Courier Chess

Courier Chess (a medieval precursor of modern Chess)

Initial setup

f1, f8: King
a1, a8, l1, l8: Rook
d1, d8, i1, i8: Courier (Bishop)
b1, b8, k1, k8: Knight
e1, e8: Commonner
g1, g8: Ferz (General)
h1, h8: Wazir (Grand Visor)
c1, c8, j1, j8: Alfil (Elephant)
a2-l2, a7-l7: Pawns

Moves at a Glance

Click on a piece below to see its moves

Sliding capture or non-capture,
can be blocked on any square along the ray

Unblockable leap (capture or non-capture)
Non-capture only
Capture only


Piece ID value Moves (Betza notation) Remarks
King K - K No castling of any kind
Rook R 8 R
Courier B 5 B Color bound
Elephant E 1 A Bound to 8 squares!
Knight N 4 N
Commoner M 4 K
Ferz F 2 F Color bound
Wazir W 1.5 W
Pawn P 1 mfWcfF Promotes to Ferz on reaching last rank

Pawn peculiarities

General rules

Differences with FIDE

The Commoner (Man) replaces the Queen. The Ferz and Alfil (Elephant) from Shatranj are added, and the board width expanded to accomodate them. The Pawns have no double move. There is no castling.

Strategy issues

It is not possible to force checkmate on a bare King with just a single Bishop or Knight, Ferz or Wazir (in addition to your own King). Two Knights, Ferzes or two Wazirs also cannot do this, and F + W only in rare situations. The Commoner can force checkmate against a bare King.

Alfils are not only color bound, but also skip over half the files and ranks. So they can only reach 8 squares, making them next to worthless.

Bishops are confined to squares of a single color. Having Bishops on both colors compensates this weakness, and is worth an extra 0.5 on top of their added value.