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Maasai Chess. Large CV with 48 pieces per side, of 20 types including both regular and rapid Pawns.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Eric Silverman wrote on 2021-07-07 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

I have played this game extensively in the Ai Ai software package since adding it, and I feel it may be the best iteration so far of Jean-Louis Cazaux's series of 12x12 variants. The piece density and variety generate very interesting interactions on the board. The various Pawn- and Pawn-like pieces in the 3rd/4th ranks create a nice sense of progression, leading the board to gradually open up and allow more powerful pieces to enter the fray.

In a sense, the game reminds me slightly of a Chess equivalent to Dai Dai Shogi, which has a long opening phase that gradually expands into a delightfully complex middlegame. As a fanatic for large Shogi I consider this a plus :)

In any case, I highly recommend this game for fans of larger variants. In the future I hope Maasai might generate some similar developments of Gigachess and Terachess as well. I have experimented a bit myself with adding the two ranks of mixed Pawns to those games and the results were quite enjoyable.


Jean-Louis Cazaux wrote on 2021-07-07 UTC

Thank you Ben. I modified both pages to fix that.


Ben Reiniger wrote on 2021-07-07 UTC

I've updated the link description and published this page.

I found the "en passant...is identical to the regular chess Pawn" for the Maasai a little disconcerting because it doesn't address inter-type interaction. Of course, you address that in the Rules section. Maybe just add a note to the piece description that these are addressed in the Rules section?


Jean-Louis Cazaux wrote on 2021-07-06 UTC

Maasai Chess page and the Game Courier preset can be released. Thanks to editors


Jean-Louis Cazaux wrote on 2021-07-06 UTC

I would like to change that sentence which is presenting my new game Maasai Chess:

Large CV with 48 pieces per side, of 20 types including Sergent Maasai as improved Pawns

I wish to write:

Large CV with 48 pieces per side, of 20 types including both regular and rapid Pawns

May I do it? Or an editor can do it for me? Thank you


Jean-Louis Cazaux wrote on 2021-05-16 UTC

What you say is true HG, it is a fact that different plays will quickly become all different in such a large variant. But so what?

Of course you are free to comment my proposal but I don't see where you want to go.

You argue about the fact that white has an advantage of having the word in saying what is the lineup. I'm still not convinced by your explanations, but I don't want to make a dispute on that. Since my sentence was not a rule and was more a comment, I removed it.

Anyway, advantage or not, I do like the idea of having the freedom to organise the major pieces at wish in the center of the board, even though those pieces are behind lines of pawns. When I play it, it adds some fun: either I choose the line-up or I do the first move. Like in some sports where either you choose the side on the field or the ball to start.

In any case, this game is not finished, and it might continue to evolve according to on-going play testing.


Jean-Louis Cazaux wrote on 2021-05-08 UTC

Thanks a lot


Fergus Duniho wrote on 2021-05-07 UTC

Game Courier preset, ... Game Courier setting file, multiple presets, indexed link page, so complicated for someone like me to understand what I'm doing.

I have updated the FAQ to help clarify this.


Jean-Louis Cazaux wrote on 2021-05-07 UTC

.. Game Courier preset, ... Game Courier setting file, multiple presets, indexed link page, so complicated for someone like me to understand what I'm doing. You guys are pure genius.


Fergus Duniho wrote on 2021-05-07 UTC

I wanted to create a new Game Courier preset to play this Maasai Chess. Then, I follow the link to create a new GC preset. But at the end, the process gives a similar template than for a normal page entry. This is confusing.

I expect you followed the link to create a link page to a Game Courier preset. This is what you should do after you have already created your preset.

So, I started from an existing GC preset of my own, I modified it, I renamed it "Maasai Chess", I saved it and I spent my evening working on it. This morning, I wanted to come back on it and continue ... but I can't find it. Where is it?

What you created is a Game Courier settings file. A settings file may be used as the basis for multiple presets with different appearances, or it may be used as a single preset without modification. After you have made your presets, the next step would be to create an indexed link page to them. To find your settings file, look in the menu under your name for "Your Game Courier Settings Files".


x x wrote on 2021-05-07 UTC

True, this variant is quite big and the changed pieces are behind 2 rows of predetermined "pawns", the shuffled pieces will not affect the board in the opening much. I haven’t considered how large this variant is.


H. G. Muller wrote on 2021-05-07 UTC

Its not completely unreasonable that someone migth derive advantage from playing with more familiar setup (assuming one would play this variant enough).

It is very questionable, though, whether in a variant this large where the differences in setup are applied somewhere in the rear of the army, that there will be anything familiar at all to the position by the time the battle really starts. Black can force white to start with (some of his) pieces in a certain constellation, but he cannot control what moves white will play afterwards. Most white players would play totally different, and by the time the pieces in the back-rank come into play you would always be in a position you have never seen before. Unless black is playing against the same white player all the time, which would also stick to the single variation he likes. In which case the position would be just as familiar to that white player, and the alledged compensation would go up in smoke.


x x wrote on 2021-05-07 UTC

It can be argued that if chess is a forced draw from opening position, then first move advantage doesn’t exist at all. Yet even if someone showed proof that chess is drawn game, humans would still atribute some advantage to white. Its not completely unreasonable that someone migth derive advantage from playing with more familiar setup (assuming one would play this variant enough). Quantifying this advantage and comparing it to first move advantage is another story though.


H. G. Muller wrote on 2021-05-07 UTC

I agree that it is exceedingly unlikely that anyone would ever develop opening theory for these games. And of course it is your design, and you can pick the rules anyway you like them.

But what I object to (since your submission is open for review) is your claim that the rule you propose compensates the first-move advantage. Especially if you don't believe yourself that black would ever go to the trouble of developing opening theory, it is a misleading claim.


Jean-Louis Cazaux wrote on 2021-05-07 UTC

Seriously, nobody will study the opening theories for my games. If few are just playing, I'll be happy. I still believe that if they are many setups, the impact of learn-by-heart openings will be less important. I like the idea of one player choosing the setup and the opponent making the first move. I understand that other people may like other ideas, no problem.


H. G. Muller wrote on 2021-05-07 UTC

It seems to me that the black player who chooses the setup has an advantage to his white opponent who doesn't know what will be the setup. It is true that the black player may know an opening theory for his favorite setup but as they are a lot of possible setups, one would have to know a lot of opening theories which is reducing the impact in my opinion.

There is no game-theoretical advantage from choosing btween a number of symmetric, and therefore mostly equivalent start position. The only way black can derive any advantage from this is by having very extensive opening knowledge for the setup he is going to choose. Only white would have to prepare for all openings, if he has no clue what black is going to choose. (Which presumably is hopeless, due to the large number.) Black, however, only has to prepare for one, and can use that one in every game he plays as black. (And even if it is commonly known what he will pick, it is not much help to the white player if he has to play a variety of opponents.)

So I think that rather than doing away with the burden of opening theory, your rules compell the players to study opening theory for black, in order to neutralize the first-move advantage.


Jean-Louis Cazaux wrote on 2021-05-07 UTC

I am confused. Yesterday I created a new page for a new entry called "Maasai Chess". This page is now waiting for approval by editors. This is not the problem.

After, I wanted to create a new Game Courier preset to play this Maasai Chess. Then, I follow the link to create a new GC preset. But at the end, the process gives a similar template than for a normal page entry. This is confusing.

So, I started from an existing GC preset of my own, I modified it, I renamed it "Maasai Chess", I saved it and I spent my evening working on it. This morning, I wanted to come back on it and continue ... but I can't find it. Where is it?

When I look under my name to my unpublished submissions, I see the normal page for "Maasai Chess" but for the GC preset I just see the void page I had made, and not the file I had worked on yesterday.

May someone help me?


Jean-Louis Cazaux wrote on 2021-05-07 UTC

It seems to me that the black player who chooses the setup has an advantage to his white opponent who doesn't know what will be the setup. It is true that the black player may know an opening theory for his favorite setup but as they are a lot of possible setups, one would have to know a lot of opening theories which is reducing the impact in my opinion.


H. G. Muller wrote on 2021-05-06 UTC

Why do you say that black's privilege of choosing the initial setup would compensate the first-move advantage? It shouldn't be worth anything, because white gets exactly the same arrangement of pieces. And having one player determine the setup interferes with the purpose of having no opening theory.


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