Christian Freeling, a Dutch games designer, created Grand Chess in 1984, which is a variant of chess played on a larger 10×10 board. The game includes two extra pawns and two new pieces, the marshal and the cardinal, for each player.
- Marshall (on F2 and F9) – has the combined moves of a rook and a knight.
- Cardinal (on G2 and G9) – has the combined moves of a bishop and a knight.
After a span of twenty-one years, I finally discovered this remarkable variant and integrated it into BrainKing.com. I cannot recall if I reached out to Christian for authorization or if he contacted me first, but that is inconsequential now. Let us delve into what makes Grand Chess unique.
The game follows the standard Chess rules with these exceptions:
- Pawns standing on their start row (3 for white or 8 for black) can make an initial two-step move and the en passant capture can be applied on them.
- Castling is not possible.
- A pawn can be promoted when it reaches the 8th or 9th row (3rd or 2nd for a black). The promotion is optional on these rows.
- A pawn must be promoted if it reaches the last row (as in standard Chess).
- A pawn can be promoted only to a piece which was previously captured by the opponent. When the promotion happens, the corresponding piece will disappear from the captured pieces on the opponent’s side.
- If the previous point cannot be fulfilled, the pawn on the 9th (2nd for a black) cannot move to the last row. However, such a pawn can still give a check.
Looks complicated? I don’t think so, as you will get into the game rapidly, once you get familiar with the bigger board and the additional pieces. Let’s watch a sample game: