Musketeer Chess is a Chess Variant (Soem changes were braught to the Classic Chess game). A Classic 8×8 board and the same Chess set of pieces is used.
Main difference: For both sides, 2 new pieces are Added to the regular Chess pieces. White and Black will have to chose 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 can also be used as alternate designs for the Classic pieces : 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, Bulldog Chess, Infinite Chess, Castle Siege Chess (aka Thrones Chess), Cerebral Chess, Omega Chess, Metamachy etc.
Any Chess Variant, using fairy (or additional) 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. When the path is obstructed by another man, the piece is blocked in the square before the blocking piece, unless the obstacle is an enem man that can be captured. So, the new piece ends it’s 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
Dragon or Amazone (Queen Knight)
The Dragon combines powers of a Queen and a Knight. It exists in many chess variants and is known by other names such as Amazone, Commander. It is the most powerful piece.
The Dragon top is pegged. It can sometimes be removed (at your own risks), adding customization possibilities.
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 match. The Chess set with two additional Pawns and One Archbishop and one Chancellor for each side, 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, Chancellor / Archbishop choice makes the game extremely Sharp, tactical. 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). Such beautiful pieces needed revisited rules !
The Elephant and Hawk designs 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
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. It’s the PIECE SELECTION phase.
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 piece.
If Black does not agree with the white’s piece choice, the default pieces choice will be Leopard and Cannon. This default combination can be modified by the tournament director. Usually during a same event, the default combination is the same for whole event.
After the two new chess pieces are defined, both white and black will place their new men respectively on the zero and ninth line.
It’s the GATING SELECTION Phase.
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 a Rook at the same time (prevent gating both pieces when castling).
After the first move, the new man must be placed on the board: on the empty square 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 a King is in check, and it must move, gating is forfeited if there is a piece waiting behind the King to be gated, unless the King can capture the checking piece.
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, or when the King makes it’s first move (without being in check).
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.
For example: Fortress is on reserve square e9 behind Black king. When Black castles, Fortress gates on e8 square that was freed by the Black King.
PGN Notation: For short castle: 0-0 (Fo-e8).
If king is in check and cannot capture the checking piece, it has to move and this excludes any gating possibility.
In the above example, Black king is checked, it cannot capture the checking piece. If Black King moves from e8 square after this check, the waiting Fortress in the Gating Zone cannot Gate and thus black loses his right of gating teh Fortress in subsequent moves.
Another situation can arise:
A pinned piece cannot move. It’s not possible to move a pinned piece and Gate at the same time preventing check ! It’s like in Classic Chess, pinned pieces cannot move.
When promoting, a pawn can be promoted into any of the Classic Chess pieces (except the King) and also to the new pieces chosen at the beginning of the game, even if these pieces weren’t gated.
For example, the game begun 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 board, etc).
For European customers, search for “Musketeer Chess” on Amazon. Links for french customers Amazon.fr on the Bottom of the Page.
Price includes shipement fees.
“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:
NEXTGEN PAWNS: 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.