When creating the Mission, it was always the paramount intention to keep the piece as natural to the game as would be wholeheartedly possible.
I first identified the one final remaining natural movement pattern about the Chess board, which had not yet been awarded to any piece.
This was to be, orthogonal colour bound movement.
I next identified a naturally suggested trait of this new piece, which was to be, leaping the nearest orthogonal square.
Since the Mission was colour bound, it only makes natural sense for it to jump the nearest opposite coloured square.
Thence, to improve its prowess and mediation, I would allow it to move two squares diagonally.
This would be the third natural trait… decided by its natural standing footprint of two squares.
However, although from the very first move I desired the piece to leap diagonally also, it would come to pass that my very own equation of naturally dictated design would eventually overthrow any intention I may have to allow it to do so.
After studying more deeply various Opening and Endgame scenarios, it became apparent that any attempt to leap diagonally would destroy a very fundamental principle of Chess.
That principle is the power of the few instructing the power of the whole.
Pawns are the founding architects of Chess.
Their very nature of behaviour, collaboration and craftsmanship, are what makes the very game of Chess itself work.
I realised any piece which could leap both orthogonally and diagonally would actually present a formidable force whence paired for a fight with an army of several Pawns.
This is because it would have the power to undermine any Pawn infrastructure by simply removing the defences at any given opportunity.
Whilst not a given guarantee of this combined leaping, it looked certainly to be a common side effect.
I then looked to the Endgame.
Comparing the leaping range of a Knight with that of the Mission, I could not at first glance identify any anomalies.
Then it forked me… as Knights do…
Whilst both the Mission and the Knight would have an identical leaping scope of 8 squares around, the Knight’s leap is one sole repeated pattern.
The Mission would be leaping with two different patterns… and then some.
During the Endgame this prowess could prove to be the ultimatum for a weakened adversary. It’s ability to fork numerous pieces in different ways would certainly present a show of unwavering dominance.
Unsettled by its authoritative stance, I felt sure this was to become a pinnacle turning point for the diagonal leap.
Oh indeed I concur, powerful pieces aren’t bad in themselves, indeed they are well placed during the Endgame… yet they are however terrible team players in the first half of the game.
This much power to a piece which is only destined to be called out early, by its own obligation to support its own Pawns, will eventually lead to an obliteration of any intellectually Classical play, during the Opening or Middlegame.
It looked obvious and it was.
When putting all these studies into perspective, the Mission’s move truly was to be only and purely, a divine decision of nature.
It would not leap diagonally.
Furthermore, an ever nagging subconscious truism was gradually making itself heard: sacrifice.
It may seem unfortunate how the Mission would become stripped of humble routes of escape and evasion, kneeling instead to a lesser warrior in its path.
Yet what is a Chess piece, if not a piece of Chess?
Just as the Pawn, Knight and Bishop must walk carefully amongst the thorns of their foes, so must the Mission.
And so, as my childhood Chess tutor first taught me at the golden age of seven… if you see a good move… look for a better one.
Missionary Chess © Simon Jepps