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Comments by mirari

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Crazyhouse. A two-player version of Bughouse. (8x8, Cells: 64) (Recognized!)[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
mirari wrote on 2011-06-01 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
'How popular is crazyhouse?'

Quite popular on turnbased servers, I would say.  It seems popular on SchemingMinds, and on Brain King, Loop Chess (their version of CrazyHouse) is the third most popular chess variant (391 games running) (behind DiceChess (1073) and DiceChess 10x10 (1062), but ahead of Japanese Chess (316), Massacre Chess (238), Anti Chess (165), Dark Chess (157), Chinese Chess (151) and Embassy Chess (142), to compare with other chess variants popular on that server).

Game Courier Tournament #4: An Introductory Semi-Potluck. A tournament to feature games good for introducing people to Chess variants.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
mirari wrote on 2009-12-30 UTC
Ouch - 12 hours, that is definitely too quick a pace for me. I'm withdrawing.

mirari wrote on 2009-12-11 UTC

My earlier question about the time control remains unanswered. Is it lenient enough to allow occasional traveling?

Fergus: 'I have excluded games with Amazons for the same reason that I don't use Amazons in my own games. The Amazon is too powerful against the King.'

Thanks for explaining, I understand this comes down to your personal taste in chess variants then, and that seems fair enough given that it is your tourney - I do wish this had been made clearer from the start though.

Myself, I enjoy a wide variety of variants, including several with pieces that would be too powerful by your definition - e.g. Chu Shogi with its Lion, Gustav III's with its Amazons and Tripunch with its whole range of insanely powerful pieces. I also disagree with your reasoning - even though one of these pieces can in theory cause chess mate on its own, I find that in practice, an unsupported attack won't succeed, because the king is defended by a team. (On the flip side, I have seen a lone queen occasionally go on a game-deciding rampage on the opponent's back rank... even though it can't deliver the actual checkmate on its own, it is powerful enough to decide the game nonetheless).

Still, I shall hope for other opportunities to play with such powerful pieces, and look forward to playing the variants that will be in the tournament.

Mastodon Chess (8x10). Standard pieces plus two Mastodons per side. A strategical big-board variant.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
mirari wrote on 2009-12-11 UTCGood ★★★★
We played this the other day, and found it quite an enjoyable variant.  The Mastodont reminded me a lot of the Dragon from Parker's Dragon Chess - a piece that is slow to deploy, yet quite powerful in offence or defence within it's limited range.  The jumping ability of the Mastodont meant initial development was easier than for the Dragon, but being limited to two steps vis-a-vis three for the Dragon meant even more time was required to change its area of operations.  A Mastodont supported by a Queen proved a very potential attacking combination.

I do question the placement of the Knights on the inside of the Bishops - it felt as if this made development of the centre rather awkward.  It also means that the Bishops have a direct line of attack on the opposing Rooks from their starting positions - I think I would have preferred seeing the Bishops one step closer to the centre.

Game Courier Tournament #4: An Introductory Semi-Potluck. A tournament to feature games good for introducing people to Chess variants.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
mirari wrote on 2009-12-10 UTC
I think excluding Gustav III's chess because it has Amazons is a very spurious reason - the Amazon is in my experience a very simple piece for chess players to learn to play with - people I've played with have had more difficulties with the Chinese cannon, for example.

Regarding time controls - how does that work with holidays, etc.?  I am traveling abroad now and then (about every second or third month), which means up to a couple of weeks with limited possibilities to keep up with games.  Also, I am away for a long time this year over Christmas and New Year - from the 16th of December up to 10th of January - if either of those would cause a trouble with the time controls for the tournament, then it is perhaps best if I withdraw before the start rather than failing to live up to my commitment and forfeiting games once the tournament is under way.

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mirari wrote on 2009-12-06 UTC
Either Shogi - the drops along with the slow moving generals make this a
very gradual game, yet with plenty of exciting attacks - or Chu Shogi - a
complex Shogi variant without drops, but lots of interesting pieces and
very rich.

I could see myself playing either of those for a very long time without
becoming bored... (as long as the hypothetical desert island includes an
opponent of a suitable level).

Or, if it has to be a variant of western chess, I quite enjoy Parker's
Dragon Chess (not to be confused with Gygax's) - it is very close to
normal chess, yet different enough to feel like it offers more
opportunities, and unlike the various variants adding Capa compounds, the
dragons aren't overly powerful.

Perhaps for sheer variety, Navia Dratp would be a good option - 44
different pieces, and build your own army, allows for a lot of

Of course, given that one of the things I enjoy about chess variants is the
sheer variety - encountering new ideas, having to think in slightly (or
radically) different patterns - being restricted to just one variant, no
matter how good, would be dull compared with exploring the richness of all
the weird and wondrous variants people have invented.

Game Courier Tournament #4: An Introductory Semi-Potluck. A tournament to feature games good for introducing people to Chess variants.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
mirari wrote on 2009-12-05 UTC

'Mirari, looks like you not a beginner in chess variants. :)'

I guess not :) During the past year, me and my irl chess playing partner have tried up towards a hundred different variants, many of them from these pages.

'Mirari, am I right that Amazon Chess is played at BrainKing?'

Yes, you are correct, and I do not find Amazon chess a very good variant. The reason is that it is too easy to force the amazons to get traded off early on, and then you find yourself playing what amounts to a standard chess position with queens traded off.

In my very limited experience with Gustav III's chess, this is not the case there, for three reasons:
*/ The amazons start out in the extra corner squares, they are much less exposed to early attacks by opposing amazons.
*/ You have two of them - so it is not enough to trade off just one pair to get rid off them.
*/ You still have the normal Queen in the normal spot, which leads to threats to trade a queen for an amazon.

Also, even if both pairs get traded off, one is at least still not, due to the extra corner squares, reduced to playing a standard chess position.

mirari wrote on 2009-12-05 UTC

Of course, it is up to the other participants to make their own choices, but my opinion is that the tournament is better served by offering variants one can't play competitively at other sites. (I know of Brainking and Scheming Minds which both offer several variants... for example, here are stats from Brainking.

Knightmate: 62 games in progress
Loop Chess (which is between CrazyHouse and ChessGi): 219 games in progress
Fischer Random Chess: 109 games in progress
Embassy Chess: 104 games in progress

... my impression is that this is a larger and more active community for the games supported than what game courier has, and that it therefore makes no sense to foster competition between chess variants sites by arranging tournaments in the same variants.

What has tempted me to sign up for Game Courier is instead all the variants not available elsewhere - both the above mentioned sites have, compred with Game Courier, a rather limited selection of variants (a fact which they do make up for with having a much larger playerbase for those variants).

So, to tempt people to come here, it would from my view make more sense to play to Game Courier's strength, i.e. the large number of variants supported here that is not available elsewhere.

mirari wrote on 2009-12-05 UTC
According to Fergus' post: 

'So far, Joe Joyce, Vitya Makov, Nicolas Wolff, Carlos Cetina, mirari, and myself are the only ones to explicitly state our intention to sign up for the tournament.'

... therefore, I think I am entitled to choose a variant, and my choice is Gustav III's Chess by Mats Winther.

mirari wrote on 2009-12-04 UTC
'But Embassy Chess is only yet another Capablanca variant.'

And Embassy Chess is available to play elsewhere - I am playing it at Brainking.  I think would be better served by including variants not easily playable elsewhere - for example, the Gustav III's chess suggested by Mats Winther looks very interesting.

(Same goes for Knightmate - I am currently playing that on Brainking as well, and would much prefer the chance when playing here to get to try out some new variant not available on other sites.)

I would like to sign up for this tournament (even if it does include Embassy Chess and Knightmate chess as two of the games).

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