Chess Variants/Almost Chess

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a b c d e f g h
8a8 black rookb8 black knightc8 black bishopd8 black chancelore8 black kingf8 black bishopg8 black knighth8 black rook8
7a7 black pawnb7 black pawnc7 black pawnd7 black pawne7 black pawnf7 black pawng7 black pawnh7 black pawn7
6a6 black kingb6 black kingc6 black kingd6 black kinge6 black kingf6 black kingg6 black kingh6 black king6
5a5 black kingb5 black kingc5 black kingd5 black kinge5 black kingf5 black kingg5 black kingh5 black king5
4a4 black kingb4 black kingc4 black kingd4 black kinge4 black kingf4 black kingg4 black kingh4 black king4
3a3 black kingb3 black kingc3 black kingd3 black kinge3 black kingf3 black kingg3 black kingh3 black king3
2a2 white pawnb2 white pawnc2 white pawnd2 white pawne2 white pawnf2 white pawng2 white pawnh2 white pawn2
1a1 white rookb1 white knightc1 white bishopd1 white chancelore1 white kingf1 white bishopg1 white knighth1 white rook1
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Initial position of almost chess.

Introduction[edit | edit source]

Almost Chess is a variant that replaces each player's queen with a chancellor, a piece that can move as either a rook or a knight.

History[edit | edit source]

Almost chess was created in 1977 by chess variant creator Ralph Betza. The game is almost like chess, hence its name. It was featured in the magazine of the correspondence games club Knights of the Square Table, which mainly played chess variants.

Rules[edit | edit source]

As already said, almost chess is played exactly like the standard game, the only difference being that each player's queen is replaced with a chancellor, a piece that combines the powers of the rook and the knight. The chancellor may slide along ranks or files like a rook, or it may hop in an L-shape like a knight, but not both simultaneously.

The replacement of queens with chancellors imparts a radical change to the nature of the variant, despite the two pieces having approximately equal strengths. For example, bishops are stronger and knights are weaker. Betza commented that almost chess is a good introductory chess variant for players, due to its great similarity to standard chess and the naturalness of the change from queen to chancellor.

a b c d e f g h
8a8 black kingb8 black kingc8 black kingd8 black circlee8 black kingf8 black kingg8 black kingh8 black king8
7a7 black kingb7 black kingc7 black kingd7 black circlee7 black kingf7 black kingg7 black kingh7 black king7
6a6 black kingb6 black kingc6 crossd6 black circlee6 crossf6 black kingg6 black kingh6 black king6
5a5 black kingb5 crossc5 black kingd5 black circlee5 black kingf5 crossg5 black kingh5 black king5
4a4 black circleb4 black circlec4 black circled4 white chancelore4 black circlef4 black circleg4 black circleh4 black circle4
3a3 black kingb3 crossc3 black kingd3 black circlee3 black kingf3 crossg3 black kingh3 black king3
2a2 black kingb2 black kingc2 crossd2 black circlee2 crossf2 black kingg2 black kingh2 black king2
1a1 black kingb1 black kingc1 black kingd1 black circlee1 black kingf1 black kingg1 black kingh1 black king1
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The chancellor may slide to any square marked with a dot, or it may jump to the squares marked with crosses.

Sub-variants[edit | edit source]

  • Sort of almost chess, created in 1994, only replaces one of the queens with a chancellor.