Chess has been played for centuries upon centuries. It is no doubt the beginning, middle and endgame of all strategy pastimes, old and new. It is undying, and as we approach a new era of Chess evolution, the game ceases to amaze, not only in its ability to grow and inspire… but at the same time, to present a sacred determination to hold onto a divinely given trait that shapes and colours its very own destiny.
That divinely given trait is the natural evolution of peace.
As I will explain in my following Chess blog chapters, the evolution of Chess is bound by its very own nature of peace and will therefore only harbour the answer to our prayers within its very own natural design.
Yet today in this post, I would like to go straight ahead and present to you my own variant, Missionary Chess, which although is but one of hundreds I have designed over the years, it is as I can only solemnly swear, what I believe to be not just the only natural evolution of Chess, but therein… the only possible evolution of Chess.
Missionary Chess is played on a 10×8 checkered board with an additional piece known as the Mission positioned between the Knight and Bishop.
The Mission is represented by the symbol of the Egyptian Ankh and is notated with an M.
Missionary Chess features a new specialty called Follying, whereby the Mission’s adjacent Bishop or Knight may be relocated to the Mission’s home square in the same turn of the Mission first vacating.
Whilst this could cause both Bishops to be of the same colour square, Follying can be performed both King or Queen side, replenishing the balance.
Both the practise of Follying and also the theory behind this initial new board arrangement, will be discussed in the following chapter.
There are many reasons why the classic 8×8 board is no longer considered worthy, but as I will explain in the next chapter, there are also reasons why the rectangular 10×8 is actually superior to the commonly anticipated 10×10 square.
This new piece, the Mission, has been designed by a human mind, of course, that being my own, yet it has been designed and crafted with the most precision of utmost care, from the naturally given framework of the very Chess board itself.
That is to say, the design of the Mission is not purely for recreational enjoyment, it is a lifetime craftsmanship, made specifically in keeping with the existing natural characteristics of all the Classical Chess pieces before it.
It is naturally one and belonging of the game.
I will describe its character presently, but first it must be noted that the 80 square board itself harbours many gems. The great Capablanca himself favoured a 10×8 square board and in the following chapters I will present solid arguments for the rectangular over the square.
However of course I will say now, the expansion of the Chess board is not only to accommodate an extra piece. Indeed no, for the evolution of Chess and its pieces are two and one the same part of the same equation.
The extra squares presented here bring unto the good Chess player a new realm of exponentially magnificent growth, both in terms of creative Opening strategies, of which there are now countless at hand, but also of course fascinatingly mind swept Middlegame and Endgame dynamics.
The Mission is a colour bound Rook, with the ability to leap the nearest opposite coloured square. It may also move without leaping, two squares diagonally.
Thus it may move as many squares as there are available in an orthogonal direction, but may only land on those of the same colour it is bound to at the start.
If there are pieces in the way on either coloured square, the Mission’s path is blocked and must land to the nearest same colour square along a clear path, just as if it were a non leaping piece.
Only the nearest opposite coloured square may be jumped. The Mission may not jump diagonally.
The Mission, as I will explain in the following chapters, only leaps because it is a natural trait of it being colour bound. Since it has no natural instruction to leap diagonally, it does not.
When leaping horizontally or vertically, it may only arrive to the nearest same coloured square, where it must either halt or capture any piece residing there.
The Mission has a value of 4.5 points. How we arrive at this figure will be explained in the following chapter, but for now it must be noted that the Mission has been crafted this way from the natural grains of the board, to provide a balanced presence, an acutely unique logic which grants it identity, and the embrace of a naturally endowed ally amongst friends.
The game of Missionary Chess begins just as any Classical game of Chess, whereby all the pieces take up their positions and move into their directed patterns of strategy.
All the standard rules of Chess apply.
The white corner square, as in Classical Chess, is orientated to the player’s right hand side. On an 80 square board this places the King on his own colour, rather than the Queen, but it makes no difference to play.
The board could be designed with a black corner square on the right instead, but since my Official Algebraic 80 from The House Of Staunton pictured here, is designed Classically, we will accept these terms of play.
Castling remains the same, however three squares are now required to be traversed instead of the orthodox two.
Follying, a practise I described a little earlier and will illustrate in following chapters, is a new specialty, whereby the Mission’s adjacent Bishop or Knight may be relocated to the Mission’s home square in the same turn of the Mission first vacating.
Other than Follying, the only real difference, which is a condition I put on all my Chess Variants, is that of Pawn promotion. When reaching the other side of the board, a Pawn may only promote to a piece available from the set.
That is to say, there are no double Queens.
If you would be interested in playing Missionary Chess and in time to acquire yourself a compatible Chess set, here’s how I did it.
The board pictured is an official Capablanca 10×8, from The House Of Staunton, mahogany & maple grain, with beautifully stamped Algebraic eighty notation.
The pieces pictured are Jester Chess pieces, from Masters Games, with beautiful burnt wood design.
Thank you for reading and stay tuned for more chapters in Missionary Chess, including the science, the logic and the passion behind it all.
Missionary Chess © Simon Jepps