The Chess Variant Pages



This page is written by both of the game's inventors, Antoine Fourrière and Roberto Lavieri.

Symmetron! 44

By Antoine Fourrière and Roberto Lavieri

 

Introduction

Symmetron! 44 is a competing entry in the current 44-square contest.

Its two main characteristics are:

  • Several pieces can change to their "hippogonally symmetrized" version (that is, turning their orthogonal moves into diagonal moves and vice versa), but through different mechanisms.
    There is a piece in Symmetron! which has the ability to change the movement of some adjacent friendly pieces to a symmetrized type: the SHS, or Self-Hippogonal-Symmetrizer. When adjacent to a friendly SHS, an Advancer-Rook changes automatically its movement to that of an Advancer-Bishop, and the Dragon-Bishop movement changes to Dragon-Rook. (We prefer these terms to Dragon-Horse and Dragon-King.) This is automatic symmetrisation by adjacence, in this case, adjacence to a SHS.
    The Pawns and Bawns have a natural symmetrization by capture, They have another symmetrization available, they can change into each other when adjacent to a friendly SHS. This is permanent symmetrization by adjacence.
    The King moves according to position. Inside its six-square Palace, it moves one step orthogonally, but outside its Palace, the King's move changes to the symmetrized type, one step diagonally. This is symmetrization by position.
    Of course, the Knight is already symmetrized.
    (For the record, the yet undecided larger version of Symmetron! should feature Can(n)ons. This will be optional symmetrization after moving, or as a move.)

  • Each Player has a Launching Square, which is accessible only to the Reducer, the SHS, or the Knights when they change owner, Shogi-like.

 

Board and Setup

The 44-square Board is composed of a 6x7 rectangle or Arena, plus two Launching Squares (one for each player, as in Pocket Mutation Chess).

White
King (K): d1
Reducer (R): c1
SHS (H): e1
Advancer-Rooks (AR): b1 f1
Dragon-Bishops (DB): a1 g1
Knight (N): WLS
Pawns (P): a2 b2 f2 g2
Bawns (B): c2 d2 e2
Black
King (K): d6
Reducer (R): c6
SHS (H): e6
Advancer-Rooks (AR): b6 f6
Dragon-Bishops (DB): a6 g6
Knight (N): BLS
Pawns (P): a5 b5 f5 g5
Bawns (B): c5 d5 e5

Pieces

Pawn

 

The Pawn moves one step forward or sideways and captures one step diagonally forward. If adjacent to the friendly SHS, the Pawn can change as a move to a Bawn.

Bawn

 

The Bawn moves one step diagonally forward and captures one step forward or sideways. If adjacent to the friendly SHS, the Bawn can change as a move to a Pawn.

Knight

 

The Knight moves and captures with a L-move, like in Fide-Chess. Knights are immune to the Reducers, but cannot capture them (as would be the case in Achernar). A Knight on a Launching Square can move to any free position on the Arena, but a Knight on the Arena cannot go to a Launching Square unless it is captured. When a Knight is captured and the Launching Square of the capturing team is freed, the captured Knight change colors and goes to the Launching Square of the capturing team, as a piece-in-hand that can be dropped on the board like in Shogi. (If the Launching Square of the capturing team is occupied, the Knight disappears from the game.)

Reducer

  The Reducer can move with a one-step non-capturing movement, or from the Board to its own Launching Square and vice versa. A Reducer can explode as a move with the enemy Reducer when both Reducers are vertically adjacent. It cannot capture, or be captured by, any other piece. The Reducer has the ability to reduce the movement of any enemy adjacent rider (in Symmetron! 44, a Dragon-Bishop or an Advancer-Rook, symmetrized or not) to its otherwise permitted one-step moves. (But if its own Reducer is also adjacent to a rider, the rider is not reduced.).

SHS

  The Self-Hippogonal-Symmetrizer, or SHS, can move with a one-step non-capturing movement, or from the Arena to its own Launching Square and vice versa. A SHS can explode as a move with the enemy SHS when both SHSs are vertically adjacent. It cannot capture, or be captured by, any other piece. The SHS turns the moves of several adjacent friendly pieces in their hippogonally symmetric equivalents. Thus, an Advancer-Rook and a Dragon-Bishop adjacent to their SHS move as an Advancer-Bishop and a Dragon-Rook. A Knight adjacent to its SHS is not affected, but a Pawn or Bawn adjacent to its SHS has the option of changing into a Bawn or Pawn. SHSs are immune to the Reducers.

Advancer-Rook

 

The Advancer-Rook slides any number of empty squares along a row or column. If there is a capturable enemy piece adjacent to the landing square and in the same direction of its path, this piece can be OPTIONALLY captured. When adjacent to the friendly SHS, its movement changes automatically to the movement of an Advancer-Bishop. When adjacent to the enemy Reducer, it is only allowed a one-square move, unless it is also adjacent to the friendly Reducer.

Dragon-Bishop

 

The Dragon-Bishop slides any number of squares diagonally, or one square orthogonally. When adjacent to the friendly SHS, its movement changes automatically to the movement of a Dragon-Rook. When adjacent to the enemy Reducer, it is only allowed a one-square move, unless it is also adjacent to the friendly Reducer.

King

  The King moves and captures with a single orthogonal step in its own Palace and a single diagonal step elsewhere.

There is no castling.

 

Rules

There are two ways of winning the game: to checkmate the opposing King, or to reduce the enemy pieces to only three.

Stalemate or triple repetition is a draw.

A Pawn or Bawn on the sixth row promotes into a Dragon-Rook, an Advancer-Bishop or a Knight.