The objective is checkmate. Pieces move as in orthodox chess, with the exception of the additional piece, the "Zeppelin". The Zeppelin flies to any empty square orthogonally, ie. the rook-directions. This means that it can also fly directly, from one of the extra corner squares, to the opposite corner square in the enemy position. It captures an enemy piece by landing immediately beyond its victim. On this board the Zeppelin's value corresponds to a bishop (estimate).
Extended castle rule: 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 immediately control the kingside corner square thus preventing the intervention of a Zeppelin.
The Zeppelin cannot force a mate together with a king. The defending party can step into the corner. If you advance too boldly with the pawns, they can easily become victims of the Zeppelin. The Zeppelin piece is a weaker version of the Airplane, which was invented by R. W. Schmittberger for his Airplane Chess, 1981. The Airplane can also move in the diagonal directions.
There is an alternative variant with "Crabs" instead of pawns. In yet another variant "Kwaggas" take the place of the knights. The Kwagga, which is my invention, moves like an extended knight, 3+1. It can multiply jumps, but only capture on the first.
The Zeppelin can move to any empty square orthogonally. The rook and the knight can be captured.
The Crab moves like a pawn, but if its northward movement is blocked on the enemy side it can move to empty squares east-north-east and west-north-west.
Dragonet Chess uses the same initial setup. It features a new piece, the Dragonet.
The Dragonet ('little dragon') flies to any empty square, of the same colour, in any direction. It captures an enemy piece by landing immediately beyond its victim. The Dragonet's value is 4, i.e. light piece + pawn (estimate). It's a colourbound modification, by me, of Schmittberger's Airplane.
• You can download my free Zeppelin Chess program here (updated 2009-10-29), but you must own the software Zillions of Games to be able to run it (I recommend the download version).
• You can play Zeppelin Chess online and by e-mail here.
• Don't miss my other chess variants.
© M. Winther 2007 May