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This item is a game information page
It belongs to categories: Orthodox chess, 
It was last modified on: 2009-05-13
 By John  Smith. Magic River. Xiang Qi pieces crossing the Magic River turn into their Western counterparts, and vice versa! (17x9, Cells: 77) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
John Smith wrote on 2009-05-14 UTC
Thanks, Charles. What I do is experiment. Rather than thinking up things in a box, I make whatever comes to mind and junk it as I review my games later, or if I get negative comments.

Charles Gilman wrote on 2009-05-13 UTC
A possible solution has occurred to me to the complications of certain Xiang Qi pieces being restricted or having no FIDE Chess counterpart:
	The Elephant is barred from entering enemy territory, but its positional counterpart the Bishop is not, leaving it turning into an Elephant that shouldn't be there. On the other hand the Cannon can enter enemy territory but, in your variant, has no counterpart to become when it gets there. How about making the Bishop transform to a Cannon and vice versa? That way both pieces can continue in a relatively normal way. This also echoes the Bishop's position in Shogi, which could be considered equivalent to one of the Cannons.
	The King and Queen can enter enemy territory, but the reason why the General and Ferz cannot is that the Fortress bars them getting anywhere near it. This could be seen as the Fortress being the real barrier for them, in which case the King and Queen should transform to a General and Ferz unable to enter the Fortress. As they therefore cannot give check they are sufficiently weak pieces to not upset the balance.
	I hope that these ideas go some way to propelling this variant toward excellence.

John Smith wrote on 2008-12-22 UTC
Game rules revised.

John Smith wrote on 2008-11-22 UTC
In my original version, Pawn promotion does work as such. I have not decided on the facing Kings rule. I will decide as soon as someone playtests my game without it and with it.

Fergus Duniho wrote on 2008-11-22 UTC
Fergus: You should note that the Queens are only offensive Queens for Xiang Qi. They freeze when they cross the River.

I'm sorry, but that doesn't answer my questions or clear up anything I was confused about. How about answering the questions I asked about the game? Is the opposing Generals rule in effect in any way? Does Pawn promotion work as I described in my previous message?


John Smith wrote on 2008-11-22 UTC
The Knight is permitted to land in the 'Magic
River' before translating, but can only temporarily be in the Magic River. The Magic River is not a rank for the Horse. Pieces cannot deeply penetrate except for Rooks/Chariots and Cannons. They turn into their counterparts immediately after crossing the Magic River. And the move can capture.

Larry Smith wrote on 2008-11-22 UTC
So, in essense, it continues to regard the corners of the cells as points.

That takes care of steppers and sliders. Now how about Horses and Knights. I can see the continuation of the points with Horse, does this also apply with the continuation of cells with the Knights? For example, must a Knight be in a cell directly before the 'Magic River' to make the crossing? Or is it permitted to land in the 'Magic River'. Or does it consider the 'Magic River' a null part of its move and is able to penetrate deep it XQ territory.

And can the sliders penetrate deeply into territory before making the translation?

And is this translation a non-capturing move. Or can it capture?

Anonymous wrote on 2008-11-22 UTC
This Cannon turns into a Grasshopper as soon as it crosses the River.

John Smith wrote on 2008-11-22 UTC
It moves normally, with the River being non-existent when coming from the Eastern side, traveling until it is possible for it to go to one of the 4 squares surrounding a standard destination point, then goes into one of them, and continues its path as the new piece until the legal move of the new piece would be surpassed if it went farther. Is this clear?

Larry Smith wrote on 2008-11-22 UTC
You still have not demonstrated how a piece moving from a point(XQ-side) across the 'Magic River' arrives at its destination cell or cells(MQ-side).

John Smith wrote on 2008-11-22 UTC
It is, however, possible that the game is already balanced. Larry, you should run it on Zillions. Fergus: You should note that the Queens are only offensive Queens for Xiang Qi. They freeze when they cross the River.

Larry Smith wrote on 2008-11-22 UTC
I too am having difficulty balancing this game. That is, without a bunch of conditionals. And these would need to be logical and intuitive to assist the players during play.

But it is an interesting concept. It just needs some work.

Fergus Duniho wrote on 2008-11-22 UTC
The freezing of pieces eliminates the advantage the Chess side would otherwise have of being able to play pieces that can't normally cross the river across the river, but it doesn't give the Chinese side any added advantage. The Chess side may have the advantage from having more long-range attacks, but I'm not sure about that. Chess has Bishops, but Chinese Chess has Cannons, and the Cannons change to Grasshoppers, which the Chess side never has, while the Bishops change to immobile Elephants. Chess has the Queen, but if the Chinese General can check the Chess King along open files, without the Chess King being able to check back, then both sides would begin with the same number of pieces with long range attacks.

So one thing I'm wondering about is the opposing Generals rule from Chinese Chess. Does this have any play in this game or is it gone? Another thing is Pawn promotion. If the Chess Pawns just become Chinese Pawns with no promotion, while the Chinese Pawns become Chess Pawns with their promotion abilities, this may give the advantage to the Chinese side.

John Smith wrote on 2008-11-22 UTC
Another clarification: The Western side should go first, and the Cannons should turn into Grasshoppers as soon as they cross the River, and not after. This nullifies the quick attacks they can make in the opening.

John Smith wrote on 2008-11-22 UTC
You are wrong. Although Xiang Qi has no freezable pieces, it has pieces that are bound to their own side of the board.

Moisés wrote on 2008-11-22 UTC
It seems to me, without actually having tried it or knowing much about XQ and not being precisely a chess GM, so take with how many salt you wish, that Chinese side has an advantage of not having any piece freeze upon crossing. Maybe some more acknowledgeable people will show me wrong?

John Smith wrote on 2008-11-22 UTC
An additional rule: As soon as a piece can capture, it cannot move further. Otherwise interboard travel is unrestricted by the other side's pieces.

John Smith wrote on 2008-11-22 UTC
Do you mean being able to move on the squares on the XQ side? That would ruin the magic of the river! :(

Anonymous wrote on 2008-11-22 UTC
'Only changing state upon actually landing on a point.'

That's what I meant. In regards to the Cannons and Grasshoppers, doesn't
that make the game more fun? I think it does.

Larry Smith wrote on 2008-11-22 UTC
The points could be noted as 'a' to 'i' for the file and 1 to 5 for the rank. The cells can be 'a' to 'h' for the file and 6 to 9 for the rank.

Thus an orthogonal slide from c5 could be to b6-b9 or c6-c9. And a diagonal slide could be from c5 to a6 or d6-g9.

Coming from the other side: an orthogonal slide could be from c6 to c5 or d5. A diagonal slide from c6 could be b5-a4 or e5-i1.

So the Rooks and Chariots would have equal expression across the field, The Chariots would be restricted in the opening by the Pawn structure of the Mad Queen side, likewise the Rooks would also be restricted until they have been developed.

Those pieces which become immobilized might be allowed their expression from the MQ to the XQ. Only changing state upon actually landing on a point.

Though the Cannons and Grasshoppers do present a problem. The Cannon could be restricted to only Grasshopper move when crossing the 'Magic River'.

Just a thought.

Anonymous wrote on 2008-11-22 UTC
A file can either be a line or a vertical group of squares. A rank can
either be a line or a horizontal group of squares. The board minus the
curtain is 17x17 spaces. Here is how I notated the Bishop's move. 

(6,2) - (16,12) - (17,13) = E

Larry Smith wrote on 2008-11-22 UTC
Why not have the orthogonal transfer from cell to two potential points, and from point to two potential cells. Then the diagonal transfer could be simply from point to cell and vice versa.

Develop a notation system and I can better explain this particular form of translation across the 'Magic River'

John Smith wrote on 2008-11-21 UTC
It would be great if you could! Does anyone want to create another game with a River with me?

Anonymous wrote on 2008-11-21 UTC


This diagram shows where the Western Chess side's dark square Bishop could move to. It first travels along the grey line, then steps to any of the surrounding blue-marked points. Unfortunately, after moving as such it becomes an immobilized Elephant.

Larry Smith wrote on 2008-11-21 UTC
It IS an interesting concept. But I think I need a more detailed explanation of the position transfer that occurs when crossing the 'Magic River'. Possibly with graphics. ;-)

I may work up a Zillions implementation, if the developer is interested. And I can work out all the dynamics.

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