Anti-Clerical Chess

When I was an active chessplayer, my friends and I would occasionally experiment with one of the many variations of the game. I found myself always coming back to the original. Reminiscing seems to have been part of my day today. I was thinking about childhood ends-of summer. And tonight, chess.

What do you make of the variation in which bishops are omitted and the board is shrunk?

Anti-clerical chess is more commonly known as “Los Alamos Chess,” and it was designed in 1956 not as an exercise in atheism, but in the development of chessplaying computers. Why? It drastically simplifies the game.

Confession: we never played this version.

Bishops move any number of spaces in any of four diagonal directions. What do you suppose a priest piece would do? One space in any diagonal direction? Medieval chess had such a piece–it was the precursor to the bishop.

I wonder how a deacon would move.


About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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3 Responses to Anti-Clerical Chess

  1. Pingback: Anti-Clerical Chess — Catholic Sensibility – yazım'yazgısı (typography)

  2. I played competitive chess years ago but it’s my first time hearing about this version. I like how chess bishops move diagonally so I don’t know if I can enjoy this version.

  3. Liam says:

    “how a deacon would move[?]”

    One space sideways only – their job is service, and getting out of the way. [Archdeacons, on the other hand, were vicars for bishops and had greater jurisdictional authority than than archpriests.]

    Another clerical invented piece could be an abbot/abbess nullius, who were more powerful than many bishops. Have them able to go in diagonal staircase (rather than straight) fashion across the tiles (like a more powerful knight but not a single 2×1 but a series of 1×1).

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