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Janus chess

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Janus Chess. The janus (knight + bishop compound) is placed on the b-file and i-file, beside the rooks.

Janus Chess is a chess variant played on a 10x8 board. It features a new piece, the janus (also known as archbishop, cardinal, or princess), with the combined moves of a bishop and a knight. This piece is named after the Roman god Janus because this god was usually depicted with two faces looking in opposite directions. Janus Chess was invented in 1978 by Werner Schöndorf from Bildstock, Germany.

The usual set of chess pieces is extended with two pawns and two januses per player. Each janus is placed between a rook and a knight. The relative position of the king and queen is reversed compared to chess. After castling the king is placed on either the b-file or i-file and a rook is placed on either the c-file or h-file, depending upon which side to castle is chosen.

Note that the janus is the only piece in this game which is able to checkmate the opponent's king without the assistance of any other piece, if the king is in a corner and the janus is two squares away on a diagonal, but this checkmate cannot be forced.

This chess variant is quite popular in Europe. Several chess grandmasters play this game including Viktor Korchnoi, Péter Lékó and Artur Yusupov.

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Tabletop games: Rules and Strategy