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In any variant of chess, played either online, or over the board, are there any pieces that can, and are allowed to take multiple other pieces in one move?

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    One could have fun and consider when a white pawn captures a black piece on the last row, it has taken the black piece and itself, only to be re-born as a promoted piece. Commented Jun 19 at 21:29

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Is there any piece that can take multiple pieces at once?

Yes.

In Baroque Chess there is a piece called a "chameleon" or "imitator" which can do this. The imitator (normally shown as a bishop) can capture any piece by moving as a piece of the type captured would have moved to capture.

Here are how some of the other pieces in baroque chess move according to Wikipedia:

The Withdrawer (or Retreater), represented by the queen, captures by moving directly away from an adjacent piece.

The Long-leapers, represented by the knights, capture by jumping over an opposing piece in a straight line. A long-leaper may make multiple captures in the same line as long as each piece is jumped independently

The pawns (or pincers or squeezers) move like standard chess rooks. A pawn captures any opposing piece horizontally or vertically between the square to which the pawn moved and a friendly piece (i.e. there may be no gaps between any of the three pieces).

The Coordinator, represented by the unmarked rook, captures any opposing piece that is on either of the two squares found at the intersection of its own file and the king's rank, and the intersection of the king's file and its own rank; these are found after the Coordinator has moved.

Now consider this baroque position:

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The chameleon or imitator (shown by the bishop) on g6 moves to e6 and c6 (moving like its neighbour, the long-leaper on f6) and so captures the long-leapers on f6 and d6.

It moves away from the withdrawer on h6 and so captures that piece,

When it ends its move on c6 it "surrounds" each of the the black pawns on b6, c5 and c7 and so also captures them. That is each pawn is surrounded either on either side by white pieces or vertically by white pieces.

On c6 it is diagonally opposite the white king on a1 and so the black coordinator on c1 (which is on one of the other corners of the a1-c6 rectangle) is also captured.

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Some of the bigger Shogi (Japanese chess) variants have very powerful pieces, some of which can take multiple pieces. Two main examples

The lion from Chu-shogi moves like a king, but twice. It can take a piece on each move, or take a piece then move back to its starting square or on to a safe square. Chu-shogi is played on a 12x12 board, and even with its limited ranged is considered the most powerful piece. Link https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chu_shogi.

The fire demon from Tenjiku-shogi moves similar to a queen or to any free space within 3 squares, without jumping. That's already powerful but any opponent's piece in the 8 adjacent squares is captured (burnt) at the end of each turn, so the fire demon could capture eight pieces in one move. Tenjiku-shogi is played on a 16x16 board, and again is the most powerful piece. Link https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tenjiku_shogi.

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In spell chess (played on chess.com), it is possible for white to move a pawn over a knight (using jump) and if Black captures that pawn en passant, the knight is captured as well.

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Rather anecdotal, but at our chess club, we had a couple of players who played (International) draughts as well. At some point, we invented a Bughouse variation where one of the boards plays chess, and the other plays draughts. It was intentionally possible to put a draughts man on the chess board, and that piece was definitely able to capture multiple pieces at once; it probably even was required to if able.

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In Atomic Chess, every capture results in a small "explosion" which kills adjacent pieces in addition to the captured piece and the capturer.

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A bit esoteric, but the DOS version of "Laser Chess". Being from 1994 I suppose it pre-dates "online play". And the physical version is different. But I vaguely remember that it could save the game, so chess-by-mail would have been possible. Does that count?

Unlike the modern physical board game version, all the pieces move and capture as their standard Chess counterparts, with the addition of 90 degree rotations. Also unlike the physical board game version, the laser can be moved, not just rotated, and follows the same movement rules as the king.

In addition to the mirrored and shielded pieces of the board game, the knights act as beam splitters, and the queen is immune to laser hits from the direction she is facing, but unlike the shielded blockers the laser passes through her and continues its path on the other side.

The game is played on a 9x9 board with one extra pawn to make space for the laser piece.

On their turn, a player may move a piece, or rotate a piece, or fire the laser. Any pieces hit by the laser beam on a non-reflective, non-shielded side are captured, regardless of color. Capturing a piece stops the beam, but with the beam splitting capabilities of the knights a skillful player can potentially eliminate a large number of pieces with a single shot.

The king may be checkmated normally, or destroyed with the laser. Destroying the opponent's laser is a good way to obtain a decisive advantage, but difficult to do since a path from your laser to theirs may also work from theirs to yours. The beam splitting effect of the knights may be used as a one-way gate to help with this, but a return pulse will destroy the knight, so the setup still isn't easy to accomplish.

My memory of further details has grown fuzzy in the last 30 years, but the game now appears to be "abandonware" if you care to look it up.

The modern board game is also interesting, but bears very little resemblance to actual chess.

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I recall a variant we played in High school we coined "machine-gun chess". Basically after each move .. ALL pieces fire a shot in all directions they could capture. O.o

It was pretty chaotic, and definitely multiple pieces getting removed on a turn.

For example, moving your queen aggressively into the opponent's rank .. would capture the pawn she takes normally .. and then she unloads a hail of "bullets" ... taking out the 2 neighboring pawns, and likely 3 of the backrank pieces as well (ie knight, bishop, queen if at c7. She would then also be removed as the opposing queen would have shot her as well.

Silly game .. but it meets the criteria.

(clarification on our version: victory was complete removal of all pieces, king wasn't the victory condition)

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  • Is this an actual variant, or just something that you and your friends made up? Commented Jun 18 at 14:21
  • I was searching around, and didn't seem to find any other reference to it .. so yeah, seems like something our local group made up back then :)
    – Ditto
    Commented Jun 18 at 14:25
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In junior high, my friends and I played a version of chess I forget the name of where the rule was "if it's toppled, it's out." So capturing pieces meant literally knocking them over, and collateral damage - i.e. toppling multiple pieces - was the goal.

You still had to follow all the other regular chess rules, like not letting go of a piece until your turn is over, so throwing wasn't an option. Instead, we figured out how to launch pieces by placing the capturing piece in a sort of Venn diagram position with the captured piece, clipping the base and shooting it away. Results obviously varied based on the chess set used.

It was surprisingly strategic, I might add. In heavier sets, the biggest threat to you was usually your own queen getting chucked through your king by an enemy rook or knight. In lighter sets, whoever captured a pawn first usually got a huge advantage. (I think for lighter sets, we required the pieces to actually leave the board entirely to be "out," just to make the game longer than five minutes.)

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There are also fairy pieces from chess variant video games, like Martyr (when killed, explodes killing adjacent units) and Blade Dancer (moves again after killing, can kill unlimited times if they have a certain relic) from The Ouroboros King.

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This may or may not count towards your criteria.

In Progressive Chess white first makes 1 move, then black makes 2 moves, then white makes 3 moves, then black makes 4 moves etc., increasing the move count every ply (games are typically very short).

You can move the same piece multiple times within your 'move', so can potentially capture many pieces in the one move, albeit not technically 'at the same time'

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