The Chess Variant Pages

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Samuel Trenholme wrote on 2022-05-20 UTC

“I am starting to suspect that this summoning business will sort of spoil the game. Because you get the Demons back whenever you lose them, at the cost of only a tempo.”

One thought I have been having is to make a summon cost two tempo: You can summon a piece, but when you do, your opponent gets an extra move.

Let’s imagine, for the sake of simplicity, a Seirawan Chess variant where instead of the “add the piece when moving a piece in the back rank” rule, the knight can summon the Elephant (Seirawan’s nomenclature for the R+N Cardinal/Marshal) next to it, and a bishop can summon a hawk (B+N, i.e. Archbishop), but each time a summoning is done it costs two tempo.

Here’s how a game could start out:

  1. Nf3 d5
  2. E@g3 e5,Nf6

We could write the score like this too, if preferred:

  1. Nf3 d5
  2. E@g3 e5
  3. (Tempo lost after summoning) Nf6

Here, White opens with Nf3, Black responds d5

Next, White summons an Elephant on to g3 (I’m using Crazyhouse notation, which is fitting because Seirawan himself frequently plays Crazyhouse on Lichess). Because White has performed a summoning, Black now gets a bonus move, so Black moves e5 then Nf6.

If the other player responds to the summoning with a summoning as their first move, they don’t get the second bonus move. If they respond to the summoning with a summoning on their bonus move, the other player gets a bonus move, e.g.:

  1. Nf3 Nc6
  2. E@g3 E@b6


  1. Nf3 Nc6
  2. E@g3 d5,E@b6
  3. e4,d4

I think the summoning mechanic is very unique and creative, but it might give White a won game, but maybe we can hobble it to keep it usable.

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