The only difference between Improved Chess and regular chess is the additional movement directions of the Pawn. (Note that these are not capturing directions.) The improved Pawn, provided that it (1) is beyond the 5th rank, and (2) the forward movement is blocked, has the additional moves of a knight, but only in two forward directions: east-north-east, and west-north-west, and only to empty squares. There are no additional capture moves. There are two alternative blockage rules:
(1) the pawn must be blocked by an enemy piece/pawn.
(2) the pawn can also be blocked by a friendly piece/pawn to acquire the oblique move.
Middlegame and endgame are more aggressive while improved Pawns are not easy to block. In Improved Chess, drawish endgames will occur less often. Many theoretical endgames that have hitherto been drawn are now won. But variant (1), below, could possibly affect some opening variations, like Modern Benoni.
This method is a surprisingly simple way of introducing extra complexity. The technical and theoretical nature of today’s computerized chess calls for a change toward higher complexity. Comparatively, in orthodox chess a pawn is easy to block. This creates the marked drawishness of practical endgames. Therefore, most chessplayers prefer to keep the queen on the board, until they have created an advantage. Instead, players can now exchange queen and enter a practical endgame, and, unlike before, the stronger player is likely to win. This could be an improvement compared with orthodox chess, although much analysis is needed to establish this.
The new pawn is not overly wild. In order to get the extra movement capability, the pawn must be blocked (by an enemy piece/pawn)…
(1) anywhere on the far side
(2) anywhere beyond the fifth rank
(3) on the seventh rank.
Note! As an alternative, the pawn may move obliquely also when blocked by a friendly piece/pawn. Yet another alternative is called Crab Chess: the oblique Pawn move is allowed whereever a Pawn is blocked. Improved Chess was invented by undersigned, April 2007.
If its forward movement is blocked on the far side the improved Pawn can move to empty squares east-north-east and west-north-west. (In variant (3) the pawn must be blocked on the seventh rank to acquire the oblique move.)
Unlike in regular chess, this position is won regardless who moves.
See also Reformed Chess, Revised Chess, Dynamic Chess, and Valiant Chess.
☛ You can download my free Improved Chess program here (updated 2014-09-22), but you must own the software Zillions of Games to be able to run it.
☛ You can play Improved Chess online, or by e-mail, here.
☛ Don’t miss my other chess variants.
© Mats Winther (April 2007).