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10-directional Chess. 10-directional pieces: an augmented Knight and a restricted Chancellor. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Nicholas Wolff wrote on 2009-12-11 UTCGood ★★★★
10-Directional Chess
To review 10-Directional Chess would be more to review the pieces used in the game.  Knappen introduces two pieces and replaces the orthodox knight and queen with them.  These new pieces are the eohippo (knight + forward/backward wazir) and the fischer (knight + forward/backward rook).

In the rules, Knappen eludes to this new piece set being a comparable Chess with Different Armies (CwDA) army.  I disagree with this statement.  This army is significantly weaker than the FIDE army.  Though the eohippo does have a one up on the knight, the fischer has too many weaknesses to even be comparable to the queen.  This army would get destroyed by the 'Fabulous FIDE' set, if played by someone with even the same skill level.  

Both of these pieces have weaknesses that are easily exploitable.  They are both quite vulnerable to pins, minus a pin via the file against the fischer.  They are vulnerable from the diagonals and from the left and right.  They also share the weakness of the knight, that they need to be in the center of the board to be the most efficient and are relatively weak along the sides of the board.

In an endgame with a rook, king and pawns vs a fischer, king and an equal number of pawns placed in equal positions, I would wager the side with the rook would have the better hand.  The capability to run along the ranks is most invaluable, especially against a fischer and its weaknesses.  The fischer, however, would have the better capability to fork pieces.

If you were to compare the fischer to the eohippo, it is obvious that the fischer is more powerful, but in a similar end game situation as the rook and the fischer, I would imagine it would be fairly even play.  I think who ever would have the move tempo would have the advantage.  However, I feel that the rook far outclasses the eohippo, even with how closely related all of the pieces are to each other.  

The main strength in the two new pieces lies within their forking ability.  Not only does it retain the knights powerful move, but it throws in a nice orthogonal move as well, providing more opportunities for these forks to occur.  In my second game played, I even lost via smothered mate, which hardly ever occurs in a game of FIDE chess. 

With all of these strengths, weaknesses, and similarities noted, I would value these two new pieces (on an 8x8 board) relatively low.  I would give the eohippo a 4 and the fischer either a 5 or just slightly more.  The eohippo would still be considered a minor piece as it cannot mate a bare king with just itself and a king, though it can now cause a stalemate.  The fischer is considered a major piece, following the same method.  Keep in mind that I am no expert on piece values, just from my opinion.

One thing that I have noticed in the games of 10-Directional Chess games that I have played, is that the pawn structures in the mid-game are unique.  I find that the middle pawns are lost early in about half the games, leaving quite a bit of pressure on the sides of the board, while opening the middle.  This may be due to the fact that the people playing it are more used to the value of the center of FIDE chess and try to apply that here, where it may not be the best place to focus on.  I invite more people to try the center, though, because I think it would be interesting to see the strategies that can arise from controlling it.  Just remember that an open center will get the fischer out into the game early without compromising one's development.

Yes, I know you have all been waiting for Nick's list of 10-D strategies.  Well, here it:

When playing AGAINST these pieces (whether using the same army or different): 

-It is best to attack the fischer and eohippo from their weaknesses as I explained in a previous paragraph.  If the player is new to using this army, they may rely on these pieces a lot.  However, if you eliminate all of them, it leaves your opponent with just a set of FIDE pieces, which I am sure he/she would be familiar with.
-Take out their rooks at all cost.  They are (in my opinion) their most deadly piece, and they have TWO of them!
-Never forget about the orthogonal movements of Knappen's pieces.  In the games I have played/watched, many a blunder has been made (some costing the player with the obvious advantage the game).  It is very easy to overlook those moves and it will haunt you.
-The fischer and the eohippo will be used for forking pieces.  Again, don't forget about the orthogonal movements.
-If you have a different army other than the 10-D one, you will want to maintain a strong center.  This will block the fischer's development.

When playing WITH these pieces (pretty much the opposite of playing against):

-Keep your weak spots covered and be wary of the potential of pins.  
-Protect your rooks and use them wisely.  In an endgame, they will be your most valuable players, giving you the most potential for a checkmate.  
-Try to open up the center game.  It will provide you with the best opportunity to develop your fischer.  Also remember that a fischer in the center is the deadliest fischer on the board.
-Utilize the orthogonal movements of Knappen's pieces.  They will provide protection and also forking opportunities not presented with a standard knight.

Knappen brings some more interesting light into the chess world with his new pieces.  Personally, I find the new eohippo to be a great piece and am currently utilizing it in a testing of one of my new games.  However, the fischer, though a stronger piece than the eohippo, leaves more to be desired.  I would not have set this piece to be a queen replacement.  However, with these new pieces, Knappen retains the chess spirit while compromising the old, drawn out opening books that grandmasters pride themselves with, which are a big part of the reason why I have shied away from the ancient game, myself.  This sigh of relief and new outlook of the game put it high in my favor, though I am by no means great at this game (in fact, I am quite terrible at it).  Also, as Fergus states, the learning curve is minimal, though that works on both an upside and a downside.  With these closing comments being said, I would rate this game on Nick's personal scale out of 10... a 6.5.  I would like to see this game played more often by other people.  I think it would expand all of our horizons, though I think the fischer would deter many from its play.