The Chess Variant Pages

Letterbox: November 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.

Chaturanga / Shatranj Piece Values

I wonder how you'd weight the pieces numerically for these two (presumably similar) forms? Without knowing much about the game(s), it seems to me that the Chancellor has an important role to play, and yet cannot be accorded the 9-pawn valuation of the modern Q. Is the role of this this piece primarily to be sacrificed at an opportune moment (as suggested by one of the checkmate examples I looked at)?

I'd be interested in your thoughts, as I'm tempted to have a go at adapting Crafty or some such.

All best

Francis Monkman

Scoring Schemes

Here are 3 methods of scoring the outcome of standard chess games for tournaments.

Lasker Checkmate 10-0, Stalemate 8-2, Bare King with no mate possible 6-4, draw 5-5. (I don't recall whether this was World Champion Emmanuel Lasker or Chess writer Edward Lasker)

Spielman White checkmate 6-1, White stalemates Black 5-2, White bare kings Black, 4-3, draw 3-4, Black bare king 2-5, Black stalemate 1-6, Black checkmate 0-7.

Harkness? Checkmate = 4, Draw =2, Loss =1.


Roger Cooper

Feedback and Omega Chess

Hi! I'm a big chess fan. I have a chess page here:

What you need to do is have a feedback page where people can view the opinions of many others. This will help endorse the Omega Chess variant.

[We do have two current ways of publishing feedback -- one is the letterbox pages (which you're reading right now), the other is our Yahoo Chess Variants club (at We also publish comments on individual games. For the Large Variants Contest there were several dozen comments published on our Voter Comments Page. --Ed.]

If you want, you may include my own opinion of Omega chess:

Standard chess as we know it is a great game. But the sad fact is that to master it requires memorization of opening variations. I believe this takes away the very idea behind strategy. While it is very important to be able to open a chess or strategy game well, opening knowledge should not be the deciding factor. A player of great opening knowledge with only average tactical knowledge can beat someone of great tactical knowledge if they do not have a good opening knowledge. Opening knowledge has been growing through the years. It's absolutely ridiculous that there are many thick books that cater for only 1 type of opening line (e.g. Sicilian). There's obviously too much memorizing as opposed to tactics. Omega chess is a good solution to this problem. It tries to keep as much of the very mature original game as possible, while greatly reducing the opening factor. It also has added 2 pieces that will make both playing and watching the game exciting and interesting. Having Omega chess as the official game of chess would be a big step forward to the chess community. It will not happen overnight, but it will happen eventually. The sooner it will happen, the better.

Mark Yatras


My name is Jordan Becker, and I am the co-founder of the "KriegLeague", a group of 70 Kriegspiel players on the Internet Chess Club. I just uploaded a page about the game of Kriegspiel Chess, including a small history, summary of the rules, a list of rules and characteristics unique to ICC Kriegspiel, and a list of links. Its URL is:

I found your site to be the most interesting and informative of all of the resources I found on the Internet. I want to thank you for putting the useful information about Kriegspiel on the Internet. I put the "What is Kriegspiel" page up by popular demand. Since the KriegLeague's birth in December, 1998, the popularity of Kriegspiel Chess has grown considerably on the ICC. Before, Kriegspiel tournaments were few and far between- now, we have a tournament every Monday, along with several other tournaments at random times during the week.

I have your site listed as my main source for information on the "Sources and Acknowledgements" part of the page. I have yet to play Kriegspiel on a board, so it was very interesting to read about the different variations of Kriegspiel listed on your site.

Thanks again, I wish you all the best with your page, it truly is excellent. I'll have to take a shot at those Kriegspiel Problems you have!

Jordan Becker
ICC handle "freedomyeah"
Co-founder of the KriegLeague

Jordan Becker



As a big fan of chess variants and frequent visitor of the chess variant pages, I profit of the occasion that I have three issues to write you about:

First of all, thank you and congratulations for a truly wonderful site! Some time ago I reviewed it and warmly recommended it in an article I wrote for the Variant Chess magazine.

Then, I wanted to give you some precisions on the variant called "Stupidhouse", that was added to the site on November 6, following an article by John Beasley in the same Variant Chess, where he was reviewing the tournament I organized in Geneva.

The game was invented in the Chicago "Bug Mini-gathering" which happened this year in June or July if I remember correctly. It was spelled "Stupidhouse" and not "Stupid House". Some more information on the Chicago gathering has been posted on the Bug Board of

Finally, I have a chess page which I would like to see linked on your site (the reverse is of course already done). Its strong point is that there is a lot of stuff about chess variants in it (especially Losing Chess and Bughouse). Its weak point is that it is in French.

[Fabrice's web page is at --Ed.]

Well, congrats again about the excellent job!

Fabrice Liardet

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WWW page created: December 4, 1999.