Enochian chess Enochian chess is a four-player chess variant that is linked to the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Enochian chess is similar to Chaturaji. Its name came from the Enochian system of magic of Dr. John Dee magus and astrologer to Queen Elizabeth I. Meanwhile, the rules of the game were completed by S. MacGregor Mathers.

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Traditional Beginning Final Note Introduction Chess variants are sometimes created and played in a particular subculture outside the chess community itself. Enochian chess, an interesting variation on Chaturanga for Four Players , also has its origins in a particular subculture, in this case the world of Victorian occultists. Enochian chess first appears to have been played by members of the Order of the Golden Dawn, who used their boards and pieces for divination as well as gameplay.

Documentary evidence for the existence of the game in the form of a Golden Dawn paper dating from no later than has come to light, but no historical documents discovered so far have given the complete rules for game play.

Nobel Prize-winning poet and Golden Dawn member William Butler Yeats records in his memoirs that in he played "a curious form of chess at which there should be four players" with two other members of the Golden Dawn. One of the other players was MacGregor Mathers , a founding father of the order.

In his book The Golden Dawn noted occultist Israel Regardie provides a description of the boards and the pieces used in Enochian chess. He also gives two arrays and the occult methodology whereby the others may be derived. Regardie attributes part of the information he provides, including the movement of the pieces, to an "Official Ritual" written by Mathers.

The Golden Dawn considered Enochian chess to be a secret teaching. At least partially because of this veil of secrecy, authorship of this variant is unclear. Golden Dawn founder Dr.

Wynn Westcott has been suggested as the inventor of this particular variant, but some including Westcott himself have claimed that the documents describing Enochian chess were among those supplied to him from an older occult group operating in Germany. The complete rules presented here are based upon a modern reconstruction by Golden Dawn student Chris Zalewski. The magical practices of the Golden Dawn are of no concern to the chess variant community, so this essay will focus on Enochian chess as a game.

Information of an occult nature will be omitted or glossed-over wherever possible. Golden Dawn members did not use orthodox boards. For more information on the traditional equipment used to play this variant, see Appendix I. However, play is facilitated by making the corner spaces of the board at least twice as large as the other squares.

After some experimentation the author of this essay found the following board to be particularly suitable: Figure 1: Board The four corner spaces a1, a8, h1, h8 are the throne squares and have special properties involving the four kings that will be explained below. Setup Each of the four players begins with a king, a queen, a rook, a knight, a bishop and four special pawns.

For the others see Appendix II. This double occupancy is only allowed at the beginning of the game. Once either the king or the other piece moves off of the throne square then for the remainder of the game only one piece may sit on that particular throne square at any one time. Both pieces are captured if an enemy piece moves into a throne square while it is still occupied by the both original pieces.

More information concerning the king may be found in the Rules section. The queen moves by leaping two squares in any direction, as would an alibaba. The movement of a queen is illustrated in Figure 3. The queen has a special form of capture only allowed against other queens. For more information on this special case, see Rules. Castling is not allowed in Enochian chess. The bishop moves diagonally as in FIDE chess, except that like the queen it has a special form of capture only allowed against other bishops.

More information on this can be found in the Rules section. The knight behaves exactly as it does in FIDE chess. The four classes of pawn pawn of queen, pawn of rook, pawn of bishop, and pawn of knight behave much like FIDE pawns, moving one space forward or capturing one space in the forward diagonal. For yellow, "forward" constitutes movement towards row 1.

For blue, forward movement is in the direction of column A. Red pawns move towards row 8 amd black pawns toward column H. Promotion must be delayed if all four of a player's pawn are uncaptured. Also, a pawn may only promote to its type. A pawn of rook promotes to a rook, a pawn of knight promote to a knight, etc. Furthermore, pawns are not allowed an initial double step. Notes Neither the original Golden Dawn material nor Zalewski's reconstruction use the "pawn of Both simply refer to these pieces as pawns.

The nomenclature has been adapted from Tamerlane chess in an attempt to clarify the promotion rules. Although Zalewski's reconstruction of the rules for Enochian chess may be sound, the author of this article cannot help but wonder if in an earlier version perhaps the queen and bishop moved more like their Chaturanga counterparts, i.

Such a suggestion is merely speculation on the part of this essayist. Regardie and through him Mathers both support Zalewski's descriptions of the queen and bishop. Before Play Begins Prior to the start of a game the players should choose which of the eight arrays they will use. The players will also need to determine what color each will play thereby determining who will be on which team and what color will go first.

The Golden Dawn had a special procedure for making these determinations that had no substantive impact on play. For a description of this procedure, see Appendix IV.

Once these issues are settled play may proceed, going clockwise around the board. Team Play There is no individual winner in Enochian chess. For example, if the blue army is eliminated from play and the black army goes on to the capture the red and yellow kings, then the team of blue and black have won the game.

Team members are normally forbidden from capturing each other's pieces, unless otherwise noted. Pieces belonging to armies on the same team do not threaten each other.

The blue and black kings can be adjacent without giving each other check. Capture of the King Kings are not mated in Enochian chess, though players must warn their opponents that the king is threatend by declaring "check" as in FIDE chess. A king in check MUST be moved, even if that means putting the king in check again.

The player with the king in check may move another piece only if the king is blocked by friendly pieces so that it cannot be moved out of check. When a king is captured all the pieces of that color become frozen. They remain on the board, but are unable to move, do not threaten other pieces, nor can they be captured. They simply sit on the board acting as blocking terrain. Seizing the Throne Moving the king onto the throne square of a friendly player transfers control of the friendly army.

The two armies still take separate turns, but are under the control of one player. Frozen pieces may be reactivated by this method. The player retains control of both armies even if the king that seized control is moved off of the throne square. If the usurping king is captured, control of the friendly army reverts to the original player, assuming that the army still has a king to lead it.

Otherwise both armies are kingless and those players have lost the game. Exchange of Prisoners Two opposing players who have both captured enemy kings may agree to an exchange of prisoners. The exchange can only be made if both players with captured kings agree and neither have lost their own king.

The kings are placed upon their own throne squares, or if a throne square is occupied, the nearest empty square. Zalewski does not indicate how to place a king if the thrones square is occupied and multiple alternative squares are equidistant from the throne square. Frozen pieces revert to normal pieces when their king is brought back into play in this manner. Priviledged Pawn If a player is reduced to a king, a queen, and a pawn; a king, a bishop, and a pawn or a king and a pawn, then the pawn is considered to be priviledged.

Upon reaching its normal promotion zone a priviledged pawn may be promoted to a queen, rook, bishop, or knight as the player chooses. In effect, the pawn becomes a normal FIDE pawn. However, if a priviledged pawn is promoted to a piece still in play, the original piece is demoted to the pawn of its type.

This effect is illustrated by Figures 4 and 5. Figure 4: Before Using Pawn Privilege Black has a pawn of bishop ready to promote and sees an opportunity to fork red's king and rook. Since the pawn of bishop is priviledged, black chooses promotes to a queen. Black already has a queen on the board, which is demoted to a pawn of queen. Figure 5: After Using Pawn Privilege What would happen if the above scenario were to involve a pawn of queen instead of a pawn of rook?

Zalewski is unclear on this point, but it could be guessed that the original queen can avoid demotion, allowing two black queens on the board. Otherwise the player would be penalized for having priviledge. Concourse of Bishoping A perusal of the eight possible arrays reveals that opposing bishops are bound on opposite colors. The special case known as the concourse of bishoping allows bishops to capture enemy bishops. The concourse of bishoping is similar to the triumph of the boat found in Chaturanga for Four Players.

By completing a 2x2 square formation involving all four bishops, the moving bishop takes all three other bishops. A concourse is a special case in which capturing a teammate's piece is legal.

Figure 6: Concourse of Bishoping In Figure 6 above if the black bishop were to move to e4 it would complete the concourse, capturing all three of the other bishops. Unlike the triumph of the boat, the concourse maneuver is legal in only five positions on the board.

The other four concourse locations are illustrated by Figure 7. A concourse of queens occurs under exactly the same circumstances as a concourse of bishoping. Bishops and queens may not be combined in a single concourse capture.

All pieces involved must be either bishops OR queens. Bare King When two players on the same team are both reduced to bare kings the game is a draw. Withdrawing A player may withdraw from the game at any time, leaving their pieces in command of their teammate.


Enochian chess

Enochian chess is a four-player chess variant , similar to Chaturaji , associated with the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. The name comes from the Enochian system of magic of Dr. John Dee magus and astrologer to Queen Elizabeth I , which was later adapted by Victorian members of the Golden Dawn into "a complete system of training and initiation. Enochian Chess was created by William Wynn Westcott , one of the three founders of the Golden Dawn, but the rules of the game were probably never completed by him. The game was finished by S.


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