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This item is a game information page
It belongs to categories: Orthodox chess, 
It was last modified on: 2008-10-26
 By Gary K. Gifford. Indistinguishable Chess. Player pieces indistinguishable from each other. Board squares are indistinguishable. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Charles Gilman wrote on 2008-10-29 UTCGood ★★★★
I go along with the consensus. Incidentally mention of Shogi highlights the fact that a Shogi set could be used. Before anyone says 'not enough Bishops and Rooks' I should add that positional equivalence would be used to make best use of paired pieces (Silvers as Bishops for example). Even the Shogi board could be used, with the intersectioins rather than the interiors of the squares. This woulds all add to the cofusion, of course, which may be a good or bad thing.

Gary Gifford wrote on 2008-10-27 UTC
Mr. Jepps: Yes, I have seen images of the two-tone pieces. I Believe they were intended for Shogi-like play when captured pieces could switch sides. Current Shogi pieces are actually the same for each side, except for an extra mark on one King. But the direction the pieces point indicates White or Black's property.

For Indistinguishable Chess, two tone is not needed... but you are right, all pieces could be set to face the same way. One player would see all Black and the other would see all White.

I received your 'ok' to add your earlier 1-set idea to the rules page... I'll likely do that tomorrow.

Thanks again.


Simon Jepps wrote on 2008-10-27 UTCGood ★★★★
Actually there is an official chess set/variant whereby the pieces are two-tone, both black and white. Each player's pieces are recognised by which side of the piece (black or white) faces away or towards the opponent. I can't remember the name of this variant, but that would certainly compliment your own.

Simon Jepps wrote on 2008-10-27 UTCGood ★★★★
~ ~ ~

Quote = Gary Gifford:

'If okay with you, I can add the 'Jepps' setup idea to the page somewhere.'

~ ~ ~

By all means Gary! That's a nice gesture, I'm honored. Cheers. lol. Go ahead.

Gary Gifford wrote on 2008-10-26 UTC
Mr. Jepps: Thank you for your idea involving the use of 1 set. Your suggestion - to take a 'standard chess set and switch the colors to every other.. so a White rook on a1, a Black Rook on a8, but then a Black Knight on b2 and then a White Knight on b8. .. etc' is yet another possible variation in setup... and I take it you would use a checkered board too? At any rate, your version could certainly play havoc with one's mind. As the brain would have to battle conflicting information.

I personally would still prefer to use a uni-color set because if I were playing standard chess I would not want my mind to start playing tricks on me with the idea of certain White pieces actually being Black pieces and visa versa. Others however, may not be bothered by this. One thing is certain, the chess positions would be very very wild... and each one an illusion. If okay with you, I can add the 'Jepps' setup idea to the page somewhere.


Simon Jepps wrote on 2008-10-26 UTC
Interesting. If I were to play it, I would take a standard chess set and switch the colors to every other.. so a White rook on a1, a Black Rook on a8, but then a Black Knight on b2 and then a White Knight on b8. .. etc. No need to purchase additional sets.

You could allow notation, but only as a method of resolving a dispute in the absense of an umpire. After each move, each player must then cover his paper. You could have say 10 seconds to write your move down, or maybe instead just get penalised if it is noticable that you are revising.

A marking on the bottom to identify White from Black pieces sounds like the best resolution for this argument.

Nice idea, I've always been interested in a kind-of indistinguishable theme.

Gary Gifford wrote on 2008-10-26 UTC
Mr. Muller: Thanks for the comment. You are correct, of course; in that the game could easily be implemented for computer play... and I suppose that such an implementation would at least provide a good workout for a human. But for a match such as Kasparov vs. Deep Blue, the machine would be playing Chess and the Human would be disadvantaged due to playing Indistinguishable Chess. I could easily make a pre-set for I.C.... but I imagine, at home, a dual-color set would be referenced by a player. I like your draught version idea using the marking on the reverse. In fact, in a physical chess set with solid bottoms, all the white pieces could be marked as B or W on the bottoms. If you do not want to create a separate game, I would be glad to add your Muller Variation to the I.C. page.

Mr. Smith: Also, thanks for your comment. You are correct that removing the grid is an option. I actually considered that for a while. But rejected it because, in the endgame especially, it seems it would be easy to place a piece or pawn off-center and the chaos factor would kick in with pieces ending up in the wrong place in a face-to-face encounter... but again, a computer would always be seeing the correct algebraic coordinates. If you want, I can mention a 'Smith Variation' with grid-less board in the rules.

-------------------------------------------------- For 'fun games' and 'practice games' I have no objections to the PCs or CV couriers for this game. But for something like a rated match, I think face-to-face is the only fair system.

I suppose a program for I.C. could have different levels, where the weaker levels would have random forgetfulness factors... but then, how would you convey to the computer that it was wrong and penalize it? It could, of course, keep a true-reference position to compare to its random forgetfulness.


H. G. Muller wrote on 2008-10-26 UTC
I don't see why this could not be played against a computer. Of course a computer will have zero handicap from this, but neither will an experienced Chess player. It would be more confusing and distracting if the pieces were randomy colored. An next step could be to make all pieces look the same. You could play it with a draughts set. In the Xiangqi vesion of this, you could simply flip the pieces! :-) To play without referee, you could then let the player that grabs the piece first show the bottom, to prove that it is his.

John Smith wrote on 2008-10-26 UTCAverage ★★★
This could be played Apocalypse-style, also, where the squares don't have an outline either.

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