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Kings. A modest variant with more than one king. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Daniil Frolov wrote on 2010-04-16 UTC
No, when playing variant of oriental games, stalemate is not immediately win, as i told before: in variants of oriental games moving king into check or leving it in check is only legal if after any move king will be in check. Goal is only to capture all opponent's kings.

Daniil Frolov wrote on 2010-04-14 UTC
How about these rules for chess with several kings: moving any king into check is illegal; if several kings are checked at the same time, player must 'save' as many kings as possible; leaving king (or kings) in check is legal only there is no move, wich can save it; if there are no kings, wich are in check, but any move will cause check of at least one king, it's stalemate and it's draw (or, if you are playing variant of some oriental game, lose for stalemated player); goal is to capture all opponent's kings.
Is there game, wich uses such rules?

Jeremy Good wrote on 2007-06-21 UTC
Another way of playing with this theme: Instead of the a-file being the royal determinant file, let f1/f8 squares be royal determinant squares. If equidistant, then neither is royal. Equidistance is defined as spaces away, counted either diagonally or orthogonally. Otherwise, the king closer to the f1/f8 square is the royal king. If one king is eliminated, the other becomes royal.

Derek Nalls wrote on 2007-06-16 UTC
Mirror West Chess;id=1429

Derek Nalls wrote on 2007-06-16 UTC
I think Sam Trenholme's concern about drawishness is well-founded.  So, I have abolished castling (a special move designed to enhance the protection of a single king) from all variants of Mirror West Chess.  Furthermore, there are variants included where the 2 royal pieces have the movement of a wazir or ferz instead of a man (i.e., king).

The submission I just sent to Zillions Of Games consists of 48 variants total.

Sam Trenholme wrote on 2007-06-15 UTC
Of the various ways of handling multiple kings, I think 'many any of them to win' is the most sensible. Why? Because I feel 'you must mate all of the kings to win' makes games too drawish. Jeff Mallet seems to agree, because, in Zillions, this is the rule when a given variant has more than one royal piece, and it is difficult to override this rule.

Why is it drawish? Because, in the midgame, the common theme in chess is to try and get an attack on you opponents king, often times with a sacrifice. However, if there are two kings, and you have to mate both of them to win, then this very strongly discourages sacrifical play. For, if you make a sacrifice or two, and get one of the opponent's king, your army is now decimated and the other person can easily win by playing the 'exchange down to a favorable endgame' strategy.

Now, having it so you have to get every royal piece to win might make sense in a variant with an obscene amount of power on the board, such as the 'Flying kittens' variants proposed about a year ago.

Abdul-Rahman Sibahi wrote on 2007-06-15 UTC
Ah, thanks. I've read that page before, but i thought you have posted it all along. I corrected the mistake.

Derek Nalls wrote on 2007-06-15 UTC

All of the games on the 'experiments in symmetry' page (including Symposium Chess) were invented by Fergus Duniho. To the best of my knowledge, he never considered any of them worthy of development.

In the comments section under that page, I proposed only one game- 'Mirror West Chess'.

Abdul-Rahman Sibahi wrote on 2007-06-15 UTC
There are many approaches to games with more than one king. They're either all Royal (checkmating one king is enough,) or Half-Royal (capture all but one and checkmate the last.)

Wild/9, and Kings use a totally different approach. It's more like adding a Guard next to the King than having two Royal Kings. The Guard is not exactly Royal, and is a very useful midgame and endgame piece. But it also have the exotic power of saving the King from an inevitable checkmate by taking over the throne himself.

Another approach, and quite a fun one, is what Fergus Deniho used in Symposium Chess, which I liked best of his variants.

'King and Queen are initially replaced by hermaphroditic Monarchs. As soon as one makes a move that can be made by only a King (castling) or only a Queen (moving further than one space), the two pieces differentiate into King and Queen, with the piece that moved turning into what it moved as. If one Monarch is captured before they differentiate into King and Queen, the remaining Monarch becomes King. The object is to checkmate the King.'

It can't be said that all these approaches create the same game.



Actually, Kings is quite different from Mirror West Chess. In Kings, you only have one king to attack (naturally, capturing the other king makes the job easier and more like normal chess.)

As I am told, Wild/9 experts play it simply as Chess (with a capital C) with an extra piece. (Actually, the highest rated player in ICC in wild/9 is an IM.) Of course removing the Queen alters opening play considerably. But Kings is still basically chess.

Kings, in essence, is asymmetric. Because the Royalty, so to speak, is always oriented to one side of the board. Technically, there's only ONE Royal King. Checkmating the Royal King wins the game regardless of how many other kings the player has.

Also, in Mirror West Chess no promotion to a King is allowed. Which I honestly found absurd about Wild/9. Mirror West deals with the two kings with a totally different approach, hence it's logical to disallow promotion to Kings.


'How about a variant based on the theme that the closest piece to a given square is royal no matter what that piece is.'

This might be the craziest idea I ever read on the site, and I like it !! It even fits perfectly with any Diagonal Chess setup where the King is placed on the corner (so he gets to be the Royal piece in the beginning of the game, but you can always sac your king to give the opponent a hard time!)


It might be fun if Kings was played with Losers Chess rules. You have to either be checkmated, stalemated, or lose ALL your pieces, probably including the other King. Capturing is obligatory (Losers Chess is different from Suicide in that you have to respond to checks. Escaping from a check takes priority to a capture, and if you can escape check WITH a capture you must do that.)

Derek Nalls wrote on 2007-06-15 UTCGood ★★★★
experiments in symmetry
Mirror West Chess
8H x 10W

Just a few months ago, I independently proposed 1 of the 3 'kings' games
Abdul-Rahman Sibahi created.  Note that I did nothing with it.  No ZOG
implementation or Game Courier preset (if possible).  I hope ARS shows
more initiative than I.

'Is not the 10 x 8 version with two kings more symmetrical than
symmetrical variants with just one king?  Because a solo king stands out
as an asymmetry to the rest of the pieces on the board.'

Yes, it is impossible to symmetrically place one king upon an 8H x 10W
board because there is no defined, single center file.  Since there are
two center files, two kings are required.

Jeremy Good wrote on 2007-06-15 UTC

Another variant of this game is to make both kings royal. There are several variants with non-royal extra kings and also those with extra kings that are royal. One of the consequences of a game with both kings royal is that a fork (or direct pin with kings skewered and nothing to interpose) of kings wins the game since both can't elude check in one turn. In the second version of a 10 x 8 board, making both kings royal might be an elegant way of accomodating more power to the board.

Of this variant, I'd like to pose a sort of quasiphilosophical question for Derek Nalls: Is not the 10 x 8 version with two kings more symmetrical than symmetrical variants with just one king? Because a solo king stands out as an asymmetry to the rest of the pieces on the board.

Applying the theme of symmetry one step further, one might lessen the weakening aspect of having two royal kings by applying a balanced extra move method (similar to Extra Move Chess and Balanced Marseillais Chess) whereby only one check can be delivered at the end of the turn which must also be removed by the end of the turn (as opposed to the beginning of the turn).

Added note: Of course having the royalty of a piece determined by its location is an elegant idea too. A further nuance to explore: How about a variant based on the theme that the closest piece to a given square is royal no matter what that piece is. Just a thought. Suppose the royal square was tucked away in an obscure place. A very strong piece close to the royal square would be hard to checkmate but it would also be removed from the main theater of war, with resulting creative tension...

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