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M Winther wrote on 2007-05-03 UTC
No it is not silly. Comparatively, in orthodox chess a pawn is easy to block. This creates the marked drawishness of practical endgames. Therefore, most chessplayers prefer to keep the queen on the board, until they have created an advantage. I have tested this variant in a program, and exchanging pieces does not automatically lead to a draw. The tension often remains in the endgame. Unlike a regular pawn, the improved pawn is not that easy to block. However, its jump moves are not frequent (it must be blocked on the far side, or, alternatively, beyond the fifth rank) so it's not overly wild. Players can now exchange queen and enter a practical endgame. Unlike before the stronger player will win. This is, arguably, a significant improvement compared with orthodox chess (but much analysis is needed to establish this).

By the way, this pawn could be useful to chess variant constructors in that it enlivens the game, making it less drawish. Especially short-range pieces and slow variants could lead to drawish games. Compare with Makruk/Thai Chess. Its recent development in the hands of professionals has led to the conclusion that it's overly drawish. Obviously, this is a problem in many chess variants. Introducing a minor change which implies that pawns are less easy to block, changes everything.

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