I never was very good at chess partly because I was never patient enough to think through more than a few possible future moves, and partly because my best friend was a chess master who would deride my "unconventional moves" without explaining why he considered them to be risky.
- Pewsitters (8): Placed one pew ahead of the other pieces. May advance and be seated only one pew at a time except on its first move when it can jump two pews. This is to be forgiven because they are considered to be "newcomer" pewsitters. The Pewsitters' front line position makes them especially vulnerable to being taken in by the other pieces, and their greater numbers makes them more suitable to be sacrificed for the end game. Pewsitters may take an opposing piece if that piece poses an immediate threat to their seat or position. Often the pewsitter obstructs the progressive goal of the stronger piece behind it and must be either sacrificed or moved forward against its will.
- Cathedrals (2): These must move in straight lines and may travel as far from the baseline as they desire. Cathedrals should have a Bishop in order to function properly. If its Bishop falls, the Cathedral and its contents are to be converted into a Pewsitter.
- Lawyers (2): Are permitted to jump around and thrust subpoenas deep into enemy territory. They can tie up vast numbers of Bishops, Cathedrals, and Pewsitters by the mere threat of their motions.
- Bishops (2): May move diagonally, forwards or backwards at will, unless otherwise commanded by the Queen.
- Archbishop (1): The most important but perhaps the weakest piece. Totally dependent on the other pieces for survival, the Archbishop can only move one tentative step at a time and must be careful not to step anywhere that might result in getting broadsided by a Bishop, hit with a subpoena from a Lawyer, or having a Cathedral fall on him. Pewsitters are generally not considered to pose a threat, but the Archbishop must have Queens to protect him lest he be cornered by even the lowliest of pieces.
- Presiding Queen (1): This is the most powerful piece. She may move in any direction she fancies and is extremely threatening, striking down enemies at a distance with her long crozier and imposing fear at the mere sight of her spectacular miter.
Opening Moves: Past games have revealed several interesting opening moves which some have termed "Opening Gambles".
1) The Beers Gamble: This is an attempt to use your Lawyers to directly attack the opposing Bishop or Archbishop by filing lawsuits in order to confiscate Cathedrals and all the other pieces on the board in one all or nothing move.
2) The Schori Gamble: In this bold move, the Presiding Queen ignores the intervening pieces, and in violation of the rules, deposes an opposing Archbishop or Bishop.
The San Joaquin Defense: In this maneuver, the lawyers are moved forward to protect the Cathedrals, Bishops, and Pewsitters. Unfortunately, the rules of Episcopal Chess may vary depending on where you are playing making this defense a poor choice in some locales.
The South Carolina Defense: This defensive strategy, often confused with an opening gamble, involves permitting your opponent to set up their pieces on a separate game board from which their Lawyers, Pewsitters,, Bishops, and Queens cannot mount an attack. This strategy also works only in specific locales.
Parental Warning: The game of Episcopal Chess is not appropriate for adults. If adults are caught by their Father playing this game, their game boards will be taken away from them and their game pieces will be cast into the darkness of the depths of the toy box.