The Chess Variant Pages



This page is written by the game's inventor, James Spratt.

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james spratt wrote on 2007-10-12 UTC
Hi, Joe, Hi, Jonathan: Boy, Joe, that's a pretty board Graeme put up--the first one in the three triangular board games--it looks like a snowflake. My first thought was 'hey, this is a variant of fide chess for three,' and my second thought was 'gee, with a little prodding (from you guys :-),) I may have established the fide version, or almost got it. (I was delighted to discover that ten cells per side makes 100 cells, which fits the ratio of pieces (3 x 16 = 48) to cells just about the same as the 32 pieces to 64 cells in fide chess. That discovery drove me on.)

Jonathan, since your original kind comments and rating, you got me to thinking about it again, in particular the Bishop move, which I now believe I got almost right in my initial ruminations on how to make a chess game for three players years ago; I suppose I stuck with the un-colorbound bishop because I just didn't think all the way to a complete fide analogy for the whole game before I started playing it with others and having fun with it. To have him non-colorbound makes him a particularly strong piece, but to translate him accurately to make the game and all its pieces representative of a fide version, he should be colorbound, and at setup, one of the Bishops should be switched with one of the knights so the two bishops will start on different colors. Naturally, any three can play him either way, and the rules as written make for a fun game that works right well.

I've noticed that having three players in a game makes it particularly lively and fun; the multiple interactions of three tend to preclude long, studied silences which often evolve in two-player games--I'd guess the joviality factor is approximately doubled, (and if it's not fun, why bother?)-- and the presence of two random factors, embodied in the two opponents, make strategy much more difficult, which I see as a plus. One must be less a plotter than an opportunist, quicker on the feet, so to speak, and the interactions of three people are ever amusing; a triangle is very strong. A second piece move I didn't get just right is probably the Pawn, who is permitted to move sidewise to get to a Home row for promotion if he has reached the other side of the board and is somewhere between the two opponent home rows. By hindsight this looks like sort of a 'fixit' rule, and he probably shouldn't be permitted to make those sidewise moves, because there's no similar condition in fide chess; if he hasn't planned his journey, he should probably be just stuck there, waiting to be swept up. Or should he? I noticed that, even with triangular cells, one has two basic choices of move out of them, orthogonal, wherein one moves the piece out through the wall of the cell at (more or less) a right angle to the wall, or diagonal, wherein one moves the piece out of the cell via the corner. These are essentially the same two choices one has in square-cell fide chess or any variant thereof, and I believe that, once that is seen, it should be easy to adapt any faerie piece to a board with triangular cells meant to be played by three. This established, it should be easy enough to determine how to move any faerie piece on a board with triangular cells, for the purpose of creating variant games using boards with triangular cells. You're helping, Jonathan, and thanks!


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