Capablanca’s Chess is a chess variation introduced in the 1920s by the former World Chess Champion, José Raúl Capablanca, which introduces two additional pieces and employs a 10×8 board. Capablanca’s motivation for creating this game was the fear that standard chess would become unchallenging, leading to games always ending in draws, particularly between grandmasters. Thus, he sought to create a more intricate version of the game.
- Chancellor – has the combined moves of a rook and a knight.
- Archbishop – has the combined moves of a bishop and a knight.
Capablanca Random Chess is a variation of this game, created by Reinhard Scharnagl. The most significant feature of this variant is the random starting position for each game. This rule is very similar to Fischer Random Chess:
- Pawns are placed in their standard Chess positions (2nd or 7th rank).
- A king must be placed between two rooks. It means that a king’s start position will never be in a corner (A or J file).
- One bishop must be placed on a white square, the second one on a black square. The same rule applies to the implicite bishop pieces, a queen and an archbishop.
- The white and black starting positions are symmetrical – the same pieces share the same files.
- All pawns must be protected by a friendly piece at the start position.
At first glance, castling in this chess variation may appear unfamiliar, but it is indeed a viable move. While the ultimate destinations of the king and rook during castling remain consistent with those in standard chess, their initial positions may differ, contingent on the randomly generated starting configuration of the game. Moreover, certain additional requirements must be met for the castling maneuver to be executed:
- The king and the rook which are to make a castling did not move since the game had started.
- The king is not in check.
- The space between initial and target positions of the king and the rook to be castled does not contain any other pieces.
- The king would not cross a square that is being attacked by an opponent’s piece, or it would not finish its move on such square.
The idea appears to have held up quite well, wouldn’t you agree? It’s probable that Capablanca would be delighted to see his creation still thriving over a century later. Shall we examine a sample game?