The Oxybeles moves like a king, one step in any direction, but it cannot capture in this way. Instead the Oxybeles, 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 located immediately behind the Oxybeles, 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 Oxybeles can be used for transporting friendly pieces, attacking enemy pieces, or removing enemy pieces from good positions. 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. The Oxybeles's value is the same as a knight (estimate).
Other rules are the same as in standard chess, except for the possible promotion to Oxybeles, and the extended castle. When castling the king may jump three squares, but it can also jump two as usual. The rook ends up on its usual square. The extended castle rule makes play on the wings easier to achieve. The king can rapidly take control over the corner square.
The Oxybeles 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 Oxybeles. 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. Although the Oxybeles has less slinging capacity than its relative, the Mangonel (see Mangonel Chess), it is more maneuverable, while friendly pieces are in less danger of being dislocated. Oxybeles Chess can also be played with Kwaggas instead of knights (see Bodyguard Chess). Oxybeles chess, and the new Oxybeles piece, were invented by undersigned, October 2006.
Oxybeles ("bolt shooter") : an ancient weapon used by the Ancient Greeks starting in 375 B.C.E. The weapon was basically an oversized composite bow placed on a stand.
• You can download my free Oxybeles Chess program here (updated 2009-06-17), but you must own the software Zillions of Games to be able to run it (I recommend the download version).
• You can play Oxybeles Chess online, or per email, here.
• Don't miss my other chess variants.
© M. Winther (October 2006).