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This item is a game information page
It belongs to categories: Orthodox chess, 
It was last modified on: 2006-07-17
 By Gary K. Gifford. House of Mirrors Chess. Mirrors and reflective pieces add interesting twists to strategy by making pieces appear in 2 or 3 places at the same time. (8x8, Cells: 87) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Gary Gifford wrote on 2011-12-21 UTC
(zzo38) A.Black asks, 'What if you want Variant III: Reflections block, but real pieces that are standing on a mirror can be passed through (but only if standing on a mirror).'

Yes, you could certainly have that variation. I tend to think of the 'real' piece as one that could not be passed through, but we could certainly play the game as you suggest. Under those rules, a piece on a mirror could not block a check.


(zzo38) A. Black wrote on 2011-12-20 UTC
What if you want Variant III: Reflections block, but real pieces that are standing on a mirror can be passed through (but only if standing on a mirror).

Gary Gifford wrote on 2007-08-31 UTC
Jeremy: I am inclined to say that reflections can block, for the reason that they can act like real pieces. I can, of course see some players arguing the other case. Anyway, we seem to have something like the famous 'wave / particle' dilema... So, I propose the following and will add it to the rules: Variant I: Reflections can block. Variant II: Reflections can be passed through. Players will need to agree on I or II prior to starting the game. (I believe that Variant I was the original intention). Best regards, Gary

Jeremy Good wrote on 2007-08-31 UTC
Do reflections have blocking power? For example, in this game, with white to move, could the reflected queen travel from i6 to i10 or is it blocked by the reflected bishop?

James Spratt wrote on 2006-07-31 UTC
Well, Andy, you gave the answer that I gave in a physics class long ago, and which I was told then was right. Gary, I think maybe the phrasing fooled you--'before you' rather indicating arms' length, or the range at which most people look at mirrors. BUT, you prompted me to perform a few little experiments, and I realized that the further away you are from a mirror the smaller your reflection appears to be, a la 'law of perspective,' which involves square root of H or square of D over something (does anyone know the formula for it?), so I suppose you're right, too; I just can't see that far, O Eagle Eye.

Gary Gifford wrote on 2006-07-31 UTC
My answer to Jame's question is that the mirror need be only large enough that you can see the mirror. For example: When you cut a 6 foot long mirror in half, you will see 2 complete images - one in each mirror. Cut one of those in half... again you will see the full image, only smaller. You can keep doing this as long as you can see the image. With my eye-sight a mirror about 1/4' would be about my limit.

Andy wrote on 2006-07-30 UTC
Since no one has answered James Spratt's mirror question yet, I propose the answer 'three feet.'

Gary Gifford wrote on 2006-07-28 UTC
It seems that the Mirror Mirror on the Wall in the Snow White story was more easy for people to quietly accept than these chessboard mirrors. The important thing is that our minds are capable of making them work properly for purpose of the game. And it would likely be very easy for a computer to handle them properly too. But as others have stated, and I agree with them, these are not ordinary mirrors.

Anonymous wrote on 2006-07-28 UTCGood ★★★★
anything is possible if you work hard enough at it

Stephen Stockman wrote on 2006-07-28 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
the mirrors make me crazy, i guess i just need someone to talk to, and at least here i know people who like chess variants just like me. hey , why dont u play me in a game, i have several open games u can play

Christine Bagley-Jones wrote on 2006-07-28 UTC
they are magic mirrors, therefore anything is possible :)

James Spratt wrote on 2006-07-28 UTC
Hey, these aren't just mirrors, these are MIRRORS, of the 'DOORWAY-TO-THE-ALTERNATE-UNIVERSE type, except they read backwards, like all good mirrors do, like, um, Chinese and Korean and such. Q: If you are six feet tall, how long must the mirror on the wall before you be so that you can see your entire self without moving? (It's astonishing the number of people who can't figure this out.)

carlos carlos wrote on 2006-07-28 UTC
ok, thanks. i just wondered if i was missing something.

Gary Gifford wrote on 2006-07-27 UTC
Hi Carlos: I now see where you are coming from with your question. You are more into the mechanics of the mirrors. So, I will attempt to answer again. True, if we set flat mirrors on a board and landed a piece on them we would not, in actuallity see those piece reflections on the other flat mirrors without performing some optical gymnastics. So, perhaps a better name for these mirrors would be 'Strange Reflective, Matter-Generating-Capable/Matter-Destroying-Capable Squares.' Because really, as you hint at, they are not truly mirrors. But, the term mirrors is easier to say and easier to rememember. 'House of Matter-Generating-Capable/Matter-Destroying-Capable Squares' would be a more accurate title for the small game. And 'House of Ten Matter-Generating-Capable/Matter-Destroying-Capable Squares' would be a more fitting title for the larger game.

carlos carlos wrote on 2006-07-27 UTC
hey, gary. no, i think i understand the movement ok (probably manage to prove myself wrong soon). it's more the concept of them being mirrors that i don't get. if the mirrors are simply floors, it doesn't make any sense to me. the pieces would just reflect back up onto themselves. logically then, the mirrors face each other? that's ok, although it makes me think there's a weird backing like a wall behind each mirror. but that idea doesn't work so well when there are three mirrors in a line.

Gary Gifford wrote on 2006-07-27 UTC
Carlos: Thanks for the question about mirror confusion and which way they are facing. The mirrors are simply squares. There are light squares, dark squares, and mirror squares. When a Piece, Pawn, or King lands on a Mirror, its reflection will show up on the other mirror(s) on that same rank. Examples are provided in the rules. Please let me know if you need additional clarification after viewing the examples.

Gary Gifford wrote on 2006-07-27 UTC
Jeremy, thanks for asking about pawn promotion for 10 Mirrors. I have clarified the rules as follows: PAWN PROMOTION: Pawns still promote on the 8th rank. In the normal game this is the a8-i8 rank for White and the a4-i4 rank for Black. Pawns can promote to R, N, Dragon Horse, or Queen. In the Ten Mirror game pawns also promote on the 8th ranks. In the 10 Mirror setup diagram White pawns promote on the rank with 3 blue mirrors. Black pawns promote on the rank with 3 red mirrors.

Jeremy Good wrote on 2006-07-27 UTC
In House of Ten Mirrors Chess, where do pawns promote?

carlos carlos wrote on 2006-07-27 UTC
i'm a little confused with the visuals of this. what kind of mirrors are they supposed to be? which way are they facing?

Christine Bagley-Jones wrote on 2006-07-19 UTC
i think 7 mirrors is pretty good, as you say, it can be tricky/complicated to see everything going on, but of course a larger variant with more mirrors would be great. Still, i feel 7 mirrors most likely best. Just concerned about how complicated and difficult more mirrors would make the game. Congratulations Gary, great game, as usual :)

Gary Gifford wrote on 2006-07-18 UTC
Thanks for the comments. For the two detailed comments I would like to reply further: Jianying Ji wrote in part '...you have an amazing approach to designing chess variants. ... All your game seems very polished ....' GKG Response: Jianying, thank you very much for the kind words. House of Mirrors Chess showed up in my head quite unexpectantly while having a discussion with Jeremy Good. Roberto Lavieri wrote in part: '. . . I would put more mirrors, but it is fine as is now.' GKG Response: Roberto, yes, more mirrors is certainly an option. In fact Jeremy read your comment and did send me a sample of a variant with more mirrors. The posted version is the smaller of the 2 I envisioned (short by 3 mirrors and many squares). I think this is good as a starter version. With only 7 mirrors I managed to have a little trouble deciding on a few moves in my first test game with Jeremy. Reflections and Real pieces can make moves pretty interesting... and sometimes you really have to think about the mirror-play.

Christine Bagley-Jones wrote on 2006-07-18 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
it's ok :)

Larry Smith wrote on 2006-07-18 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
Another good one from Gary!

Namik Zade wrote on 2006-07-18 UTCGood ★★★★
Really good!

Jianying Ji wrote on 2006-07-18 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
Gary, you have an amazing approach to designing chess variants. Having gone back and looked at some of your past variants that I missed, I see they all have a quite coherent approach. That approach is take stadard chess, add a single new mechanics and redeign all aspect around that mechanics so its brilliance shines. All your game seems very polished, and any of them is better than what is commercially available.

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