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Chess with Different Armies. Betza's classic variant where white and black play with different sets of pieces. (Recognized!)[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
H. G. Muller wrote on 2021-05-03 UTC

The Silly Sliders

I have an idea for an army themed on a class of pieces not often encountered in variants: lame ski-sliders. The Picket of Tamerlane Chess is such a piece: it moves as a Bishop, but must minimally move two steps. So it lacks the Ferz moves, but the more distant moves can still be blocked on the F squares. (Unlike a true Ski-Bishop, which would jump over these squares, ignoring completely what might be there.)

The idea is to turn all sliding moves of the orthodox Chess pieces into such a lame ski-slide, and compensate them for the lost moves by giving them equally many leaps in other directions. So the Bishop loses its F moves, but gets the W moves instead. This makes it a sliding version of the Phoenix (WA), like the Bishop is a sliding version of the Ferfil/Modern Elephant (FA). I will call it an Onyx. The Rook likewise loses its W moves, and gets F moves instead. It is the sliding version of the Half-Duck/Lion, and I call it a Lame Duck.

The compound of an Onyx and Duck would be a normal Queen, and is not suitable. To stay within the theme it has to lose all K moves, and should be compensated with 8 other moves. The N moves are the obvious choice for this. That makes the Queen replacement a sliding version of the Squirrel (NAD), and I call it a Squire.

The Knight isn't a slider, and its move is already in the game through the Squire. That leaves a lot of freedom in choosing a move for the Knight replacement. A totally symmetric 8-target leaper that (AFAIK) is not used in any of the other established armies is the Kirin (FD). This is a color-bound piece, but the Onyx isn't, so this doesn't seem to be a major drawback. A Kirin easily develops from b1/g1 through its D move, (and the Onyx from c1/f1 through its distant B moves), so that castling is no problem. I am just not very happy with the name 'Kirin', as it has no western meaning, and starts with K, which collides with King. In modern Japanese 'kirin' means giraffe, but that name is already associated with the (1,4) leaper. Perhaps I should call it an Egg, as its moves are a sub-set of those of the Half-Duck, and make a somewhat round pattern. This piece is called 'Diamond' in Jörg Knappen's 'very experimenal' army the Sai Squad, and since this goes very well with the name Onyx (and perfecly describes the move pattern) I will adopt that name here too.

Note that the total set of moves of the army is nearly identical to that of orthodox Chess. The same moves are just redistributed differently over the pieces. The only difference is that there is a D move on the Egg; if that would have been a W move (i.e. if we would have used a Commoner instead), the correspondence would have been perfect. (But there would not have been a color-bound piece then, and perhaps that is worth somethin too.) So I expect the army to be very close in strength to FIDE.

satellite=silly graphicsDir=/membergraphics/MSelven-chess/ squareSize=35 graphicsType=png whitePrefix=w blackPrefix=b promoChoice=RBN lightShade=#BBBBBB startShade=#5555AA useMarkers=1 enableAI=2 pawn::::a2-h2,,a7-h7 diamond::FD:marshall:b1,g1,,b8,g8 onyx::WyafF:crownedbishop:c1,f1,,c8,f8 lame duck::FyafW:duck:a1,h1,,a8,h8 squire::NyafK:princess:d1,,d8 king::::e1,,e8