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Altair. Altair is a modern game with an oriental flavor. (9x9, Cells: 81) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Kevin Pacey wrote on 2018-02-27 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

This is a cool game to play, though I myself had some slight difficulty with possible ambiguity to the wording of certain rules, as put forward on this page. One case I solved by looking at an earlier comment about this page that George made, in reply to someone's question about a rule. Other than that, the different colouring scheme of various ranks, and the purpose to that, is one nifty aspect of this game.

George Duke wrote on 2017-02-13 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

Altair is CV where "piece values are not a good indicator of one side's advantage in chess" to use V's current words, because most of the pieces for a move can also be dropped to empty square in rank nearby of the same color. Also they most of them can slide along their rank unimpeded. So if coming up with guide-values for stronger Mage and Lion and Diamond around 7, 5 and 4 respectively, good use of the board itself makes all the pieces closer to heuristic 3.8-4.2 each with only Pawns in some 2.x range.

Muller wrote up problem theme 3Q v. 7N in "Charge of Light Brigade." If you keep 8 Pawns, the 3 Queens versus 7 Knights may go to 3Q by already 8x10 any array, certainly by 10x10. Board used and Rules interact piece values, and cannot really be safely generalized even as to '<' or '>' for all cases; with special rules (or board) we can think of CV where even N>Q one on one!

For ex., make narrow stair step where Q can only occasionally go 3 or 2, but N leaps cross empty space and get values maybe N4 Q3 as convenient.

Joe Joyce wrote on 2009-06-28 UTC
George, yes, the piece of Roberto's you mentioned that I was referring to in the traffic cop remark is the Reducer. [I'm perfectly happy to continue from MAB Overview & Glossary to Prince to here, and I admit to being a bit curious where we'll wind up next. I enjoy these 'far-ranging' conversations.] The relevant part of your comment/question was: 
'What is a ''traffic cop piece'' of Joyce? It could be a good one. In some languages overseas they call those deliberate bumps all the way across the road ''lying-down policemen'' loosely translated.'

I think the traffic-cop piece acts in a similar manner to the reducer, which limits all pieces to a 1-square move, if next to them. But I would give it an area effect, since that's what we've been talking about. I'd suggest a 'zone of influence' that extends 2-3 squares [cubes, tesseracts...] and slows pieces. How does it slow them? 

First, let's consider an 'infinite' slider; on the standard chess board [8x8], it actually moves only 1-7 squares. So call its movement 'allowance' 7. As it moves across the board, it expends 1 from its allowance to enter each empty square. When it does not have enough allowance left to move one more square, it must stop. We can define more powerful pieces as having a larger allowance, maybe 10 for a queen, say. Now we can define some pieces in terms of movement allowances.
Our traffic cop piece would work very simply, by increasing the cost to enter squares in its zone. For the first square entered, it costs the basic 1, plus 1 additional. For the second square, the basic 1, plus 2 additional. For a third square in the zone, it's 1 + 3, and so on. We can also define a 'bender' piece, that works similarly, but pulls a piece 1 square toward itself for each square that piece moves in the bender's zone of influence. This is 'point gravity' chess. Just thinking about how pieces might move through a bunch of these gravity points with a handful of movement points can cause thoughts of 'gravitational slingshots' where pieces travel farther than their movement allowance, 'black holes' which cannot be escaped from because they're too big and powerful, and severe headaches. 

Since we're on a page of Roberto's, I'll mention one piece he uses, the battery. The battery augments the power of a piece it's next to. So it would increase the range of the cop and the bender, thus allowing the creation of the effects mentioned at the end of the last paragraph. But I don't think this discussion is actually appropriate to Roberto's Altair page, so I'll continue it in the Philosophy thread. Roberto's stuff rocks; it shouldn't be taken over, other than marginally, by a discussion that is only peripherally related to Altair. I worked in the reducer and traffic cop, and added a possibly new, certainly rare, piece along with another of Roberto's pieces, so he's getting equal time. ;-) [He deserves at least that! Hope to see that name show up again as an author of something.] 

But before I leave, I have to correct one small thing. George, you said:
'Two-path Rook being attributed to Witham in Joyce's present instigating comments is already invented long ago shows Pritchard 'ECV'' All I did was attribute the use of the word 'planar' to C Witham, which Witham used to describe hook-rooks, a different thing than the planar pieces of Prince.

George Duke wrote on 2009-06-27 UTC
(Joyce's Philosophy should look at ''DtA'') Mark Thompson in 1996 ''Defining the Abstract'' applies to games four criteria: clarity, depth, drama, decisiveness. The same evaluative nouns could even be applied to pieces by themselves. I like Lavieri's Altair as Excellent within CVPage but would not recommend it to IAGO and Hutnik because of lack of clarity in some piece-types. Grand-Bishop moves like Bishop and also jumps like Tripper(3,3) and also has non-capturing one-step Wazir here. Like most Altair pieces, it has still additional movement along a rank and up or back three ranks with qualifications. Pretty obscure mechanics for wide acceptance, only having mind-bending depth for the fun of it. Sequential pieces have been invented and reinvented, like Joyce's Bent Hero and Bent Shaman (I rated Lemurian Shatranj high for good new combination not for re-invention) and they all have somewhat troubling clarity issues. Now Lavieri's Reducer, a one-step-delimiting Immobilizer is within this fine Altair too and is natural enough for 2-D anyway. Reducer could be among standard 25 variant pieces for IAGO. Whereas multi-path Dragon five-stepping presents lessened clarity; the full potential is already achieved by minimal-four-path Scorpion. It may be every so-called planar piece, the fad of the last week, worth considering lacks clarity, yet to be ascertained. We may never do justice to all the over 1000 piece-types in Frank Truelove's list from Pritchard, let alone Gilman's 1000 more documented. Two-path Rook being attributed to Witham in Joyce's present instigating comments is already invented long ago shows Pritchard 'ECV'. So it goes, being impossible to hold a fraction the whole field in mental sweep dispassionately. Rococo's Chameleon lacks clarity: what do to when a CV has only some one disturbing element?

George Duke wrote on 2008-12-27 UTC
[Somewhat different piece-types from Paulowich's: ] This Grand Bishop adds Tripper(3,3) but Grand Rook does not have (0,3) leap. Why? Because most of the pieces have the *Ch* and can leap to any empty three ranks removed anyway, not just one; and the *H* makes it likely to get to (0,3) along the horizontal too. Charles Gilman works to fill in the blanks of nomenclature. He found (0,3) ''Three-leaper'' not really named, so we call it Trebouchet, or Trebuchet now. Trebouchet is just archaic according to Oxford multi-volume dictionary from 19th century.

George Duke wrote on 2008-08-15 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
Altair, in process between Carlos and myself, is almost embarrassingly neat game whilst at first seeming over-complicated. Lavieri should stick with Grand-Bishop and omit the alternatives. As noted in other thread we will revive, somehow '9x9's have disproportionate over 50% excellent. Tri-colour squares are necessary for *Ch*, in which most pieces may at any time ''drop'' themselves to vacant square three ranks removed, as a turn. Lavieri's best game over Maxima.

George Duke wrote on 2008-06-28 UTC
No. Also, notice that the Diamond Warrior has not the *H*.

carlos carlos wrote on 2008-06-28 UTC
'It takes by jumping (like piece of draughts but in all directions), jumping an enemy piece diagonally.'

so can it or can't it take orthogonally?

George Duke wrote on 2007-10-30 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
Roberto Lavieri CVs feature cannibalism, like Kristensen's Chess, as secondary feature, being just convenience once in a while to open lines of attack. In fact, in Altair, still another 9x9, all the pieces may capture any friendly unit. Lavieri's Maxima is a major use like Rococo of 40-year-old Immobilizer. Altair's rank jumping as a non-capturing move, appearing again in Achernar, has to be unique. The Reducer is an Immobilizer adaptation, able by adjacency to 'Reduce' most enemy moving to one square only instead of full pattern. Highly tactical test of skill this Altair. Confining the King to the Fortress and the way of moving of the Soldier particularly give the 'Oriental flavour'. Overtaker -- like Cannon and Canon and Cannon Pawn(partly) and Orthodox Pawn and Divergent and most Outback Chess pieces -- always moves differently than it captures. The Diamond Warrior has a correspondence with the established commercial Omega Chess Champion and more closely is all but copied by newer Templar of A.A. de la Campa. The Lion-Man could be better described by Lavieri as a Queen restricted to one or two squares. Bent rider Mage, actually 800-year-old Gryphon, is re-used in later well-regarded Maxima.

Roberto Lavieri wrote on 2006-01-08 UTC
Soldier: Both
Overtaker: Both
Diamond Warrior: CH only
Lion Man: Both
Grand-Bishop: Both
Mage: Neither
Reducer: H only (moves as a Queen, so this is a consequence)
King: Neither
Grand-Cannon: Both
Grand-Rook: Both

That´s correct. Originally, I thought the game with ALL pieces (except the
King) with CH and H movements. Posterior refinements after testing, made me
take the decision of weaken some pieces, for a more strategical and better
game play.
YES, all squares are available if the movement is legal.

carlos carlos wrote on 2006-01-08 UTC
Please confirm on special powers (I ask because the piece descriptions for
some pieces don't specifically mention that they don't have special

Soldier: Both
Overtaker: Both
Dimaond Warrior: CH only
Lion Man: Both
Grand-Bishop: Both
Mage: Neither
Reducer: H only
King: Neither
Grand-Cannon: Both
Grand-Rook: Both

Also, the special powers includes any squares in the fortress.  Correct?

Roberto Lavieri wrote on 2005-09-23 UTC
Fergus, the Altair/w/Grand-Cannons LOG (Lavieri-Duke) in Game Courier System has some troubles to be loaded. G.W.Duke was not able to make his move last time by this reason, and I have seen that the time to load the game is excessive. Please revise and tell me what is happening. If you can correct the cause, please do it. Thank you.

George Duke wrote on 2004-12-17 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
The CHANGE is in the nature of a liberal drop, always available for Lion, Overtaker, Diamond, and Grand-Bishop. No licentious drop as in Shogi, and in fact no promotees at all, just the 8 piece-types on 81 squares. The HORIZONTAL is a more restricted drop applying to Pawns also. The Mage is 800-year-old Gryphon. I don't expect to use the bizarre cannibal provision. Three long-range D,M,B; and five one- or two-step K,U,E,P,L. In comparison, Achernar, having standard pieces, is weak sister.

George Duke wrote on 2004-12-09 UTC
I would play Altair if you make preset, while thinking about 3-D. One of Mage, or Gryphon, movements is Falcon-like. (See Falcon Chess) There is slight overlap between Gryphon and Falcon in patterns and squares they reach. Since Rook and Bishop are long-range, Gryphon does not add anything, but in fact detracts from the various pieces' mutual effectiveness. In games with standard Rook, Knight, Bishop, the Falcon in my view is the natural complement, as it is the mathematical complement, making four standard pieces. In general, you would not want to utilize Gryphon, Lavieri's Mage, with Rook and Bishop. And Lavieri figuring out the same thing leaves it out of Achernar.

Roberto Lavieri wrote on 2004-12-09 UTC
I can´t give a good reason on why the game play seems to be better in Altair than in Achernar, but I can point out that Altair´s pieces are weaker than Achernar´s. Altair is the precursor, and it was the first 'playable' game in which I introduced the Reducer. In Altair, power density is less than in Achernar, but some pieces are somewhat exotic. Mages are not my creation, of course. Griphon or Mage is a piece that has been used in many games, including a couple of historical old Chess variants. Mage works very well with Maxima pieces, and with Altair pieces. I don´t know the reason, but this piece does not work as well in like-Fide-Chess games, i.e., games with Rooks, Knights and Bishops (can anybody explain this fact?. I can´t), and in these like-FIDE-Chess games it is sometimes an incomodiuos powerful piece, difficult to maneuver in a good manner, as I have seen in a few experimantal games. I have been tempted to make a preset for Altair, but I´m not sure I´m going to find people who wants to play this strange game, and it has discouraged me for making the Preset.

George Duke wrote on 2004-12-09 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
Altair, Roberto Lavieri points out, is precursor to Achernar. With ten piece-types on 81 squares, this may be where Reducer originates. Or does Reducer come from still another game? I notice that Mage re-appears in Maxima but not in Achernar. Why does a 'triple rank switch' work best in Altair and Achernar both? And why call them 'files' when standard terminology is 'ranks'? It seems to me this maneuver, inherently more powerful than say castling or pawn promotion, if only because allowed repeatedly, calls for an actual 3-D embodiment, as Lavieri suggests. Altair's piece-types are less familiar than Maxima's, which largely come from Ultima. The cannibal provision seems to be attempt to counteract the extreme piece mobility.

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