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This item is a game information page
It belongs to categories: Orthodox chess, 
It was last modified on: 2005-04-22
 Author: Hans L. Bodlaender and Antoine  Fourrière. Marseillais Chess. Move twice per turn. (8x8, Cells: 64) (Recognized!)[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Fergus Duniho wrote on 2003-02-28 UTC
I have completed Zillions implementation of a simplified version of Marseillais Chess, which I call Simple Marseillais Chess. Implementing the rules for en passant would have been very tricky, and there seems to be nothing I can do about getting it to accept checkmate as a goal. So I just let myself create a new version of the game, then implemented that. The simplified version is played like Chess with these differences: 1. Each Player normally has two moves per turn. 2. The second move of a turn is allowed only when no Kings are in check. 3. Although a Pawn may move twice in a turn, it may not make the two-step initial move available in Chess. 4. Pawns may not capture each other by en passant. 5. The object is to capture the enemy King. 6. 3-times repetition is a loss. 7. A player who cannot move must pass.

Fergus Duniho wrote on 2003-02-28 UTC
My ZRF for Simple Marseillais Chess is now improved. I previously had it check for check with extra moves by each King. This had the disadvantage of giving the human player extra work to do on some occasions. The game would be stalled until the human clicked on the space for the check marker. Checking for check is now taken care of by a third player. But it is still done with the same moves. The third player checks for check by making moves with the Kings belonging to each side. This is done by including items in the turn-order like (bot White check-move) and (bot Black check-move). As it happens, attacked? works with the player who owns the piece, not the player who moves the piece. So when bot moves the White King, it can use attacked? to check whether the White King is attacked. And when bot moves the Black King, it can use attacked? to check whether the Black King is attacked. The advantage of doing these checks with a third player is that human players no longer have to attend to the check marker. One disadvantage, though it's questionable how much of a disadvantage this is, is that Zillions now plays a weaker game. It played an even weaker game when I used ?bot instead of bot. But this may at least give human players a better chance of appreciating the game without being quickly beaten by the computer. I hope that increasing the thinking time will provide challenging enough play. If it's just not challenging enough, one can always remove bot from the turn-order and just attend to the check marker when necessary.

Andreas Kaufmann wrote on 2003-11-07 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
Can anybody create a game courier preset for Marseillais Chess (Balanced variant)? Thanks!

Roberto Lavieri wrote on 2004-12-02 UTCGood ★★★★
This game is not so easy to play in the opening!, tactics are enterely different than in FIDE-Chess, and it is very easy lose material if you try to develop fast your pieces looking for suposed 'positional advantage' that, in the majority of the cases, it is not advantage of any class, much times you fall in exposed positions, it seems better play it in a somewhat conservative way, being very careful with the support to all your major pieces in play. If you take not care, you can be checkmated very soon. The average number of moves to finish a game can be of no more than 20 moves. this game is extremely dynamic, and it must be balanced with the usual rule: in the first move, White plays only one move. If not, White advantage is notorious in the opening. Surprisingly, e2-e4 does not seem to be the best first move in this game.

Greg Strong wrote on 2004-12-02 UTC
Let me make sure I understand the rules of this game correctly ... Since my two consecutive moves may move the same piece twice, then essentially any piece (except the pawn) can perform a rifle capture by taking the piece, and then returning to the original square... Assuming this is true, games must be pretty short since pieces will be constantly falling.

Roberto Lavieri wrote on 2004-12-02 UTCGood ★★★★
Greg, you are right, all pieces have rifle capture capabilities, but much more than this, power of pieces is not only extraordinary, it is augmented by the fact that you can move not only the same piece twice, but two consecutive moves with different pieces too. On an empty board, Queen and Rooks can reach ALL the rest of the squares (63!) from any initial position. Ends are a madness, and for this reason the games finish very soon, in very rare cases you can play a game which finishes in more than 25 moves!

Antoine Fourrière wrote on 2004-12-17 UTC
If a player advances a Pawn by two squares, then plays a piece on the intermediary square, e.g. c2-c4; N b1-c3, can/must an enemy Pawn take both the piece and the Pawn en passant, e.g. d4xc3xc3?

Roberto Lavieri wrote on 2004-12-17 UTC
I don't know much about Marsellais, I have tried it a few times with a novice status, but I have not analyzed rare situations and fine details. I think this move can NOT be done, en passant movement is a Pawn move in which you capture an enemy Pawn moved INMEDIATELY before the en-passant capture. In your example, after the Pawn move you moved other piece in the second part of the turn. I think it is the same if you move the Pawn twice letting it in a position in which en-passant is permissed, you can't take the Pawn because the last move was not a two-steps move in the same PART of the turn, you moved one square in the second part of your turn, and this is the last move to the effects of the game. This is an interesant discussion, and it must be clarified by experienced players. If we are rigurous with the Chess rules that I suppose are translated to Marsellais, if you move a Pawn two squares and it lands in a position in which it can be captured en-passant, and after that you move other piece, this is the last move, so the Pawn can't be captured en-passant, but if you move first the other piece and after that the Pawn, it is vulnerable to en-passant capture, so order can be important to the effects of the application of this rule. Has someone an 'official' response?.

Roberto Lavieri wrote on 2004-12-17 UTC
My interpretation of the 'two moves per turn' is simple: after you move the first move of your turn, the other player is forced to 'pass', as a permissed (and obligatory) 'move' in this game, and after completing the turn with your second move, the two-moves turn is to the other player.

Joe Joyce wrote on 2004-12-17 UTC
I've understood the interpretation of en passant capture to mean the capturing player makes the en passant move 'as soon as legally available'. For example, if the initial double-step pawn move results in a discovered check, the check must be dealt with, then, on the next turn, if the player is not again in check, the pawn may be taken en passant, if that move is still available. A series of checks would 'push' the en passant capture along with it. The checks could even be ended by the double capture move originally suggested. If that move, the en passant capture ameliorating check, was available, then it would have to be taken then, or the en passant opportunity would be lost. This could theoretically occur in a FIDE game, no? Anyway, the en passant capture would then be available to the other player during his next move, which would have to be the one-move capture, and not the two-move non-capture. In which case, the situation described would be a serious blunder, or a brilliant sacrifice. This does not hold if Roberto is strictly right, and there is a voluntary pass by the opponent, for, theoretically, the opponent could have, instead, made a voluntary en passant capture between the non-capturing moves.

Roberto Lavieri wrote on 2004-12-17 UTC
No, I'm wrong about en-passant rule. It states: 'A pawn that is moved two squares in one move (half a turn) can be taken en-passant, even if the pawn moved in the first half of the turn. The en-passant taking should be done on the first move of the turn. However, when two pawns can be taken en-passant, this is allowed.' I have to see the comment that is going to be displayed in a few hours, because I'm now a bit confused with Antoine's question. Some clarifications are needed about rare cases, I expect that an experienced player can give detailed explanations about it.

Anonymous wrote on 2004-12-18 UTC
Antoine Fourrière asks: 'If a player advances a Pawn by two squares, then plays a piece on the intermediary square, e.g. c2-c4; N b1-c3, can/must an enemy Pawn take both the piece and the Pawn en passant, e.g. d4xc3xc3?'

Interesting question! I always take 'en passant' by pushing my opponent's Pawn back to the third rank and then capturing it in a normal fashion. The result is the same as if I forced my opponent to retract his two-step Pawn move and then make a different move with the same Pawn. Marseillais Chess rules lead to considerable confusion here. I would be tempted to say that Black may capture the N(c3) in Antoine's example, but may not perform an en passant capture of the P(c4). We may find out that this question has been dealt with before.

Doug Chatham wrote on 2004-12-18 UTC
On page 21 of his book Popular Chess Variants, D. B. Pritchard writes, 'The en passant rule has seen change. Modern players allow it only when the pawn advance formed the second move of a turn.'

This implies that the opponent cannot capture two men with one en passant move.

Roberto Lavieri wrote on 2004-12-19 UTC
Thanks to Doug, it answers Antoine's question, and it swhows that my initial interpretation was not wrong as I though: 'My interpretation of the 'two moves per turn' is simple: after you move the first move of your turn, the other player is forced to 'pass', as a permissed (and obligatory) 'move' in this game, and after completing the turn with your second move, the two-moves turn is available for the other player.'

David Paulowich wrote on 2005-02-16 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
'The reason the Queen is worth more than the separate Rook and Bishop is that she gets a bonus from having 8 directions of movement.' - Ralph Betza, who also writes '... the Queen is worth a notable amount more than the separate R and B, but this seems to be mostly because pieces that concentrate great value are as a general rule worth more than their separate component pieces (more forking power).'

To paraphrase Betza, the Queen's ability to do 'two things at once' makes it worth a Pawn more than a Rook and a Bishop. My last game of Marseillais Chess leads me to the opinion that Q=R+B exactly in this variant, as the two separate pieces can both move in the same turn. The subject of Marseillais Chess piece values deserves further study.

Fergus Duniho wrote on 2005-07-25 UTC
I have written a Game Courier preset for Marseillais Chess, and I played through a game fixing various bugs. It may be ready to go, but first I was hoping some of you might have the time to further test it for bugs and report any back to me. You can either give me a log if you play by email, or if you just move pieces, you can go into Annotate mode and cut and paste the moves that led to any bug you found. Here is the URL for the preset: /play/pbm/play.php?game%3DMarseillais+Chess%26settings%3DAbstract

Fergus Duniho wrote on 2005-07-26 UTC
Antoine, While using the games you included on this page to test my rule-enforcing Marseillais Chess preset, I found an error in one of the games. In Albert Fortis(White) vs. Alexander Alekhin (Black), on Black's third move, the second part of the move tries to move a Pawn from an empty space (b7). I assume this move should be b6-b5. When I made that one correction, my preset let the the rest of the game play through legally. Would you recheck your source and make the appropriate correction?

Matteo Perlini wrote on 2012-09-05 UTC
Is computer good in Marseillais Chess?

Kevin Pacey wrote on 2016-09-19 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

The fact that one of the best chess players of all time (Alekhine) took the trouble to play at least one game of this variant may count for something.

In trying to tentatively estimate the value of the pieces in this variant, I'd guess that the long range pieces may be worth, say, one and a half times what I give them as in standard chess. Thus: P=1; N=3.49; B=5.25; R=8.25; Q=15 and the fighting value of K=4 (though naturally it cannot be traded).

V. Reinhart wrote on 2017-02-13 UTC

Wow, this rule change makes a big difference to the game of chess!

The sample games were finished in 4, 7, 18, and 13 moves - each move certainly has much more influence on the game play.

I've been trying to think of ways to "add power" to the game "Chess on an Infinite Plane" without adding more or stronger pieces. This might be a good way to do it (but maybe with some limitations).

Is there anyone who would like to try such a game? I'm open to any new and innovative ideas. If you have any favorite pieces, we can try those also (but I'm looking for more than just a mix of new pieces).

The games in play for Chess on an Infinite Plane are going well so far. I'm just interested in a version which might somewhat amplify the game power a little.

Greg Strong wrote on 2017-04-07 UTC

A request was made on another thread for games scores and/or analysis of Marseillais. I ran a self-play match with ChessV using about 12 total hours of thinking. Here is the score:

 1. c2c4        b7b6,c8b7
 2. b2b3,c1b2   b7g2,g2h1 
 3. f1g2,g2h1   e7e5,d7d5 
 4. b2e5,d2d4   b8c6,c6e5 
 5. e2e3,d4e5   a8c8,f8b4 
 6. b1d2,a1b1   d5c4,b4d2 
 7. d1d2,b3c4   c7c5,d8d2 
 8. e1d2,d2c3   h7h6,c8d8 
 9. b1b6,b6b7   g8e7,h6h5 
10. b7a7,a7b7   f7f6,f6e5 
11. g1f3,f3e5   e7c6,c6e5 
12. f2f4,f4e5   e8g8,f8f2 
13. b7d7,d7d8   f2f8,f8d8 
14. e5e6,a2a4   d8d6,g8f8 
15. h1f3,h2h3   g7g5,h5h4 
16. f3b7,a4a5   g5g4,g4g3 
17. a5a6,b7g2   d6e6,e6a6 
18. c3d3,d3e4   a6d6,d6d2 
19. e4f5,f5g4   d2g2,g2g1 
20. g4h4,h4g4   g3g2,f8f7 
21. g4f5,f5e4   g1a1,g2g1=q 
22. e4d3,d3c2   a1f1,f1f2 
23. c2d3,d3e4   f7e6,g1g6
black wins by checkmate

Also, there have been 12 games completed on Game Courier. You can find the game logs by following this link.

V. Reinhart wrote on 2017-04-07 UTC
Thanks Greg,
I think it was me who made the request (I was wondering about games with double-moves). A game with 23 moves is not really very long, so the double-move does shorten the game. (But it's not too short that the play becomes unfair or non strategic).
I did just recently upload ChessV so now I can do my own analysis. I might try to to do a study similar to what you just did.
Btw, 4 other games listed here lasted 4, 7, 19, and 13 moves. So I assume ChessV played better (like two equally matched opponents). The other possibility is that ChessV played worse, but worse in an equal way (but I doubt that).
One question: Why did the analysis take 12 hours? I know looking into the game tree takes many cycles, but that seems like a really deep analysis. Is that the normal time required to get best play from ChessV?

Greg Strong wrote on 2017-04-07 UTC

I expect 23 moves is probably in the neighborhood of what a well-played game of Marseillais should last.  Double moves lead to sharper tactics and bloodier games.  For example, defending a piece doesn't necessarily accomplish much, since the opponent can use his two moves to take the piece and then move the attacker away to a safe location (a kind of hit-and-run.)  Also consider that each move is really two moves, so this game had the equivalent of about 45 moves of conventional chess.

Unfortunately, if you run this test with ChessV it is going to crash.  There's a bug I discovered when trying to run this that I first had to track down and fix.  The version I recently posted was a "release candidate" to get it out into the wild so I could get people doing more testing and reporting problems.  So far about a dozen bugs have been found and fixed.  I hope to release an update shortly - possibly this weekend.  Then you'll be able to run similar tests.  The short explaination is that there was a bad interaction between the double-move and the code that handles en passant.

Why 12 hours?  Somewhat arbitrary.  The longer you let it think, the deeper it can think.  But the time required to reach the next level of depth increased exponentially, and the exponent can be quite high.  To reach enough extra depth to make a difference in skill might require a couple of days.

I should also point out that Marseillais is different enough from standard chess that we don't really know how to best program a computer to play it.  We are in uncharted waters here.  Almost certainly there are changes that need to be made to the standard chess algorithm for proper play of double-move variants, but we do not yet know what those changes are and it will take a lot of study and experimentation to find them.  If you're really interested in the details, chess programs have something called Quiescent Search that is very important, but this concept doesn't really work for double-move variants and it is not clear what should replace it.  You can read about quiescent search here.

But, all that said, this score is of what is probably one of the highest quality games of Marseillais ever played. Humans don't really know how to play it well either. Every aspect of standard Chess has been studied deeply for hundreds of years. But, as you saw for yourself when you went searching out samples games and analysis for double-move variants, there isn't much available. But stay tuned. This is an area that will hopefully see more development in the future. Now that there is a GUI that can run double-move games, hopefully some other chess programmers will make engines that are capable of playing them.

V. Reinhart wrote on 2017-04-07 UTC
That's interesing. 12 hours is a big jump from the default value of 5 minutes (144x to be exact). But a small default makes sense, so you can play a fast game first, then set it to more acurate play later if you're ready.
When you did the 12 hour test, did you set the Minutes to 720, or did you just run the game "unlimited"?
I also like the 12x12 chess game option.  That is a game I'm going to play and study.  It's basically the same as chess but with 2 extra files or ranks around the perimeter. Therefore it represents an intermediate point between chess and chess on an infinite plane . One thing I've been curious about is if good play ever involves trying to go around your opponents pieces, and attack from behind. Obviously you lose tempo, but the advantage is the back is not guarded by pawns.

Greg Strong wrote on 2017-04-07 UTC

I ran the game giving each side 8 hours on the clock.  Didn't wind up using all the time, though, because the game ended first.  You never really know for sure how much time you should use for any given move because you don't know how long the game will last.

Regarding Chess on a 12 x 12 Board, I've played a few games here.  You can find the logs on Game Courier.  It seems there is definitely a use for "flanking" - going outside and around.  You can get a rook moving on the very first move if you want.

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