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Accounting Chess

By W. D. Troyka

In Accounting Chess the familiar cast of nobility and pawns is replaced by those holding power in -- or over -- a major corporation. We have the CEO, CFO, Auditor, Regulator, Director, and Shareholders, which correspond, respectively, to the King, Queen, Bishop, Knight, Rook, and Pawns. The initial array is the same as for FIDE Chess. There are two types of motion in the game, rules and tricks. Rules are dictated by Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). Tricks follow FIDE Chess rules.

The World According To GAAP

GAAP is a very boring regime. No piece can capture. Shareholders move forward one space, the CEO and CFO move one space in any direction, the Auditor moves one diagonal space, and the Director moves one orthogonal space. It will be seen that each of these pieces follows the corresponding FIDE Chess definition except that it can move only one space and cannot capture. A game played according to GAAP is not a game at all. Pieces move aimlessly without any power or goals, and nothing ever happens..

Tricks Of The Trade

Fortunately pieces are permitted to violate GAAP. This is accomplished by making a move permitted in FIDE Chess for the corresponding piece but prohibited by GAAP. For example, if the CFO makes a Queen-move over more than one space, it has made a GAAP-violating move. A piece that violates GAAP becomes permanently crooked. A CEO that moves while in check becomes crooked. A Shareholder that makes an initial double step, or a CEO and Director that castle, do not become crooked. Crooked pieces are indicated by halos.

The Regulator

The Regulator is a fearsome piece. It moves like a Knight and cannot be captured. Its function is to indict crooked enemy pieces. It does so by landing on a space orthogonally adjacent to such a piece. The indicted piece is removed from play. The Regulator itself is crooked and as a result one Regulator can indict another. The Regulator does not capture by replacement.

Bilking The Shareholders

Pieces are permitted one move -- bilking the Shareholders -- that violates both GAAP and FIDE rules. It consists of capturing an innocent, friendly Shareholder. A Shareholder cannot be bilked it is (a) crooked, (b) in its starting position, or (c) protected by an enemy Regulator on an orthogonally adjacent square. Shareholders are not permitted to bilk one another.


Win by:

(1) Capturing the enemy CEO.

(2) Indicting the enemy CEO.

(3) Bilking all your Shareholders.

A Crooked CEO:

Would you buy stock from this man?


You win when all your innocent Shareholders disappear, whether by bilking, capture, promotion, or corruption. In most cases the last one disappears by bilking but this is not required. An innocent Shareholder promotes to an innocent piece when making a GAAP move and to a crooked piece when making a crooked (i.e., capturing) move. A crooked Shareholder always promotes to a crooked piece. A crooked piece can move safely next to an enemy Regulator. Indictment occurs only when the Regulator moves.


Accounting Chess mimics various conflicts inherent in corporate accounting. If you are ethical and abide by GAAP, a crooked competitor can gain an advantage. If you choose to violate GAAP, you face the risk of indictment by a hostile regulator. The regulators themselves are not neutral pieces but are used by one corporation as a tool against another. And through it all, there is the constant temptation to bilk your shareholders.

The game lends itself to a number of basic strategies. First, there is honesty. Play according to GAAP and rely upon your Regulators to punish enemy transgressions. You can win this way only by indicting the enemy CEO. Second, there is naked greed. This consists of bilking your Shareholders as fast as you can. This strategy suffers a serious flaw. An enemy Regulator that positions itself in front of a friendly Shareholder can protect it. This takes the enemy Regulator effectively out of play but it means you are left without the defensive shield of the Shareholders you have bilked. Third is the path of calculated greed. This consists of violating GAAP when it serves a tactical purpose and relying on your Regulators to punish opponent violations of GAAP. Not surprisingly, calculated greed is the most effective strategy.

Computer Play

An implementation of Accounting Chess has been written for Zillions of Games.
Written by W. D. Troyka.
WWW page created: January 15th, 2003.