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Do-or-die Chess. Chess on an 8-by-5 board. Three ranks have been removed. (8x5, Cells: 40) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Greg Strong wrote on 2020-09-27 UTC

I have made a first pass at updating this >20 year old game page. There is one outstanding question from the comments that was never answered - if the squares are open, can an unmoved pawn make a two-space move?

The author did not address this question. But he did say that all the rules of Chess apply. So, does that mean a pawn can move 2 spaces? That depends on how you look at it. True, the FIDE Chess rules do say that an unmoved pawn may move two spaces, but that is on a much larger board. Ralph Betza argued that, applying this rule to chess variants in general, an unmoved pawn should be able to move up to the middle of the board. (Sorry for the lack of reference, I'm sure I read this but I do not remember exactly where.) I think this makes a lot of sense. It is the "spirit" of the rule rather than the "letter" of the rule. And, in Chess, even with a 2-space move, you are still behind the midpoint. But here, since the board has an odd number of files, even a single step puts you farther, proportionally, than a double-step in chess. Therefore, a 2-space pawn move here would be very different in effect than in chess. And, it is widely believed, that simplicity is best wherever possible. (Hence the awesomeness of Go.) Adding the complexity of a 2-space pawn move and en passant to a game where it is unnecessary and probably would never happen anyway is therefore undesirable.