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


In my Unidirectional version of Xiang Qi, with both armies starting the same side of the River, I suggested thinking of the rule lifting blockability of Fortress squares as reflecting a multi-storey Fortress and remarked that that had given me aother idea. Here is that idea: Xiang Qi (XQ) with the Fortress extended one level up and one down in a 3d-Chess sense. The enlarged Fortress also of course echoes Tardis Taijitu, although I don't use that variant's feature of making the Fortress mobile.

As just letting the pieces extrapolate their existing moves to the extra planes within the Fortress seemed dull, I decided to give them additional triaxial moves within the Fortress, with the restriction that any step changing level must happen entirely within the Fortress and not be into/out of it. This gives echoes of my Fortified-piece Xiang Qi, but without affecting how pieces move on the original board.

The name is of course a pun on "Qi" (Chinese-style game) and "cube" (describing the shape of one of the Chinese-style features, the Fortress). I rejected a piece name before Qi as the pieces are 2d+3d compounds and so have rather convoluted names.


For the array diagram I considered knife-and-fork double piece images à la Crossover-piece dual-direction variants, and a single image with movement diagrams, but as both would be too complex I eventually settled on Ascii Art with names of enhanced pieces abbreviated to a generous five letters. This represents either half of the board as viewed by that player. River and Fortress markings are hopefully self-evident! Files l-n (l for lower, and all consonants that can be syllabic) are below, and u-w (u for upper, and derived from single letter in very early Latin) above, the central files c-e.

Middle level

Outer levels


The GRANDDUKE (ruler of city state such as Luxembourg) is a General to whose 1:0:0 move is added the 1:1:1 move of the Viceroy. This preserves the XQ piece's Knight-like colourswitching, meaning that it cannot lose the move. Though rare in 3d variants, the Grandduke is common as an enhanced General in Hex 2d ones, as in Glinski vis-à-vis Wellisch and my own enhancement from my Anglojewish Chess to my 4 Linepiece Hex Chess.
The APOSTLE (as intermediate in move between Rabbi and Bishop) makes up to 4 Ferz moves through intermediate cells but unlike the Bishop makes a 60° turn at each such cell, in such a way that its fourth step, should it go that far, is parallel to its first but in the opposite direction! Its lines are arcs of such hexagonal paths as d0-m0-n1-f2-v2-u1. It also occurs in Paired Everything Tunnelchess. Its orthogonal counterpart the Finch, however, cannot occur on a cubic board but only on a hex one as in my Anglojewish Chess or a hex-prism one as on my La Belle Dame Sans Merci and 3-player Honeycomb Chess. For more on Curved linepieces see Man and Beast 09: Mighty Like a Rose.
The stepping WILFUL (describing a hard-to-tame Elephant) is a stepping Elephant (Xiang) enhanced by the ability to make a 1:1:1 step within its Fortress. This gives access via the Fortress (e.g. e2-l1-e0) to 8 more squares of the original board.
The stepping CAPARISONNER (to caparison is to put tackle on a horse) is a stepping Knight (Mao) enhanced by the ability to go from any corner of either Fortress to the opposite one in a single move if the centre of the Fortress (e1 or e8) is empty. Note that a Mao move entering the Fortress and then changing level is allowed, but one leaving the Fortress from an extra level is not.
The HARPY (a hideous, greedy winged woman of Classical mythology) is a Rook enhanced by the ability to optionally make a 1:1:1 step within the Fortress before, or instead of, making a 55° turn and continuing orthogonally. My themed variant Heathen Europe Chess for 4, included under Armies of Faith 4: Schism, use it as a promotee, the bent-piece subvariant of my 4 Linepiece Hex Chess uses its hex version, and Tripunch Chess uses the nearest square-cell equivalents, the Reaper and Harvester.
The Chinese-style CONCUHOPPER (Hopping-capture version of the Concubine 3d piece) is a Cannon (Pao) enhanced by the ability to go from any corner of the Fortress to the opposite one in a single move if the centre of the Fortress (e1 or e8) is:
(a) empty for a noncapturing move;
(b) occupied by a piece of either army for a capturing move (the intervening piece is not itself captured).
The AZUREGENERAL (one-step part-symmetric stepper in "Azure" directions) is a Point enhanced by the ability to make a 1:1:1 step within either Fortress. Those within their own Fortress can be used either defensively to complement the Apostles or be deployed as Points on file e, depending on how many a player judges that they need in each rôle.

The piece to which the Azuregeneral is promoted, the SUPERAZURE, is an Azuregeneral further enhanced by the ability to make any same-rank 1:0:0 step. Unlike XQ promotees they can use the 1:1:1 step, which they retain, to retreat within the enemy Fortress.


There is no initial double move, En Passant, or Castling, as XQ has none of these.

Granddukes and Apostles cannot leave the Fortress.

Wilfuls cannot cross the River.

Azuregenerals are promoted to Superazures on crossing the River.

Like XQ Generals, Granddukes cannot share file d, e, or f without an intervening piece, but can share any of files l-n or u-w as those files have gaps between the Fortresses.

Check, Checkmate, and Stalemate are standard.

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 Charles Gilman.
Web page created: 2007-01-30. Web page last updated: 2016-04-08