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George Duke wrote on 2018-04-30 UTC

Raumschach had been invented the previous decade, and T. R. Dawson had devised Nightrider and Grasshopper and Canon.

Jetan is nearing 100 years old, a Martian variety of Chess on decimal board.  Edgar Rice Burroughs ran 'Chessmen of Mars'  in 'Argosy Weekly'  Jan.-Nov. 1921.  Then an inmate of Leavenworth Prison,* Elston Sweet, presented a carved piece set, and Burroughs added an Appendix to the first novel edition published 1922, explaining the rules better.  Larry Smith here gives further air to the possible different interpretations.  

In the story the game is played lifesize at the arena in Barsoonian location of Manator in a fight to the death.  In the surrounding culture Kaldanes are mostly brain, and Rykors headless bodies Kaldanes use as vehicles. 

Whichever combination of piece move rules are accepted, there are two-step movers and three-step movers, so no long-rangers -- befitting the science fiction hand to hand combat.  I hold interpretations of the Rules that give six of the eight piece-types multiple paths, two up to five as it turns out for different pieces, as sliders, bent and not, to arrival squares. It's not the approach Smith and Cazaux take, but it would seem to be vital how many ways each one has to get from departure to target.

Where can it go, and how does it get there? -- is more crucially pre-scientific.

Burroughs says teams are not obligated to wager in play, and Larry broaches the subject in detail for the first time, but it is left mostly for the future. That is, in what form Martian Chess will accommodate allowed wagering.

*While incarcerated in Atlanta Penitentiary socialist Eugene Debs garnered a million votes for President in 1920 -- while 'Chessmen' was running serially. At the Manator arena slaves and prisoners, including nobles, are the pieces.


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