A friend came to me with the following FootChess position, claiming that White had a way of forcing a win. I'll admit that I regarded the board with skepticism, but as time passed it began to seem plausible. How might it have been done?
As a reminder, the rules of FootChess are here:
- There is a Ball piece that starts in the center grid intersection, it is treated as being in D4,D5,E4,and E5; whichever piece first occupies any of those squares plays the Ball as if it were in the square they occupy.
- The Ball is played by any piece 'capturing' it. Instead of being captured, the ball immediately moves as a Neutral piece of the same variety that captured it, under the control of the capturer.
- If the Ball would capture a piece on this move, it is instead treated as if captured by it. This is called a Pass.
- Check and Checkmate are not relevant. Instead the game ends by moving the ball into the opposing goal; that being either D0, E0 or D9,E9. Pieces may not occupy these Goal Squares.
- All pieces may capture opposing pieces as Standard Chess, the exception being that a King may not be captured while on his home ranks, those being 1,2 for White, and 7,8 for Black.
- The Ball may be played by a pawn through either a capture move into its square, or by a standard move into its square. A pawn may play the Ball to a Capture square even if no Capture exists. Or a standard move sqaure even if there is a piece there. This means a pawn may always play the Ball to a square immediately or diagonally in front of itself, as well as two ranks directly in front of itself, if it is passed to while on its home rank.
And here is a link to the first Footchess puzzle.