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Frisco Del Rosario writes about chess960, women's basketball, minor league baseball, unsupported collectible card games, lettering in comic books, and Golden Age movies

Basic Knightmare Chess Endings #4: The Paladin 01/30/2018


The paladin* holds this potential. On an empty chessboard, a paladin hits these squares (marked by the South Park Phone Destroyer character Paladin Butters):
That’s 26 squares. A queen hits 27 squares from the center of an empty board, the paladin hits 26, and keeps the knight’s ability to leap over other pieces. Only the requirement that its first hop land on a vacant square prevent Paladin from a higher card value than 7.

Isn’t the first question that comes to mind about Paladin whether the modified piece can checkmate with a bishop?

The first adjustment is that the paladin — because it influences squares of its own color — should work opposite the bishop (whereas the knight operates best on same-colored squares as the bishop because it influences the opposite color).  Then we find that the paladin doesn’t work as well in the corner as the knight:
With Black to move (1. Pb4+ was White’s move), 1…Ka8 2. Nc7# is mate, but White can’t keep the net closed after 1…Kc8. 2. Kc6? is stalemate. 2. Pd5+ checks, and covers d7, but 2…Kb8 3. Pb4+ is perpetual.

The weird problem with the paladin-plus-bishop operation is illustrated by shifting the white king to c6 (covering d7):


Then 1…Ka8 2. Nc7+ isn’t checkmate because the king blocks the paladin’s influence over a7 (and you can’t remove the white king from the neighborhood because someone has to watch b7).

Still, the paladin can be an awesome piece. Paladin-plus-paladin by themselves can checkmate in the center of the board:

Yes, that’s checkmate.

Figuring the paladin’s pawn value: On an empty board, let’s say 26 (paladin squares) divided by 8 (knight squares) equals 3.25. Times 3 (knight value) equals 9.75, which is in the queen’s ballpark, so that works. Say on the average, half of the paladin’s first-hop squares are blocked, so call it 9.75 divided by 2 equals 4.875. Then round up to account for its leaping ability to make 5, and give it a bonus point because you can play Paladin pn an opponent’s knight — if an opponent is checkmating with bishop and knight; turn it into a paladin, and the game is drawn.

Call it 6, which is twice the value of a knight (duh), and the same value as the princess (whose card value is one less than the paladin).

Relative power of the pieces
Queen: 9 pawns
Royal knight: 7
Princess: 6
Paladin: 6
Rook: 5
Bishop: 3
Knight: usually a little less than the bishop
Central pawns: maybe a bit more than 1
Wing pawns: about 1

*Card text: One of your knights, or an opponent’s knight, becomes a paladin. It now moves by making two knight jumps in a row, and the first jump must be to an unoccupied square. Play immediately after your move, effect continues until paladin is lost.

Categories Knightmare Chess

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