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Game Reviews by David Paulowich

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Gross Chess. A big variant with a small learning curve. (12x12, Cells: 144) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
David Paulowich wrote on 2010-02-05 UTCGood ★★★★

'21. Two Ferz's, even on different colors, cannot checkmate a lone King.'

'23. Two Camels, even on different colors, cannot checkmate a lone King.'

quotes from: Endgame statistics with fantasy pieces.

Regarding Knappen's [2010-02-04] Comment, I have not investigated mating with a pair of Wizards. I suppose that a pair of Spotted Gryphons will also be unable to force checkmate (in general).

Chess on a 12 by 12 board. Orthodox chess but with additional squares around the setup. (12x12, Cells: 144) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
David Paulowich wrote on 2009-11-27 UTCGood ★★★★

1.g4-g6 h9-h8 2.f4-f5 King g10-h9 3.Bishop h3-g4 King h9-i8 4.Bishop g4-j7 uses both Bishops to checkmate on this large board.

Sometimes you just want to have fun! I recommend trying this game and have created a preset here.

Simplified Chess. Missing description (8x7, Cells: 56) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
David Paulowich wrote on 2008-05-08 UTCPoor ★

Rule 2 of the seven rules does not eliminate the possibility of a player having no legal moves available. On 2008-04-16 I wrote: 'My [2005-03-08] comment on this page BLOCKADE STALEMATE IN 20 MOVES is unlikely to happen in a real game, but it demonstrates the need for precise and complete rules. Even in those chess variants which allow Kings to move into check and be captured, it is possible for a player to reach a position with no legal moves.'

Rule 3 of the seven rules is a statement of intent, not a rule. You would have served your readers better by providing a sample game ending in (the type of position I have previously referred to as) a blockade stalemate and then stating the game result, according to your new rules. Rich Hutnik has just posted: 'Capturing king instead of checkmate also makes it easier for a new person to learn. It gets rid of stalemate.' TO STATE MY POINT ONE MORE TIME: statements like this will not impress anyone who actually understands the rules of chess and shatranj.

Rule 7 of the seven rules is, at best, confusing. No further comments.

Al-Ces. Variant on 10 by 10 board with 30 pieces per player. (10x10, Cells: 100) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
David Paulowich wrote on 2008-05-03 UTCGood ★★★★

The 'Lion' in this game lacks the ability to move like a Knight, it is in fact the same piece as the Squire: combines Modern Elephant + Modern Machine in Jean Louis Cazaux's list of Chess (Variant) Graphics. This Squire was used in Eric V. Greenwood's Renniassance Chess (1980).

Templar Chess. Features the unorthodox Templar on a board with eight extra squares. (8x10, Cells: 72) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
David Paulowich wrote on 2007-11-22 UTCGood ★★★★

On the whole, I prefer the disappearing extra squares in Greg Strong's variants Brouhaha and Hubbub.

QUESTION concerning the statement 'All standard chess rules apply except that castling is not allowed.' Does this mean that when a White Pawn reaches rank 8, it can and must promote to any piece of the same color (not a King and not a Pawn)? Same question for when a Black Pawn reaches rank 1.

Whale Shogi. Shogi variant. (6x6, Cells: 36) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
David Paulowich wrote on 2007-11-15 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

Douglas Silfen has made a ZRF for Whale Shogi by R. Wayne Schmittberger, which also includes the variant from my [2005-04-01] Comment. Surviving for 26 years and producing offspring meets Charles Darwin's test of excellence.

Great chess. An Indian/Turkish and very playable historic variant on a 10 by 10 board. (10x10, Cells: 100) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
David Paulowich wrote on 2007-08-17 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

This game uses an unusual initial setup to achieve a better result than The Sultan's Game, an 11x11 chess variant invented by L. Tressan in 1840. I tried replacing the Queen + Knight compound with the somewhat weaker Bishop + Nightrider compound in Unicorn Great Chess in 2001.

Excellent rating for a game this old, of course Christian Freeling's Grand Chess has set a new standard for chess on the 10x10 board.

Chancellor Chess. On a 9 by 9 or 9 by 8 board with a piece with combined rook and knight moves. (9x9, Cells: 81) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
David Paulowich wrote on 2007-07-12 UTCGood ★★★★
On 8x8 and 10x8 and 10x10 boards, I estimate: 
[1] Archbishop (moves like Bishop or Knight)
[2] Dragon King (moves like Rook or Ferz)
[3] Bishop and Knight and Pawn
to have the same value.  My opinions have not changed much 
since my [2006-08-12] comment on the SHAKO Page.  I may not 
always be right, but I am consistent!

3D-chess FAQ file. Information on the classic 5x5x5 three dimensional chess game. (5x5x5, Cells: 125) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
David Paulowich wrote on 2007-06-21 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

Piece Values on 5x5x5: I am using the name Alicorn for the piece in Raumschach with triagonal movement and Unicorn for a piece combining the moves of Alicorn and Ferz (called a Ferzicorn by David Moeser in 2001). Wizard combines the moves of Alicorn and Bishop, this piece was used in Jim Aikin's Five Up (2001). Narwhal combines the moves of Alicorn and Rook. 'Alicorn' is the name for the horn of a unicorn, centuries ago narwhals were the main source of fake alicorns. Favourite combines the moves of Bishop and Rook, some 3D variants use it to replace the Raumschach Queen, which combines the moves of Alicorn and Bishop and Rook. Setting the value of a Knight equal to 30 points, Zillions thinks the Pawn is worth around 11 points in Raumschach.

Alicorn=15, Rook=25, Bishop=30, Knight=30,
Unicorn=40, Narwhal=50, Wizard=55, Favourite=60, Queen=80.

Zillions tends to simply add the values of component pieces together, giving 30 + 25 + 15 = 70 for the Queen, while I believe that 80 points is a more reasonable value. Using the Queen as a benchmark, I have estimated values for Unicorn, Narwhale, Wizard and Favourite. Note that the Unicorn and Wizard can visit all 125 cells, unlike their components. Use these numbers until something better turns up - and remember that the original Zillions calculations were based on a game with Kings that moved to all 26 adjacent cells. A final note: Zillions assigned 9 points to Pawns that move straight up (Black Pawns move down) in a 5x5x5 variant I was testing - but that value may have been influenced by the fact that the Favourite was the strongest piece in the game.

Raumschach. The classical variant of three-dimensional chess: 5 by 5 by 5. (5x5x5, Cells: 125) (Recognized!)[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
David Paulowich wrote on 2007-06-07 UTCGood ★★★★

Regarding Charles Gilman's [2003-05-25] comment, Jim Aikin called the (Bishop + Unicorn) piece a Wizard in his 2001 variant Five Up.

I consider the (Ferz + Unicorn) piece to be another interesting idea. First reference I can find to this piece: November 4, 2001, david moeser made posts #976 and #977 in Yahoo chessvariants, suggesting the Unicorn in Raumschach be replaced by a Ferzicorn.

AltOrth Hex Chess. Hexagonal variant using pieces moving only one way along each orthogonal. (11x11, Cells: 91) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
David Paulowich wrote on 2007-06-06 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
Charles Gilman is right: the General (King), Rook, Viceroy (Knight or Alfil) and Pawn are the four natural pieces for this hexagonal board. Neat arrangement of the three Viceroys in the initial position. His definitions of additional pieces are ingenious.

Turning chess. Pieces can turn 45 degrees after movement. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
David Paulowich wrote on 2007-06-06 UTCGood ★★★★

I believe Ralph Betza is saying that a Mao becomes a Moa, and vice-versa, after what he calls a 45 degree turn. Thus the Knight is unchanged by turning. With regard to Charles Gilman's comment, I must admit that I find the Camel uninteresting, both as a chess player and a mathematician.

Rectahex Chesss. A chess variant that looks like hexagonal chess but can be played on a normal chess board. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
David Paulowich wrote on 2007-06-05 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

Fergus Duniho illustrates the 12 directions of movement on a hexagon board and inteprets them for Shogi pieces on his Hex Shogi page. In Hex Shogi 81 he copies the traditional Shogi setup to a 'tilted rectangle' made up of 81 hexagons. A few weeks ago I was looking at Duniho's game and thinking that it could be also played on a square board, with a little mathematical magic.

It should be possible to use Ralph Betza's work to accomplish this task. Start with a traditional Shogi board and pieces. Replace the Rooks with 'Rectahex Rooks' and the Bishops with 'Rectahex Bishops'. Looks like the Shogi Knight can be replaced by a Rectahex Knight, restricted to four forward Bison moves. In the final analysis, pieces are completely defined by their movement rules - the geometry of the board is merely a convenient aid to play. But I am not seriously recommending that anyone try to play a game of Rectahex Shogi 81.

War of the Roses. Missing description (12x12, Cells: 144) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
David Paulowich wrote on 2007-06-01 UTCGood ★★★★

My mistake, while thinking about the circular movement, I completely forgot that it makes Alfil and Dabbabah moves. The Halfling Rose was defined to make 1 to 4 Knight-leaps, regardless of its position on the board. For an ASCII diagram of the 32 possible (Halfling) Rose moves on a 16x16 board, see my Game Courier Preset Page for Rose Chess XII.

'Pawns on the fifth are entitled a forward triple step.' Should that read third? Also you wrote: 'Circular Alibabasinit'.

Lemurian Shatranj. Missing description (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
David Paulowich wrote on 2007-05-27 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

Two exciting new pieces are featured here. Hero and Shaman are the best (perhaps the only) inclusive compounds designed for use in a chess variant that does not rely on overpowered pieces.

Two set of colorbound pieces create some interesting possibilities, which I have continued to explore on a 10x10 board in Opulent Lemurian Shatranj. I decided to replaced the War Elephant (FAD) with a similar, but nonleaping, piece.

Chess on a Really Big Board. Chess on multiple chess boards. (16x16, Cells: 256) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
David Paulowich wrote on 2007-05-26 UTCGood ★★★★

To (partially) answer Trae Moore's question, John Williams suggested a 'limited infinite chess' rule HERE in 1997.

Bishops Conversion Rule. Rule for variant where bishops start on equal colored squares, with sample games.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
David Paulowich wrote on 2007-05-23 UTCGood ★★★★

The Dragon Horse may be worth as much as a pair of Knights (even more on larger boards). In Fergus Duniho's Caïssa Britannia the Bishop can also make a noncapturing Wazir move. Has anyone determined the value of this piece? The Bishops Conversion Rule would become unnecessary.

This 'Augmented Bishop' may be approximately the same strength as the 'Long Knight', which I define to be a Nightrider that is limited to making one or two Knight-leaps. Worth considering on large board variants.

Jumping Chess. Pieces capture by jumping. Board has extra edge squares making it 10x10. (10x10, Cells: 100) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
David Paulowich wrote on 2007-05-22 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
After seven years, I am ready to concede that JUMPING CHESS was the best idea presented in the 100 Squares Chess Variant Contest. Not comfortable with the 'capture the King' victory condition, so I finally did something about it. Also replaced Knights with Nightriders and added some short range leapers.

Energizer Chess. Chess on a normal board with an Archbishop and a Chancellor added. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
David Paulowich wrote on 2007-05-12 UTCGood ★★★★
I have been known to set up my Knights in very strange places. I prefer your smaller game to Eric's Great Chess, which squeezes all the pieces of the historic chess variant Great Chess into a 10x8 board.

CwDA: the Shatranjian Shooters. Missing description (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
David Paulowich wrote on 2007-05-07 UTCGood ★★★★

Several years ago Peter Hatch posted a series of armies intended to match the Grand Chess ('Human') Army on the 10x10 board. His Dwarven Army uses Cannons and War Machines, plus a variety of shortrange pieces. These include the Free Padwar [F2zF2] and the Guard [FW], which are also used in my recent Opulent Lemurian Shatranj. His Giant Army takes the bold step of replacing the 10 Pawns with 4 Alibabas. His two armies have some pieces in common with JETAN (Martian Chess), invented by Edgar Rice Burroughs ninety years ago.

Fantasy Grand Chess: Dwarven Army. Dwarven Army. (10x10, Cells: 100) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
David Paulowich wrote on 2007-05-07 UTCGood ★★★★

Those 10 soldiers may be worth 15 or 16 pawns. This is not a big problem. Dwarves are slow, so slow that I am assigning a '2 pawn penalty' for the extra moves they take to develop in the opening. The 10 other pieces in the Dwarven Army have a total value about 2 pawns less their Grand Chess counterparts. One small adjustment can bring the two armies into line: substitute my War Horse for Peter Hatch's General, dropping the value another 2 pawns. Or you could leave the General unchanged and drop the 'forward ferz move' from the two War Machines. These are the best estimates that I can arrive at without playtesting.

Here is the big problem. Cannons get weaker as the other pieces are traded off. By the time 80 percent of the squares are empty, the Cannon is only half the value of a Rook. On the 10x10 board, this means a Cannon is worth a full Pawn less than a Bishop (which I assign 5/8 of a Rook's value). Even the slow moving Priest is worth about 3/5 of a Rook. Cannons need to face an opposing army with a variety of low-value pieces, that can be used to block the Cannon attacks. See Jean-Louis Cazaux's SHAKO for a successful chess variant design. NOTE: Berolina Pawns would do the job nicely, but they are not under consideration.

Fidchell. A large Great Chess variant with blended historical elements, invented for an RPG. (12x12, Cells: 144) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
David Paulowich wrote on 2007-05-04 UTCGood ★★★★

The Unicorn combines the moves of the Chariot (Rook) and Cannon from Korean Chess. This piece is the same as the Super Rook in Lim Ther Peng's Supremo Superchess.

The Marshal (promoted Knight) has also been called a Buffalo. An interesting collection of chess pieces.

Cataclysm. Large board game with short-range pieces designed to be dramatic without being overly complicated or dragging on too long. (12x16, Cells: 192) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
David Paulowich wrote on 2007-05-03 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
Is this the COURIER CHESS of the new century?  Many interesting ideas here.
If you decide that the Grand Rook is too strong, try using a Grand Cannon,
combining the moves of the Wazir and the Cannon. Note on terminology:
Roberto Lavieri uses (very different) Grand-Rooks and Grand-Cannons in 
ALTAIR.  As an experiment, I am subtracting 4P, D, S, C, T and cutting 
the board down to 12x12.  As in Mir Chess 32, the rotationally 
symmetric setup staggers the pawn lines.  Give all pawns an initial 2-step.

 . . . . . . . . P P P P  5
 . . . . P P P P . . C C  4
 P P P P E D S E . T . T  3
 C . T . E Q K E . . . .  2
 G R B . . . . . . B R G  1
 a b c d e f g h i j k l

Opulent Chess. A derivative of Grand Chess with additional jumping pieces (Lion and Wizard). (10x10, Cells: 100) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
David Paulowich wrote on 2007-05-03 UTCGood ★★★★

The NW piece is called a Grand Horse in Roberto Lavieri's ACHERNAR, a Brigadier in Glenn Overby's veSQuj, and a Mule in Lùotuoqí (Camel Chess). The royal pieces in Jason D. Wittman's Mad Chess move like NF (White) and NW (Black).

Bishop Knight Morph Factor. Missing description (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
David Paulowich wrote on 2007-05-03 UTCGood ★★★★

In 2001 David Howe posted Chess on a Longer Board with a few Pieces Added. His Changeling piece starts out as a Halfling Bishop and alternates its movement with a Halfling Rook. A Game Courier search for [Chess on a*] will turn up old games in this variant, plus some others.

I once considered replacing the Queen in standard chess with a Rotator, moving R-N-B-R and so forth. MATE-IN-3 PROBLEM

White: King b3, Rotator[Rook mode] g2, Black: King b1.

1.[R]a2 Ka1 2.[N]c3 check Kb1 3.[B]e1 mate.

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