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This item is a game information page
It belongs to categories: Orthodox chess, 
It was last modified on: 2016-06-07
 By Charles  Gilman. Knavish Chess. Variant using square-board analogues to 6-way hex-board Dabbabas. (10x10, Cells: 100) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Michael Nelson wrote on 2011-07-06 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
For the new pieces. The Knave and Debtor have useful moves and a never before used (on a square board) set of bindings. Most original.

Jörg Knappen wrote on 2011-07-05 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
I am updating the rating to excellent, because seeing the elegance of the knave and debtor pieces is obviously a non-trivial task. In fact, Abdul-Rahman Sibahi and Joe Joyce discussed the pieces (without naming them) here briefly

http://www.chessvariants.org/index/listcomments.php?itemid=MPcomplementarit

but they didn't see that they are exceptional. Perhaps it needs some hexagonal thinking to see it.

Charles Gilman wrote on 2011-07-02 UTC
It is true that the back-rank pieces are hard to develop in the opening, but once the Pawn barrier breaks down they can leap over the middle rank and then get into the game. All right, it means tha game starts off very FIDE-like, but it can diverge later on. In fact as a Knave cannot protect an e4/e5 Pawn as a Knight can it would diverge from the most stereotyped FIDE play pretty quickly.
	As I said, I could recast the middle files but I suspect that a Wazir behind the King and Ferzes on the d file (that pattern keeps x-file Pawns protected) would be even harder to develop. Where the latter pieces might come into their own would be in a 10-file Elephant-free 'Courier Lite', but that's getting rather away from this page's variants.

Charles Gilman wrote on 2011-06-30 UTC
Jörg: I'm thinking about your comment but haven't had enough time offline to write an in-depth reply yet.

Jörg Knappen wrote on 2011-06-29 UTC
Looking at 80 squares Knavish Chess, I don't see what the back ranks are good for. They contain very hard-to-develop pieces, and the templars (ND compunds) are also back in the game. Of course, you want to show something by your choices. The game just doesn't feel optimised for actual game play, which is a design goal I rate rather high. In case I cannot achieve it, I make it clear in the naming of the game: Nachtmahr is undertitled A study game.

Charles Gilman wrote on 2011-06-25 UTC
I was waiting to hear from Jörg Knappen's thoughts on what I hope is the final version of the smaller subvariant. Fianchetto is certainly a lot more possible, and Castling will have to be adjusted back to the FIDE lengths for tha board (though not changed further for the larger one). In the absence of adverse comment I expect to update in the next few days, although I'd still like to see some comment on whether the 8-file better would be better with the strong compound pieces or the Courier one-step ones.

Christine Bagley-Jones wrote on 2011-06-22 UTC
So Charles, you are going with the 10x10 board as shown on the page, what about the the 10x8 you showed in the comments? Two variants? If so you should add to the page.
i like the look of the 10x10 myself.
Yeah i misunderstood those pieces you made, thinking them more powerful than you made. I really love the way they are, fantastic.

Charles Gilman wrote on 2011-06-21 UTC
How ahout because I'm not a mind-reader? The idea of a game on a board smaller than 10x10 never occurred to me on my own. If you read the introduction, Jack, you will see that I began by placing a 4x4 block of pieces where the FIDE Knight goes with a concomitant increase in ranks, files, and Pawns. So far the comments on the game as posted are from Jörg Knappen, who thought the board a little large for such weak and short-range pieces, and Christine Bagley-Jones, who was happy with the size but concerned about piere density. Now a lesser, or at least vainer, variant developer would say 'This is how I did it and this is how it will stay.' As it happens I am still unconvinced that the array is too dense, as it is dense with weak pieces, and have held out against changing on that front, although Christine's endorsement of the board size has encouraged me to retain the original alongside any second version. Jörg's comment, however, has given me the idea of getting right back to a more FIDE-like array as a subvariant, and if it works better than the original I shall be grateful for being encouraged to achieve it. Jörg has even been inspired to use the new pices in a new variant iof his own, on which I will comment soon.

Jack wrote on 2011-06-19 UTC
How many versions of this are we going to see? Why can't Gilman test and analyze his games before releasing them, sparing us all of after-the-fact patching of flawed games?

Charles Gilman wrote on 2011-06-19 UTC
My latest idea avoids concavities by rotating the reduction to be by two files rather than ranks, giving more normal King and Pawn ranks with FIDE rules for double-step moves. This involves having all Debtors start on the back rank, as they are not rankbound in the way that Knaves are. I notice that the 100-square variant has two more Pawns than FIDE Chess, and as reducing files instead of ranks removes trhese I have retained the two Carpenters.
If the Queen and Carpenters still make the army too strong for an 80-square board, I could substitute a Wazir and Ferzes, giving a Courier flavour but making Queenside Castling slightly harder. Promotion would still however be to Queen or Carpenter.

Jörg Knappen wrote on 2011-06-17 UTC
Concavities are indeed a good idea: Rank 0 may be filled as follows: d0 <- Debtor from h2, e0 <- Knave from b2, f0 <- Knave from i2, g0 <- Debtor from c2. This is probably the best board for mixing four Knaves and Debtors with Rooks, Bishops, and a Queen.

Charles Gilman wrote on 2011-06-17 UTC
Well that depends who gets the best of exchanging a Knave or Debtor for a Pawn. The subvariants hadn't been designed with the smaller board in mind, so assuming that only Pawns can be promoted, losing a severely bound short-range piece might be worth it. The alternative to having some pieces so far forward could be to have a board with concavities, but I have yet to find a satisfactory one.
	I'm still thinking about the diagonal versions, with half the Caribou moves each, but cannot think of names for them yet. I'm also wondering about the pieces Knaverider+Debtor and Debtorider+Knave, as promotees in some kind of Shogi-style game.

Jörg Knappen wrote on 2011-06-15 UTC
This one looks better, mainly because the templars (ND-compounds) are gone. But how bad the bishops are looking! You can't even dream of fianchetto, and the Knaves on the second rank have no sensible moves at all: If you advance one, it will be chased back to its starting square by a pawn, or you loose it entirely. The queen also looks cramped in the initial area, but she may find a way out of her mess.

It is not easy to design a good army and initial position ... still good stuff for thought!

Charles Gilman wrote on 2011-06-12 UTC
How does this look for an 8-rank version - alongside the oriinal rather than as a replacement? I would envisage the back Pawns having a double-step initial move but not the front ones.
For a larger board, on the other hand, it occurs to me that a whole group of wholly or partly longer-range pieces might be more suitable. Man and Beast 08: Diverse Directions lists the following extensions of the Carpenter, with details of how the suffixes were derived:
CARPERIDER=Nightrider+Dabbarider
CARPEBANTE=Knight+Dabbarider
CARPEROVER=Nightrider+Dabbaba
CARPEON=Knight+Pocket
CARPEDIEM=Nightrider+Pocket
It is clear that these can also be seen as Knaverider+Debtorider, Knavebante+Debtobante, et cetera. What size board would the likes of the Knaverider suit?

Charles Gilman wrote on 2011-06-11 UTC
Reducing to 8 ranks would increase piece density still further, of course, from 24% to 30%. However, I'm not sure that piece density is the problem that it might look when half the non-Pawns are both short-range and bound to a quarter of the board. Even given how much stronger Carpenters are than Knights it's not really FIDE-and-a-half army - although if I do an 8-rank version I might remove Carpenters from that.

Knavish Shatranj sounds an interesting idea. I may add further analysis here of the relation between Knave and Debtor bindings.

Christine Bagley-Jones wrote on 2011-06-09 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
Yeah i like the pieces too. I'll be releasing something to showcase over 200 fairy pieces (not a game), i'll add these 2 pieces.
I don't mind the 10x10 board, and as far as it making most pieces too slow, i think that really is a matter for personal taste. I do think though the piece density might be a bit heavy.

Jörg Knappen wrote on 2011-06-09 UTC
Hi Charles, I think the knave and debtor pieces are worth more thought and some playtesting, too. I currently think of publishing 'Knavish Shatranj' as outlined in my first comment as a game with your pieces. You and the others around here may come up with more games featuring knave and debtor.

A very inspiring game!

P.S. Thinking about the knave rotated 45 degrees ... a left-right asymmetric piece with camel and alfil moves, colourbound and knavish bound at the same time.

Charles Gilman wrote on 2011-06-09 UTC
Well I could switch to 8 ranks, with no double-step Pawn move. Would that modification help? It's not as if this is an entry in a contest stipulating the board size. I am always happy to read constructive criticism and adjust my contributions accordingly.

Jörg Knappen wrote on 2011-06-06 UTC
Thinking of german translations for the knavish pieces, I came up with the following: Spitzbube for the knave (this is a possible real translation. The initial Sp- relates to Springer like the initial kn- relates to knight.) and Dabbes for the debtor. Dabbes is a south-west german dialectal word meaning 'clumsy one, dabbler' and I choose it because it sounds like Dabbaba, so this is a translation of the sound and not the meaning.

Jörg Knappen wrote on 2011-06-06 UTCGood ★★★★
First, an excellent to the 2 new pieces, the knave and debtor. The two are nice findings and worth the consideration of other chess variant authors as well.

It is not an excellent for the whole game, because I think board design, piece mix and rule setup don't work as well as they could. For most pieces, 10x10 is already a too large board making them slow. The standard chess bishop and queen aren't good counterparts to knave and debtor. The standard chess rules on stalemate also don't accomodate knaves and debtors well: How many of them do you need to force the checkmate of a lone king?

Knave and debtor have a strong 'shatranjian' feel; probably a very good variant is taking standard shatranj and replacing the knights with knaves and the alfils with debtors. Note that the original shatranj has only 2 alfils (where 8 are needed to cover the whole board); in the same manner shatranj with knaves and debtors has only two of each species. In shatranj, stalemate and lone king are wins, which reduces the number of draws.

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