Jesuit Chess
Jesuit Chess by Simon Jepps
I am not a Jesuit. Yet deep within my childhood soul, there is a Jesuit who will always be with me.

I believe that if we are to learn anything from Chess, it is that any new evolution of the game will already be a hidden treasure waiting to be discovered deep within its ever growing history.

What I mean by this is somewhat paradoxical.

On the one hand there are an infinite number of evolutionary possibilities for Chess, yet on the other, perhaps its only true evolution will be found deep within its own natural consciousness.

Whilst for centuries Scholars and Grandmasters alike have strived to evolve the game, it can be observed to have already evolved many times through the blossoming of its very own rules.

Thus, whilst my studies and essays about the next evolution of Chess focus on many concepts, for the most part, their primary focus has been to try and continue evolving the game without changing its Classical inventory.

This has always been a challenge and yet one I have always undertaken with the utmost passion, since in all truth it is a quietly shared belief amongst Chessicians, that whilst at first it may seem a paradox of suggestion, the next evolution of Chess will nevertheless maintain the sixty four square board.

Henceforth, the variant I am publishing here today is one such profundity of paradoxical resolution.

For an insight into why evolving Chess is actually a tremendous undertaking, you may also wish to read my other following selected articles and theoretical constructions.

An Understanding Of Mission Design
A Chessician’s in depth study of the mechanics of Chess and how these relate to an example evolution of the game.
The Game Of Chess & The Law Of The Folly
An early predecessor to Open_Sppej which investigates the numerous benefits of alternative piece setups.

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The Student & The Master

Jesuit Chess, whilst in my own humble opinion a revolutionary evolution of Chess, is all the while a very simple yet super variant.

As is the common theme of most my games, this variant is designed to remedy the Opening’s limitations from falling unto tired ears.

An excited novice of the game will tell you how there are twenty first possible moves alone and after that an infinite number of eventual Opening possibilities.

Yet in truth and whilst the above claim is not completely inaccurate, only a handful of these first moves are actually praiseworthy of intellectual pursuit.

Chessicians and Grandmasters alike will testify, how even historic Opening routes are nevertheless limited and finite, not only to a Grandmaster, but vice versa to the scholar who cannot even see as far.

World Champion José Capablanca proclaimed in 1925, that in a hundred years time, due to stagnation and exhaustion of studies, the game will have been played out.

Yet since, as the past century has revealed, the problem presented is not of how to increase the number of pieces or squares played, thence the problem must be instead of how to “evolve the biology” of the game itself.

To give the best introduction that explains clearly what I have done with ‘Jesuit Chess’, I felt it good to create a fictional dialogue between a Chess Student and a Jesuit Priest, as follows.

My student, Chess today has its limitations.
Father, if there were limitations I would not play.
Oh really? Then make your first move…
Of course… Pawn to d4.
Ah ha… and why may the Pawn move two squares on its first move?
Father, that is because it is a very slow piece and must develop quickly from the start.
Indeed. But what of the other pieces… why don’t they have a special first move?
Because that would be ridiculous! They are strong pieces and can move anywhere!
Oh? Anywhere you say? Pawn to d5. Your move.
Knight to f3.
Really? Why move your Knight to f3?
Father, but wherever else?
Well surely there must be somewhere. You said yourself it could move anywhere. Is it not true?
You see, my student, even the Knight must hold his breath.

Aye, in reality the learned player will realise that, regardless of how many Opening combinations are boasted to exist, these all focus for the greatest majority on a Knight’s first move being to either f3 or c3 if White and c6 or f6 if Black.

Of course it is possible for a Knight to move to a different square on its first move, say h3 or a3 or even d2 or e2… but in reality these squares often serve very little benefit even if available and may God save any player who moves his Knight to a3!

So it is true effectively, that each Knight on the board really only has one decent square to move to on its first move.

Even a Pawn has more options than that!

Furthermore unfortunately, and as is historically renown, the squares c3 and f3 are most often a prison sentence to the humble Knight, who subsequently finds himself pinned by the opponent’s Bishop to his King or Queen.

Effectively then, the ‘strategically logical’ square options for the Knight are increasingly beginning to shrink, from only one mere square… down to none.

A sacred ancient continuum of Chess? Or a position seen so many times it makes grown men cry from its damned eternal repetition…

To be fair, regardless of the classical algorithms enshrined in this most common scenario, it is unrighteously the most easily playable irritation of the game.

The same can be said about the Bishops. Whilst these pieces are much more deployable due to their extended range, it is their colour boundness and inability to leap which restricts their flexibility in the Opening.

In fact, even during the Middlegame the Bishop is well known to become ‘trapped’ and completely locked out of the arena.

Thus likewise, even though there are several squares a player could place his Bishop on its first move, only about half of these squares are actually tactically playable.

For centuries upon centuries players have made these same repetitive moves. Is it any wonder Grandmasters claim the game has been played out? Is it any wonder seasoned club players eventually go insane with boredom? Is it any wonder your aged father has given up playing a game he was once so devotedly skilled at? Is it any wonder young minds who are not mathematicians find if difficult to find any beautiful patterns in its often mundane poker face?

Here then is my proposal.

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The Jesuit Way, The Queen’s Hand & The Knight’s Faith

Jesuit Chess ~ The Jesuit Way
The Jesuit Way
1. d4 d5 2. Nb3 Nc6 3. Ng3 Bg4 4. f3
Following White’s double Knight’s Faith opening, Black spied the opportunity to pin the e2 Pawn, hampering White’s development and disrupting White’s Kingside Pawn structure. Yet what Black doesn’t realise is that the almost forced 4. f3 is actually a planned Opening repertoire of The Jesuit Way. After the Black Bishop retreats to d7, White will play 5. Bf2.
I have called this game ‘Jesuit Chess’ because the most interesting element of this game involves the abstract collaboration of ministry between two Priests.

Aye, you might wonder though, why specifically ‘Jesuits’?

The reason is a personal one. I am not a Jesuit, in fact as much as I admire them, I belong to my own way of Christ. Yet the Jesuit is an icon for me. I am sorry I can’t delve as to why, but they are an exceptionally intellectual group and so certainly worthy of a place on the Chess board.

Let’s just leave it at that.

Jesuit Chess introduces three simple new rules of play, which completely revolutionise the interactions of pieces throughout the game and especially during the Opening.

Introducing new rules to Chess is actually how the modern game evolved to what it is today. Whether it be Castling, En Passant, Piece Range or Promotion, these historic modifications to Chess have proven time and time again to be the most natural way of the game’s own evolution.

Jesuit Chess herewith reveals the next evolution of this Classical ancient pastime.

These three new rules are known as ‘The Jesuit Way’, ‘The Queen’s Hand’ and ‘The Knight’s Faith’.

  1. The Jesuit Way is a feature of the game which allows the Bishops to ‘lock streams’ once for any duration and thence to ‘unlock streams’ for one final occasion during the game.
    • At any time, a Bishop may move without capturing, one square orthogonally, thus ‘locking streams’ with the other Bishop by twinning the square colour they are bound to.
      • Thence at any time later in the game, a Bishop may again move without capturing, one square orthogonally, thus ‘unlocking streams’ for one final occasion, returning their difference of square colour.
      • Once the two Bishops have locked and unlocked streams, The Jesuit Way may not be performed again.
    • Both a Player’s two Bishops are required to perform The Jesuit Way. Once a Bishop has been captured the other Bishop may only move regularly.
    • The Jesuit Way may not be employed to block or deliver Check.
  2. The Queen’s Hand is a feature of the game similar to Castling which grants the King further options. This rule actually works well with The Jesuit Way in that it frees up the Kingside Pawns for the Bishop.
    • Providing neither the King or Queen have yet moved, they may each ‘swap places’ with each other.
      • Thus if White, the King moves to d1 and the Queen moves to e1.
    • This special move does not affect a King’s right to Castle with the Rook.
      • The King may still Castle to either side in the same manner as it would usually, moving 2 squares towards the Rook.
        • This would likewise be notated simply as a “long” or “short” Castle, discussed later.
    • The Queen’s Hand may not be employed to evade or deliver Check.
  3. The Knight’s Faith is a special ability granted unto the Knight whence it is positioned at the edge of the board.
    • Any Knight positioned on an edge square may jump without capturing, to the second orthogonal square in range, away from the board edge. This would be a colour bound move into the central arena.
    • The Knight’s Faith may not be employed to block or deliver Check.

» Note: It is forbidden to employ any one of these rules to ‘block’, ‘evade’ or ‘deliver’ Check. All three of these new rules are “special moves”, just like “Castling” which, with the exception of ‘delivery’, likewise may not be employed to ‘block’ or ‘evade’ Check.

Jesuit Chess ~ The Queen's Hand
The Queen’s Hand
1. Nb3 e5 2. d3 d5 3. e3 Nf6 4. Bd2 Nc6 5. K-Q b6
White opens with The Knight’s Faith to b3. After 5. K-Q the White King & Queen have swapped places, allowing quick access to Queenside Castling and triple defending against a Black Pawn offensive down the flank. White can now push Pawn to c4 after Castling the Rook to c1, or alternatively, play Pawn to d4 and bring the Bishop to b5. Once Castled, White can also prevent a Black Bishop to f5 by playing Ng3.
The Jesuit Way rule is designed to firstly remedy the dire lack of options available to the Bishop on its first move, but also designed to allow a Player the flexibility of changing the square colours and thus positional dynamics by which the Bishops are bound.

The Queen’s Hand rule is designed to firstly remedy the dire lack of options available to the King on its first move, but also designed to grant far more dynamic flexibility amongst Pawns and thus of course to ‘Jesuit’ Bishops.

Further study reveals that The Queen’s Hand completely revolutionises Classical Openings, such as the Berlin Defence, which could greatly benefit from an alternative positioning of the King and Queen.

The Knight’s Faith rule is designed to firstly remedy the dire lack of options available to the Knight on its first move, but also to grant the Knight more flexibility whence placed into a claustrophobic position.

A Knight on the edge of the board where it has fewer square options is extremely vulnerable due to its weaker range in comparison to other pieces.

Whilst only one additional square is granted and even its range remains unchanged, this singular optional route of movement provides the Knight with a duly deserved lifeline whence unfairly fenced up against the side of the board.

Allowing the Knight a ‘leap of faith’ in this scenario restores unto the piece a balanced prowess and rightful belonging to the game which has historically always been amiss.

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Some Notes

Jesuit Chess ~ The Knight's Faith
The Knight’s Faith
In this position Black has just played Rf5-a5, forcing White to move his Knight and sacrifice the c7 Pawn. In a Classical game this would remain an absolute truth, but in Jesuit Chess we actually have a position where Black has played over confidently. Since whilst the Pawn cannot be saved, here White can play Nc6, forking the two Black Rooks and turning the tables of the game. Thus whilst The Knight’s Faith rule may not be employed to block or deliver Check, it does nevertheless restore a due balance of belonging to this once neglected piece.
A player may or may not like the concept of twin coloured Bishops. There are advantages but certainly also disadvantages.

Yet The Jesuit Way can be employed twice during the game and so it is possible to return both Bishops to their original square colour.

With regards to notating of moves, the only new method required is for The Queen’s Hand manoeuvre. This would be notated simply as K-Q.

Whence after having performed K-Q and now wish to notate the King Castling to either the Queenside or Kingside, this new form of Castling would actually be notated the same as if the King had regularly Castled.

Castling is notated in accordance with the length of journey the Rook must take to arrive beside the King. Thus, once the King and Queen have swapped places, “long and short” Castling likewise become reversed.

The King still moves only 2 squares towards either Rook, but the longer distance the Rook must travel determines the move’s notation.

Thus, now a Short Castle for Queenside will be recorded as 0-0 and a Long Castle for Kingside 0-0-0.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Of course in time to come, it may prove to be that some Jesuit Chess rules are less often employed during the Opening than they are in say, the Middlegame or Endgame.

Yet these specialties are certainly most welcoming remedies for all Opening repertoire and so I hope to have demonstrated that clearly here today.

I for one will be employing them and indeed promoting them, for the rest of all my good years.

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Believe, Master Jesuit…

Jesuit Chess IHSThere are many wonders of Jesuit Chess.

The vast libraries of Chess Opening thesis may now only grow infinitely more vast with every new scholar to this great Chess variant.

And it is great. The reason I know Jesuit Chess is a great variant is because I have spent so many years developing a Classical method through which concepts such as these may be embraced wholeheartedly by the ancient game’s own natural biology.

I briefly described at the beginning how Chess has a ‘consciousness of its own domain’ and that perhaps the next evolution of the game is only to be found within this very ‘consciousness’ of the Classical game itself.

Of course, we all like Wizards and vast arenas, shape shifting squares and even of course, many more players.

Yet at the end of the day, what is Chess? It’s an undying, forever enchanting, ancient sixty four square game, who’s stubborn yet sacred heart will not change for anyone.

Well almost.

I can’t think of an occasion when the Chess board had ever refused a Jesuit… can you?

» Blogroll : Jesuit Chess

Jesuit Chess © Simon Jepps

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