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This page is written by the game's inventor, Larry Smith.


by L. Lynn Smith

LiQi is a form of Chess for two players utilizing extremely powerful pieces.  Its name means "Strong Chess".

This game was an attempt, while maintaining the standard equipment of the Mad Queen variant, to introduce players to the planar movement. Each of the pieces have been significantly increased in power.


2nd rank: MaoJu, MaoJu, MaoJu, MaoJu, MaoJu, MaoJu, MaoJu, MaoJu 1st rank: FeiYe, RuoShi, JiaoYe, BenYe, TianWang, JiaoYe, RuoShi, FeiYe


Each player has a force of sixteen on a playing field consisting of an 8x8 grid of points.  Pieces move upon these points.

MaoJu ["cat chariot" or "wheelbarrow"] steps without capturing up to two forward or backward orthogonal.  It steps one diagonal with capturing.  When making a capture, it has the option of promotion to any previously captured friendly piece if available.

RuoShi ["young lion"] may step one diagonal or orthogonal or leap to any second point.  If it makes a capture when performing the simple step, it is allowed to perform another step orthogonal or diagonal without returning to its original starting point.

JiaoYe ["angled leaf"] performs the diagonal planar move.

FeiYe ["flying leaf"] performs the orthogonal planar move.

BenYe ["running leaf"] performs either the diagonal or orthogonal planar move.

TianWang ["heavenly king" or "emperor"] leaps to any point on the playing field.  It may not captured a defended TianWang.


The game is won by capturing the opposing TianWang.  Repetition of position is not permitted.  The game is considered drawn if both players have only TianWang and MaoJu, with no piece immediately attacking another.


The development of this game began long before 2004. It's original influence could be traced to 'Exploring the Realm of Three-Dimensional Chess' by Dave Erick Matson and the chapter 'The Linear Moves Won't Do' where was discussed the various forms of potential planar moves.

Another influence was several Shogi variants which utilize the Emperor piece. I've always been interested in applying this particular piece to western games. Thus the homage to oriental games with both the title of the game and its pieces.

A previous version allowed the MaoJu to slide backward and forward orthogonal any number of points. With a number of games this proved to cause rather extended play which was neither interesting nor challenging, and thus the piece's reduction to only two cell for this movement. This allowed the piece to make significant advancement or retreats and still maintain the defense of its TianWang.

Another adjustment was the dynamics of the diagonal planar movement. The previous version allowed this plane to exist beyond the playing field. Primarily to keep its power rather high. After much play, it was decided that restricting its plane to the playing field allowed for definite steps in the various pieces' exchange values and thus add to the depth of play.

After these adjustments, it was revealed that the game does continue to have the flavor of the Mad Queen variant(particularly in the opening) but expresses itself very nicely during the endgame.

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 Larry L. Smith.
Web page created: 2009-08-27. Web page last updated: 2009-08-27