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This page is written by the game's inventor, Charles Gilman.

Échecs De L'Escalier

This variant is named after "ésprit de l'escalier", meaning the witty ripostes that one thinks of long after they are of any use. It is a 10x10 variant that I thought of after the closing date for the 10-Chess contest. It is surprising that it never occurred to me before, as it is a fairly obvious extrapolation, or perhaps interpolation, from the largest-army variant of the Great Herd family but with pieces built up from the FIDE elementals. I am fairly sure that no-one else has thought of this particular variant.



The PAWN is basically the FIDE piece, but as it has a longer trek to the far rank the initial double-step move is enhanced: it can be either two successive non-capuring moves directly forward, two capturing moves on forward diagonals (not necessarily the same one), or one of each. I term Pawns of this type "Eurofighter" Pawns, as it extrapolates the original double-step move introduced in Europe. Each player starts with 10 Pawns, all of them protected by 2 or more other pieces and the middle 4 by 3 or more.
The ROOK, KNIGHT, and BISHOP are the simple pieces of FIDE Chess, and move in exactly the same way. Each player starts with 4 of each, twice the number in FIDE Chess.
The QUEEN is the compound of Rook and Bishop from FIDE Chess, and move in exactly the same way. Each player starts with 2 Queens, twice the number in FIDE Chess.
The MARSHAL and CARDINAL are the other two compounds of two simple FIDE pieces, used together in many large variants whose other back-rank pieces are of the same kind and number as FIDE Chess. Each player starts with 2 of each, twice the number in most such variants.
The ACE is a compound of all three simple pieces. Each player starts with but one Ace.
The KING moves exactly as in FIDE Chess, and must avoid checkmate. Each player starts with but one King.


If a Pawn making an initial double-step move passes through a cell En Prise to an enemy Pawn, the latter can immediately capture the former En Passant as if it had moved only the single step. A Pawn's intermediate cell is always clear from whether it has captured an enemy piece and if so which one. A piece captured at the end of the double-step move is not recovered by the En Passant capture.

Castling follows my rules devised for Ecumenical Chess and reused in my actual 10-Chess entry Wildeurasian Qi. The King has not left the middle two files, the Rook involved has not left its own and the adjacent file, neither has left the back two ranks, and both are on the same rank with no intervening piece. They move toward each other within that rank, the King to the Bishop file and the Rook to the Marshal file. The King may not castle into, out of, or through check.

A Pawn reaching the far rank must be promoted, to any other kind of capturable piece. Note that promotion to anything but Ace is an underpromotion and most promotions are likely to be to that piece.


The connection between this variant and the aforementioned Great Herd variant is the same that Bird's, Capablanca's, Carrera's, Grand, and Grander Chess have to the smaller-army GH variants. The correspondence between pieces is Rook-Knight, Bishop-Camel, Knight-Zebra, Queen-Gnu, Marshal-Gazelle, Cardinal-Bison, and Ace-Buffalo.

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By Charles Gilman.
Web page created: 2005-05-27. Web page last updated: 2016-03-31