The Hoplomach is a bifurcation piece. It always moves and captures in two legs, first orthogonally, then it jumps diagonally over any piece, and slides. The jump is performed in the prolonged movement direction only. Without screens to jump over the Hoplomach becomes immobile. The Hoplomach's value is 4, that is, more than a bishop, but less than a rook (preliminary estimate). Other rules are the same as in standard chess, except for the possible promotion to Hoplomach. Promotion occurs on the eight rank as usual.
The unusual long-board makes it possible to introduce this piece while allowing a maximum of strategical possibilities. As the Hoplomach is dependent on screens for moving one would expect it to be not very mobile. But it is a very dynamic and difficult piece that puts great demands on the chessplayer.
The Hoplomach is a relative of the Korean cannon (in Korean Chess), which can only move if there exist pieces to jump over. But the Hoplomach is a much more dynamic piece while it has more movement alternatives. Hoplomach Chess, and the new Hoplomach piece, were invented by undersigned, September 2006.
In an alternative variant "Kwaggas" take the place of the knights. The Kwagga moves like an extended knight, three squares orthogonally plus one step to the side. It can multiply this jump in the same direction. This means that the Kwagga moves like a Camelrider. However, unlike the Camelrider, the Kwagga can only capture on the first jump, and subsequent squares must be empty. The Kwagga is as valuable as a bishop (my estimate).
The hoplomach was the most heavily armed gladiator type in ancient Rome, who had leg and arm coverings, a huge helmet, a thrusting spear, a sheath knife, and a small bowl-shaped shield.
The Hoplomach moves first orthogonally, then jumps diagonally over any piece (red = capture).
The Hoplomach's movement principle. The screens, that are used for jumping, occur anywhere on the second leg. The piece cannot stop before the screen.
Hoplomach Chess with Kwaggas instead of knights.
• You can download my free Hoplomach Chess program here (updated 2007-06-14), but you must own the software Zillions of Games to be able to run it (I recommend the download version).
• Don't miss my other chess variants.
© M. Winther (September 2006).