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The Colorbound Clobberers

Actual games played between chessmasters:
A Colorbound Clobberers Game!
Another One! (5/15/96)
A Third Game! (5/15/96)
A Fourth Game! (6/19/96)
Guess what...

A Problem (Mate in 2)

Here is the very first good game of chess with different armies, with one of the armies being the standard ordinary everyday army of FIDE chess, and the other being, well, what to call it?

I decided on a sports metaphor for naming this army, and so we have
The Colorbound Clobberers
as the name of the new team, and
The Fabulous FIDEs
as the name of their opponents in this game.

The Colorbound Clobberers versus The Fabulous FIDEs

  • Rule Zero: The rules are the same as those of FIDE chess, except as specified in the following.

  • Teams: unlike FIDE chess, where both players coach the same team of chessmen, in this game the players coach different teams. One player coaches the Fabulous FIDEs, the standard ordinary everyday army of FIDE chess, and the other player coaches a new team, The Colorbound Clobberers.

  • Rooks: Playing the corner position for the Colorbound Clobberers we have the BD, a FIDE Bishop to which is added the power of jumping two squares up, down, left, or right (the two square Rookwise jumping piece called the Dabaaba is known from ancient chess history). For example, from e4 this piece can go to d5, and if d5 is empty can continue to c6, b7, a8; or it can jump to e6, even if e5 is occupied; or it can go f5, g6, h7, jump g4, slide to f3, g2, h1, jump e2, slide d3, c2, b1, or jump c4. (When the BD makes a Bishop move, it does not jump over other pieces, it really makes a normal FIDE Bishop move. Only when the BD moves two squares Rookwise can it jump over obstacles.)

    This piece is usually a little bit stronger than a FIDE Rook, for most of the game, in most positions; and potentially noticeably weaker than the FIDE Rook in some late endgames.

  • Knights: The Clobberers have Waffles playing in this position; the Waffle is a piece that moves as Wazir (one square Rookwise; the name Wazir and the move itself both come from the history of Chess) or Alfil (a two-square diagonal jump; the Alfil was part of the original game of Chess as invented in 7th century India), that is, from e4 it can jump to e5, g6, f4, g2, e3, c2, d4, or c6.

    This piece is usually slightly weaker than the FIDE Knight; it moves in a clumsy manner, but is extremely strong when it can get to a good position.

  • Bishops: The Clobberer Bishops are replaced by the FAD, which moves as Ferz (one square diagonally, part of the original game of Chess), Alfil, or Dabaaba. From e4, the FAD can jump to d5, c6, e6, f5, g6, g4, f3, g2, e2, d3, c2, or c4.

    This piece is stronger than the FIDE Bishop, by a fair amount.

  • Queens: In the center of the board, the clobberers have a Queen that moves either as a fide Bishop or as a FIDE Knight; from e4, it can reach d5, c6, b7, a8, d6, f6, f5, g6, h7, g5, g3, f3, g2, h1, f2, d2, d3, c2, b1, c3, or c5.

    Of course this piece is weaker than the FIDE Queen, but it is stronger than you might think.

  • NEW! vendredi, 19 avril 1996,
    Castling: When the Colorbound Clobberers castle Queen-side, O-O-O, their King goes from e1 to b1 and their BD goes from a1 to c1; this change was made so that the BD does not change from one color of square to the other.

  • NEW! venerdì, 24 maggio 1996,
    Promotion: Either player can promote Pawns to any piece that's in the game.

Observations About Colorbound Clobberers

The Waffle is elsewhere stated to be weaker than the Knight, but perhaps this is merely an artifact of having tested it as a plug-in with the rest of the FIDE team. Imagine FIDE chess with White's Knights replaced by Waffles; after 1. e4 e5 2. WA g1-e3, the WA is well-placed at e3, but it obstructs the path of the Bc1; this is not a problem for the Clobberers. In fact, the Waffle is very close in value to the Knight, only a tiny bit weaker. The Waffle is very strong once it gets to a good square, but getting it there can be awkward.

The BD is obviously stronger than the FAD, but not by much. In practice, you can treat these two pieces as being of equal value. The BD is obviously stronger than the N, and the FAD is also stronger than the N. How much stronger? Who can say...

The BD should be thought of as equal in value to the Rook. The FAD is presumed to be weaker than the Rook. How much weaker? Who can say...

The Clobberers are a team with a weak "Queen" but an overstrength "Bishop". The weakness of one makes up for the strength of the other. There are disadvantages to having so few weak pieces, of course, and advantages to having a weak "Queen" (for an example of this, look at move 19 of FIDE-CC-02.html where White chose not to trade Q for NB, and thereby lost his King).

If you just look at the values of the individual pieces, the Clobberers seem to have the advantage. Add to this the fact that the Clobberers can develop quickly, without moving too many Pawns, and things begin to look sticky for the FIDEs.

On the other hand, the Clobberers are awfully colorbound. They can easily get into situations where all their strength is concentrated on squares of a single color, leaving them either unable to exploit an advantage or vulnerable to attack on the other color.

The real equalizer is the hard-working, straightforward, and steadfast FIDE Rook. This piece has great endurance, and actually gains strength as the game goes along. I have seen games where things looked bad for the FIDEs from the opening kickoff, and seemed to be getting worse and worse, until suddenly there were just a few chessmen left standing on the field and the Rooks began scoring goal after goal.

Next in series: The Remarkable Rookies

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