is highly dependent on the opponents material. The joker (jester,fool) imitates the power movement and capture of the last piece moved by the opponent. Be careful as opposite to the advanced  omega chess fool, from which the concept is taken, the apothecary joker doesn't immobilize pieces .

3. Auxiliary pieces

Bishop- like an orthodox bishop on a 10x10 board

knight- an orthodox knight with a zebra just move enhancement (i.e. jump for movement and not capture three squares in a direction and 2 in the other)

Siege  Elephant- has the powers of the ferz (one step diagonally), alfil (jump two squares diagonally) and  power of the threeleaper (jumps three squares orthogonally)

Mameluk- has the powers of the classic camel from Tamerlane chess (a (3,1) leaper i.e jumps to all squares 1 square far in one direction and 3 squares far in the other) and the power of the wazir (one square orthogonally)

4. Pawns

Pawns - classic chess pawns on a 10x10 board from the point of view of movement and capture but that may promote starting the 8th rank according to piece categories. Pawns promote to any auxiliary pieces on the players 8th rank, any auxiliary or average peice at the 9th rank, and any piece at rank 10.For the purpose of limiting material when physical play is involved pawns are also restricted to promote to the pieces in reserve. In the reserve enter all the pieces captured of the colour of the promoting pawn and from the begining of the game 1 queen, 1 rook, 1 knight & 1 mameluk.

King- Not in a category; an orthodox chess king on a 10x10 board- the royal piece of this game. There is no castling in this game but the white king can, from the initial position only once, jump to c1,d1,h1,i1 and the black king can, from the initial position only once,  jump to c10,d10,h10,i10.



By far the main difference between the rules of classic chess and the rules of apothecary chess 2 is that apothecary chess 2 has five instead of three possible outcomes:
1. win - obtained through checkmating your opponent which worths 1 tournament point
2. advantage - obtained through stalemating your opponent or having at least 4 extra points in the points counting process (see bellow) worths 0.75 tournament points
3. draw - obtained through double bare kings or through having at most 3 ahead points in the points counting process (see bellow) worths 0.5 tournament points
4. disadvantage- when your opponent finishes at an advantage still worths 0.25 tournament points
5. loss - you got checkmated
At any time players may give up (loss) or convene at a draw or advantage/disadvantage.

Point count occurs in two situations:
1. The 100 moves rule takes charge (akin to the 50th moves rule of orthodox chess but after 100 moves) i.e. 100 moves have taken place and no captures or pawn pushes happened.
2. An position has been repeated three times.

When point count occurs points are awarded to each player for each non king piece the player has on the board. A strong piece worths 9 points. A rook worths 6 points. An auxiliary piece worths 3 points. A joker worths 5 points if the opponent has exactly more strong pieces than non strong pieces left on the board. It worth 4 point otherwise. A pawn worth 1 point. If one player counts at least 4 more points than it's opponent then the game end in an advantage for him. Otherwise a draw is awarded to both players.

There is no castling in this game, but the king may jump once from the initial position to c1,d1,h1 or i1 for white or c10,d10,d10,h10 for black as long as he is not in check. The en passant rule is as usual only that pawns have the double move from the 3rd to the 5th player's rank. The 50 moves rule becomes a 100 moves rule. The brouhaha sqares disapear after they have been vacated. Captures may happen on the brouhaha squares and that preserves them.

At the beginning of the game the joker does not inherit any move because there have not been any moves. That means white cannot move it's joker at the first move. Black may imitate the move made in the same turn on it's first move.

A joker imitating a pawn has only the regular moves, no double step, no enpassant and no promotion even if that pawn has promoted the last move.


During the development of the game I kept in touch with several people including Greg Strong & H.G.Muller. Espeecially to Greg and HG I owe a debt of gratitude for providing software that help me develope the game concepts. I have used HG Muller's Fairy-MAX to measure properly piece values, although that is still in the beginning phases. I have used Greg Strong's chessV in order to implement the weirder promotion rule and the joker piece, and test a bit the game.I thank you all for the contributions.

It worth saying that this version is not the first version of the game. Initially the knight had a treaper enhancement. This was replaced by a zebra enhancement. The elephant had only move threeleaper power. So did the wazir part of the mameluk. Now they both can capture with those moves! Also initially there were no brouhaha squares. They were introduced because of the damage that was easily done by the mameluk in the opening. Also their introduction left the rooks connected. The joker on the brouhaha squares is the latest addition. Initially it was launched from a pocket square in a Seiwaran manner. This change has been done mostly for ease of programming.

The 24 initial positions are chosen from an uniform distribution for now. If the game becomes studied and more openings are found from certain initial positions then the probability distribution will be adjusted accordingly so the richer initial positions come up slightly more often. For the purpose of notation I recommend the following letters: K-king;Q-queen;C-Chancellor;A-Archbishop;R-rook;J-joker;N-knight;E-Siege Elepahnt;M-Mameluk;B-bishop and P-pawn. The game may be played here:

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 Aurelian Florea.

Last revised by Aurelian Florea.

Web page created: 2017-04-26. Web page last updated: 2020-01-30