Chess tournaments Chess strategy Computer chess Chess players FIDE Chess variants Chess rules and history

Chess with different armies

Chess with different armies (or Betza's Chess or Equal Armies) is a chess variant invented by Ralph Betza in 1979. Two sides use different sets of fairy pieces. There are several armies of equal strength to choose from, including standard FIDE army. In all armies kings and pawns are the same as in FIDE chess, but the four other pieces are different.

Rules

Before the game players choose their armies in a certain way, predefined by tournament rules. This can be done either randomly or secretly by both players. Each player has a choice of 5 armies: the Fabulous FIDEs, which are the standard chess pieces, the Colorbound Clobberers, the Nutty Knights, the Remarkable Rookies and the Forward FIDEs.

All armies are designed to be equal in strength, but have significantly different properties. Kings and pawns move the same as in chess for all armies. Pawns can only promote to pieces of either army on the board at the start. Castling is done as in standard chess with the exception of the case when the rook replacement is colorbound, like in the Colorbound Clobberers army. In the latter case the king when castling long moves to b1 and the rook replacement to c1. This is so colorbound pieces don't change square color.

Ferz (notation F).
Alfil (notation A), can jump.
Wazir (notation W).
Dabbaba (notation D), can jump.

Many pieces in the following armies are combination of standard chess pieces and 4 fairy pieces: ferz, alfil, wazir and dabbaba (see their movement diagrams above). The game can be played with standard chess pieces and the following move diagrams use standard pieces as well (except queens).

Colorbound Clobberers

In this army, rooks, knights, bishops, and queen are replaced by the following pieces:

a b c d e f g h
8
8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
Bede (notation BD). Moves as bishop or dabbaba. Can jump for dabbaba moves.
a b c d e f g h
8
8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
Waffle (notation WA). Moves as wazir or alfil. Can jump for alfil moves.
a b c d e f g h
8
8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
FAD (notation FAD). Moves as ferz, alfil or dabbaba (hence the name.) Can jump for all moves.
a b c d e f g h
8
8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
Cardinal (notation NB). Moves as bishop or knight. Can jump for knight moves.

As mentioned, when using this army and castling queenside, the king moves three squares (from e1 to b1) and the bede moves from a1 to c1.

Nutty Knights

This army includes a lot of leapers, but most of them have asymmetrical move patterns, with backward moves being restricted.

a b c d e f g h
8
8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
Charging rook, originally furlrurlbakking (notation frlRrlbK) moves forward and sideways as a rook, or backward as a king.
a b c d e f g h
8
8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
Fibnif (notation fbNF). Moves as ferz, or as a knight for its two longest forward and backward moves.
a b c d e f g h
8
8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
Charging knight, originally forfnibakking (notation fhNrlbK). Moves as king backward and sideways or as a knight forward.
a b c d e f g h
8
8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
Colonel, originally forfnifurlrurking (notation fhNfrlRK). Moves as king, or as rook forward and sideways, or as knight forward.

Remarkable Rookies

The rooks, knights, bishops, and queen are replaced by the following pieces:

a b c d e f g h
8
8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
Short rook (notation R4). Moves as rook, but not more than 4 spaces.
a b c d e f g h
8
8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
Woody rook (notation WD). Moves as dabbaba or as wazir. Can jump for all moves.
a b c d e f g h
8
8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
Half duck (notation HFD). Moves as ferz or dabbaba or jumps 3 squares in orthogonal directions (the move of jumping 3 squares in orthogonal directions is called the threeleaper or trébuchet).
a b c d e f g h
8
8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
Chancellor (notation RN). Moves as rook or knight.

Forward FIDEs

These pieces' move patters are all based on the standard chess pieces, but differ forward and backward.

a b c d e f g h
8
8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
Charging rook, also used in the Nutty Knights, moves forward and sideways as a rook, or backward as a king.
a b c d e f g h
8
8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
Knishop (notation fNbB). Moves forward as a knight or backward as a bishop.
a b c d e f g h
8
8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
Bishight (notation fBbN). Moves forward as a bishop or backward as a knight.
a b c d e f g h
8
8
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
Forequeen (notation fsQbhNbK). Moves as queen forward or sideways, or as king or knight backward.

Other armies

The five armies described above were play tested by Ralph Betza and selected as most balanced ones. There are other armies, invented by Betza and other people:

In the initial version of the game there were 8 armies and in these armies the king moved differently from the king in the standard chess. Instead of normal pawns, fairy pawns could be selected, for example berolina pawns. However, later Betza abandoned the idea of using fairy pieces for king and pawn and reduced the number of armies to five.

COMMENTS
Tabletop games: Rules and Strategy