The only difference between Scorpion Chess and regular chess is the additional movement directions of the pawn, which is called Scorpion. The Scorpion has the additional moves of a knight, but only in two forward directions: east-north-east, and west-north-west. There are no additional capture moves. The Scorpion's value is half the value of a knight or bishop, that is, 1.5. This means that a light piece can be exchanged for two Scorpions, a possibility which often occurs. In the endgame it could become very dangerous, and its value often increases.
The two oblique moves in the image are the Scorpions two extra movement possibilities. It can only capture like a regular pawn. The enemy king, or any piece, can safely occupy the oblique squares, as they are not threatened there.
Scorpion Chess, and the new Scorpion pawn, were invented by undersigned, May 2006. The Scorpion opens up many new tactical possiblities, both in the defense and the attack. The endgame is much more aggressive, while Scorpions, unlike pawns, are not easy to block. In Scorpion Chess, drawish endgames won't occur often. Unlike in orthodox chess, a broken pawn chain is not a big defect while the Scorpion pawn chain is not static. Castling could be dangerous if the opponent has not yet castled, since the rook file can be opened by a sideways moving Scorpion. A king that lingers in the centre can be protected by sideways moving Scorpions. Two Scorpion pawns equal a light piece. This contributes to the stability of the positions, despite the increase in the tactical possibilities. A strategical depth is retained, while new tactical themes are introduced. This game has some very fine qualities.
There is also a variant, called Randomscorpion Chess, where the opening setup for the Scorpions is chosen randomly, while satisfying the condition that the Scorpions must be either placed on the second or third rank. There are 256 possible configurations. All of them are sound and balanced, and fully playable. Black's setup mirrors white's.
• You can download my free Scorpion Chess program here (updated 2006-06-13), but you must own the software Zillions of Games to be able to run it.
• Try playing Scorpion Chess by e-mail, against a human opponent, here.
• ...or try the randomized version, here.
• Don't miss my other chess variants.
© M. Winther 2006