Musketeer Chess is derived from chess. We use the same chess board and the same pieces. The difference is adding 2 new pieces for each army (white & black got a couple of additional pieces). White and Black must choose the same additional pieces among a large choice (10 possible pieces making 72 different possible combinations).
The new chess pieces has a unique design and are compatible with chess sets used in clubs or official tournaments (Staunton-compatible). These pieces are also frequently used to replace the classic pieces (you can still use the new pieces with the new design and still play Classic Chess): For example, Fortress easily replaces the Classic Rook design, Unicorn is a beautiful Knight, Elephant or Hawk can replace the Bishop. Using the Fortress or the Spider instead of the Rook makes sense for teaching purposes, as the Rooks in a Classic Chess set are usually smaller than Bishops and Knights despite the fact a Rook is in general worth more than Bishop or Knight.
Musketeer Chess pieces are also used to play many other Chess Variants: Capablanca Chess, Embassy Chess, Gothic Chess, Seirawan Chess, Grand Chess, Janus Chess, Gemini Chess, Shako, Metamachie, Maharajah and the Sepoys, Emperor Chess, Caesar Chess etc.). Any Chess Variant using fairy pieces can be played using Musketeer Chess pieces. You can also invent your own game. (Cerebral Chess is one of those games).
The main artist behind the design of chess pieces is the creative work of Frank Camaratta, IM and founder of The House of Staunton.
Rules of the new pieces
This piece is called a “leaper”, jumping over any other man in the adjacent squares (it can jump over its own men or enemy pieces). Enemy pieces are captured only if they lie on one of the squares controlled by the new piece.
The new piece moves through an unobstructed, defined path. It moves along the path indicated if there is no obstacle in its way. The shape of the path (or line) is not necessarily diagonal or orthogonal (please see the Fortress rules). When the path is obstructed by another piece, then our new piece is blocked in the square before the blocking piece, unless the obstructing piece is the enemy. The blocking piece can be captured. Our new pieces ends her path on the square of the captured piece.
The Leopard is a new piece that combines moves of a Knight and a Bishop with a limited range of 2 squares. Compared to Archbishop (Bishop and Knight), it’s a less powerful piece, but this limited Bishop range adds interesting strategical components and sharpens the game with many tactics.
The Leopard cannot move orthogonally. It can control a maximum of 16 squares. Compared to the Cannon (see below), it has almost the same value, but it appears to be slightly more aggressive, as it has the ability to “sweep” forward more squares. It can checkmate a bare king without help.
From d4, the Leopard can control 16 squares: It can leap to c2, b3, e2, f3, b5, c6, e6, f5. It slides to: c3, b2, c5, b6, e5, f6, e3, f2. PGN Notation: Le
The Cannon moves differently than the Cannon in Xiangqi, but it can be used for a western chess set to mimic games played in China and Japan.
In Musketeer Chess, the Cannon is classified as a leaper. It can leap two squares orthogonally in any direction. But it can also leap like the Knight, only moving 1 square forward then 2 squares horizontally. The Cannon can also move like the King, one square in any direction.
From d4, the Cannon can control 16 squares: It can leap to d2, d6, b4, b3, b5, f4, f3, f5, It slides to: c3, c4, c5, d3, d5, e3, e4, e5. PGN Notation: Ca
The Unicorn is an enhanced version of the Classic Chess Knight. It moves like a Knight but has expanded jumping capabilities.
It can move like the knight (1+2 or 2+1), but it can also “jump” like an extended knight (1+3 or 3+1). It controls 16 squares.
The Unicorn from d4 can control 16 squares: It can leap to c2,c1, c6, c7, b3, a3, b5, a5, e6, e7, f5, g5, f3, g3. PGN Notation: U
The Dragon combines powers of a Queen and a Knight. It exists in many chess variants and is known by other names such as Amazon, Commander. It is among the most powerful pieces of the known chess variants. The Dragon top is pegged and can be removed (to handle with care).
From d4, the Dragon can control a total of 36 squares. PGN Notation: Dr
Archbishop and Chancellor Kit
Archbishop and Chancellor combine, respectively, the moves of the Bishop and Knight and Rook and Knight. They are sometimes referred to as Marshall, Empress, Princess, Cardinal, Concubine, Adjutant, Guard, Centaur, Equerry, Champion, among others.
It was former World Champion Jose Raul Capablanca, who posited these new pieces to reinvigorate the game of Chess, which he believed had been “played-out”.
An interesting history must be told. These pieces were designed by Frank Camaratta. He carved them for a specific event. If this event has ever been held, it could have been the greatest Chess and Chess Variant championship of all time. All chess enthusiasts remember the Karpov-Fischer rivalry. Bobby Fischer forfeited his title to Russian Grand Master Anatoly Karpov in 1975. Almost 30 years later, there were secret negotiations conducted to arrange a match between Karpov and Fischer for the title of world champion. They would pit these two great players over the board in a Capablanca Chess Variant called Gothic Chess. The “Gothic” Chess set was presented to Fischer in Iceland through Icelandic Grand Master Friðrik Ólafsson. Fischer played through a number of games on the set in the privacy of his room and expressed his lavish approval of the chessmen. The match, unfortunately, never took place, due to Fischer’s unrealistic financial demands, but it was Frank Camaratta who created and designed the pieces and chessboard specifically for this special event. The Chessmen and Chessboard are currently in the possession of Mr. Camaratta.
In Musketeer Chess on a standard chess board, adding Chancellor or Archbishop makes the game extremely Sharp. The game becomes very tactical, where explosive combinations abound. Even with a large material advantage, the Archbishop and Chancellor sometimes cannot be contained, with brutal results. The Archbishop is capable of mating a bare king unassisted.
The Chancellor can move like a Rook or a Knight.
From d4, the Chancellor can control a total of 22 squares. PGN Notation: Ch
The Archbishop can move like a Bishop and a Knight. It can checkmate without any help.
From d4, the Archbishop can control a total of 22 squares. PGN Notation: Ar
Elephant and Hawk Kit
These pieces were originally designed by Mr. Camaratta for SHarper Chess, better known as Seirawan Chess, a variant designed jointly by Grand Master Yasser Seirawan and Bruce Harper.
The moves of Elephant and Hawk are significantly different for Musketeer Chess than SHarper Chess. The Elephant in Seirawan Variant moves like Rook+Kight (the Capablanca Chancellor) and Hawk combines the Knight and Bishop moves (the Capablanca Archbishop).
The Elephant and Hawk are used with courtesy of GM Yasser Seirawan.
Similar to the King, the Elephant can move one square in all directions. It also leaps orthogonally or diagonally by 2 squares.
The Elephant is described in some historic Chess Variants such as Xiangqi, but also in the majority of the Chess Variants where it was used. This piece was most of the time of limited range and is a very weak piece (Shogi, Xiangqi, Shatranj, Shako, Courier Spiel, etc.). In Musketeer Chess, the Elephant is much stronger, controlling 16 squares and can mate a lone King single-handedly.
From d4, It can leap to d6, d2, b2, b4, b6, f2, f4, f6. It slides to: d5, d3, c3, c4, c5, e3, e4, e5. PGN Notation: E
The Hawk is a pure leaper. In Musketeer Chess, the Hawk attacks by jumping over pieces 2 to 3 squares orthogonally or diagonally in any direction. The Hawk is a dangerous piece, but it’s also vulnerable as it cannot protect itself from the short range attacking pieces. You can imagine attacking the opponent king at the opening (especially before castling) with mating patterns.
The Hawk can control up-to a total of 16 squares: From d4, it can leap to b2, a1, b4, a4, b6, a7, d2, d1, d6, d7, f2, f4, f6, g1,g4,g7. PGN Notation: H
The Fortress is another heavy piece with different capabilities from the already available chess variants.
It can move in an unobstructed path, sliding diagonally in any direction, but limited to a maximum of 3 squares (for example from f1 it can slide to e2, d3, c4, g2 and h3 but cannot reach b5 or a6).
The Fortress can also “jump” like a Knight only 2 squares vertically and 1 square horizontally (from f1 it reaches g3 and e3 but cannot jump to h2 and d2).
The Fortress can also “jump” in any direction vertically or horizontally by two squares (from e3 it can jump to c3, g3, e5 and e1).
The top tower of the Fortress is pegged, so that the tops of the light and dark units can be interchanged (to handle with care).
From d4, the Fortress can control 20 squares: It can slide to e3, f2, g1, e5, f6, g7, f8, c3, b2, a1, c5, b6, a7. It can “jump” to: d6, d2, b4, f4 and c6, c2, e6, e2. PGN Notation: Fo
A map of the moves that are possible with the next variant reminds one of the web made by a Spider, hence its name – Spider.
It can move in an unobstructed path, sliding diagonally in any direction, but limited to two squares.
The Spider can also “jump” like a Knight. It can also “jump” in any direction vertically or horizontally by two squares.
When starting from h1 for example, it can move to g2, f3. It can also “jump” to h3, g3 f1 and f2.
The top of the Spider is pegged, offering the possibility of creating two different variants with different moves (to handle with care).
When starting from d4, it can control 20 squares: sliding to e5, f6, e3, f2, c5, b6, c3, b2. It can “jump” towards: c6, b5, c2, b3, e6, f5, e2, f3, d6, d2, b4, f4.
PGN Notation: Sp
Musketeer / Raven / Defender / Protector / Gladiator / Conqueror / Guardian
This section presents NextGen Pawns: These are newly designed pieces aimed to replace the Pawns. These “super pawns” will have some extra powers compared to the Classic Pawn.
They can replace part or all the classic pawns. Try the games (Petropolis Chess, Geneva Chess etc, on our online gaming zone).
Can we really replace the soul of chess? Yes, with the NextGen Pawns: Still a Pawn with a touch of MAGIC, for a Chess Game celebrating our historic towns.
Plastic Chess sets, that fit with MUSKETEER CHESS pieces
Initial placement of the pieces.
Musketeer Chess begins like in Orthodox Chess, by placing all the classic chess pieces on the 8×8 Board.
White and Black have to agree on the new pieces to add.
First, white chooses among the 10 new pieces. If Black agrees he must pick the same black piece. Then it’s his turn to choose among the remaining 9 new pieces. White must then pick the same white piece.
If Black does not agree with the white’s piece choice, the default pieces choice will be Leopard and Cannon.
We will make available a table with a random choice of the pieces in case opponents do not agree. This helps to ensure more possibilities in game variability concerning pieces choice.
After the two new chess pieces are defined, both white and black will place their new men respectively on the zero and ninth line. Each new man is placed behind one classic chess piece. It’s strictly forbidden for players to place one man behind the King and the other behind the Rook at the same time.
After the first move, the new man must be placed on the board: on the empty square which is left by the piece which was previously in front of it.
For example: white will place his Leopard on square d0 (behind the white Queen). His Leopard will be placed on the board when the white Queen first moves away. However, if the White Queen is captured before making its first move, then white forfeits their right in introducing the new man.
If the new man is placed behind the King, and the king moves because he is checked, then the right to introduce the new men is still permitted. But if the piece allowing the introduction of one of the new pieces is captured in it’s initial square before moving, the right to introduce the new piece is forfeited. This gives some interesting tactics where you can get rid of two pieces with a same capture or sacrifice. For example: Bishop captures the white g1 Knight. White forfeits his right to introduce the Hawk.
If the new man is put behind the King, then it is introduced when castling. The same is true when the additional man is put behind a Rook. However, it is forbidden to put the two extra new men behind a King and a Rook at the same time, preventing the introduction of the two new men at the same time when castling.
If a Fortress is put behind black’s King (e9). If the Black king castles, the Fortress will be placed on the e8 square. PGN Notation
For short castle: 0-0 (Fo-e8). If black’s king is in check and the black king moves without capturing the piece that checks, black forfeits his right to introduce the Fortress, etc.
When promoting, a pawn can be promoted into any of the Classic Chess pieces (except the King) and equally into any of the new men that were part of the game. For example, the game began with Cannon and Unicorn. If a pawn is promoted, it cannot be promoted to a Leopard, but it can be promoted to a Cannon or a Unicorn. If a second pawn is promoted, it can be promoted to a Cannon or Unicorn again (we can then see 2 of the same colored Cannons on the playing board, etc).
For French customers, see links on Amazon.fr on the Bottom of the Page. Price includes postal costs. Pour les français, voir les liens dans amazon.fr (tout en bas de la page). Le prix des kits inclus les frais de livraisons
Musketeer Chess Leopard and Cannon Kit
Links for French Customers, uniquement pour la France métropolitaine, le prix inclus les frais de livraison: