The Chess Variant Pages





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                              LOTUS-39
   
                       PUBLISHED NOVEMBER 1998
    
            FOR THE 1998 CHESS VARIANTS INVENTION CONTEST
  
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                         Copyright (c) 1998
  
                           by david moeser
  
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                         TABLE OF CONTENTS
                         =================
 
 
CHAPTER :I:  INTRODUCTION
=========================
   1.0    Overview
   2.0    General Information
   2.1    Chess Variants Information
   3.0    Algebraic Notation
 
CHAPTER :II:  THE LOTUS-39 GAME
===============================
   4.0    The Pieces and Their Initial Position
   4.1    The Initial Position
   4.2    The Initial Array
   4.3    Sections of the Board
   5.0    Playing the Game
   5.1    Piece Movement
   5.2    Home Hexagon
   5.3    Initial Placement of the Knight
   5.4    Experimental Version
    
CHAPTER :III:  MODERN LOTUS-39
==============================
   6.0    The "Modern" Lotus-39 Game
   6.1    Modern Lotus-39: The Initial Position
   6.2    Modern Lotus-39: The Initial Array
   6.3    Modern Lotus-39: Piece Movement
  
CHAPTER :IV:  PATTERNS
======================
   7.0    Recap of the Basic Concepts
    
  
                     CHAPTER :I:  INTRODUCTION
                     =========================
  
  
   1.0  OVERVIEW
   =============
   
   Lotus-39 is a chess game played on a lotus board consisting of 39
"squares," called cells.  The rules of the game are substantially the
same as Regular Chess.  Except for one piece, Lotus-39 uses establish-
ed chess pieces used in the present or past in Regular Chess, and the 
movements of the pieces are as analogous to the concepts of Regular 
Chess as possible.  A regular chess set can be used. 
 
  
   2.0  GENERAL INFORMATION: VERSION 1.0
   =====================================
   
   Lotus-39 Chess was invented by David Moeser of Cincinnati, Ohio, 
USA, in June 1998 for submission in the 1998 Chess Variants Contest.
This article is being published as of November 30, 1998, along with
other articles detailing additional aspects of Lotus Chess.  Titles
included in this set are:
 
        1. LOTUS-39 CHESS.  This article, with rules for playing the 
game.  
  
        2. THE LOTUS BOARD: NOTATION & DIRECTIONAL CONCEPTS.  Details
on these subjects: 
        *  Notation for the lotus board.
        *  Vectors and directional concepts.
        *  Orthogonality and superorthogonality.
        *  Patterns and pathways for movement of pieces: rows, ranks,
files, diagonals, lotus paths, lotus circles, and other patterns.
        *  Other aspects of the board, such as the color scheme used 
on actual boards.  (See file for Version 1.2)
 
        3. CHESS PIECES IN THE LOTUS ENVIRONMENT.  Explains and illus-
trates the rules for movement of more than two dozen chess pieces as 
used on the lotus board.  (See file for Version 0.6)
 
   In order to keep this file as brief as possible, this article will 
concentrate on the array of pieces for the 39-cell board and the
rules for playing the game.  For more details and background theory, 
readers should consult the other articles listed above.  (Any topic
or technical term not explained in this file is very likely to be
covered in detail in the accompanying articles!)
 
   2.1  CHESS VARIANTS INFORMATION
   ===============================
   
   Interested chessplayers may contact the inventor at the internet 
e-mail address: erasmus at iglou dot com.  NEUE CHESS: THE BOOK, a
compilation of more than 50 pages published in Cincinnati chess
periodicals on the subject of chess variants, is available from the
author for US $5.  (U.S.A. addresses only.  Correspondents outside
the U.S. should contact the author for shipping cost.)
 
   The world capital of chess variants is located on the web at:
http://www.chessvariants.com/index.html.
  
  
   3.0  ALGEBRAIC NOTATION
   =======================
                           ______
                          /\ e7 /\
         7              / d7 \/ f7 \
                      /\    /  \    /\
                    /_c7_\/      \/_g7_\
         6          | c6 |   e6   | g6 |
                    |____|        |____|
                   /\ c5 /\      /\ g5 /\
         5       / b5 \/ d5 \  / f5 \/ h5 \
               /\    /  \    /\    /  \    /\
             /_a5_\/      \/_e5_\/      \/_i5_\
         4   | a4 |   c4   | e4 |   g4   | i4 |
             |____|        |____|        |____|
             \ a3 /\      /\ e3 /\      /\ i3 /
         3     \/    \  /    \/    \  /    \/
                 \ b3 /\ d3 /  \ f3 /\ h3 /
                   \/_c3_\/      \/_g3_\/
         2          | c2 |   e2   | g2 |
                    |____|        |____|
                    \ c1 /\      /\ g1 /
                      \/    \  /    \/
         1              \ d1 /\ f1 /
                          \/_e1_\/

               a   b  c  d   e   f  g  h   i
 
   An easy way to remember the notation system is to note that the
central rank is the fourth rank, and the central file is the 'e'
file.
 
   NOTE: In this article, the word "square" refers ONLY to square-
shaped cells.  It is NOT to be considered synonymous with "cell."
 
 
                  CHAPTER :II:  THE LOTUS-39 GAME
                  ===============================               
 
 
   4.0  THE PIECES AND THEIR INITIAL POSITION
   ==========================================
   
   Whereas Regular Chess uses eight pieces and eight Pawns in its
initial array, Lotus-39 Chess uses five pieces and five Pawns.  In 
addition, one piece starts out off the board and may enter the game 
later on, making the total eleven pieces for each player.
 
   DIAGRAM 4-1: THE INITIAL POSITION
   =================================
                           ______
                          /\  K /\
         7              / F  \/  R \
                      /\    /  \    /\
                    /_A__\/      \/__L_\
         6          | P  | P  P  P|  P |
                    |____|        |____|
                   /\    /\      /\    /\
         5       /    \/    \  /    \/    \
               /\    /  \    /\    /  \    /\
             /____\/      \/____\/      \/____\
         4   |    |        |    |        |    |
             |____|        |____|        |____|
             \    /\      /\    /\      /\    /
         3     \/    \  /    \/    \  /    \/
                 \    /\    /  \    /\    /
                   \/____\/      \/____\/
         2          | P  | P  P  P|  P |
                    |____|        |____|
                    \ L  /\      /\  A /
                      \/    \  /    \/
         1              \ R  /\  F /
                          \/__K_\/

               a   b  c  d   e   f  g  h   i
 
   This diagram departs from the usual convention of using small let-
ters for the abbreviations for Black's pieces.  Capital letters are
used here to show the starting locations for both sets of pieces.
As in conventional chess diagrams, Black starts out at the top of the   
diagram and moves down the page, while White starts out at the bottom
of the diagram and moves up the page.
 
   Both players have the same initial formation.  On the back rank, 
from left to right, these pieces (shown in Diagram 4-1 above):  Lo-
tussa (L), Rook (R), King (K), Ferz (F), and Alfil (A).  On the sec-
ond rank, one Pawn (P) on each of the two squares and three Pawns on 
the hexagon.  In addition, each player has one Knight in-hand.
 
   With this layout all Pawns are protected by at least one piece, as 
is true of Regular Chess.
 
   CHART 4-2: THE INITIAL ARRAY
   ============================
   
 ABBRE-                     USE TO
VIATION    PIECE   NUMBER  REPRESENT
=======    =====   ======  =========
 
   K   =   KING       1    king
   L   =   LOTUSSA    1    queen
   R   =   ROOK       1    rook (castle)
   F   =   FERZ       1    upside-down rook or other piece
   A   =   ALFIL      1    bishop
   N   =   KNIGHT     1    knight (horse)
   P   =   PAWN       5    pawns
   
   4.3  SECTIONS OF THE BOARD
   ==========================
   
   The first two ranks are referred to as each player's home space
and consist of a total of 8 cells.  Each player's first rank is re-
ferred to as the back rank.  The hexagon in the middle of the second
rank is referred to as the player's home hexagon.
 
   The middle three ranks of the board are vacant at the start of the
game.  This middle area has a total of 23 cells, consisting of two 
wavy ranks of 9 cells separated by one straight rank of 5 cells.  
   
   The board consists of four interconnected lotus petals or lotuses,
with a total of 39 cells: 19 squares, 16 triangles, and 4 hexagons.  
All cells are equal, regardless of shape or size.  (See Section 5.2
for a note about the home hexagon.)
 
   
   5.0  PLAYING THE GAME
   =====================
    
   Except as noted in this article, the rules for playing Lotus Chess
on the 39-cell board are the same as in Regular Chess.  There is no 
castling or "en passant" capturing in this game.
 
   For many years the author has placed emphasis on the importance of
practicality for newly invented chess pieces, boards, and games.  This
game is intended to be serious and playable.  Players are encouraged 
to send scores of their best games, and organizers to send news of
their Lotus-39 tournaments, to the author at the e-mail address list-
ed in Section 2.1.
 
   5.1  PIECE MOVEMENT
   ===================
   
   For details of how the pieces move, see the accompanying file,
CHESS PIECES IN THE LOTUS ENVIRONMENT.  This article will present only 
a brief recap of the main features of piece movements.
 
        1. KING.  Like Regular Chess.  Moves to any adjacent cell (ad-
joining on a side or at a corner).  Covers entire board.
 
        2. ROOK.  Like Regular Chess.  Moves only on squares and hex-
agons, never on triangles.  Moves along orthogonal files and ranks;
i.e., Z-axis and X-axis only.  (Does NOT move along wavy rows or non-
orthogonal files or rows.)  
 
        3. ALFIL.  (Predecessor to the modern Bishop.)  Like old-style 
Regular Chess.  Moves on triangles only.  Leaps over one adjacent cell 
to the nearest triangle.  
 
        4. FERZ.  (Predecessor to the modern Queen.)  Like old-style 
Regular Chess.  Moves on squares only.  Moves to any contiguous square 
(adjoining at a corner).  
 
        5. KNIGHT.  Similar to Regular Chess.  Moves on hexagons
only.  Leaps over one adjacent square to hexagon of adjoining (inter-
locking) lotus petal.
 
        6. PAWN.  Similar to Regular Chess, but as in Regular Chess 
there are numerous details!  In general, moves one cell forward along
a file toward the opponent's side.  (Some files are Y-axis [vertical];
some are Z-axis [oblique].  From hexagons there's a choice.)  Does not 
capture the same way it moves; most captures are to either left or 
right on adjoining cells of the next rank.  Special rules for deadend 
cells.
 
        7. LOTUSSA.  The only new piece.  A lotus (wavy) row rider 
with a range (limit) of three cells.  In actuality, probably the most
exciting and strongest piece in this game!
 
   5.2  HOME HEXAGON
   =================
   
   Each player starts the game with three Pawns on the home hexagon.  
This is the only situation where more than one piece occupies a cell.  
As these Pawns move off, this situation normalizes; when only one Pawn 
remains on the home hexagon, it's completely normalized.  If an oppo-
nent's piece captures onto a hexagon containing multiple Pawns, it 
captures all the Pawns.
 
   5.3  INITIAL PLACEMENT OF THE KNIGHT
   ====================================
 
   At the beginning of the game each player has one Knight "in hand."  
That is, the Knight starts out off the board but may get into the fray 
by being placed on the player's completely vacant home hexagon.  (In
other words, all the Pawns must be gone and no other piece can be on
the home hexagon.)  Such a Knight placement can be made on any turn 
when such a move is otherwise legal, but when a Knight placement is 
made it's the only move the player is allowed during that turn.
 
   At the start of the game, a Knight in-hand does NOT protect the  
home hexagon because it has no power to capture there.  (And an off-
board Knight does not "control" any cells that it could move to if 
it were on the home hexagon because it isn't yet on that hexagon and 
hence reaching such cells would require two moves!)
 
   Entering the Knight into the game is an option each player may use 
or ignore.  A Knight in-hand may not be captured by the opponent.  
  
   5.4  EXPERIMENTAL VERSION
   =========================
   
   An experimental version has been suggested in which each player 
would start the game with six Pawns on the home hexagon, thus using
up all the Pawns available in a regular chess set.  Players may send
feedback to the inventor on experience with this variation.
 
 
                   CHAPTER :III:  MODERN LOTUS-39
                   ==============================               
 
 
   6.0  THE "MODERN" LOTUS-39 GAME
   ===============================
   
   The "new, improved" and jazzier version of Lotus-39 may appeal to
many players.  Just as modern Regular Chess grew out of the old-style
game by strengthening the Alfil and Ferz, this game features pieces
that are essentially stronger versions of the Alfil, Ferz, and Rook.
 
   These are: (1) the Wyvern, a piece that's stronger than an Alfil,
even stronger than an Alfilrider, and comes close to being a Bishop.
(2) the always-handy utility player, a nonroyal king, which incorpor-
ates the Ferz's move but is much more flexible.  And (3) the Crook, a 
beefed-up Rook.
 
   The King, Lotussa, Knight, and Pawns are the same as in the tradi-
tional version of Lotus-39.  Except for the three strengthened pieces
replacing Alfil, Ferz, and Rook in the initial array, all rules for
the game of Modern Lotus-39 are the same as those of the traditional 
game listed in this article.
 
   DIAGRAM 6-1: MODERN LOTUS-39: THE INITIAL POSITION
   ==================================================
                           ______
                          /\  K /\
         7              / CO \/ CR \
                      /\    /  \    /\
                    /_W__\/      \/__L_\
         6          | P  | P  P  P|  P |
                    |____|        |____|
                   /\    /\      /\    /\
         5       /    \/    \  /    \/    \
               /\    /  \    /\    /  \    /\
             /____\/      \/____\/      \/____\
         4   |    |        |    |        |    |
             |____|        |____|        |____|
             \    /\      /\    /\      /\    /
         3     \/    \  /    \/    \  /    \/
                 \    /\    /  \    /\    /
                   \/____\/      \/____\/
         2          | P  | P  P  P|  P |
                    |____|        |____|
                    \ L  /\      /\  W /
                      \/    \  /    \/
         1              \ CR /\ CO /
                          \/__K_\/

               a   b  c  d   e   f  g  h   i
 
   Both players have the same initial formation.  On the back rank, 
from left to right, these pieces (shown in Diagram 6-1 above): Lo-
tussa (L), Crook (CR), King (K), Counselor (CO), and Wyvern (W).  On 
the second rank, one Pawn (P) on each of the two squares and three 
Pawns on the hexagon.  Also, each player has one Knight in-hand.
 
   CHART 6-2: MODERN LOTUS-39: THE INITIAL ARRAY
   =============================================
   
 ABBRE-                     USE TO
VIATION    PIECE   NUMBER  REPRESENT
=======    =====   ======  =========
 
   K   =   KING       1    king
   L   =   LOTUSSA    1    queen
   C   =   CROOK      1    rook (castle)
   S   =   COUNSELOR  1    upside-down rook or other piece
   W   =   WYVERN     1    bishop
   N   =   KNIGHT     1    knight (horse)
   P   =   PAWN       5    pawns
    
   6.3  MODERN LOTUS-39: PIECE MOVEMENT
   ====================================
    
        These pieces are the same as described in Section 5.1:  
1. KING.  2. LOTUSSA.  3. KNIGHT.  4. PAWN.
   
        5. CROOK.  (Replaces Rook.)  Has the Rook's move PLUS Y-axis
lines.  Can potentially reach any cell on the board, making it 69% 
stronger than a Rook.
 
        6. WYVERN.  (Replaces Alfil.)  An Alfilrider PLUS the inter-
mediate cells along the diagonals, but only on the V-W axes.  This
makes it an "oblique" directional mover similar to the Bishop in
Regular Chess.  Can potentially reach 32 cells, twice as many as an 
Alfil.
 
        7. COUNSELOR.  (Replaces Ferz.)  Moves like a King but is
non-royal.  Can potentially reach any cell on the board, making it
more than twice as strong (205%) as a Ferz.
 
 
                       CHAPTER :IV:  PATTERNS
                       ======================
   
  
   7.0  RECAP OF THE BASIC CONCEPTS
   ================================
   
   The following is an extremely brief summary with examples of some
of the types of patterns and pathways on the lotus board.  For details 
of the underlying theory, see the accompanying file, THE LOTUS BOARD: 
NOTATION AND DIRECTIONAL CONCEPTS.
 
        1. ORTHOGONAL ROWS.  Two types: X-axis type (like a4-i4 line);
or Z-axis type (like f1-b5 line, called Z-files).
 
        2. NON-ORTHOGONAL ROWS:  Lotus ("wavy") type, like fifth rank
(a5-i5 wavy line).
 
        3. FILES.  Two types: Superorthogonal, on Y-axis (like e1-e7 
line); or hypothecated (for notation only), like so-called "d" file.
 
        4. DIAGONALS.  Two orientations: V-W axes (like c3-i5 line or
g3-a5 line); or Y-axis (like e1-e7 line).
 
        5. LOTUS PATHS:  Continuous, curving (wavy) paths of contigu-
ous, alternating squares and triangles.  (Like c3-e3-e5-g5-and around
to g3-and around to c3.)
 
        6. LOTUS CIRCLE:  Ring of cells surrounding a hexagon.
  
   [Revision 1.0:  Published November 30, 1998.]
  
  


A hardcopy printout of the four main files dealing with Lotus Chess is available from the author for US $14.95 (includes shipping cost to U.S. addresses only). "Lotus Chess: The Book" is spiral-bound and also contains a full-sized, full-color board for use in playing the game. For address information, contact inventor David Moeser by e-mail at: erasmus at iglou dot com.
Written by David Moeser (c).
This is part of a submission to the contest to design a chess variant on a board with 39 squares.
WWW page created: December 7, 1998. Last modified: June 1, 1999.