In Pilgrim Chess the rules are the same as in orthodox chess, except that one extra piece per player (or two) is placed in the reserve. Standard chess is included as an option, thereby maintaining the historical connection. In a tournament, by way of the initial voting procedure, players can decide to play a traditional game.
Before starting, the players must decide whether they want to use the extra piece. The above image displays a Mastodon, but practically any piece type can be used. To make a decision, one can, for instance, turn over a marker, or place the extra piece in a special way. Only if both players choose not to use the extra piece, then it becomes a regular game of chess. If white turns down the extra piece, then black can overrule this.
If players have elected to include external pieces, they must now be placed on the file on which the player intends to introduce the piece(s). If, for instance, the player places the external piece on the queen file (behind the queen), then the piece is automatically introduced on the queen pawn’s initial square when the queen pawn moves away, whether it moves one or two steps. Should a pawn on the initial position be captured (exchanged), then the player has forfeited his right to introduce an external piece placed behind it.
The players, in their first move, decide from which file they aim to introduce the external piece. In this case, the external piece has previously been positioned on the knight file. It is introduced to g2 when the knight pawn moves. Black introduces his piece when the bishop pawn moves.
Pilgrim Chess is intended as an alternative to standard chess. This method of introducing an external piece, or two, is probably ideal while the strategical situation is clarified before play begins. This implementation will allow the user to test which pieces are suitable. It will be enhanced with more alternative pieces in later editions. Pilgrim Chess is closely related to Alternative Chess, Accessory Chess and Pioneer Chess. So far, nineteen different piece types have been added, including the Llama, Alpaca, Guanaco, and Vicuña (for illustrations of these particular pieces, see here). Pilgrim Chess was invented and implemented by undersigned, April 2009.
• You can download my free Pilgrim Chess program here (updated 2009-10-16), 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, 2009 April