The Chess Variant Pages

Letterbox: December 1999

The letterbox is a monthly posting of various emails and letters we receive here at If you would like to send us an email to appear on this page, please indicate somewhere in the body of your email that you'd like the letter to appear here. Also indicate if you'd like your email address mentioned at the end of the letter.

Quest for a Triangular Chess Board

Anyone know of a three person chess set connection? I am looking for one that has squares, set in the shape of a triangle, set on a square board? The pieces are colored red, black and white.

Let me know if you know of one and where can I purchase one. My daughter played a game, as noted above, while on a trip and I would like to get her one for home.

John Halpin

Is Smess Chess?

What are the limits of the games that are reasonably considered "Chess Variants" for the purposes of the CVP? Put another way, what characteristics do "Chess variants" have that other games do not have? (I, for one, might not have expected Smess to be considered a chess variant, for example.)

Jeff Zeitlin

The Chess Variant Pages has a fairly open-door policy when it comes to what we consider to be a chess variant. Just about any game that is "chess-like" is accepted. --Ed.

Incrementally Funny Notation

I originally wrote this message to Mr. Betza at the email address on the page at chessvariants describing the notation. However, that address proved invalid. I therefore send it to the editors in hopes that there is more current contact information available to them.


Mr. Betza:

In your article on your "funny notation" at, near the end of the article, you write:

The notation is not universal or perfect yet. Imagine a piece that moves one square diagonally, and if that square is empty it can continue by jumping two squares diagonally in the same direction, and then three squares (like a Bishop that goes faster and faster!).

My notation has no way to describe such a piece.

Not yet, anyway.

I would describe this as an 'incremental' move. To indicate this, I suggest the prefix 'i'. If the 'i' is not followed by a number, it indicates an increment of 1 - the example you give would be iB. If a number follows, it indicates that the increment is that number - i2B would be a piece that goes 1, 3, 5, and so on. Optionally, if the first move is not a single space, use a decimal notation; the number after the point indicates what the first move is - so a bishop whose first move is 2 spaces, then 4, then 6, and so on would be a i2.2B.

An extension to this would be a 'multiplicative' increment - 1, then 2, then 4, then 8, and so on. This would be a modification of the 'i' indicator; I suggest 'x'. Thus, the example I just gave would be a ixB (assume a default multiplier of 2). Analogous numeric indications would apply after the x to indicate multiples other than 2 and initial moves other than 1.

(Now, all we need is for someone to write a program that can convert your notation into piece definitions for Zillions...)

Jeff Zeitlin

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WWW page created: January 6, 2000.