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Jetan. Martian Chess, coming from the book The Chessmen of Mars. (10x10, Cells: 100) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Fredrik Ekman wrote on Thu, Oct 6, 2022 07:20 AM UTC:

I would just like to mention that there is now a book about jetan, written by me and published by McFarland. Follow the link to learn more. I would welcome reviews of the book posted to the book's page.

Greg Strong wrote on Mon, Apr 19, 2021 01:03 PM UTC in reply to Jean-Louis Cazaux from 12:33 PM:

Ok, this change has been made.

📝Jean-Louis Cazaux wrote on Mon, Apr 19, 2021 12:33 PM UTC:

I wrote this page 24 years ago and I included this:

A variant

Even the Martians have variants on their own type of chess. According to Burroughs, the older version of Jetan had Odwars instead of Fliers that could not jump over intervening pieces.

I can't find where I had taken this information. It is simply wrong. Burroughs did not write this, actually he wrote that the Odwar and the Flier have the same power and move. It is just a different name for the SAME piece.

Letting this wrong information is confusing a lot of people. I cannot modify this page myself, so I beg an editor to simply remove this small paragraph which is incorrect. Thanks

Fredrik Ekman wrote on Wed, Nov 27, 2019 02:01 PM UTC:

Late comer to the discussion here. Regarding the piece values, there are many takes on this. I list most of the ones I know about in my recent ERBzine article about jetan. Follow the link below, and scroll about two thirds down the page to the appendices. 

Exploring Jetan, from ERBzine

Aurelian Florea wrote on Wed, Nov 8, 2017 09:39 AM UTC:

Any idea about piece values int this game :)?

H. G. Muller wrote on Thu, Aug 3, 2017 09:42 PM UTC:

Hmm, the HTML <div> element with the floating format doesn't look such a good idea in a comment posting as it is in an actual article with a lot of text.

Also, when two diagrams are on the same web page, they interfere with each other. The Metamachy diagram is now not processed at all, and only its (reformatted) description is shown. And the Jetan diagram fails to display the pieces. When you click the 'View' links to see the postings in isolation, the diagram displays OK.

This will be hard to fix. Both the diagrams have the same id="diagram", which the JavaScript uses to acces the description and generate the result, but accessing an element by id only accesses the first one of that id. I don't know if it is even possible to ask it to do smething with the second element with the same id. If it is, it should be possible to at least have the script construct the static start image of all diagrams.

BTW, the bright square colors of the Jetan diagram make it rather difficult to recognize the highlighting of the piece moves, however. It is possible to add a specification  startShade=#...... to have an alternative for the darkShade that is used before the diagram is clicked. That way the diagram can be bright when seen as a static picture, but reverts to less dominant colors as soon as you start to display piece moves. No such alternative for the lightShade, however. Because I assumed it would always be pale enough by itself.

sirius628 wrote on Thu, Aug 3, 2017 09:03 PM UTC:

Just putting this diagram out there. It assumes that the panthan can go diagonally backwards, just as the gryphon can skip the rook move. I also had to make the "escape move" on available on the intial move of the princess. The pieces are white and black like standard chess, but the board is orange and black.

files=10 ranks=10 promoZone=0 maxPromote=0 promoChoice=*J graphicsDir=../membergraphics/MSelven-chess/ whitePrefix=w blackPrefix=b graphicsType=png lightShade=#FF9000 darkShade=#707070 symmetry=none panthan:P:FfsW:pawn:b2,c2,d2,e2,f2,g2,h2,i2,,b9,c9,d9,e9,f9,g9,h9,i9 thoat:N:NW:knight:a2,j2,,a9,j9 warrior:R:asWnD:tower:a1,j1,,a10,j10 flier:F:CGF:marshall:d1,g1,,d10,g10 padwar:B:asFnA:bishop2:b1,i1,,b10,i10 dwar:D:aarlW:rook2:c1,h1,,c10,h10 chief:C:aaK:flag:e1,,f10 princess:Q:mWmFmNmAmDmHmCmZmGimU:princess:f1,,e10

Georg Spengler wrote on Sun, Jan 4, 2015 07:33 PM UTC:Poor ★
Worst game ever!!!!

Yes,the idea is good, but i guess, Burroughs was a bad chess player. It's just not possible to avoid a draw! The fliers will just get traded (better were the odwars of the "earlier" game) - this game is a flaw. At least with this rules it's just not playable.

donald henry wrote on Sun, Jun 1, 2014 02:40 AM UTC:Excellent ★★★★★
i think the rules are pretty clear, layman and easily work without any modification and am surprised that so many people, who seem familiar with so many gaming dynamics (that i am ignorant of for the most part) are so thrown and have so many questions and misunderstandings about this profoundly simple and highly entertaining game.
read the appendix as written and enjoy a classic themed variant on jasoomian chess.
burroughs also explained the "historical" significance of orange and black pieces and  the moves of the odwar and princess are in no way complicated beyond their english written value. i think people are splitting hairs in the extreme.

George Duke wrote on Tue, Jul 6, 2010 10:04 PM UTC:
(1) It is a straight-line descent from Burroughs to contemporary Joyce in short-range projects ongoing. I think there is a correct interpretation of the original Jetan rules-sets properly attributable to Burroughs. As an exercise helpful to us, in another Jetan article Larry Smith aptly describes more or less extreme alternative interpretations possible. Further, to simplify, ask, what would sci-fi writer Burroughs acquiesce in if able to be pressed by experts to clarify the rules, inadequate they are but for his Martian story line? Published 100 years ago, the fact is Jetan acquired widely-assorted imitators and acceptance within its own new genre -- being one of just few dozen Chess clusters of all time outstanding, if we ever were able to become honest about proliferation in rules-set developments (as pure artwork) and the consequences. As such archetype, there must needs be a main line of original Jetan rules-set making, howsoever retroactively arrived at and reasonably subjectable to emendation occasionally by cultural consensus. At still today the core idea from which the copycats, well-intentioned improvements, and subvariants of Jetan all devolve, let's again stab and stab again, to sharpen understanding to pierce the veil. Keep on stabbing and slicing til we get it right, what he may have bloody well meant. The Martian chronicle chess game. ///// (2) In the aggregate of imperfect and substandard knowledge of prior art, there predominate CVs repeating without end passe styles and themes sans attribution of sources or making really silly claims of ''re-inventions'' sometimes 100 years after the fact. Of course, referred to equally as guilty and negligent are chess designs in fields other than particular Jetan class, derivatives in general of some seminal creative work, 10, 100 or Carrera-style 400 years ago, defining one or another strict genre across the board. ///// (3) Take the Flyer, or Odwar. Three squares diagonally, mandatorily meaning not one or two. Burroughs does not (always) use ''jump'' the way we usually do now; he must mean passing by. Remember the jumping pieces at turn of 20th century were but Camel, Zebra, Knight, and suppressed Dabbabah and Alfil. From d1 forward to the right, Flyer can go d1-e2-f3-g4; d1-e2-f3-e4; d1-e2-f3-g2; d1-e2-d3-e4; d1-e2-d3-c4; d1-e2-d3-c2; d1-e2-f1-g2. Notice g2 is two-path. Notice the ''jumping'' intended or attempted to describe by Burroughs is over the opposite-colour squares Flyer passes en route but not actually enters. Say from d1 to e4 along either of two pathways, Flyer appears to jump something happening to sit on e3. It is mixed leaping and following a pathway by this correct interpretation. Or if you will, notional leaping for those less spatially practiced. Flyer can be blocked from e4 by pieces foreign or domestic on d3 and f3, making the move impossible; but when it is clear, in a sense he just jumps there across the other squares irrelevant. [Burroughs nowhere says a piece cannot be blocked, but instead says this or that may ''jump.'' Also, short-range project pieces acquire effectiveness with moderate weakening in keeping with others of their kind. Thus too, program and preset may or may not be implementing optimal Jetan rules correctly.] If pressed, Burroughs would acquiesce in this way as logical re-interpretation from his real intent, somewhat confusedly and incompletely expressed in the two rules-sets written text and appendix of 'Chessmen of Mars' (1922).

Claudio Martins Jaguaribe wrote on Mon, Jul 5, 2010 10:37 PM UTC:
I'm confused.

A leap possibility gives another square? Ex.: a piece in a1, blocked by a piece in a2, leaps the piece and moves 3 or leaps and moves 2?


Neil Spargo wrote on Tue, Jun 15, 2010 01:10 PM UTC:
Also, one item of note:

The preset differs from the rules in placement of the princess and chiefs.  I am not sure how much this affects the game itself, but thought it an item worth pointing out.

Neil Spargo wrote on Sun, Jun 13, 2010 11:15 PM UTC:
When it states that a piece can jump, does the square that the piece jumped count as a square moved? For instance, is the maximum amount of squares out a princes can move, whether she jumps pieces or not, 3 or can she move 6 by jumping a piece each time?

Larry Smith wrote on Wed, Nov 26, 2008 12:26 AM UTC:
Since it is suggested in the rules that forms of wagers are involved in Jetan, I often view the game similar to Poker in that it also has many variations.

Also the application of wagers greatly changes the dynamics of the game. That being draws are no longer considered a negative but often a desirable outcome.

George Duke wrote on Wed, Nov 26, 2008 12:11 AM UTC:Excellent ★★★★★
Where multi-pathers really originated. Edgar Rice Burroughs may actually be the first prolificist in the following sense. Ambiguities in interpretation of the rules of Jetan mean a great number of possible sets of rules, according to conflicting fine delineations of Burroughs' wordings. Now Burroughs' mentioning Princess as three-stepping and then saying she can jump are not suitable. That is because, if she jumps, he should just mention the squares she reaches. So, we are driven to change the rules of Jetan ourselves, let alone interpret them differently. Can pieces that do not jump double back over already passed over squares or their starting square? These are subject to a century of debate already, but better is to think of Jetan as 1000 possible games in one, by taking different combinations of rational definitions of Jetan piece movements, thus multiplying the sets of rules for CVs to play and analyse.

John Ayer wrote on Mon, Jul 24, 2006 03:12 AM UTC:
The appendix to _The Chessmen of Mars_ says, 'The game is played with twenty black pieces by one player and twenty orange by his opponent, and is presumed to have originally represented a battle between the Black race of the south and the Yellow race of the north. On Mars the board is usually arranged so that the Black pieces are played from the south and the Orange from the north.'

jess messel wrote on Sat, Jul 22, 2006 06:27 PM UTC:Poor ★

If anyone who has read this book or series of books, by Edgar Rice Burroughs, and thinks that this game is a representation of a war between the yellow and black races of Mars. That is totally wrong as far as I'm concerned. This game was invented by E.R.B. so that there would be an analog to chess and i don't know why he chose black and orange for the color pieces. If you read all of the books,(at least the first five), you would have read that the yellow race disappeared thousands of years ago and the only struggle that the black race had was with the Therns who were WHITE and wore yellow wigs. Before book #3 the yellow races was a lost race just like the blacks were a lost race until book #2.

Now as to why in book#5 there is no flier, in this game is because the city has none and no contact with the outside world except for the various raids that they conduct. They are a very hidebound culture and still believe in ghosts and supernatural creatures. They don't use fliers so why would their games have them. They use a piece called an odwar. it has the same movements. I'm sure that in the modern red races' past they had the same piece but they just renamed it to reflect the ever changing culture and to reflect on the significience of the flier on their everyday lives. Please forward any remarks on my opinion to [email protected] i'd welcome any comments.

🕸Fergus Duniho wrote on Sun, Feb 27, 2005 04:05 AM UTC:
<P>Jean-Louis Cazaux says on this page:</P> <BLOCKQUOTE> According to Burroughs, the older version of Jetan had Odwars instead of Fliers that could not jump over intervening pieces. </BLOCKQUOTE> <P>This is incorrect. Not only does Burroughs not say this, but in the pivotal game of Jetan played to win Princess Tara of Helium, which is played in a city that uses the name of Odwar for the piece, the very first move of the game is an Odwar move. This would be impossible if the Odwar could not leap. Burroughs writes:</P> <BLOCKQUOTE> <P>... and then the game was on.</P> <P>U-Dor moved his Princess' Odwar three squares diagonally to the right, which placed the piece upon the Black Chief's Odwar's seventh.</P> </BLOCKQUOTE>

Larry Smith wrote on Sun, Feb 27, 2005 02:53 AM UTC:

You might wish to check out the links to pages where I cover all the
 various rules of Jetan, including wagering and dueling.

ERB specifically noted that Jetan was to be played with wagers, similar
 to Poker.  I've found that this makes the game much more enjoyable,
 particularly when each captured piece is given a specific value.

🕸Fergus Duniho wrote on Sun, Feb 27, 2005 02:46 AM UTC:
<P><B>Note: This comment contains spoilers regarding the plot of <I>The Chessmen of Mars.</I> If you haven't read it but are planning to, you might want to skip this comment.</B></P> <P>Reading <I>The Chessmen of Mars</I> helped give me insight into the design principles behind the game. The Chessmen of the title refers to the practice in one Martian city of playing Jetan on a large field with people as the individual pieces. Contrary to the usual way of playing Jetan, capture was by victory in combat rather than by mere displacement. In the cover of the book shown on this page, you can see an example of this combat. My book, incidently, has a completely different cover. It shows a male rykor with a kaldane attached and a female rykor with her back turned and a kaldane preparing to attach itself.</P> <P>Although the book says that capture by displacement was the usual way of playing Jetan, we know the game was actually invented by Burroughs for use in this book, not by Martians, and prior to his use of the game in this book, there was no usual way to play it. Given that a life-and-death game of Jetan is one of the highlights of this book, it makes sense that the rules were chosen for the sake of literary drama rather than for the sake of gameplay.</P> <P>In the novel, the person playing the Chief controlled one whole Jetan army. He decided where the pieces moved, and he was the Chief piece. The Princesses were the prizes of the game, and he was playing to rescue one in particular, John Carter's daughter, Princess Tara of Helium, probably named after Terra, the planet of her father's origin. If this had been a Chess game in which he played the King and Tara played the Queen, Tara would have been exposed to danger while our hero would have been kept safe from it. This would not have made him look very heroic. But with the rules of Jetan, Tara was kept safe from harm, whereas our hero got to display heroism, courage, and chivalry while fighting for Tara on the Jetan board. The cover shown on this page shows the end of this game.</P> <P>So, yes, the game is too drawish when capture is only by displacement. But Burroughs actually designed the game to showcase the heroism, chivalry, and bravery of Tara's suitor in a game where capture was by mortal combat. In that respect, the rules do what they were supposed to.</P>

🕸Fergus Duniho wrote on Sun, Feb 27, 2005 02:15 AM UTC:

I just finished reading The Chessmen of Mars today, and I'm pleased that this page gives the interpretation of the rules that best fits the text.

I have noticed one contradiction between the second chapter and appendix. The second chapter says that Warriors move 'straight in any direction, or diagonally, two spaces', whereas the appendix says the Warrior moves '2 spaces straight in any direction or combination.' In this case, I assume that Burroughs was being more careful in the appendix, which was offered for readers who wanted to play the game, and that the appendix rule is the accurate one. I think he really meant 'or any combination' where he wrote 'or diagonally,' since he included this part in other piece descriptions, omitted it for the Warrior, the phrase is in an awkward place, and he could have described it more similarly to the Chief's move if it really moved both straight and diagonally. Besides this, the appendix description makes the Warrior to the Padwar as the Rook is to the Bishop, or almost as the (non-leaping) Dwar is to the (leaping) Flier, and this makes more sense.

As for Thoats, the appendix and second chapter do not contradict, but the appendix accidently left out the leaping ability of the Thoat move, and the second chapter fills us in on this information.

As for the interpretation given here of the Panthan move, I think it makes sense to interpret backward as any backward direction, given that he only said 'but not backward' when he could have said 'but not straight backward.' So I agree with Jean-Louis Cazaux's interpretation but for a different reason than he gives, though his reason is a good one too.

George Duke wrote on Wed, Dec 8, 2004 06:09 PM UTC:Excellent ★★★★★
I somehow never work Jean-Louis Cazaux's article into text of my recent 'Multipath Chess Pieces'. Cazaux's Jetan description provides the rules I am most familiar with. Larry Smith's Jetan article is more difficult confronting as it does contradictions in interpreting the rules. However, I use a Smith version for Thoat, as non-jumping, both for being more effective implementation of the piece and for convenience to explore 'Multipath' topic. That way keeps fully six multipath piece-types from Jetan.

John Ayer wrote on Fri, Aug 15, 2003 02:00 AM UTC:
According to the sixteenth chapter of _The Chessmen of Mars_, the piece known elsewhere on Barsoom as the Flier is called in Manator the Odwar, but has the same powers as the Flier. To be blunt, the odwar can leap. <p>Jetan fits the Freudian theory of chess much better than chess does. Freud's theory was that a player's queen represents his mother, and this is why he guards her with such great care. In fact, of course, a chess-queen is in no way feminine, and a player protects his queen because she is his most powerful piece—but he must be prepared to sacrifice his queen if his play demands it. The princess in Jetan, on the other hand, is powerless, and a player must protect her absolutely, because to lose her is to lose absolutely.

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