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Existentialist Chess. 10x10 board with many different pieces. (10x10, Cells: 100) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Kev wrote on 2011-06-24 UTC
At one point you mention that your idea was partly inspired by Peter Jackson's 'Knightmare Chess'. Uh, I think you meant to say STEVE JACKSON!

Anonymous wrote on 2010-03-24 UTCGood ★★★★
This game can be played only with computer or by people with monster's memory or if players always watching at this page during play and have paper and pen: first, because rules are difficult to remember all details, and second to remember last moves of changing pieces. However, i seriously liked all new pieces, they are very interesting, and i think it will be interesting to play normal chess with each of them (is there other games, where they are used, expect ABC large chess (there are teleporter)?

John Smith wrote on 2008-11-26 UTC
Bobber, increasing its fire power the more moves get played, may be concept not unlike one used lately by John Smith in his series Faster and Faster Chess.

Please explain how it is like that, and why you are calling my game a series. My Faster and Faster pieces do not move X spaces initially, then after completing a move can move up to X+1 spaces. They are more like Pandas. They move 1 step at the start of every move, then continue moving in the same turn in the same direction exactly 2 steps, then continue moving in the same turn in the same direction exactly 3 steps.

George Duke wrote on 2008-11-26 UTC
John, the intent of my comment may have been hard to get at first. I should have added, ''Great, or neat, or imaginative,'' after not finding other comments of substance, and singled out a piece or two. I was thinking of the transition to Aronson's ''32-one'' of Rolling Kings. Michael Howe's comment says there are a dozen ideas good enough for an entire CV in Existentialist. It is reminiscent of a Betza article shooting off in all directions. Hey, that was its era. Bobber, increasing its firepower the more moves get played, may be concept not unlike one used lately by John Smith in his series Faster and Faster Chess.

George Duke wrote on 2008-11-25 UTC
Because you played difficult Nemeroth too, to have fun. That's all, singling out someone who plays the challenging ones. Great work of concentration is all that is meant. The hardest to interpret the rules I have played is Altair of Lavieri several times. I think both Nemeroth and Existentialist would be even more of a task to play consistently correct according to the rules, as Lawson says about Nemeroth. I like about all of Short's work, a body underestimated, from the Slanted Elevator ones, Schizophrenic, to Existentialist. Peter Aronson could testify that I supported unsuccessfully Slanted Elevator to be first in our group's recommendation at 84-square contest five years ago. Comments should be taken positively, or at face value if they are evaluative or neutral, unless there is some reason to suspect some double entendre. It becomes matter of the culture of a website.

John Lawson wrote on 2008-11-25 UTC
'Of course John Lawson played it.'  

What does that mean?  Do you think that somehow I'm selecting inappropriate variants to play?  Maybe, I just want to have fun.

George Duke wrote on 2008-11-25 UTCGood ★★★★
Beyond Nemeroth in convolution, Existentialist, good artwork in abeyance for four years. Gary Gifford calls Existentialist ''a very complicated chess game.'' In fact, to avoid concreteness, most earlier comments say ''complicated'' from Fourriere to Betza (gnohmon). Michael Howe: ''large and complex.'' Of course John Lawson played it. The whole great spectrum weighs in on Existentialist without much substance, more like comments nowadays addressing the manner of address. An unconfabulated Archer, zednick, the dazzler, Yanzee. The log of one stops at move 32 -- which is a nice transition to one of Aronson's.

Gary Gifford wrote on 2005-04-07 UTC
This comment pertains to both Existentialist Chess and to Bario. Bario was supposedly an attempt to be a very complicated chess game. But in my opinion it does not come close to the complexity of Existentialist Chess. So, while a complex version of Bario is being worked on (involving 'nuetral quantoms') I was thinking, what about an Exitentialist Bario (or Quantom) Chess? That game, I think, would perhaps be the most complicated game ever. If David Short is interested I suggest he read over the recent Bario comments to get an idea of the 'Bario/Quantom' Factor. Perhaps he and Mr. Smith could share notes and creat a truly wild game? Just an idea. Best regards to all.

David Short wrote on 2003-12-25 UTC
Tony, use the graphics from Schizophrenic Chess for the


Squire **

Viceroy (Bishop piece) **


Crowned Knight

Left Schizzy

Right Schizzy


Use the same pieces you were already using in Existentialist Chess

for all of the other pieces. 

**-Squire should be an augmented rook graphic.

**-Viceroy should be an augmented bishop graphic.

Tony Quintanilla wrote on 2003-12-24 UTC
David, what images do you want to use for all the pieces that are not part of the schizophrenic chess set, like the Existentialist, Squire, Viceroy, Dazzler, Zednick, Hyena, Wildcat, Archer, Yanzee, etc.?

David Short wrote on 2003-12-24 UTC
Tony, I don't need to send you anything. Just download yourself from

From there, I'd use the same graphics from inside that zip file
which are used to represent the teleporter, Left Schizzy, Right Schizzy,
Bobber, Squire and Crowned Knight. 

Re-name the .zrf file as a .txt or .doc file and open it with any
document reading program and this will display the contents of the
.zrf in word form. You can then scroll down to find the exact 
graphic that was designated for each piece. You can get the graphics
out of the Images folder when you unzip the zip file on to your hard

Tony Quintanilla wrote on 2003-12-22 UTC
David, I used a standard Game Courier image set that uses Alfaerie images, created by David Howe, for the preset. I agree that creating a special set more appropriate to this game would be beneficial. <p>If you suggest specific images for each piece from the Alfaerie set, or another image set, correlated with piece names, I can update the preset. If you can send me a zip file with the images and names, that would be best. <p> <p>A preset is used by the Game Courier script to create an initial log file for a new game. The image set and other settings used in the game are defined in the log file. Game Courier uses and updates the log file throughout the game without referring to the preset again. So a preset can be revised without affecting ongoing games.

David Short wrote on 2003-12-22 UTC
I didn't create the graphics for the Preset for Existentialist Chess,
Tony Quintanilla did. Perhaps Tony should talk to Peter Aronson
(who created the graphics for Schizophrenic Chess) and get the graphics
for the pieces which are common to both games from him and add them
to Existentialist Chess' preset. I don't know if he can change the
graphics to the preset without interfering with my existing game with
John Lawson. It may be necessary for him to create a second preset link
and later remove the first one (which is being used for my game with
after my game is over.

Antoine Fourrière wrote on 2003-12-17 UTC
No, it is not that complicated, but I lost track after a few moves because I was playing and following several other interesting games. What I do find complicated is the set of gif images you're using in the preset. It would help if you brought in a set of images for Existentialist Chess which would be coherent with the zrf for Schizophrenic Chess. Casual viewers should be able to recognize a Teleporter or a Schizzy instantly.

David Short wrote on 2003-12-15 UTC
Is anyone watching my game with John Lawson in the Game Courier right now?

I urge you all to check it out, and see a practical application of it in
play. Once you get the hang of how the pieces move, you begin to see that
actually is some strategy to it and that it's really NOT that
or hard to learn or understand how to play it.

David Short wrote on 2003-10-08 UTC
addendum: Player #1 puts Player #2's king in check. Player #2's
existentialist has previously made 19 moves. It is legal for Player
#2 to ignore the check on his king and move the existentialist for
the 20th time, only if the resulting blast either:

a) kills Player #1's king, in which case Player #2 immediately
wins the game

b) kills both kings, in which case the game ends in a draw

This maneuver is not legal if the explosion only kills the opponent's
archer confabulated to the king, for the opponent would then be able
to capture his king and win the game. He could, however, use this 
manuever to win the game if the enemy king's archer is on its forced 
rest move.

Antoine Fourrière wrote on 2003-10-07 UTC
Like Glenn, I cannot give your game a rating, but it is because I cannot
decide between Good or Excellent. The game looks very clever, and there is
a commendable attempt to bring in pieces of comparable value. I would like
to play it some later month/year, but I have a couple of criticisms, which
may or may not prove useful for future versions. (I take it for granted
that there will be future versions if there is playtesting enough.)
Two Zednicks would not be a luxury, at the expense of the Existentialist
or the Bobber. (Indeed, you have too many Queens. There are already two
Schizzies and promotable Yanzees (and Pawns). A third Queen type should be
a Cannon Queen or use baroque, non-rifle, capture.)
The Squire seems also a bit too strong, and I would prefer a simple Rook,
which would be a bit too weak. But too many pieces have a King's move. Or
did the Teleporters make it necessary?
However, the confabulations, the Dazzlers, the Hyena, the Schizzies and
the Teleporters make your game really interesting.

Tony Quintanilla wrote on 2003-10-05 UTC
The Game Courier Preset is posted.

David Short wrote on 2003-10-04 UTC
After doing some more play-testing with John Lawson, we agreed that
another rule change is in order: The dazzler is the only piece that
is completely immune from the effects of a hyena. By making this
rule change, one can try to use their dazzler to get near a hyena,
and on a subsequent move, jump it and force it to move, force it
to release its spell on any and all pieces it was immobilizing.
This is an important counter-balance rule to prevent the hyena
from becoming overly powerful.

Incidentally I am accepting all challenges to play 
Existentialist Chess thru the following link:


This link will soon be added to the PBeM system of this web site.
My email for receiving challenges: [email protected]
my userid: davidnyjfan

Anonymous wrote on 2003-06-10 UTC
good or bad what does it have to do with existentialism?!?!

David Short wrote on 2003-04-04 UTC
Keep in mind also that when an archer and zednick confabulate with
each other, its normal firing range is three squares. Keep the
following rules in mind: A hyena which is immobilizing a confabulated
archer piece may not make a regular move, and may only fire an arrow
at the hyena. This may seem pointless, to try to immobilize an archer
this way, unless the hyena can move with a discovered attack or
discovered check to give the opponent something to think about.
The exception to this is when a hyena is immobilizing the archer/zednick
piece, its range is cut back from three squares to two, although it
may freely shoot at any target it wishes to, not just the hyena. 

Sometimes it is necessary to read through the rules two or three
times until one has completely familiarized themself with them.

Incidentally, I was showing Existentialist Chess to a friend of mine
at my local chess club the other night, and he pointed out something
to me that I had not realized when I originally submitted the game.
It is impossible for a shield to come between a friendly and enemy
pawn in such a way that it could prevent en passant castling,
so the section I wrote about that can just be ignored. 

I welcome questions and comments about this game. I will always
be willing to answer them to the best of my ability.

David Short wrote on 2003-04-04 UTC
No. An unconfabulated archer (as well as an unconfabulated zednick),
when making a move where it is not confabulating itself with a friendly
piece, may move one square in any direction (horizontally, vertically
or diagonally). It may not capture enemy pieces when unconfabulated.
When confabulating with a friendly piece (besides the ones it is
restricted from merging with), it does so by moving one square in any
direction (horizontally, vertically or diagonally) into the square
occupied by the friendly piece. This completes the player's turn and the
opponent moves.
When an archer is confabulated with a friendly piece, that piece has
the option on any turn of making its regular move or firing an arrow
two squares in any direction (horizontally, vertically or diagonally)
killing the first enemy piece in its line of sight. See the rules for
restrictions on the archer's firing ability.

Anonymous wrote on 2003-04-04 UTC
An unconfabulated archer can only move one square in a non-capturing 
manner, according to #12 in the FAQ -- does this mean it make a regular
move? The description of the archer seems to imply that it can't move at
all unless a friendly piece is next to it, and then it can only move to
confabulate with one of the friendly pieces next to it.

David Short wrote on 2002-10-24 UTC
I know that there are quite a few people who regularly visit this
site who have written ZRF files for new variants which are posted on
this site, so my question is directed to them. Has anyone had any
luck yet creating a ZRF for Existentialist Chess?
Please update us on your progress!

John Lawson wrote on 2002-09-28 UTC
I'm actually playing an email game of this with David Short, the inventor. 
We're only on move 8, too soon to have an opinion yet.  Mostly I'm trying
to figure out how to develop, and haven't really had to address most of
the special powers.
Note that a subset of this game was entered in the 84-Squares Contest as
Schizophrenic Chess.

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