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Logs of Hullabaloo

The Royal Piece, Rules for Check and Winning Conditions

is the Royal Piece, in this variant called the Precious Commoner.

It activates all the other pieces in the game, either by range or by being connected to a chain of pieces that are connected to the Precious Commoner. It is a lame multipath piece that moves three squares in any direction, diagonal or orthogonal. The radius of its movement also describes the range of its activation.

The Precious Commoner can not be captured. It can only be put in check, though it can be put in check multiple times. It must get out of check by the end of its turn or it is considered checkmated (note the difference between this rule and some other doublemove variants such as Marseillais and Extra Move Chess, in both of which one must get one's king out of check at the beginning of one's turn). The game ends either when the royal piece is checkmated. Precious Commoner is the only piece that can not be pocketed.

The Precious Commoner is not considered to be in check unless the checking piece is in an activate-able position. See below for more on activate-ability.

Precious Commoners can capture pieces.

Precious commoners can not put other Precious Commoners in check.

Three Fusion Progressions

Hullabaloo is a fusion game where certain pieces can move on to squares occupied by other pieces only to create larger pieces. A fusion may result from a drop.

F +W = GU

Ferzes can move on to wazirs, or wazirs on to ferzes, to create guards.

The icons below are linked to games in which they appeared. A few in the jumping general progression have not occurred in any games prior to this one. Here is a guide to what the symbols they carry mean:

Joe's Strange Notation

Ferzes can also move on to other Ferzes, to create the following succession of diagonal pieces: Ferz + Ferz = Alfil-Ferz (E + E = .F2) + Ferz = "Chieftain Alfil-Ferz" (.E2 + E = .F3) + Ferz = "Grand Alfil-Ferz" (.E3 + E = .E4) + Ferz = "Lemurian Alfil-Ferz" (.E4 + E = .E5) + Ferz = "Atlantean Alfil-Ferz" (.E5 + E = .E6) Note: This succession occurs only when a diagonal piece moves into a square occupied by another diagonal piece.

F .E2 .E3 .E4 .E5 .E6

Different ferz-oriented pieces can combine. These pieces can also be created by combining among one another, by the appropriate proportion. For example, two alfil-ferzes can combine to make one Grand Alfil-Ferz, i.e., .E2 + .E2 = .E4, which can itself combine with another Alfil-Ferz to form an Atlantean Alfil-Ferz, i.e., .E4 + .E2 = .E6, which could also result from two Chieftain Alfil-Ferzes, i.e., .E3 + .E3 = .E6. An Alfil-Ferz can combine with a Chieftain Alfil-Ferz to create a Lemurian Alfil-Ferz (.E2 + .E3 = .E5).

An analogous set of rules apply for the progression of orthogonally fused pieces:

W .D2 .D3 .D4 .D5 .D6

The progression of guard pieces can grow out of the fusion of guard-derived pieces or the combination of a diagonal with its equivalent orthogonal. For example, the Chieftain Alfil-Ferz can combine with the Chieftain Wazir-Dababba to form their logical combination, i.e., .E2 + .D2 = .J2 (and of course, .J2 + .J2 = .J4, etc.).

GU .J2 .J3 .J4 .J5 .J6

Rules for Fission

Each complex piece can diffuse into any of its components, but each split counts as a move (so a piece can only split a maximum of four times). Fission can only happen to pieces that are activate-able.

Fission happens in two ways: Either pieces move away as they would ordinarily, e.g., a ferz moves diagonally one space away, a wazir, orthogonally away. Or they can be pocketed. Or a combination of both.

Two Types of Activation

There are two types of activation, both coming via the royal piece of the game, which moves in any line three squares away from its origin.

I. Range Activation

A piece is activate-able if it is within three squares - diagonal or orthogonal - of the Precious Commoner, regardless of whether it is adjacent to a friendly piece.

II. Contiguity Activation

Activate-able is any piece connected by a series of adjacent friendly pieces, orthogonal or diagonal, in a chain (which can be composed of either or both orthogonally and diagonally adjacent pieces) back to the Precious Commoner. So a piece could be eight spaces away and still be activated if it is connected in some kind of chain to the Precious Commoner. During the course of a turn, pieces can move into and out of connection as long as they are activate-able.

4-Square Conglomerations

When four wazirs form a square, they can move together, like a giant FIDE rook (or wazir rider, occupying four squares and then the next four squares, but not being able to stop midway). Four ferzes amalgamate to behave like a giant FIDE bishop (or, more accurately, giant Ferz-rider, see diagram) and four guards amalgamate to behave like a giant FIDE queen (or guard-rider = ferz-rider + wazir-rider). These agglomerated super-size pieces must be activated too, either by range or connection activation. If by range, it is sufficient that the nearest part - nearest ferz or nearest wazirs - should be within range (for it functions as part of a large piece when used as such). They move in blocks and as such can capture up to four pieces at once. Here is an illustration of the way a giant bishop, made up of four ferzes, can move:

 . . . . . . . . .
 . . . . . . . . .
 . . . . . . . . .
 . . . . . . . x x
 . . . . . . . x x
 . x x . . x x . .
 . x x . . x x . .
 . . . x x . . . .
 . . . x x . . . .


Any captured piece gets pocketed as one's own piece.

A piece can be captured and then put back on the board as one's own piece in the same turn.

Any of your own pieces other than the Precious Commoner can be pocketed at any time, but such pocketings of one's own pieces count as a move. One can not move a piece and then pocket that self-same piece, but one can move a piece into a fused piece and then pocket the newly created fused piece.

Restriction on Pocketing and Dropping

One's own pieces can only be pocketed or dropped if they are activate-able, i.e., within range or connection to the Precious Commoner.

How Turns Should Proceed:

White starts the game with one move (connection and / or range). After that, starting with Black, each player gets to make two moves (connection and / or range). Each drop counts as a move. Each pocketing counts as a move. Each movement of a giant wazir / giant ferz / giant guard / counts as one move.

Rule governing number of moves per piece per turn:

Each piece can only move once as itself each turn, but it can continue to move each time it fuses, defuses or amalgamates.

Fun with Drops!

Dropping a piece, whether into another piece or onto an empty space, counts as a move.

Should you win a piece in a turn, you can also drop it back on the board in the same turn.

You can drop a piece and then move it .

You can drop a piece into a new piece that you created [and then move it if you have more than two moves per turn]

You can drop a piece into a piece already in the pocket to create a new piece there!

You can drop a piece into a piece already on the board.

You can drop a piece, drop another piece into that piece [and then move it if you have more than two moves per turn]. So for example, you could drop a ferz into an empty space, drop another ferz into that ferz, to create an alfil-ferz [and move it if you have more than two moves per turn].


This game is in part an inspiration, outgrowth and tribute to some of the brilliant work the great Joe Joyce has contributed and continues to contribute to these pages, most immediately Chesimals Fusion I. It's an attempt to synthesize his Shatranj variants (some of the icons below are linked to them, where there is also more information about how they move) and his GoChess. It's also an attempt to utilize on a smaller board different forms of activation that have been formulated for play on larger boards. A few other predecessors: Fergus Duniho's Fusion Chess, Dan Troyka's Connected Chess and my own Tiling Rider chess variants. The amalgamated rider pieces open a window for more traditional line pieces to co-exist combatively on the board with Joe Joyce's Shatranj-evolved pieces.

There are many exciting things about this game, not least of which is implementing an arithmetic for combining chess variant pieces.

One source of dynamic tension comes from the fact that the Precious Commoner is both the activator and the royal piece that needs to be defended. Another source of dynamic tension comes from the interplay of quantity with quality. One needs more numerous smaller pieces to conglomerate into super pieces occupying four spaces, to defend one's royal piece, to connect larger breadths of spaces across the board and to occupy critical spaces. One needs pieces that can range in order to threaten one's opponent's Precious Commoner. Both the larger pieces and the agglomerations of smaller pieces can be used to advance mobility.

A word about notation: The periods before .E2 - .E6, .D2 - .D6, .J2 - .J6 were necessary to prevent Game Courier from confusing pieces with squares.

Thanks to Joe Joyce for inspiring this variant to a large degree and for his help in conceptualizing the movement of giant ferz-rider, for his suggestions about movements per turn and the insights into the initial setup that came as a result of his playtesting.

This 'user submitted' page is a collaboration between the posting user and the Chess Variant Pages. Registered contributors to the Chess Variant Pages have the ability to post their own works, subject to review and editing by the Chess Variant Pages Editorial Staff.

By Jeremy Gabriel Good.
Web page created: 2007-06-28. Web page last updated: 2009-05-28