Tavreli

Overview

Tavreli (Russian Chess) is a two-player abstract strategy board game in the same family as Western chess, Shatranj, Japanese Shogi or Chinese Xiangqi.There was an ancient Russian Chess-like game called Tavreli but its rules have been lost over time. Today's Tavreli is a modern game that was recreated in the latest 1990s as a combination of standard Chess and Russian Stacking Draughts.

Objective
The objective of Tavreli is the same is in standard Chess: to attack the opponent's Magus (King) in such a way that the opponent cannot escape from the attack and cannot block it on his next turn.

Pieces

At the beginning of the game one of the players has 16 light pieces and the second player has 16 dark pieces: 

Light pieces Dark pieces
- one Magus (King) - one Magus (King)
- one Duke (Queen) - one Duke (Queen)
- two Warriors (rooks) - two Warriors (rooks)
- two Archers (bishops) - two Archers (bishops)
- two Horsemen (knights) - two Horsemen (knights)
- eight Soldiers (pawns) - eight Soldiers (pawns)

Unlike in standard Chess, the Tavreli pieces are flat and stackable. The ranks of the pieces are also shown on their sides so a player can see the composition of any stack without disassembling it. Another difference comparing to the standard Chess is that in Tavreli each pawn promotes to the piece that was behind that pawn initially. This rule makes it important to distinguish between different pawns since they move from a file to another file during a game. The pawn starting in front of the Magus promotes to the special piece called Helgi (explained below): 

- Light Helgi - Dark Helgi

Board

Tavreli is played on an 8x8 square board.

The initial position of the pieces is shown in the following picture:

Play

All standard Chess rule apply, including castling and "en passant".

All the differences are explained below:

  • When a player captures an opponent's piece, the captured piece is not taken off the board. Instead of this the player puts his piece on top of the captured piece forming a stack.
  • A player can move his piece to a square occupied by another piece belonging to him. In this case the player puts the moved piece on top of the "captured" one the same way as it happens with opponent's pieces. A player's Soldier can move on top of another piece belonging to him by its ordinary move (one cell forward) or by jumping two squares from its initial position. In the latter case the next square (which is jumped over) must be empty. No piece can be placed on top of Magus.
  • A stack belongs to whoever owns its topmost piece, and moves as that piece does. However, a player is not obliged to move a stack as a whole: it is allowed to move just the top part of it (any number of top pieces) leaving the bottom part on its place.
  • When a single pawn or a pawn on top of some stack reaches the last rank it is promoted to the piece that was behind that pawn initially. If a pawn reaches the last rank being inside some stack (i.e. not on top of it) then it is not promoted. However, if the player decides to split his stack and leave the pawn (either a singe piece or on top of remaining sub-stack) on the last rank then the pawn is promoted as the result of such splitting move.
  • The pawn starting in front of the Magus promotes to the special piece called Helgi. It can move both as a Queen and a Knight. This is the most powerful piece in Tavreli.
  • When a promoted pawn  is captured (by any player) it is demoted back to a pawn (just like in Shogi).
  • If a pawn is brought back to the 2nd rank inside some stack then it can't jump two squares again.

A game ends by a checkmate or a stalemate as in standard Chess.

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