Baroque chess

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Baroque chess is a chess variant invented in 1962 by Robert Abbott. In 1963, at the suggestion of his publisher, he changed the name to Ultima, by which name it is also known. Abbott considers his invention flawed, and he has suggested amendments to the rules, but these suggestions - like the new name he attempted to give it - have been substantially ignored by the gaming community, which continues, for the most part, to play by the 1962 rules. Since the rules for Baroque were first laid down in 1962, some regional variation has arisen, causing the game to diverge from Ultima.



Baroque chess is usually played on a standard 8×8 chessboard with the standard Staunton design of chess pieces.

The rules that follow are widely found on the internet, but other variants exist. A variant popular among students at Cambridge University in 1974 is described on this webpage.

The initial setup of the pieces is the same as in standard Chess, except for two things that the players must first decide on - center counter symmetry, and corner counter symmetry.

Establishing the degree of symmetry

Center counter symmetry allows either player to decide whether to switch his King and Withdrawer ("Queen") around, and then corner counter symmetry requires each player to decide which of his "Rooks" will be turned upside down. (The one that remains upright is the Coordinator, and the one that is turned upside down is the Immobilizer.) After these two kinds of symmetries are determined, White moves first.

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