The Mangonel moves like a king, one step in any direction, but it cannot capture in this way. Instead the Mangonel, when it moves, has the power to sling a piece located behind itself to a forward square in the alignment direction. The slung piece, which can be of any colour, is the nearest piece in the opposite direction of the move. This piece can hit an enemy piece in the forward direction, provided that any intermediate squares are empty. If there is no enemy piece then the catapulted piece lands on the remotest square in a series of empty spaces. Thus the Mangonel can be used for transporting friendly pieces, attacking enemy pieces, or removing enemy pieces from good positions. This is a new and versatile weapon on the chessboard. Pawns can be catapulted to their promotion square, when they are promoted to queen as only alternative. Pawns cannot be catapulted to the first rank, that is, the second rank is the limit. Kings and rooks retain their castle rights if catapulted away and back, while they haven't moved by their own accord. Other rules are the same as in standard chess, except for the possible promotion to Mangonel. The Mangonel's value is the same as a bishop (preliminary estimate).
The Mangonel moves slowly but becomes very powerful if it is maneuvered to good positions. Even the king can become a dangerous attacking piece together with the Mangonel. In opening and middlegame it introduces new tactical themes. In the endgame it can be used for transporting friendly pawns and the friendly king over the board. It can be used for creating a double attack along a diagonal and an orthogonal. If it remains on the first rank it can transport the rooks very effectively along the first rank. Mangonel Chess can also be played with Kwaggas instead of knights (see Bodyguard Chess). Mangonel chess, and the Mangonel piece, were invented by undersigned, October 2006.
Mangonel : a type of catapult or siege engine used in the medieval period to throw projectiles.
• You can download my free Mangonel Chess program here (updated 2007-05-31), 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 (October 2006).