The rules went as follows:
You could move one of your normal pieces onto another of your normal pieces if it would have been an available square to move to if the piece wasn't there. These two pieces were now a cimbined piece. Once a piece became a combined piece it could not be split, nor could it be combined again. A combined piece must use both of its moves in the same turn, but they can be used in either order. For example, if there is a bishop and a pawn combined I could move it diagonally and then forward one, or forward on and then diagonally. In order to capture with a combined piece, the capture must occur on the end of the second move. So, the bishop-pawn could move forward and then capture anything on those diagonals, or it could move diagonally and then capture in one of the two pawn attacking squares. The king may not be combined with anything. Combined pawns can only promoted if they are in a pawn-pawn combination. This is difficult, because the pawns are moving two squares forward at a time, so parity must be correct in order to accomplish this. If the pawns do reach the eighth or first rank, than only one of the pawns may be promoted. As usual, the game is over with a CheckMate or StaleMate?.
This game creates very unusual strategies and was the most intelectually popular variant of the time until chessers came in. It's a lot more difficult to see where pieces can move/attack as they can cover so much area. Especially with knights combined with the bishop, rook or queen. knight-knight combos are also interesting. If anyone feels that they've played enough of this variant to test any ideas or strategies, or to declare it broken, then feel free to post as such.
Is there a good reason why Rook-Knights don't totally own?
- About as well as the Bishop-Knights and the Queen-Knights... but keep in mind that any other piece can capture them too, so you have to be very aware of which pieces are defended by whom. It's very easy to overlook the attacking range of the Knight-Pawn and find yourself losing a lot of material in such trade. In general the combination pieces provde you with a lot of board control and are an enormous advantage, but they are "not" good for sacrificing and trades. It also costs you a productive move in order to combine them, and this does matter a lot when you're on the defensive. I've seen a few opening strategies that immediately combine pieces in their opening moves (lots of Knight-Pawns and Bishop-Pawns, an occasional Rook-Knight... a very easy way to get a three move checkmate on a newbie). One of the other disadvantages to combining pieces is that they don't cover the same area that the two individual pieces did. It's less of a disadvantage and more of an interesting effect I guess. Anyway, I would love to see more people exploring this variant as it was my favorite one I've seen so far.
The theoretical novelty due to temporary blindness is hardly unique to this variant. While given a little more thought I can see how attacking guarded things with them doesn't do a lot, I don't consider "you can easily get it captured by something you didn't see" to be a legitimate point of weakness in any variant aside from FinalFantasyChess?.
It seems that openings would either be explosive or incredibly defensive...
Explosive? Surely you're thinking about NuclearChessers.