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The Chess Variant Pages


In an email, September 1999, John Reece wrote about a game, he found in the book Games and Puzzles for Addicts, by Roger Millington, from 1979. The game, called Straights is showing a naval battle between two armies of ships. It was invented in 1892 by Anne Marriot Watson, who describes herself as a `gentlewoman, a subject of the Queen of Great Britain, residing at Southhampton.


The game is played by two players on a board of a special shape, shown below in the diagram. Like in chess, players turnwise move one of their pieces, capturing by displacement.

Each player has one flagship, seven battleships, eight torpedo boats, and three gunboats. The opening setup is shown in the following diagram.

The flagship moves like a queen. However, it may not be placed on a square where it is attacked, and it also may not be left in check (if possible). It also may not be taken.

The battleships move like rooks. The torpedo boats move like bishops.

The gunboats may make a non-capturing move of one square in any direction, and may make a capturing move of one square diagonally.

Winner is the game that plays its flagship to the central square.


Note that the rule that the queen may not move into check also applies to a possible move to the centre. So, if one has any piece that attacks the centre, this at least means that the opponent cannot win instantly. Mating the queen (while anyhow difficult) does not help at all in this game, as the queen may not be taken.
WWW page made by Hans Bodlaender, based on an email of John Reece.
WWW page created: October 3, 1999.