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This item is a game information page
It belongs to categories: Orthodox chess, 
It was last modified on: 2005-05-01
 By Gary K. Gifford. Odin's Rune Chess. A game inspired by Carl Jung's concept of synchronicity, runes, and Nordic Mythology. (10x10, Cells: 100) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
erik wrote on 2019-08-10 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

I am currently playing a game of Odin's Rune Chess, and I really like it, as much the rules and gameplay, as the runic theme. The Forest Ox is a terrific piece, maybe too powerful... I like the rather strong Pawns. I generally appreciate modern variants that use non-conventional Pawns, it effectively renews the dynamics of a chess game. And their initial colorboundness isn't a default at all, for me.

I was wondering if Pawn promotion could be integrated in this game - even if it is not necessary since Pawns can go back and the need for new material is less crucial, since the vulnerabiliy of the Kings without moving possibilities makes situations of insufficent material less likely. Promotion possibilities should be limited, since Pawns can reach the last rank in only four moves; for example, they could only promote to previously captured pieces of his own colour; or there could be limitations to the maximum number of pieces of each type present on the board (4 Valkyries, and 4 Forest Oxen, for example - which is already a lot). One can also think of the opportunity to permit the promotion to King (here too, the maximum number must be limited or promotion be only to previously captured Kings). But the game plays already well, I don't think it needs a promotion rule. I was just wondering how promotion could affect the gameplay, and if it could be interessant as a variant.


Gary Gifford wrote on 2019-07-23 UTC

Many thanks for the fix Erik, it is much appreciated. I was not aware of the issue. Regards, Gary


erik wrote on 2019-07-23 UTC

Since the old GC preset for Odin's Rune Chess doesn't seem to work anymore, I've created a new one which can be accessed here.


Gary Gifford wrote on 2011-03-05 UTC
Hi Calvin: To answer your question from a few days back.... The introduction to the rules explain how this game resulted from an experiment in synchronicity (a term coined by Carl Jung). And that is why there is a piece that moves like a Bishop. However, Beorc is the runic name for that piece. So, you can call it Beorc if you want. As for piece images, you can buy runes on-line or download graphics and re-size them.

Calvin Daniels wrote on 2011-03-03 UTC
A question on piece names. If this is Odin chess, a Norse god, why would there be a bishop piece, which is a Christian Also is the Rune art available in other than bitmap, to make a set at home? thanks

George Duke wrote on 2008-04-05 UTC
What was meant of course is not Game scores but Game Courier logs. It appears Odin's Rune has not been played there. The best Game-scores contributors are still Ralph Betza and David Short from 5 years back. It is not done much right now except for Dr. Rene Gralla on Thai Chess and Shogi.

Gary Gifford wrote on 2008-04-05 UTC
Graeme, yes, I see that 'e' includes castling and the Valkyrie maneuver is related to that.

'(e) be teleported to another cell on the board (example: castling).'

George takes it further by stating, 'The Castling comparison is apt among the 'a' to 'e' definitions of 'Gating'.'

Of interest is George's follow up statement,

'Castling is now-necessary encumbrance, complication, accepted widely in majority of CVs as making better play.'

And that sentence belongs in a book.


George Duke wrote on 2008-04-04 UTC
Unlike Medusa in 'Pillars of Medusa', original, interesting piece Valkyrie has unique mechanism from year 2005. The own-pieces' Valkerie affects (moves) already being on board are similar to Roberto Lavieri's Altair pieces, also already on board, from year 2003. Most Altair types have the right to be dropped along a different rank, rather than O.R.'s back-path of Valkerie itself. [The longtime norm is not to introduce pieces by way of 'Gating', or 'Back-rank Gating', very good terms for the ideas. So, Gating is added element, or complication, for questions of priority. The Castling comparision is apt among the 'a' to 'e' definitions of 'Gating'. Castling is now-necessary encumbrance, complication, accepted widely in majority of CVs as making better play. Last couple sentences will eventually be developed at 'Gating' threads.] In further relevance to Odin's Rune: not fully analysed, rate it good, not too many piece-types and modestly paired, nice artwork, diagrams like 'What's the best move?'; obviously lots of time and effort involved here. But where happen to be the game logs?

Graeme Neatham wrote on 2008-04-04 UTC

.. so this would not be conventional gating.

Yes, it would seem to be a combination of (c) and (e)


Gary Gifford wrote on 2008-04-04 UTC
GATING - I was thinking that the Valkyrie piece in Odin's Rune Chess might be the initiator of Type C gating, or at least something related to it i.e.

(c) a vacant cell which is under the influence of a pawn or piece (a projected gated piece)

The Valkyrie moves as does a Queen, but can essentially capture one of its own pieces and then relocate that piece to any space that the Valkyrie had just traveled through. Of course, the relocated piece was already on the board... so this would not be conventional gating.


Gary Gifford wrote on 2006-12-16 UTC
Frank, thanks for the follow up comment. You write, 'My 'stalemate' means any other move is worse than null move. Can you prove that's impossible?' Answer: Moves can be worse than null moves - such as moving your last remaining King into a line of attack (legal in this game) and then losing your last King and the thus game. So, that a move can be worse than a null move is a fact. But, null-moves are illegal in this game, and that (and the fact that Kings are captured) is why we can't see a stalemate in Odin's Rune Chess.

Frank Strong wrote on 2006-12-15 UTC
My 'stalemate' means any other move is worse than null move. Can you prove that's impossible?

Gary Gifford wrote on 2006-12-15 UTC
Frank, thanks for taking time to comment. Please note that null moves are not permitted in Odin's Rune Chess and stalemates are not possible. Kings are captured, so what would be a stalemate in Fide chess would be a situation in this game where a King would become exposed to capture and then be captured. Each player has 2 Kings, so if you lose one you are still in the game. Best regards, Gary

Frank Strong wrote on 2006-12-14 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
However, when king's move/relocate move is a null move it might be useful to get out from stalemate-but I cannot give an example. The game is really good!

Gary Gifford wrote on 2005-11-26 UTC
I have just completed a non-enforcing pre-set for Odin's Rune Chess. It can be reached via the following link. The pieces retain the correct orientation for black and white when the board flips. This is important because the pawns move in their depicted vector pattern. /play/pbm/play.php?game%3DOdin%27s+Rune+Chess%26settings%3Dodin-runes

Greg Strong wrote on 2005-06-19 UTC
Ah, yes... Ok, all makes sense now.

Gary Gifford wrote on 2005-06-19 UTC
This is to answer Greg Strong's good questions. Q1 ... a King cannot do a 'move/relocate' function with the other King.' Why is this? If King #1 is adjacent to a Valkyrie, can it not make a move/relocate move like a Valkyrie? And if the other King is in-line, why can it not move/relocate that King? A1: The answer is that these would result in meaningless or 'null' moves. For example. Imagine this set up on a certain file: Where '-' = space and 1 = King 1 and 2 = King 2 and V = Valkyrie. - - - - 2 - - - 1 V Here, if a King (next to a Valkyrie) could relocate the other, we could get: - - - - 1 - - - 2 V It is as if no move was made. Or, we could get - - - - 1 - 2 - - V But this is positionally the same as - - - - 2 - 1 - - V Inwhich we just moved King #1. Note that Mike Nelson deserves the credit for initially realizing the redundancy and null factors. He discovered this while working on the Odin's Rune Chess Zillions .zrf. I agreed 100% with his conclusions and his zrf rule implementations. Q2: I assume that the Forest Ox cannot use it's optional riffle capture to capture a friendly piece. Correct? A2: Yes. The Forest Ox only takes down the enemy, even when using its horns for the optional adjacent square capture factor. Note the the Odin's Runes Chess ZRF plays correctly by the rules so one can get a good feel for the game using that (if he or she has a registered copy of Zillions). Thanks for commenting.

Greg Strong wrote on 2005-06-19 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
An excellent and very enjoyable game! A couple of questions, though. Addendum item #2; I thought I understood what was being said here, until the sentence 'Because of this rule, of course, a King cannot do a 'move/relocate' function with the other King.' Why is this? If King #1 is adjacent to a Valkyrie, can it not make a move/relocate move like a Valkyrie? And if the other King is in-line, why can it not move/relocate that King? Also, I assume that the Forest Ox cannot use it's optional riffle capture to capture a friendly piece. Correct? Thanks!

Michael Nelson wrote on 2005-05-08 UTC
Confiming that I did indeed submit the Odin's Rune ZRF a couple of months ago and its receipt was acknowleged.

Gary Gifford wrote on 2005-05-08 UTC
Mike Nelson created a very strong Odin's Rune Chess ZRF. The Zillion's Engine understands the strange pawns, the Valkyries' ability to relocate pieces, the Kings' reliance on other pieces for advice, etc. In my opinion it is an excellent ZRF. But as for where the ZRF is, I don't know. I thought Mike submitted it about 2 months ago. Perhaps it resides in a folder somewhere, waiting to be posted. I'll send an e-mail to the editors and see if they have it. Also, it may be posted at Zillions by now.

Roberto Lavieri wrote on 2005-05-08 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
Is there a ZRF available for this game?. I think Mike Nelson was doing some related work, but I don`t know if it is finished.

Gary Gifford wrote on 2005-03-28 UTC
This is in regard to the question about a King next to a King moving (when the King desired to move is adjacent only to only a friendly King). A King will not take advice from another King, so a King only next to a King will not move. I have written an addendum which addresses this and a few other issues. Hopefully it will be posted in the near future. The basics are that: (a) Valkyries will not move Valkyries (this is like a non-move), (b) Kings (when acting like a Valkyrie) will not move the other King (this would be like a non-move) and (c) Kings will not take advice from other Kings. I think the addendum covers a few other issues. Also note that Mike Nelson made a nice zrf of Odin's Rune Chess. I don't think it is posted yet, but when it is it will give you an excellent idea of how to play and will give you some nice tactical skills. It took me several games before I could defeat it on the low levels.

Anonymous wrote on 2005-03-28 UTC
Can a King that is adjacent to the other friendly King, which is adjacent to a friendly non-royal piece move as that piece? For example, in Diagram 1 on this page, could White play King D2 - C3?

Gary Gifford wrote on 2005-03-12 UTC
I am glad to hear that Michael Nelson's ZRF coding for Odin's Rune Chess is going well. I am anxious to see the result. Thank you Michael, for undertaking the task. Michael wrote: is it legal to use the Valkyrie swap to make a null move? That is if a Valkyrie on c6 swaps the other Valkyrie at c9 back to c6, then you have made a move but the position on the board hasn't changed. Michael is correct to not allow a 'null-swap.' But also it is important to note that the 'move/relocate' aspect does not mean the relocated piece has to land on the start square of the Valkyrie [or King acting like a Valkyrie] it can be any square in that Valkrie piece's travel. Someone might then wonder, 'Couldn't the one Valkyrie relocate the other to a square other than its start square? Or the Valkyrie King relocate the other King in the same manner?' As for relocating the second Valkrie [to other than the 1st Valkyries' start square] this would be the same as if we simply moved the 1st Valkyrie to that relocate square, so it makes no sense to do such a swap. Technically that move would be allowed; but there is no point in it. Michael stated 'In most CV's the answer is 'No', so I have coded accordingly: a Valkyrie cannot swap positions with the other Valkyrie and a King using a Valkyrie move connot swap positions with the other King.' Yes, that is the correct assumption. But for other pieces note that it need not be a position exchange. The relocate square can be any through wich the Valkyrie traveled, plus its start square. Another issue may need pointed out. If one side cannot move, it is not a stalemate. The non-moving side simply losses. - gkg

Michael Nelson wrote on 2005-03-12 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
Here is the 'Excellent' I thought I would be giving this fine game. Having seen it in action while coding the ZRF, I am quite convinced of the game's quality. The piece set is quite interesting and works well together. The Pawns are unusual but easy to learn to use. The Pawns are quite strong: I'd guess about halfway between a Ferz and a Knight (slightly closer to Ferz). The Forest Ox is the big gun of the board on both offense and defense. The Valkyrie is not quite as strong as the Forest Ox, but is much more powerful than a Queen: the swap move allows if easier developement (can swap with a Pawn in the opening setup) and more ways of escaping trouble, while still having all of a Queen's move and capture power. Rook and Bishop are minor pieces, with the Rook the stronger but with less gap between them than in FIDE Chess, since a Valkyrie swap can get the Bishop to the opposite color. The idea of the King's movement depending on the friendly pieces adjacent to it works quite well here and I'd love to see it used in other variants. Overall, a highly playable and enjoyable game.

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