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Mainzer Schach. Large variant with Janus, Marshall, and different setup. (11x8, Cells: 88) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Charles Gilman wrote on 2004-08-17 UTCGood ★★★★
It occurs to me that a more even distribution of moves would be to have the Bishops on the Marshal side and the Knights on the Queen side, but perhaps your intention is to settle the debate on whether Bishop and Knight moves give more power once and for all over tournaments a single variant! Or perhaps you know of some tradition in Mainz of the church and the military not getting on! More information about the city's links with the number 11 would be interesting.

David Paulowich wrote on 2004-08-17 UTC
Try having the Kings and Rooks move exactly three squares when castling. Thus 'White O-O-O' ends up with Kc1 and Rd1. Also, I wish Capablanca had given the simple and elegant promotion rule: to Queen, Marshal(l), or Janus of the same color. There is absolutely no need for underpromotion in these games - except to avoid the bother of borrowing a piece from another set.

Greg Strong wrote on 2004-08-17 UTCGood ★★★★

I would like to second David's comments, particularly regarding the pawn promotion. You have created a new piece combining all moves which can only be attained by pawn promotion; I see little reason to offer under-promotion. You already have to have an Amazon piece in the set, so you shouldn't need the option to promote to weaker pieces for that reason. Also, the more promotion options you allow, the slower computer programs which play the game become. The more promotion options there are, the more legal moves there are, and the larger the search tree becomes.

I do think this game looks interesting, though. I like the starting array, especially the symmetry. I'll post a Game Courier invitation shortly, and give it a try...

Greg Strong wrote on 2004-08-18 UTC
<p>Ahhh, I had not considered that. I had previously thought that under-promotion was just for psychological impact (which makes it silly for computer-chess, as the computer can't be intimidated or confused.) I guess your thought might be right-on, though, but I wonder how rare this situation is. Does anyone know of an example of a professional Chess game in which this happened?</p>

David Paulowich wrote on 2004-08-18 UTC
We need to look at the geometry of the chesspieces. Rook, Knight, and Bishop each attack different squares. Let us start with one exceptional case: if promotion to any one of Rook, Knight, Bishop results in a stalemate, than so does promotion to any of the compound pieces Amazon, Marshall, Queen, or Janus. Assuming that the situation is not that bad: [1] if promoting to a Rook stalemates - choose a Janus, [2] if promoting to a Knight stalemates - choose a Queen, [3] if promoting to a Bishop stalemates - choose a Marshall. <p> As for the Amazon - it is just too strong for my taste. I prefer to have just the three pieces (Marshall, Queen, Janus) to choose from. Actually I use the Unicorn (Bishop + Nightrider) instead of the Janus (Bishop + Knight) in my own chess variants.

David Paulowich wrote on 2004-08-18 UTC
Michael Howe raised a valid point for all variants that do not have a set of 'perfect promotion choices.' In FIDE chess, there is the common situation in King-and-Pawn endings where promotion to a Queen stalemates and promotion to a Rook does not - but a master will probably have resigned before this happens on the board. Also, sometimes you need to promote to a Knight and give check. For example: H. Reinle - M. Lange (Murnau 1936) 1. e4 e5 2. f4 f5 3. exf5 e4 4. Qh5+ g6 5. fxg6 h6 6. g7+ Ke7 7. Qe5+ Kf7 8. gxh8=N# 1-0 is a checkmate underpromotion. Another example: A Levin - A. Santasiere (Pittsburgh 1946) 1. e4 e5 2. Nf3 Nc6 3. Bc4 Nf6 4. Ng5 d5 5. exd5 Na5 6. Bb5+ c6 7. dxc6 bxc6 8. Be2 h6 9. Nf3 e4 10. Ne5 Qc7 11. f4 Bc5 12. c3 Nb7 13. Qa4 O-O 14. Qxc6 Qxc6 15. Nxc6 Re8 16. b4 Bb6 17. Na3 Nd6 18. Nc2 Nd5 19. c4 Nxf4 20. c5 Nxe2 21. Kxe2 Bg4+ 22. Kf1 Bc7 23. cxd6 Bxd6 24. Na5 Bd7 25. Bb2 Ba4 26. Nb3 f5 27. g3 g5 28. Kg2 f4 29. gxf4 gxf4 30. Rhg1 Kf8 31. Kf2 Be7 32. Bg7+ Kf7 33. Bxh6 Bh4+ 34. Ke2 f3+ 35. Ke3 Rad8 36. Rg7+ Kf6 37. Rag1 Bxb3 38. axb3 Ke5 39. Bf4+ Kf6 40. Bg5+ Bxg5+ 41. R1xg5 f2 42. R5g6+ Kf5 43. Rg5+ Kf6 44. R5g6+ Ke5 45. Ra6 f1=N+ 46. Ke2 Rxd2+ 47. Kxf1 Rxc2 1/2-1/2 Promoting to a Knight (with check) on move 45 was the only way to avoid losing, according to my computer.

George Duke wrote on 2004-08-18 UTC
About underpromotion, my concurrent Kibitz comment shows example of one in the making in recent Switching Ch. game, where Pawn-to-Knight can enforce series of checks, as David Paulowich posits. Conventionally they always come up with half a dozen at such as Tim Krabbe's chess page or Tim Harding's Chess Cafe column, in occasional subject. They consider it a really exotic topic. Where no Queen promotion, as in Falcon Chess, what is the underpromotion, Rook or Falcon? There I guess only Knight is underpromotion. Then unusual CVs may have hard-to-estimate values, so which piece would be underpromotion becomes subjective.

George Duke wrote on 2004-08-18 UTC
Dutch columnist Tim Krabbe's Chess Curiosities has in main index 'Promotion to Rook and Bishop in Games, Over 40 Serious Examples', subheading 'Underpromotion'

George Duke wrote on 2005-04-04 UTCGood ★★★★
'MNO,LargeCV': This is simple and different, in itself more likely to mean an improvement, when not artificial like author's Janus Kamil is recently alleged to be. On manageable board size(rare 8x11), Knights Kingside and Bishop-types Queenside would be okay to try once. Not the novelty and interesting pieces of excellent Quintessential Chess. Amazon only by promotion; freer castling might work better.

Sam Trenholme wrote on 2006-03-10 UTC
h7 looks the be the weakest pawn in this setup (the knight-side pawns are a good deal weaker than the bishop-side pawns). The corresponding fool's mate that takes advantage of this weakness is 1. c4 Ak6?? 2. Axh7#. With two archbishops, which make for rather powerful midgame attackers, this will be be more intensely tactical than the various 8x10 chess setups out there.

I'm a bit worried that white may have an overwhelming advantage here; basically, white can use the bishop-moving pieces to attack the right hand pawns with moves like c4, d4, and e4 to put pressure on the right hand side and make it very difficult for black to develop his pieces. There may be a way for black to sucessfully defend his knight side, but this will make it much harder for black to equalize, since black needs to deal with the issue of defending his knight side instead of engaging in normal development.

Note that I haven't actually playtested this game.

- Sam

Jean-Louis Cazaux wrote on 2021-04-27 UTC

Nice design

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