It becomes difficult at the highest levels of chess to avoid long theoretical lines. Chess itself becomes more like a game of knowledge, partly due to the internet, computer engines and advances in opening theories.
Many chess variants have been “invented”. The most commonly recognized are certainly Capablanca Chess, Fisher Random Chess (FRC) and Grand Chess.
However, many of those chess variants have significant drawbacks. Most of the time, they require an expanded board (8×10, 10×10 etc.) One of the drawbacks of changing the board size is that the relative piece “value” is affected. In consequence, the larger the board, the more the short-range playing pieces became less valuable (especially pawn, knight and king).
Musketeer Chess is a modern chess variant.
It respects the basic rules of chess, using a classic chess board along with a classic chess set.
However, we add two additional pieces which will allow the players to enhance the tactics from the very first moves and provide the capacity to form new strategic ideas. The game itself becomes more enriching, allowing for more creativity and less theories into opening plays. The games become more intense, acute and rarely end in a draw. Nevertheless, the basic fundamentals of chess are respected.
There are 10 new chess pieces. These new pieces are: Leopard, Cannon, Elephant, Hawk, Unicorn, Fortress, Spider, Dragon, Chancellor and Archbishop. This means that we now have no less than 72 different combinations of extra modern chess pieces.
The pieces can also be customized (-To handle with care- for example Dragon Fortress and Spider tops are pegged and can be carefully removed and changed. So we can get a White Spider with a Black Spider Head, A Fortress with a Black Basis and a Dragon Head etc.)
Here is a picture from the online playing program that will be available. This shows many possible combinations using various basis and head of pieces.
Our last addition will be the creation of a new “super pawn” that could replace part or all the pawns on a chess board. The “super pawn” will be called General, Lance, Musketeer, Prince, Renegade or Vanguard.
For the moment we are experimenting different rules. We must say that this is not an easy task as in our humble opinion, the pawn is the most difficult piece to customize hence this can change the game dramatically (see berolina chess for example).
Pawns are the “soul of chess” as Philidor said, and this is the way Super Pawns must be for Musketeer Chess Variant.
In the next chapter we will detail the Rules of Muskteer Chess.