In Gorgona Chess the objective is checkmate. Pieces move as in orthodox chess, with the exception of the additional piece, the "Gorgona", which moves like a queen, but cannot capture. Instead it paralyzes any enemy piece within its range. The pawns move as in orthodox chess, inclusive of the initial double-step. The pawn can also make an initial triple-step. 'En passant' can occur if the the pawn moves two or three steps and passes a square threatened by an enemy pawn. Castling exists, but the King jumps three squares instead of two. As usual, the Rook ends up beside the King. Promotion rules are the same as in orthodox chess, with the addition of the Gorgona.
Checkmate is an important theme, also in endgames with few pieces. While the enemy king can easily be paralyzed, this makes it exposed to mate attacks. Try to paralyze the enemy king, queen, or Gorgona, in order to attack them later. Early queen excursions are, for natural reasons, very dangerous, but early Gorgona excursions are worthwhile. The knight is the only piece able to capture an enemy Gorgona. This increases the value of the knight, making it more valuable than a bishop. Generally, one should try to exchange a bishop for a knight. It is possible to checkmate with the king, when the enemy king is paralyzed. Interestingly, the king can often be employed in an attack on the enemy king, or other enemy pieces that have been paralyzed.
Another variant, Gorgon Chess, differs from Gorgona Chess only in that the paralyzing piece (here called Gorgon) can also capture and check like a queen. Gorgona Chess, and Gorgon Chess, were invented by V. R. Parton in 1970 and 1973, respectively.
Gorgon 1 : any of three snake-haired sisters in Greek mythology whose appearance turns the beholder to stone
2 : an ugly or repulsive woman.
See also: Pyrrhus Chess - featuring the paralyzing Pyrrhus.
• You can download my free Gorgona Chess program here (updated 2008-03-24), but you must own the software Zillions of Games to be able to run it (I recommend the download version).
• You can play Gorgona Chess against a human opponent, here.
• Don't miss my other chess variants.
© M. Winther 2007 May