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Actualized Potential Chess. Pieces exist where they are but also all along their routes or points of attack.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Jeremy Good wrote on 2007-02-27 UTC

Hi, Michael.

Thank you for your comment.

I have long admired and been impressed by your work on chess variants.

My description of the dubiously named 'rule of capturing appearance' is terribly confusing so I tried to give a somewhat thorough example of how it might actually work out in a real game.

One of the things I like to try to do from time to time is to take a normal FIDE board and try to change just one rule to see how dramatically the play differs. In a way, these games aren't terribly serious games, but they have the advantage of being easy to implement as all that is required is a FIDE board and memorization of just one new rule, a rule which tends to have surprisingly unexpected and unpredictable implications. It's one interesting way of introducing a new idea. Dan Troyka, Mats Winther and Adrian Alvarez de la Campa are just a few other contemporaries who have also enjoyed doing this and I appreciate their work too. I see David Silverman shared this interest too, with his work, including the one you mentioned and Snowplow Chess. I looked him up after you mentioned him. He is also credited with the idea for a game called 'Semi Kriegspiel.' Where can I read more about his work? It seems 1971 was a busy year for David Silverman in revealing his chess variant inventions. I was born in 1972.

This idea for Actualized Potential Chess I see as being on a continuum, in this sense, with variants such as 'Atomic Chess' and 'Suicide Chess' and with my own 'Royal Pawn Chess,' 'Attackers Chess,' and Fabulous Flying Kittens 2. Fabulous Flying Kittens is not very original since toric chess is nothing new, but it has been instructional for me nonetheless.

With regard to Spite Chess, I haven't heard of that. It doesn't surprise me that the actualized potential idea is not entirely new. It is a very basic idea, an elemental idea. Slight permutations of the actualized potential rules will lead to rich and dramatically differing results (I mention a couple towards the end of this comment) and I think these would be fun to explore. I would like to try playing Spite Chess as well, and I would like to know whether anything exists about Spite Chess on the web. If anyone could ferret out a link to it, I'd like to see it.

These variants may not have the same durability as ones using a more diverse set of pieces, they have the value of novelty for the person first encountering them, and they are perhaps a little instructional. If an Actualized Potential Chess army were to compete against a Victims Chess army, a new rule would have to be introduced to describe the capture. Actualized Potential Chess has a lot in common with Victims Chess, I think, in that the more powerful a piece is, the more vulnerable it is to capture in both games.

Though the variant in itself may not have a lot of depth, the concept of actualized potential pieces is one that could be exported. An actualized potential ferz, wazir, dabbaba or elephant might be a piece that could be introduced in other variants in with non-actualized potential pieces with perhaps fun and interesting results. Those pieces have a certain aesthetic resonance as they describe tiny symmetric shadows as they move.

This type of chess - actualized potential chess - is an extreme example of an idea about chess pieces' reflections which Gary Gifford used for one of his variants, House of Mirrors. The principle is exactly the same as with House of Mirrors Chess, only with Actualized Potential Chess, occupying an opposing piece's reflection means capturing the piece itself and, in Actualized Potential Chess, the reflection is all along the lines, or points, of attack. A more playable version of Actualized Potential Chess might be that occupying a reflection square merely blocks the power of the piece, but doesn't leave it vulnerable to actual capture, as with Gifford's House of Mirrors Chess. This use of reflections in chess variants is a theme to which I hope to return soon (there are several different types of reflection squares and I have had a variant under development that uses all of them).

Another possible permutation might be to say that a piece's reflection has blocking power too. I think I may add another couple of presets to implement these permutations and label them Actualized Potential Chess 2 and Actualized Potential Chess 3.

I hope my response has been helpful. I welcome any further comments and if anyone wants to try it out with me, please accept my invitation. I have yet to play it with anybody.