I was Looking through some of my old notebooks earlier and I found this copy of the rules of Ultimate Chess, a variation on that classic game which I had written years ago. I had written this to have a challenge for my geek friends whom I played chess with from time to time. This is a 4 player version of chess which we found enjoyable at the time, so I'll share these rules and changes for anyone who wants them.
Rules of Ultimate Chess
Ultimate Chess is played with four players. As in Classic Chess, before the start of the game, the players must decide which color pieces they will play Black, Red, Green or Silver. Silver makes the first move followed by Red, Black and Green.
Setting up the ULTIMATE CHESS board:
The Ultimate Chess board has 192 squares with a 12 x 12 square battle field and four 12 x 2 staging fields, placed at each side. It is important to realize that in the course of the game these staging fields are part of the board and can be occupied by any piece.
Position the board so that a dark corner square is on the right-hand side of each player. Each of the player's Mages are placed on the corner squares of the first row of their staging field. Next place the Warriors on the squares next to the Mages, followed by the Rooks, Knights and Bishops. Then the Queen is placed on the square matching her own color (Green Queen on Black and Red Queen on Silver) and the King is placed beside the Queen. One Pawn is placed on the row of squares in front of each piece.
The Object of the Game:
The object of the game remains the same as in Classic Chess; to checkmate the opposing Kings. When a King is directly threatened by an opponent's piece, the King is in check. The player in check must respond in one of three ways. He must either:
1. Capture the threatening piece,
2. Block the path of the threatening piece or,
3. Move the King to a un-threatened square
Checkmate occurs when a player's King is in check and the player has no way to get out of check on the next move. This ends a stage with the capturing player as the victor. Game Play continues in one of three ways until 3 players have been defeated, leaving one player the clear winner.
In a "Standard" game the defeated player will remove any of his remaining pieces from the board and play will continue as normal.
In a "Conquest" game, if the defeated player has any remaining pieces they are left on the board as obstacles.
In a "Devastation" game the victor takes control of the defeated player's pieces, which he may opt to move during his normal moving phase instead of one of his own pieces. In "Devastation" play the victor retains only one moving phase after defeating another color.
A game of chess can also end in a draw in which there is no clear winner. A draw may occur one of four ways:
1. Stalemate: A stalemate occurs if a player who is not in check cannot move any piece, including the King, without placing their King in check.
2. Insufficient Mating Material: When neither player has the pieces needed to checkmate the other player. E.g. Bishop and King vs. King.
3. Threefold Repetition of Position: The game is drawn if the same position (with the same person on move) has appeared on the chessboard three times.
4. 50 Moves Rule: If there have been 50 consecutive moves of each color without any piece capture or any pawn move.
If a player feels that their position is hopeless, the player may end the game by conceding to the another player. Alternatively, if the players feel that no side can win, they may agree to a draw.
How The Pieces Move and Capture:
All Chess pieces capture an opponent's piece by landing on the square occupied by the opponent's piece.
From its initial position, a Pawn in Ultimate Chess can move one, two or three squares forward and after that the Pawn can move "forward" only one square at a time. Forward being one space directly in front, to the left or right, of its starting position. A Pawn cannot move one square initially and then two squares afterward. When making an initial double or triple move a Pawn cannot jump over other pieces. While Pawns move directly forward, they can only capture an opposing piece by moving one square forward diagonally. When a Pawn reaches the far side of the board it is immediately promoted to any piece except a King. The principle for capturing an opposing Pawn en passant is not present in Ultimate Chess. (En Passant: If a Pawn moves two or three squares initially and passes an opposing Pawn on the fourth or fifth rank, the Pawn may be captured en passant. The opposing Pawn moves onto the square through which the Pawn moved.)
The King, Queen, Bishop, Knight and Rook move and capture in the same way as Classic Chess. Virtually nothing about chess has changed with Ultimate Chess.
The King can move one square in any direction, except when castling. Castling is a defensive move using the King and either Rook. A player can castle provided that:
1. The King is not in check.
2. The King and the castling Rook have not been moved during the game.
3. All the squares between the King and the castling Rook are unoccupied.
4. The King would not be moving through or landing on a square under threat.
When Castling, the King either moves two squares towards the King's Rook, or the King move two squares towards the Queen's Rook. The King's Rook or Queen's Rook then moves to the square the King moved through.
The Bishop is a line piece which moves in an unobstructed path any number of squares diagonally. A Bishop only occupies squares of its starting color.
The Rook is also a line piece. It moves in an unobstructed path any number of squares orthogonally (horizontally or vertically).
The Queen is the most powerful classic chess piece, combining the powers of the Bishop and the Rook. It moves along an unobstructed path any number of squares diagonally or orthogonally.
The Knight is a leaper. Unlike a line piece it doesn't require an unobstructed path to move along and it can jump over other pieces. The Knight can move two squares horizontally or vertically and then one square to either side.
The Ultimate Chess Pieces:
The Warrior, like the Knight, is classified as a leaper. It can move one square orthogonally, forward, backward or to either side. Or the Warrior can jump two squares forward or backward or to either side, or jump two squares diagonally in all four directions. The Warrior can jump over pieces and it can control up to twelve squares. The Warrior cannot move one square diagonally.
The Mage is also classified as a leaper. It can move one square diagonally in all four directions. Or, like an exaggerated Knight move, the Mage can jump three squares horizontally or vertically and then one square to either side. The Mage is bound to the color of its starting square. The Mage can jump over pieces to also control up to twelve squares.