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Grand Apothecary Chess-Classic. Very large Board variant obtained trough tinkering with known games.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Aurelian Florea wrote on 2021-11-15 UTC


H. G. Muller wrote on 2021-11-14 UTC

I think we will need Fergus' help for this. When I use the preset in Play mode it doesn't declare game end during the first few moves. I think that proves that the Post-Game code cannot be responsible for the observed termination.

Aurelian Florea wrote on 2021-11-14 UTC

Now there is another problem. Once an invite is passed it cannot be accepted. If someone tries to accept the invitation (we have tried only personal) it gets an error that says the opponent won. Any idea?

Aurelian Florea wrote on 2021-11-12 UTC

Oh, on Android I get correct results too! I'll just switch to that!

H. G. Muller wrote on 2021-11-11 UTC

All I can say is that when I use the link you last gave (with FireFox, or the Android browser on my tablet), and select 'Play' from the menu, I get a different start position as what was initially shown. And when I then go back to the previous page, and press Play again, I get yet another setup. And it gets shuffled in the way that was specified. So the preset appears to be OK.

Perhaps others could try to see if they have the same experience.

Aurelian Florea wrote on 2021-11-11 UTC

@HG, I'm not sure what is going on then. Maybe clearing my cache could help? Or the fact I use microsoft edge is a problem? But it seems it is not a preset problem.

H. G. Muller wrote on 2021-11-10 UTC

It does shuffle for me. What I meant is that you gave two links, to different presets, in this comments topic, and that these use different piece IDs.

Aurelian Florea wrote on 2021-11-10 UTC

I have made the modification but the shuffling algorithm still seems to get ignored. You have said earlier that the names of the pieces are different. I don't understand that. May you be a bit more specific?

H. G. Muller wrote on 2021-11-06 UTC

You had not given me that link before, so I was looking at another preset. In this new one you forgot the closing parenthesis (and semi-colon) of the shufflespecs array.

Aurelian Florea wrote on 2021-11-05 UTC

I don't understand what you mean by the fact that the diagram uses different pieces ID than the preset. I thought we had passed that. Maybe take another look and tell me what is there do be done: Thanks for your help!

H. G. Muller wrote on 2021-11-04 UTC

Well, I did not see it in the preset (link you gave earlier in this comment thread).

And no, that is not supposed to work, because it seems to use other piece IDs than the preset.

Aurelian Florea wrote on 2021-11-04 UTC

I had copied the code you've obtained in the preset. Isn't that supposed to work?

H. G. Muller wrote on 2021-11-04 UTC

When you try what? I see no change in the preset.

BTW, the GAME-code generation should now also work properly when all pieces in a shuffle groep have a colon prefix.

Aurelian Florea wrote on 2021-11-04 UTC

HG, When I try nothing gets shuffled!

H. G. Muller wrote on 2021-11-04 UTC

Ah, I did not really look at the Diagram, just at the preset. You can just add the fourth group to the shufflespecs array, as another triplet. You have to put one piece (e.g. Bishop) in the first element of the triplet, and all the others in the second.

I took your Diagram definition from the page source of your article, and pasted it into the Play-Test Applet to generate GAME code. Indeed it turned out that the two groups for which you wanted symmetric shuffling were not put into the shufflespecs array. The reason appears to be that you put the colon (:) to request symmetric shuffling on all pieces of the group. The GAME-code generation apparently cannot handle that. And I never noticed that, because I tend to mark all the pieces but one with a colon. The last piece then must be placed symmetrically as well, as the only open spaces that are left will be symmetrically positioned. If I removed the colon on one of the pieces in each group in the Diagram's shuffle parameter


then the GAME code gets properly generated:

set shufflespecs (
  (F) // shuffleset
  (B N E) // symmetrized
  (Q T U) // shuffleset
  (D I) // shuffleset
  (Y) // shuffleset
  (L) // symmetrized
   0 // mirror to get black

(beware the Diagram uses other piece IDs than your preset!). I will fix the JavaScript for GAME-code generation in the Play-Test Applet such that it can also handle the case where all pieces in a shuffle group have a colon prefix. (As the Diagram itself doesn't seem to have any trouble with that.)

Aurelian Florea wrote on 2021-11-04 UTC

HG, There are four areas where pieces get randomized. And they work in the diagram. The code you had given me yesterday only has 3.

H. G. Muller wrote on 2021-11-03 UTC

@HG, In the context of my before the previous example I think the ":" symbol does not influence the preset although it works fine in the interactive diagram!

I finally had time to look at this. The preset as it was indeed ordered completely random shuffling of Y and W. Which means that YY-WW or YW-YW is also a possible outcome. The way the shufflespecs work in the preset is that the second element of the triplet specidies the set of pieces that have to remain symmetrically located, and the third element specifies the set of pieces that must be equidistributed over square shades. A 0 there means there are no such pieces (and if both are non-zero, the third element is ignored). The first element then contains the remaining pieces, and must be non-empty.

By putting (W Y) in the first element, you asked for an unrestricted shuffle. Because the first element must not be empty, you have to put one of the two there (say Y). The other (W) can then go into the second element, and will be symmetrically shuffled (either as W.-.W or as .W-W.). The Y will then be 'shuffled' over the remaining open spaces, which in this case is just placement there as there is nothing left to choose.

I am not sure why the automatic generation did not work; I haven't looked yet what shuffle string you specified there. Perhaps it failed to put one of the Y, W in the first element, and put them both in the second. Anyway, try if this works:

set shufflespecs (
  (Q V U) // shuffleset
  (I M) // shuffleset
  (Y) // shuffleset
   0 // mirror to get black


Aurelian Florea wrote on 2021-10-27 UTC

Thanks Jean-Louis for your interest.

Jean-Louis Cazaux wrote on 2021-10-26 UTC

Thanks to everyone for the explanations on the use of Betza's notation: I didn't suspect those refinements.

Above all, thanks to Aurelian for his answer and explaining his motivations. I understand that the priority is balancing the different powers on the board.

I still have to understand why a 3 or 4 colors is helping to visualise the path of a Nightrider, in any case I think I'm kind of blind for Nighriders, I just can't see their paths, I smile.

So, no critics from my side, this game has many interesting features and this is why I am interested

Daniel Zacharias wrote on 2021-10-26 UTC

About the colors, have you considered something more like this?

Aurelian Florea wrote on 2021-10-26 UTC


We have discussed this before. I like it better this way. Anyway when the preset is down I'll make a customization. Probably many would prefer 3 colors.

Fergus Duniho wrote on 2021-10-26 UTC

The board is colored in 4 colors because of the fact that the nightrider is easier to visualize this way.

But why not three colors instead of four? When I created Cavalier Chess, I tried a four color board, but I found that three colors works better.

Aurelian Florea wrote on 2021-10-26 UTC

And by the way guys, I have some self criticism on my own regarding the three games. The non-pawn pieces, pawns ratio needs to be closer to one as there are many jumping pieces and strong pieces that easily cut through regular pawn chains. Also it felt naturally to have a cannon-rook battery on the edge, with berolina pawn ahead. But after a few tests I'm afraid that the player that moves the berolina first gets an advantage. Try it with the interactive diagram.

Aurelian Florea wrote on 2021-10-26 UTC

@ Bn Em & @ Daniel Zacharias

Thanks for pointing out the mistake with the knight. They were the result of bad copy pasting. The correct knight here is NmZ and in the modern variantion is NmHmA.

Aurelian Florea wrote on 2021-10-26 UTC

@ Jean-Louis, Thanks for taking an interest for my games:

  1. The board is colored in 4 colors because of the fact that the nightrider is easier to visualize this way.
  2. About the XBetza notation HG I think made his point.
  3. In falcon chess the falcon is a piece with longer read and more end squares than the leapers (knight). I wanted to do the same, so the Vulture is done. Also over there the falcon piece is rook strength at least. I wanted a rook strength piece so I added the extra just move jumps. They are jumps as the piece would be hard to develop.
  4. The knight is enhanced to keep it the same strength as a bishop (who on a 12x12 board has a longer reach). On a 10x10 board those are too much it turns out making the enhanced knight 0.5 pawns stronger than the bishop. Hopefully in the 12x12 case this will be alleviated.
  5. I did not want a color bound piece for the modern elephant. Also with the extra trebuchet power it is closer to the other minor pieces.
  6. I don't like the camel and zebra because they are too clumsy to use so that in these 3 games so they have short range aid. I had noticed that the short range long range piece deliver quite interesting forks.
  7. The thunderbird and firebird are bent riders akin the griffin and manticore. It is just they get the bending later. They also have extra moves in order to keep them in the queen value neighborhood. I like using bend riders because they provide more strategic decisions. That is because their riding property does not allow them to be immediately useful but only in tandem with the clearing of the board.
  8. I'm not sure what are you asking by simpler rules, but these games are named apothecary because of the way old pharmacists were tinkering with substances trying to make a cure. As them did I try different ideas from which some admittedly a bit crazy in order to explore many possibilities. These 3 games are my first attempt at 12x12 boards and hopefully from working on them I'll get sufficient experience for my future designs.

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