Courier Chess Set (chess variant/board game)

Courier Chess Set (chess variant/board game)

Courier Chess Set

This is the game most often known these days from van Leyden's painting (; there are both the old-style elephantine Bishops that hop two squares diagonally (like the al-fil in shatranj), and a modern Bishop called a Courier (Läufer, still the German name for a Bishop). The Queen is the old-school short-stepping ferz, and there are two extra pieces: a Mann (henchman), who moves like a King and is one of the most powerful pieces on the board (being able to mate with support), and a Schleich (sneak), who moves like a wazir, one square along a rank or file. The game was famously played for centuries in Ströbeck, but eventually died out there.

There were four obligatory moves to be made at the start: to advance the Rook's pawns and Queen's Pawn two squares each, then make a 'joy-leap' (Freudensprung) of the Queen forward two squares (not a move allowed on any other turn). I'd like to see Nunn's Courier Chess Openings!


I have just discovered that Courier Chess (and lots more games you have never heard of) can be played (or watched) using WinBoard/XBoard.


For more information about Courier Chess (and lots more games you have never heard of) see

Chess Quotes

from: The Psychology of the Chess Player
— Reuben FINE (the man who put the 'anal' into analysis)
"Chess is a contest between two men in which there is considerable ego-involvement. In some way it certainly touches upon the conflicts surrounding aggression, homosexuality, masturbation and narcissism which become particularly prominent in the anal-phallic phases of development. From the standpoint of id psychology, Jones' observations can therefore be confirmed, even enlarged upon. Genetically, chess is more often than not taught to the boy by his father, or a father-substitute, and thus becomes a means of working out the son-father rivalry."

So now you know... It's easy to be dismissive of this, but if you don't think there's anything in it, and are not easily offended, then I invite you to look at a few statements quoted in Dominic Lawson's The Inner Game. The most obvious caution against a psychodynamic interpretation of chess is that Short's anal rape fantasies here seem anything but "unconscious" or "repressed"!