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

Opulent Chess

Opulent Chess is a decimal chess variant similar to Christian Freeling's Grand Chess, but with a stronger Knight, and two new jumping pieces (the Lion, and the Wizard.) In this game, the Bishop, Knight, Lion, and Wizard should all have almost the same material value, while having very different movement charistics. This should lead to a game with more exchanges between pieces of different types, leading naturally to battles between different armies and hopefully giving each game played a more unique character.


The 10x10 square array is as follows:

King f2; Queen e2; Chancellor a2; Archbishop j2; Knight c2, h2; Lion b2, i2; Wizard b1, i1; Bishop d2, g2; Rook a1, j1; Pawn a3, b3, c3, d3, e3, f3, g3, h3, i3, j3.

King f9; Queen e9; Chancellor a9; Archbishop j9; Knight c9, h9; Lion b9, i9; Wizard b10, i10; Bishop d9, g9; Rook a10, j10; Pawn a8, b8, c8, d8, e8, f8, g8, h8, i8, j8.


The King, Queen, Bishop, Rook, and Pawn move the same as they do in Orthodox Chess. The Chancellor is a compound piece combining the moves of the Rook and the Orthodox Chess Knight. The Archbishop is a compound piece combining the moves of the Bishop and Orthodox Chess Knight (note: this does not include the extra moves given to the Knight in this game.) The moves of the three leaping pieces are shown below.

The Knight

The Knight moves like a standard Chess Knight, with the added ability to step a single space horizontally or vertically (optionally capturing a piece.) The added moves make the Knight a little more powerful, so that it is still of a similar value to the Bishop (as in Orthodox Chess) despite the enlarged board size. The Knight is still forced to move to a square of the opposite color with each move.


The Wizard

The Wizard piece is a colorbound leaper that was invented for Omega Chess. It can make a (1, 3) leap like the Camel, or can move a single space diagonally. Like a Bishop, the Wizard remains on squares of the same color throughout the game.


The Lion

The Lion is a piece invented by Ralph Betza, which he called a Half-Duck. It has been used recently with the name 'Lion' in games by David Paulowich. This piece may leap either 2 or 3 squares horizontally or vertically, or may step a single space digonally. This piece stays on squares of the same color except when it makes the somewhat ackward (0, 3) leap.

Piece Quick-Reference Chart

Notation Movement Average Mobility Midgame Value Endgame Value
Pawn P mfWcfF - 1.0 1.25
Bishop B B 6.89 4.0 4.0
Wizard W CF 8.28 4.5 4.5
Knight N NW 9.36 4.75 4.75
Lion L HFD 9.24 4.75 4.75
Rook R R 9.01 5.5 6.0
Archbishop A BN 12.65 7.5 8.0
Chancellor C RN 14.77 9.25 10.0
Queen Q BR 15.91 10.0 11.0
King K WF 6.84 - -

The Movement column describes the moves in Betza Notation.
The Average Mobility score is a Betza Mobility Calculation with a magic number of 0.7


All rules are the same as in Grand Chess. They are the same as in Orthodox Chess, except for the following changes:


The name: As the game is similar to Grand Chess, and I had no better ideas, I just selected a synonym for "grand." Other synonyms, like "Ostentatious Chess", were less pleasing :)

The number 10: This game was an entry in the contest to design a 10-chess variant which was held to celebrate the 10th aniversary of the Chess Variant Pages. The contest objective was to design a chess variant prominently featuring the number 10. Opulent Chess features 10 different types of pieces on a board with 10 ranks and 10 files. For another contest entry that chose to use 10 piece types on a 10x10, see TenCubed Chess.

Opening setup: I believe the opening arrangement of pieces is very important to making a game that plays well. This array is the result of extensive computer analysis.

NOTE: This is not the original array. Originally the Knights and Bishops were reversed. That was also the result of computer analysis. At the time, I tested this array also and expected it to be better, but it did not test that way. But now my software, as well as the computational power available to me, has greatly increased since it was originally tested in 2005.

Computer Play: Opulent Chess is fully supported by ChessV, a free open-source program for playing chess variants. You can also play Opulent Chess if you have a registered version of Zillions-of-Games installed on your Computer. You can Download the ZRF file here.

Play Online: Opulent Chess can be played on this site with Game Courier. A selection of fully automated, rule-enforcing presets can be found here. You can also view games that have previously been played on Game Courier here.

Intellectual Property Rights: Anyone is free to make use of Opulent Chess for any purpose, including commercial purposes. The only limitation is that the name may not be changed, and Greg Strong must be given credit for the invention.

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 Greg Strong.
Web page created: 2005-05-01. Web page last updated: 2020-02-07