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John Ayer wrote on 2006-05-08 UTC
Eric Greenwood replied to me privately, but has assented to my posting some of his remarks:

As to the Duke name, the piece in Ed Friedlander's Exotic Chess (the Make-your-own game) which has the guard-and-knight move is the Duke, which is why I selected that name. The name of the piece in Renniassance Chess (where the Duke piece comes from that's in the Piececlopedia) which corresponds to the knight-and-guard move is the Page. With pawns also starting with p, you can see why I used the Duke name for the piece. Also, and it's a matter of taste, I don't like the name Centaur--there are too many C-names for 'better' pieces already established.

Interesting point on the knights--but perhaps they can do flank duties from there? It's never been a disadvantage for me. Taking two moves to get centralized allows a more flexible deployment--and since it's not a slam-bang variant, players should be able to find the time to develop them 'properly.'

As far as the g-pawn goes (the pawn on the third rank), there we may just have a difference of style. I wanted it there for the extra protection around the king it affords. Plus, remember, this variant is based on Courier Chess among others, where a pawn is advanced even farther (actually, the rooks' pawns are also advanced to the fourth rank in Courier). I left it on the third rank to give players more choices as to deployment, as well as the king safety factor.

Thus far Eric Greenwood. I had not known of the precedent that he was following in naming the Man+horse, and all of his choices are, of course, perfectly valid. In my favorite variant, Courier Spiel, I found myself using the sage (centaur) to contest the center (with the fool backing it) while the knights do indeed do flank duty. I think this invention looks quite promising.

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