Enochian Chess Congress Debriefing

Results of the Enochian Chess Congress from PantheaCon2015 including links for all of the Congress Rules.

The Enochian Chess Congress held at PantheaCon 2015 in the Circle of Cerridwen/st4r.org suite was a great success. We had 45 people sign up for the Congress, each of whom made at least one move in one of the two group games in progress throughout the weekend. The number of moves made across the two games totaled 92, but it was a rather uneven split with 16 peaceful moves in the first game while the second game went on for a slogging battle of 76 moves. To my surprise and delight, all of those moves were in fact legal moves. While no pair or group of people sat down and actually recorded an “official” game for the Congress, there was one visitor to the suite who had made his own Enochian Chess boards and pieces (alas, he did not have those with him!). He and I played a game which ended in a draw when I was down to two bare Kings. Though not a decisive loss for me, it was a fairly close game all things considered.

Both of the group games were actually divinations, a fact which we didn’t emphasize while the games were in progress. Performing a divination with a game of Enochian Chess starts with choosing the appropriate board and sub-angle setup for the question. The first group game was Fire of Air with the Ptah marker placed in the house of Libra within the Fire sub-angle of the Air board. Our question for this game related to community cooperation, much along the same lines as the ritual done by OSOGD in the Fir Ballroom on Saturday, 14 February 2015. Key words for the Fire of Air angle include “harmonizing polarities”, “contracts” and “communication.” Key words for the seventh house of Libra include “social partnerships” and “workings of karma.” This game went only four rounds. The Fire King mounted the Ptah square as the first move of the fourth round. The completion of that round with the Fire King still on that square resulted in a successful answer to the question. That there were no pieces taken is suggestive of little or no conflict in the situation. A more complete interpretation of the move-by-move meanings may be forthcoming in a future article.

The second group game was set up as Air of Fire, in part for symmetry’s sake. It was conducive to an interesting question, however, which pertained to my colleague’s project at her work. Key words for the Air of Fire angle include “long distance communication” and “space travel.” (Yes, really! Zalewski, p201.) The Ptah square chosen was the sixth house of Virgo due to the key words of “work” and “civil service.” This game went on for 19 rounds with many pieces getting captured, including the Earth King. The resolution was successful, however, with the Air King moving onto the Ptah square in the first move of the 19th round and remaining there safely while the round completed, thus ending the game.

When the second game finished on Sunday night, I had not planned to do any divinatory interpretation on it any time soon. Too complicated, I thought. But as I replayed the game Monday morning to check the validity of all the moves made, something jumped out at me. Fairly early in the game, the Earth Rook, Earth of Earth and representing the planet Saturn, started in Taurus then moved to Virgo, back to Taurus, and then back to Virgo again. Since both Taurus and Virgo are associated with the element of Earth, saying that “the project is bogged down in Earth,” sure seemed accurate. At the end of the eighth round, the Earth Rook moved into the house of Aquarius, an Air sign. By the middle of the next round, the Earth King was captured, freezing the Earth pieces. They remained frozen for the remainder of the game. It seemed like one of the bogging down problems was resolved. My colleague said as I explained this to her Monday morning, “I just got word that the last software problem was solved last night.”

The presentation on Monday morning was well attended. We had close to two dozen there at the start. Some left when they realized that spectator chess might not be as thrilling as we’d thought originally, but those that did leave had stayed through the introduction portion of the presentation. A few people came in late, including the person I’d played that game with in the suite on Sunday night. Our five audience-meber players (two played the Water element as a team) were getting into the game and the crowd that remained also had fun kibitzing. There were chants of, “Check! Check! Check!” when Kings got placed in jeopardy, and when we were getting down to the end of both the presentation time slot and the game play, the audience had fun counting down from 10 to 0 to help us limit the amount of time our players had to make their moves. The timing worked out well and the game ended about five minutes before the end of the presentation time slot.

The second place prize went to Team Water, in part because it was a prize which could be split between two people (a pack of rainbow rose cross stickers), and in part because they successfully navigated the Water King onto the King Square of their ally, Earth, thus taking over control of the Earth pieces a couple of different times. The Earth pieces spent some time frozen and then resurrected when the Water King took the Earth Throne. There was more audience laughter and shouting of, “Necromancy! Resurrect!” as Team Water moved onto and off of the Earth King square in the end-game.

The first place prize (the first prototype printing of the Earth Board, a set of 36 token pieces and a simple black box to keep them in) went to the Fire player who was the ultimate winner of the game. He successfully moved two of his pawns all the way across the board to be promoted to Knight and Rook, respectively. These promoted pawn pieces lead to the decisive ending of the game.

All of the rules pages made for the Enochian Chess Congress are linked below and are being made available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike (CC BY-NC-SA) License. These rules are based on our experiences reading the Chris Zalewski book,  Enochian Chess of the Golden Dawn, A Four-Handed Chess Game, our experiences attempting to play the game itself and our ideas about how to create an event that would expose people to Enochian Chess in the context of a suite at PantheaCon.


ECC RULES pdf documents

Congress Rules – This isn’t going to be helpful to anyone seeking to learn how to play Enochian Chess, but may be useful if someone else decides to hold an Enochian Chess Congress.

Group Game Rules  – Like the first document, this is quite specific to our event at PantheaCon and is a strategy we worked up to get people exposed to playing Enochian Chess, but with little commitment.

Piece Moves – The Queen in Enochian Chess moves quite differently from the Queen in standard Chess. The diagram I have comparing the Queen move to the Knight move was found helpful by many!

Move Notation – We use somewhat different notation than described in Zalewski. The most significant difference is that we notate the sub-element of each pawn. So instead of a simple P to refer to a pawn, we indicate EP, AP, FP or WP when moving a specific pawn, or all three letters when a pawn is captured. That is, AFP is Air’s Fire Pawn.

Rules – Basic – This page is a blend between rules applicable to our specific event and some rules about the game itself.

Game Board Basics – Along with some text, a diagram shows the location of the four quadrants relative to the game board with arrows indicating the direction each element’s pawns would move.

These setup documents are all very similar:

Earth of Earth Setup
Air of Earth Setup
Water of Earth Setup
Fire of Earth Setup

Rules – Advanced – Unique to Enochian Chess is the concept of a Concourse of Bishoping when the four Bishops occupy a 2×2 set of adjacent squares. Also contains information about Promoted Pawns and Privileged Pawns.

Esoteric Rules – Special rules appertaining to Kings and the King’s Squares, capturing the Ally King and a disclaimer.

End Game – This covers the specific possible endings of a general game. It does not cover the ending of a divination type game, but a version of that is covered in the Group Game Rules document.

Square Anatomy – This document explains how the chessboards are derived from the Enochian Watchtower Tablets and the general concepts behind the four sides of each of the squares.

Pantheons – These names are taken from the Chris Zalewski book, Enochian Chess of the Golden Dawn, A Four-Handed Chess Game. The names are mostly consistent with the ones found in the Israel Regardie “black brick”.