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This item is a game information page
It belongs to categories: Orthodox chess, 
It was last modified on: 2008-04-19
 By Rich  Hutnik. Near vs Normal Chess. This version pits pieces of Near Chess vs those of normal chess (FIDE). (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Rich Hutnik wrote on 2008-04-23 UTC
Which side would have an advantage: Pieces following Near Chess or normal chess rules?

Near Chess was discovered in an attempt to adapt Christian Freeling's Grand Chess to an 8x8 board.  This produced a formation where both sets of pieces shift up one row.  This was streamlined even more by dropping castling, how pawn promotion works and having king captured instead of checkmate.  Near Chess is positioned as a chess variant friendly for those who don't normally play chess.

Anyhow, out of development of Near Chess came the question about how pieces following Near Chess rules would do against those following normal chess rules.  To answer this question,  Near vs Normal Chess was created to pit pieces following Near Chess rules against those following normal chess rules.     Initially I thought the Near Chess side would have no chance.  However, it ended up initially being closer than I expected, running it on the computer and personally playing it against human opponents.

After running the game a bunch of times over Zillions, I would likely give a slight edge to the Normal side, but I am not sure. I would like people here to perhaps speculate on which side has an advantage. Let's say we follow all of normal chess rules, except the Near side changes things this way:
1. Near moves its pieces up one row.
2. Near doesn't castle.
3. Near can En Passant Normal's pawns, but due to the limited movement of Near's Pawns can't be En Passanted.

Game is won on checkmate, and like in normal chess, you can have more pieces than usual counter mix. So, the question is, which side has an advantage in your assessment?

Near's advatages are:
1. Its pawns can be defended easier early, and aren't subject to en passant. In Near vs Normal, en passant is treated as a weakness with Normal chess pawns, not as a move that normal chess pawns do distinctly. The pressure Near's pawns put on the center also restricts how Normal would develop its pieces.
2. It can't be subject to a back rank mate or fool's mate.
3. Its pawns all start one row closer, meaning more pressure across the entire board on the center.
4. Its rooks can get mobilized earlier.
5. Its Knight, Bishop and Queen can mobilize behind its and protect themselves. Normal must bring its pieces out in front of its pawns normally to mobilize them.

Near's disadvantages:
1. No castling. King stays in middle of the board.
2. Near's non-pawn pieces are a bit limited in how they mobilize. If you bring a knight out, for example, Normal can manage to push a pawn 2 spaces, threatening to capture the Knight.


So, I will ask, which side do you believe has an advantage? My take is the sides are likely close enough to be able to have skill offset any advantage, but Normal probably has a slight edge.  However, this represents play in Zillions mostly, so it is only one computer AI.

I ask this question, because if the sides are close enough, then Near vs Normal could be a variant people could play normally to mix things up, as a side game.  If one side clearly has an edge over the other, then the stronger player could take the weaker side.  Of course, there is white vs black, and perhaps that would also impact things in that maybe White Normal vs Black Near is an advantage for Near, while White Near vs Black Normal is an advantage for Normal.  I don't know, which is why I ask here.

I guess also it would answer the question of whether or not castling plus intial pawn double move is stronger than all pieces shifted up one, and an empty back rank, without castling.  

Comments are welcomed here.  I am curious to see what people might have as thoughts regarding this.

- Rich

Near Chess was discovered in an attempt to adapt Christian Freeling's Grand Chess to an 8x8 board.  This produced a formation where both sets of pieces shift up one row.  This was streamlined even more by dropping castling, how pawn promotion works and having king captured instead of checkmate.  Near Chess is positioned as a chess variant friendly for those who don't normally play chess.

Anyhow, out of development of Near Chess came the question about how pieces following Near Chess rules would do against those following normal chess rules.  To answer this question,  Near vs Normal Chess was created to pit pieces following Near Chess rules against those following normal chess rules.     Initially I thought the Near Chess side would have no chance.  However, it ended up initially being closer than I expected, running it on the computer and personally playing it against human opponents.

After running the game a bunch of times over Zillions, I would likely give a slight edge to the Normal side, but I am not sure. I would like people here to perhaps speculate on which side has an advantage. Let's say we follow all of normal chess rules, except the Near side changes things this way:
1. Near moves its pieces up one row.
2. Near doesn't castle.
3. Near can En Passant Normal's pawns, but due to the limited movement of Near's Pawns can't be En Passanted.

Game is won on checkmate, and like in normal chess, you can have more pieces than usual counter mix. So, the question is, which side has an advantage in your assessment?

Near's advatages are:
1. Its pawns can be defended easier early, and aren't subject to en passant. In Near vs Normal, en passant is treated as a weakness with Normal chess pawns, not as a move that normal chess pawns do distinctly. The pressure Near's pawns put on the center also restricts how Normal would develop its pieces.
2. It can't be subject to a back rank mate or fool's mate.
3. Its pawns all start one row closer, meaning more pressure across the entire board on the center.
4. Its rooks can get mobilized earlier.
5. Its Knight, Bishop and Queen can mobilize behind its and protect themselves. Normal must bring its pieces out in front of its pawns normally to mobilize them.

Near's disadvantages:
1. No castling. King stays in middle of the board.
2. Near's non-pawn pieces are a bit limited in how they mobilize. If you bring a knight out, for example, Normal can manage to push a pawn 2 spaces, threatening to capture the Knight.


So, I will ask, which side do you believe has an advantage? My take is the sides are likely close enough to be able to have skill offset any advantage, but Normal probably has a slight edge.  However, this represents play in Zillions mostly, so it is only one computer AI.

I ask this question, because if the sides are close enough, then Near vs Normal could be a variant people could play normally to mix things up, as a side game.  If one side clearly has an edge over the other, then the stronger player could take the weaker side.  Of course, there is white vs black, and perhaps that would also impact things in that maybe White Normal vs Black Near is an advantage for Near, while White Near vs Black Normal is an advantage for Normal.  I don't know, which is why I ask here.

I guess also it would answer the question of whether or not castling plus intial pawn double move is stronger than all pieces shifted up one, and an empty back rank, without castling.  

Comments are welcomed here.  I am curious to see what people might have as thoughts regarding this.

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