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Comments by Andy Thomas

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Sino-European Chess ZIP file. Missing description[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
💡📝Andy Thomas wrote on Sat, Jul 15, 2006 04:30 AM UTC:
there was a bug in this zrf... one of the king's couldn't move into 2 of
its ostensibly allowed cells... 'fixed'

💡📝Andy Thomas wrote on Sat, Jun 10, 2006 07:49 AM UTC:
i have updated this variant a bit. the kings can now move within their own
castles, and along the wall, and inside the opponent's castle as well.
the castles are also now 3x3 thus in that regard resembling the palaces in
xiang qi. also, the bishops can move not only up to and along the wall, but
throughout the castles as well. they are yet prohibited from moving to the
'opposite side of the wall.' in any event, this should all make for less

3 of the pawns have been set back to the 3rd rank (all 5 were on the 4th
rank before), and the cannons begin on the 2nd rank. in the original, the
pawns were 'too close' at the start. 

since there is no 'implied across the board check' between kings as in
xiang qi, this new rule of allowing them to 'storm across the wall' and
into the other player's castle is a sort of compromise between chinese
chess and fide.

[Subject Thread] [Add Response]
Andy Thomas wrote on Mon, Jun 5, 2006 03:33 AM UTC:
i think it could at the very least be stated that, in general black and
white play differently from one another.

one way of alleviating this 'problem' - without the use of simultaneous
movement, or in always allowing black 'one last move' - in a given game,
would be to have a chess variant such that the two sides are for all
intents and purposes identically placed at setup, yet the 'black' side
has one piece 'pre-moved' in some kind of logical, standard manner. this
might make up for any real or imagined imbalance.

for example, if you applied this idea to FIDE chess, you could have black
begin with 'king's pawn at 4' (rather than 2) as part and parcel of the
opening setup, yet white would move first.

Sino-European Chess ZIP file. Missing description[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
💡📝Andy Thomas wrote on Mon, Jun 5, 2006 03:20 AM UTC:
well it says, 'edit index information or edit the contents of this page.
You may also, if your page uses graphics, upload files.'

this entry page having no graphics to speak of, 'edit index
information,' and 'edit the contents' but seemed to allow for basic
parameter/text editing... 

so i tried 'if your page uses graphics, upload files' and it uploaded...
and it is updated... it was the 'if your page uses graphics' part which
made it all unclear to me...


💡📝Andy Thomas wrote on Sat, Jun 3, 2006 09:05 PM UTC:
with a cursory glance, i haven't been able to figure out how to update the
zrf here. in any event, there is an updated zip/zrf over at the zillions

it has larger graphics.

the only real change which has occurred to me might be in making the
castles and wall like a single, large zone, so the respective kings could
traverse the wall and into their opponent's castle.

[Subject Thread] [Add Response]
Andy Thomas wrote on Sat, May 27, 2006 12:55 AM UTC:
I have created a new variant called, 'Sino-European' Chess.

There are a zillions (.zip) entry, plus an html page. It isn't precisely
clear to me how to link the uploaded zillions .zip into the html. 

I would like to thank Fergus Duniho, inventor of Eurasian Chess for the
inspiration in creating this variant. 

Thanks for your consideration,

Pawn (Xiangqi). Moves and captures one square straight forward.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Andy Thomas wrote on Thu, May 4, 2006 11:03 PM UTC:
yes, the pawn can capture sideways... once it has crossed the river...

[Subject Thread] [Add Response]
Andy Thomas wrote on Sat, Apr 22, 2006 04:37 PM UTC:
at a certain point with large boards and many pieces, a variant should
probably have multiple moves per side at a time, instead of 1 move per

or the pieces should be really powerful...

if you have a large board with single-moves and weak pieces, time can
become a factor... some people might think it takes too long to play

so i would imagine that, when designing the 'ideal' large board chess
variant each of us attempts to factor these considerations in

board size
piece power
moves per side

Chess (Variant) Graphics by Jean Louis Cazaux. Icons of chess variant pieces.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Andy Thomas wrote on Sat, Apr 15, 2006 10:39 PM UTC:Good ★★★★
i like these pieces... 

i like how the pieces sort of illustrate the moves in some cases, such as
the hunter/falcon... you can kind of tell how they move by their
respective designs... this is always a great bonus in piece design, in my

btw, you can add 'colonel' to the castle/squirrel definition if you
want... the 'colonel' in american chess moves exactly like the
castle/squirrel... just a thought...

Chessmen-At-Arms. A wargame with chess pieces.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Andy Thomas wrote on Sat, Apr 8, 2006 11:54 PM UTC:
chessmen-at-arms struck me because it is another attempt to integrate
wargames with conventional chess... 

aside from the 'chinese army chess' (super stratego) and the 'risk
chess,' are there any other chess/wargame variants?

interestingly, i had worked up a board for a game called, 'russo-german
chess'... to recreate the 'eastfront' of ww2 in a chess format.

in theory, the pieces are going to be 'empty containers' and the two
players would be able to secretly apply 'points' to their respective
containers from a pool of points, before battles were resolved.

i hadn't gotten to the movement mechanics... whether it should be a lot
of german moves, then a russian response, or an i-go-you-go like most
chess variants... in any event there are prototype map and some vague
piece theory...

[Subject Thread] [Add Response]
Andy Thomas wrote on Fri, Apr 7, 2006 08:22 PM UTC:
Perhaps it could be said that xiang qi plays 'smaller' in the endgame and
fide, 'bigger.' 

In xiang qi the battles begin to swirl around the respective palaces,
whereas in fide the king is roaming at large, oftentimes being a key piece
in a player's attack.

Now, there is the cross-board, 'attack' of the king in xiang qi, but to
me that is a small exception to this overall idea.

Yesterday I was checkmated by a horse and a pawn in xiang qi. This could
have been avoided but it is also a common type of lapse on the part of the
defender in that game, at least in my experience.

With the mobile king in fide, you oftentimes need a bit more muscle than
that to accomplish checkmate.

And the promoting pawns of fide are a big difference, yes.

It is so fascinating, how these two games are designed; the distinctive
features which balance each one out.

Andy Thomas wrote on Fri, Apr 7, 2006 05:55 AM UTC:
I have been playing a bit of both chinese chess and western (fide) chess
and have a few general observations as to why each is a unique

1) Space: chinese chess - with its 90 cells (versus 64 for fide) and open
files at the start - simply plays with a more 'wide open' feel. 

2) Development: With the more immediate attack lines available in chinese
chess, the middle game seems to begin at about 5-10 turns earlier than in
fide games.

3) Firepower: Perhaps this touches on the ongoing discussion here as to
the value of various pieces. In chinese chess you have far less firepower
on a larger board than in fide. FIDE has such powerful bishops, and the
queen; plus the knights are more powerful than their horse counterparts
chinese chess. In chinese chess, the lack of firepower is balanced by
confining the 2 opposing kings to their respective 'castles;' whereas
with the added firepower and smaller board of fide the kings roam free.

4) The River and the Late Game: With only 11 of 16 pieces able to move
across the river in chinese chess, this is a marked contrast to the
complete mobility of all pieces in fide. Sometimes, the limited number of
offensive pieces remaining at the end of a xiang qi game can make
checkmating the opposing king very difficult. 

Well, these are just a few observations; I'm sure there are many
contrasts that have been left out.

In the actual theory of both games i consider myself to be a
'manueverist,' always looking to trade pieces for position; a risky
prospect to say the least, but when it pays off it seems to do so in
spectacular fashion.

In fide i like to clear the board; open lanes whilst trading my knights
for my opponent's bishops, preferring to go into the end game with a more
open board and my bishop pair remaining. I always keep in mind that the
first bishop lost is worth more than the one which remains, something like
3.5 points for #1 and 2.5 points for #2; this is why i like to keep the
pair intact.

but i digress... Does anyone have any other comments on differences
they've noticed between xiang qi and fide chess?

[Subject Thread] [Add Response]
Andy Thomas wrote on Fri, Apr 7, 2006 05:30 AM UTC:
indeed, i agree with fergus... it's virtually impossible to get a
checkmate in the situation you describe, without your opponent
deliberately handing you the game... 

in an end-game like this, if you had a horse and a pawn instead, you might
have a slightly better chance than with a single chariot...

a single attacking chariot against perhaps a defending king and just one
each of mandarin and elephant; you might also be able to get a win in a
situation like that...

but in your scenario, with the 'twin interlocking layers' provided by
the intact pairs of mandarins and elephants remaining on defense... your
chances at checkmate employing a single chariot are virtually nil... at
least in my opinion... 

best to offer a draw and start anew...

PiRaTeKnIcS. Pirates on ships fight each other in 44-squares chess variant. (6x8, Cells: 44) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Andy Thomas wrote on Fri, Mar 31, 2006 08:45 PM UTC:
if you get a zillions implementation i would certainly play it... sounds
like an incredible game

Tezhi Luzhanqi - Chinese army chess. Chinese strategic game.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Andy Thomas wrote on Tue, Mar 21, 2006 05:31 AM UTC:
i looked at this some more, and it looks like a variant... there are 6
naval type of ships, with gridpoints on the river and notation for the
spots where the ships set up... there are the barricades at the back of
the map, and the aircraft bases in the corners... this version i have has
a dual rail line across the river, rather than the 3 rail lines i see in
the picture...

oh... this one has the 9 different 'soldier' or 'army' type of pieces,
but only 1 of each of these... you can see that they have differing ranks
by the slightly varying pictures, but moreso by the obvious changes in
chinese characters from piece to piece... 

i looked at the pictures of the original game provided with the article
here and see that the pieces are wooden... 

these here are plastic...

anyway, what i have appears to be a variant on the same game... rail
lines, but not in the same locations... navies and naval movement added
in, with the same basic 'forts' and 'airbases' and 'depots' and


Andy Thomas wrote on Sun, Mar 19, 2006 11:47 PM UTC:
i seem to have found a variant on this game... i purchased it at a chinese
bookstore... it has a river, like the one here appears to have... but it
has 2 bridges instead of 1... and it has diagonals (with interlocking
points) drawn in the river, and naval pieces (in addition to army,
artillery, and air)... it has 30 pieces per side... i will try to get some

[Subject Thread] [Add Response]
Andy Thomas wrote on Wed, Feb 22, 2006 12:09 AM UTC:
there is a new variant to 'operational chess' at the zillions of games

it is called 'land/sea chess' and is played on a 15 file x 9 rank board

on 'leftmost' 5 files are 'sea'... the 5 middle files are
'land-sea'... the 'rightmost' 5 files are 'land'... so it is like 3
small, 5 file x 9 rank boards side by side: 

sea land-sea land

3 smaller boards making up a 15x9 board...

the pieces which start at 'sea' can move anywhere over the sea files,
the 5 'land-sea' files (the center)... the pieces which start on
'land' can
enter anywhere over the 5 land files, and anywhere in the land-sea

the sea pieces cannot enter land, and the land pieces cannot enter sea...

the pieces which start on the 'land-sea' files can move to sea,
and land; they can move anywhere... these are hovercraft (GEV), marines,
special forces, and the hq...

the game is won by capturing the opponent's hq... there is a 'gun'
where several piece types have 'rifle' or 'gun' capture abilities (in
addition to their normal moves)... and there is a 'non-gun' variant
none of the pieces have gun capture...

this is a very interesting variant... the frigates (sea) and helicopters
(land) are a couple of my favorite pieces... 

the general and admiral pieces are strong, as are the special forces,
submarine, and paratrooper... 

missile ships and cavalry are variants on the erstwhile bishop piece,
while the tank and aircraft carrier are based upon the traditional

the GEV is probably the best all-around piece...  and it is versatile in
that it can enter land and sea both... 

i've seen games where side a) will lose just about all of their land
pieces for instance, then side b) will in turn move their own hq to the
land side of the board, then side a) has a lot of difficulty in trying to
capture side b's hq... 

one time i thought i had the computer beat, but did just as the example
above; lost my army whilst retaining a strong sea contignent... as it
turned out i simply didn't have the pieces on land to take out the
computer's hq...

so the gevs take on added importance in the late game, being able to move
all over the board... same with the marines, but to a lesser extent...

also important are the frigate and helicopters, at least in the default,
'gun' mode... with their range-3 gun captures they can 'interdict'
into the areas where they are not otherwise allowed to move... so it is
though these two piece types 'cover' a little bit more of the board
most other sea or land types... they are the only 2 gun-capture pieces
with range 3... all others are range 2 or 1...

[Subject Thread] [Add Response]
Andy Thomas wrote on Sun, Jan 29, 2006 09:08 AM UTC:

Simply scroll down the page and you'll see it there at the bottom.

As some of you know, i've been working on a game called, 'operational
chess.' I have a new variant which is closer to the original idea for the

After a lot of experimenting on victory conditions in the first version, i
came up with the idea of each side having 3 outposts and 2 strongpoints for
this 2nd, 'objective chess' version.

If you've played the original version (which i later nicknamed,
'carnage') you probably noticed that virtually every piece on the board
was under attack at the start. The missiles and bombers were usually the
first to go.

To make it more interesting for these powerful pieces, i re-implemented
the 'backline' rule from american chess where pieces on your own 1st
rank (or backline) are immune to your opponent's strongest pieces.

The board was enlarged to 17 files by 11 ranks and in contrast to the
original operational chess, almost none of the pieces start the game under
attack; and the attacks which can be made at the start are not worth

The rook and bishop (tank and cavalry) can leap 1-4 squares along their
traditional counterparts' axis; orthogonal for the tank and diagonal for
the cavalry. So these pieces don't have nearly the mobility of their
traditional counterparts, but their ability to move 'through' other
pieces gives them a different kind of ability.

Many pieces have a gun-capture (rifle-capture) capability. These are all
at varying ranges: Helicopter-4, Strongpoint-3, Tank-3, Cavalry-3,
Infantry-2, and Outpost-1. This gun-capture capability is along both the
orthogonal and diagonal for all such pieces.

The 2-star, 3-star, and 4-star generals can move 2, 3, or 4 spaces in any
combination of directions. The 3-star and 4-star generals in particular
are able to approach the long-range gun-capture units outside of rheir
8-way firing lanes.

In any event this new version of Operational Chess is much closer to what
i'd originally intended it to be. I have submitted the .zrf .zip file to
the editor here, and to, and have put it at the

simply scroll down the page and you'll see it there at the bottom.

The early game starts with the infantry establishing short, range-2 firing
lanes while the helicopters, tanks, and cavalry move up for support. The
generals also move off of the backline and try to get within striking
distance of the long-range gun-capture pieces of the opponent. With the
relatively short range of virtually every piece on the board, pieces can
flow back and forth behind the main line of combat, organizing attacks and

A well-placed gun-capture piece can typically threaten 3 or more of the
opponent's pieces along its 8-way firing axis. 

The infantry can form pickets in the late to mid-game; 2 squares apart so
their gun captures interlock.

It's difficult to stop a concerted attack against your outposts. It is
much easier to defend your 2 strongpoints. Nonetheless, if given the
opportunity you can bolster the defense of your outposts by moving some of
the nearby pawns up 1 rank before your opponent gets the chance to do the

The end-game involves multiple pieces supporting each other on a final
attack against the opponent's strongpoints. If you've done well you'll
also have missile and/or bomber superiority.

I hope you enjoy it.

thanks for your consideration,

[Subject Thread] [Add Response]
Andy Thomas wrote on Mon, Jan 16, 2006 06:08 AM UTC:
i have gotten a working .zrf file for what i had previously described as,
'21st century chess'... 

seeing as how that title was taken, i have renamed it, 'operational
chess' instead...

i would like to upload the .zrf but instead thought some of you here might
want to take a look at it and comment first.

is that how it should be done, or should it simply be sent it off to
[email protected] and offered for download that way?


Double Chess. Two sets of pieces on 16 by 12 board. (16x12, Cells: 192) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Andy Thomas wrote on Sun, Jan 15, 2006 08:31 PM UTC:
if a pawn moves 4 on the first move, it yet has to move 6 more spaces to
promote. it gets worse for the pawn in this regard if it only moves 1, 2,
or 3 squares on that first move...

what i'm saying is that, on a board this size you need more mobility from
your pawns... or maybe move the promotion line up a couple or few ranks
from the back line...

when i'm designing a variant i look at how quickly and powerfully the
pawns can promote, and depending on the variant adjust it in terms of FIDE
chess... do i want a game which plays faster or slower wrt to

in any event this variant seems to make the pawn less important,

and yes the knights on this board are much weaker than they are on an 8x8
board... on a larger board like this the leapers need to have more
range... but that's just my taste...

speaking of the rooks and bishops, i would imagine that the rook becomes
even more powerful than the bishop, because the bishop's maximum move is
11 (12-1) squares diagonally while the rook can theoretically move 15 (16
-1) squares horizontally... it seems to me that boards which aren't
entirely square like this favor rooks even more than bishops....

i think this game would play better on 16x8, but then the bishops become
even weaker in comparison with rooks...

but with 12 ranks, man that is a long ways to go for a promotion! gives it
an old-fashioned feel in that regard...

[Subject Thread] [Add Response]
Andy Thomas wrote on Sat, Jan 14, 2006 09:38 PM UTC:
i'm working on a new variant - 21st century chess - but am having a
problem with the zrf. does anyone feel like taking a look?

it's 16 files by 9 ranks. i'm trying to introduce long-range, 'gun'
type pieces; an extension of the gun and machinegun pieces found in the
variant, 'chess battle'... but i'm fairly lost in the .zrf code...
cobbling pieces of code together for the gun capture-type of moves from
'chess battle'... i'm not sure if i have the moves codes for the
various slides correct.

i need the standard rook/bishop/queen slide, plus the chinese cannon (vao
and pao) slide, and the slide move for a piece which slides but doesn't
capture... only moves along blank squares... such pieces capture using the
'gun capture' move instead...

anyway the message i'm getting is, 'while reading a true/false
condition, the following non-piece-attribute was encountered: 'empty''

thanks in advance for any help,

Nova Chess 100. Missing description (10x10, Cells: 100) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Andy Thomas wrote on Thu, Jan 5, 2006 08:01 PM UTC:
on the issue of pieces which are rook/pao or bishop/vao being too powerful... what if, as an alternative there were also rook/vao and bishop/pao pieces? such pieces already exist in nova chess?

Sky ZIP file. Missing description[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Andy Thomas wrote on Thu, Jan 5, 2006 01:05 AM UTC:
hi christine,
how about the squirrel piece? (like a colonel in american chess)... 

[Subject Thread] [Add Response]
Andy Thomas wrote on Wed, Jan 4, 2006 01:02 AM UTC:
i participate in chess/xiangqi tournaments at another internet site...
during their tournaments they allow the players to study 'printed'
material, but no computer/ai help is allowed...

Joshua's Chess. Missing description (12x12, Cells: 144) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Andy Thomas wrote on Sat, Dec 31, 2005 08:48 PM UTC:
questions: with the vao/pao properties given to the bishops/rooks
respectively... they only leap a friendly piece... was this

if you make a zrf have you thought of asking your son joshua to design the
pieces using a paint program?

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