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Turn Qi


Many things have been done with Oriental variants over the years. They have been put into hexagonal-cell (e.g. Toccata), four-player (e.g. Yonin Shogi), and even 3d (e.g. Tunnelshogi) forms. They have not, as far as I know, been previously tried in a wraparound environment, although I touch on this just for my Multipler-displacer Elephant in Eleport Xiang Qi. Since this variant I have added some based on a more complex wraparound in both dimensions, on pairs of 7x7, and 9x9, boards. Turn Qi is Xiang Qi (XQ) rearranged on a board in the style of Byzantine and Lincoln Circular Chess. If you think the pun on "turnkey" bad, wait until you see those on Wazirs being wise. An alternative would be to prefix Qi with the Chinese word for lake, but I do not know that word. I envisage it being played on a homemade board with a standard Xiang Qi set and a Draughts set.


There are 5 files lettered a to e, and 18 ranks lettered i to z, not unlike in my 3-player Tryzantine Chess. Ranks i-q are White's side of the River, ranks r-z are Black's side. The Fortress is moved to the centre of each 9x5 component, of files b-d, ranks l-n for White and u-w for Black.


The pieces are largely based on those of my Cannonless Xiang Qi variants.

Pieces unable to cross the River:
The KING moves one step orthogonally or diagonally, the latter being restored as in my other XQ variants, but it cannot leave the Fortress. Kings must be kept out of checkmate and not face each other across either River. Kings start on cells cm/cv, and can be represented by Generals from a standard XQ set.
The MD FEZBABA is an enhanced Ferz, named after its components by analogy with the Waffle. It is also confined to the Fortress, and moves one step diagonally round the King cell or two orthogonally through it. The orthogonal move is blocked by an ally on the King cell, but captures an enemy there just as it does an enemy on the destination cell. Fezbabas start on cells bm/mv/dm/dv, and can be represented by Ferzes from a standard XQ set.
The MD ELEPHANT moves two steps diagonally. Again an ally on the intervening cell blocks the move, but an intervening enemy is captured just like an enemy at the destination. They cannot cross the River. Elephants start on cells cl/cn/cu/cw, which means that each Elephant can reach only 6 cells, one less than in standard XQ, but as they reach different sets of cells a player's two Elephants cover 12 cells between them. They can of course be represented by physical Elephant pieces in a standard XQ set.

Pieces unaffected by crossing the River:
The KNIGHT, like the King, has had its full Occidental move (within its domain) restored to it, and can neither be blocked by nor capture intermediate pieces. It makes a root-5 leap and can reach any part of the board. Knights start on cells am/em/av/ev, and can be represented by Horses from a standard XQ set.
The ROOK - the one piece unchanged between Chaturanga, XQ, and my own variants - moves any distance orthogonally through unoccupied cells throughout the board, and on an otherwise empty file can make a null move crossing the River twice. Rooks start on cells al/el/an/en/au/eu/aw/ew, and can be represented by Rooks and Cannons from a standard XQ set.

Pieces enhanced by crossing the River:
CLOCKWAZIR and ANTICLOCKWAZIR: The Clockwazir moves one step clockwise, the Anticlockwazir one step anticlockwise. I did warn you. On crossing the River to the enemy half of the board they can also move one cell in or out along a rank, as in standard XQ. Should either piece manage a second crossing back to their own side of their River, it is promoted to a full Wazir. Clockwazirs fill ranks k and t, and Anticlockwazirs ranks O and X. One piece type can be represented by XQ Soldiers, the other by Draughts, the White Draughts in the XQ army with paler markings and the Black Draughts in the one with darker markings.
The WAZIR moves one step orthogonally throughout the board. It is the promoted form of the front-rank pieces in most of my 2d XQ variants, including my FIDE-array Anglis Qi and now this one. It is not an array piece in this variant, and promotion can be represented by putting a spare Draughts piece underneath the piece representing the Clockwazir or Anticlockwazir.


As in Xiang Qi itself there is no initial double-step move, En Passant, or Castling. Check, Chexckmate, Stalemate, and Bare Facing are standard.


I considered having Cannons move as they do in standard XQ, as there would be a certain novelty that a Cannon sharing a file with two enemies and nothing else could capture either by hopping the other! However I eventually settled for using the physical pieces as extra Rooks, both to maximise the symmetry of the two camps (reflection in file c, reflection in rank m/v, and rotation) and to be consistent with my other MD-Elephant-using variants. The alternative of making these pieces Rooks in three directions but Cannons in the fourth, say clockwise for the rank l/u ones and anticlockwise for the rank n/w ones, I rejected as too Byzantine.

An obvious extension of this variant is a 3-player version on a Kamil Tryzantine board with three River segments and seven files between each pair, totalling 105 cells on 21 files. Hey, Three Rivers, that's a district in Hertfordshire that I've visited. Does that qualify the subvariant as another of my micro-regional ones? The only trouble is what equipment to use. Shogi pieces for the third army, perhaps?

What is more difficult is putting Shogi on a Byzantine-style board. For one thing Shogi's total number of cells, 81, cannot be preserved for a tidy 2-army variant as XQ's 90 are here, and a 3-army one might be a bit cramped! Also extrapolating all piece types gives 13 array ones in all including Rook, Clockrook, and Anticlockrook! Still, anyone who wants to try designing such a variant should feel free.

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By Charles Gilman.
Web page created: 2005-06-15. Web page last updated: 2018-07-23