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Gutenschach

Introduction

This name follows my pattern, in tribute to Raumschach, of German names for 3d variants on exact cubes. The seemingly-immodest meaning of "good Chess" refers to two things. Firstly it reflects my esteem for Gavin Smith's planar pieces as good pieces indeed for a 3d board this size. Secondly it alludes to Johann Gutenberg, who introduced printing in Europe, as the Reporter piece inspires the names Printer and Press for two pieces introduced here. The variant is a 3d one on the same size (and shape) board as Gavin Smith's Prince but with a wider range of planar pieces, including two components of the Scientist, and no simple FIDE extrapolations. This has the advantage of avoiding a clash of piece names. For the same reason this variant has neither the piece that he terms Prince nor the one that I term Prince.

For the most part I use the same names as Mr. Smith for those pieces that he invented. Base, however, has a problem in that it is the heraldic term for the lower part of a shield. For that reason I have used it as a suffix along with chief (the upper part), dexter (the right, from the viewpoint of the man holding the shield), and sinister (the left, likewise) in my piece article Man and Beast 12: Alternative Fronts. That article added: "If a variant rotates only one piece, they can be abbreviated to just Dexter, Sinister, ... Chief, and Base." As this refers to rotated pieces which are essentially weak, it seemed logical to give a very strong piece a very different name. Eventually I settled on Foundation, which has the double meaning of:
1 the subterranean structure that keeps a building stable; and
2 an institution such as a college or hospital.

Setup

As no two pieces begin with the same three letters, I represent each piece below by those letters. Notation follows my usual practice of numbered ranks, filestacks lettered from the start of the alphabet, and levels lettered from the end. Each player's first rank is shown below:
    a   b   c   d   e   f   g   h
   --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---
s |Hos|Stu|Tac|Tac|Eng|Eng|Stu|Rou|
   --- === === === === === === ---
t |Lab#Sci|Rep|Rep|Tec|Tec|Net#Rev|
   --- --- === === === === --- ---
u |Tac#Rep#Pla|Apo|Apo|Phy#Tec#Eng|
   --- --- --- === === --- --- ---
v |Tac#Rep#Sur#Uni|Lib#Exp#Tec#Eng|
   --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---
w |Att#The#Sur#Pre|Spy#Exp#Fou#Hea|
   --- --- --- === === --- --- ---
x |Att#The#Phy|Str|Str|Pla#Fou#Hea|
   --- --- === === === === --- ---
y |Lab#Net|The|The|Fou|Fou|Sci#Rev|
   --- === === === === === === ---
z |Con|Pri|Att|Att|Hea|Hea|Pri|Amb|
   --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---
For example, the White Spy starts on cell we1. Each player's second rank starts filled with their Stockbrokers. The file boundaries are marked based on whether Stockbrokers must cross them with a noncapturing (thin line) or capturing (thick line) move. The middle four ranks start empty.

Pieces

My approach to planar pieces differs slightly from Mr. Smith's. My starting point is not the Straight FIDE pieces, but Crooked linepieces alternating between steps in two directions. Starting with such pieces I then open up the option of making any number of steps before changing directions. This would make for a colossally powerful piece even on a 2d board, so it needs dampening down a bit. Therefore the usual rule for multi-path pieces that they can reach a destination if at least one path is clear and not if all are blocked is reversed. In other words it can reach a destination if all paths are clear and not if at least one is blocked. See also my piece article Man and Beast 15: Strengthened Across the Board. This gives a wider range of simple planar pieces than in Prince, all of whose names I hope fit his theme well. There are four aside of each of eight simple types, which I subdivide into two groups of four types. Within each group I add two of each of the six compounds of two, and one of each of the four triple compounds. This gives a total of 2x(4x4+2x6+1x4), which is not only the full 64-piece back rank but representable by just 6 designs of FIDE set, with 1 set each of four (larger ones for preference, number them 1 to 4) and 2 each of two (smaller ones for preference, number them 5 and 6) designs. In definitions, rectangles always include squares, parallelograms always include rhombi, and both always include straight lines. What they do not include is single cells, so players must always move a piece to a different cell.

Four simple piece types alternate between directions of the same kind:
The FOUNDATION (called the Base in Prince, see introduction) is based on the Girlscout, making 90° turns between two Rook directions. It inherits the unbound character of Rook and Girlscout, and is a distinct piece in 2d as well as 3d. It moves between opposite corners of any otherwise empty rectangle, with orthogonals as sides, of cells within a rectilinear plane, including as a Rook.
The THEORIST is based on the Boyscout, making 90° turns between two Bishop directions. It inherits the binding of Bishop and Boyscout, and is a distinct piece in 2d as well as 3d. It moves between opposite corners of a rectangle, with standard diagonals (the Bishop directions, SD for short) as sides and all other cells of its binding empty, of cells within a rectilinear plane, including as a Bishop.
The TECHNICIAN is based on the Longboyhexer, making 60° (note the different angle) turns between two Bishop directions. It inherits the binding of Bishop and Lbh, and is indistinguishable from a Bishop in 2d. It moves between the furthest corners of an otherwise empty 60-120 parallelogram, with SDs as sides, of cells within a plane forming a hex array of cells of its binding, including as a Bishop.
The REPORTER is based on the Longrangescout, making 70° turns between two Unicorn directions. It inherits the binding of Unicorn and Lrs, and cannot exist in 2d. It moves between the furthest corners of a 70-110 parallelogram, with nonstandard diagonals (the Unicorn's directions, ND for short) as sides and all other cells of its binding empty, of cells within a plane at 45° to two reclinear ones and 90° to the other, including as a Unicorn.

Four simple piece types alternate between directions of different kinds:
The HEALER is based on the Rhino, making 45° turns between a Rook direction and a Bishop direction. It inherits the unbound character of the Rhino, and is a distinct piece in 2d as well as 3d. It moves between the furthest corners of a 45-135 parallelogram, with orthogonals as two sides and SDs as the other two and all other cells empty, of cells within a plane forming a hex array of cells, including as a Queen.
The ATTENDANT is based on the Tapir, making 90° turns between a Rook direction and a Bishop direction. It inherits the unbound character of the Tapir, and is indistinguishable from a Queen in 2d. It moves between opposite corners of an otherwise empty rectangle, with orthogonals as two sides and SDs as the other two, of cells within a plane at 45° to any rectilinear one, including as a Queen.
The ENGINEER is based on the Blocschach Navvy, making 55° turns between a Rook direction and a Unicorn direction. It inherits the Navvy's unbound character, and is indistinguishable from a Rook in 2d. It moves between the furthest corners of an otherwise empty 55-125 parallelogram, with orthogonals as two sides and NDs as the other two, of cells within a plane at 45° to two reclinear ones and 90° to the other, including as a Duchess.
The TACTICIAN is based on the Blocschach Thug, making 35° turns between a Bishop direction and a Unicorn direction. It inherits the Thug's unbound character, rexcept in 2d where it is indistinguishable from a Bishop. It moves between the furthest corners of an otherwise empty 35-145 parallelogram, with SDs as two sides and NDs as the other two, of cells within a plane at 45° to two reclinear ones and 90° to the other, including as a Governor.

Here is a full alphabetical list of back-rank pieces:

Name Definition Representation
AMBASSADOR Attendant+Engineer+Tactician set 4 Q
APOTHECARY Healer+Attendant set 3 B
ATTENDANT Simple piece, see above set 6 B
CONSULTANT Healer+Engineer+Tactician set 4 K
ENGINEER Simple piece, see above set 6 N
EXPLORER Attendant+Tactician set 4 N
FOUNDATION Simple piece, see above set 5 K/Q
HEALER Simple piece, see above set 6 K/Q
HOSPITAL Healer+Attendant+Engineer set 3 K
LABORATORY Foundation+Technician set 1 N
LIBRARY Foundation+Theorist+Reporter set 1 Q
NETWORK Foundation+Reporter set 1 R
PHYSICIAN Healer+Tactician set 3 R
PLANNER Attendant+Engineer set 4 B
PRESS Foundation+Technician+Reporter set 2 K
PRINTER Technician+Reporter set 2 R
REPORTER Simple piece, see above set 5 R
REVIEWER Theorist+Reporter set 2 N
ROUND Healer+Attendant+Tactician set 3 Q
SCIENTIST Theorist+Technician set 2 B
SPY Theorist+Technician+Reporter set 2 Q
STRATEGIST Engineer+Tactician set 4 R
STUDY Foundation+Theorist set 1 B
SURGEON Healer+Engineer set 3 N
TACTICIAN Simple piece, see above set 5 R
TECHNICIAN Simple piece, see above set 5 N
THEORIST Simple piece, see above set 5 B
UNIVERSITY Foundation+Theorist+Technician set 1 K

The STOCKBROKER moves one step along any of the 9 forward radials with the restriction that the move must be:
(1) noncapturing if orthogonal;
(2) noncapturing if SD and to a file the same distance in/out;
(3) capturing if SD and to a file further in or out;
(4) capturing if ND, including "cutting a corner" with no change in distance in/out.
Note that this makes its moves number:
(a) 3 noncapturing (orthogonal, 1 horizontal SD, 1 vertical SD) and 6 capturing (1 horizontal SD, 1 vertical SD, 4 ND) from files tb/tg/uc/uf/vd/ve/wd/we/xc/xf/yb/yg;
(b) 3 noncapturing (orthogonal, 2 horizontal SD) and 6 capturing (2 vertical SD, 4 ND) from files tc/td/te/tf/ud/ue/xd/xe/yc/yd/ye/yf;
(c) 3 noncapturing (orthogonal, 2 vertical SD) and 6 capturing (2 horizontcal SD, 4 ND) from files ub/ug/vb/vc/vf/vg/wb/wc/wf/wg/xb/xg;
(d) 3 noncapturing (orthogonal, 2 horizontal SD) and 3 capturing (2 vertical SD, 1 ND) from files sb/sc/sd/se/ef/eg/zb/zc/zd/ze/zf/zg;
(e) 3 noncapturing (orthogonal, 2 vertical SD) and 3 capturing (2 horizontal SD, 1 ND) from files ta/th/ua/uh/va/vh/wa/wh/xa/xh/ya/yh;
(f) 3 noncapturing (orthogonal, 1 horizontal SD, 1 vertical SD) and 1 capturing (ND) from files sa/sh/za/zh.
In other words, corner files apart it has the same ratio of move types as a Pawn on a 2d board, the outermost files corresponding to the 2d board's edge files. This is one parallel resulting from all ND moves being capturing; the other is that the move crossing through the centre line corresponds to a Pawn move between two equally central files on a even-file square-cell board.

Rules

As in Blocschach, Stockbrokers have an optional initial double-step noncapturing move. The two steps need not be in the same direction - and in some cases cannot be - but must be valid noncapturing moves as if each step were a whole move. Immediately after making such a move they may be captured En Passant by an enemy Stockbroker as if it had made only the first step, if such a piece is so placed to do so.

There is no Castling for want of a King or Emperor.

Stockbrokers reaching the far rank must be promoted to either a simple planar piece or a compound of two.

Each player must retain two triple compounds from each group - two out of University/Library/Press/Spy and two out of Hospital/Round/Consultant/Ambassador. The winner is thus the first player to capture three triple compounds of either group from the other player.

Notes

The choice of name makes a rather obscure link to an existing variant. Gutenberg was born in Mainz, which ties in with Jörg Knappen's 2d variant Mainzer Schach.

A further connection between the piece names Printer and Prince is that of the Printers Bible, so called because the lament "Princes have persecuted me without cause" was misprinted as "Printers have persecuted me without cause".



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By Charles Gilman.
Web page created: 2007-09-22. Web page last updated: 2018-07-22