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Magna Carta Chess. Black has the FIDE array, White has a Marshal and an Archbishop instead of a Queen and King. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
George Duke wrote on 2010-11-11 UTC
Magna Carta is a different-armies type, but White here cannot oppose effectively the Betza f.i.d.e. regulars because of too much strength.

George Svokos wrote on 2009-11-06 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
Given that John Plantagenet was a fighting king of his era, it is likely he had equestrian skills. Perhaps, to even out the different armies (though I can't really tell if one army has an advantage over the other,) the CV should show the king as an equus rex/crowned knight to give him more mobility and fighting power.

George Svokos wrote on 2009-11-04 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
I really like the 'direct mate' rule for this CV. Its different than most games, and the historic aspect and notes also make the game quite interesting. The historic aspect gives the game an added dimension together with the direct mate rule. It's hard to say whether white or black has an advantage as I have both won and lost games playing white (Marshal and Archbishop.) The game therefore seems relatively well balanced given the different armies. I think the Marshal+Archbishop is a good match for King+Queen in the current array.

George Duke wrote on 2008-12-19 UTCGood ★★★★
Gilman has some CUA CVs we ask naturally and earnestly, ''Are they balanced.'' After MatS are CUAs by Ralph Betza. Any team near FIDE value of 40 points could be lined up on 8x8 against FIDE team quasi-realistically. Sometimes it will tilt to the intruders, and sometimes to FIDE Army. With all the time in the world, we could try every combination dually. Despite so much work put into it -- CUA, CDA -- by Ralph, starting 30 years ago, probably it was a disservice; and yet I rate CUA among the top 50 CVs; it should or could have closed out an era. Instead I call CUA-CDA an usherer and harbinger of meaningless over-proliferation. Now called CDA, for all the effort at pinpointing piece values, certainly there are still subtle differences and imbalances, always. If any Army were played 500 times, the score would be 259-241, imbalanced (within a statistical margin or error), say Colourbound Clobberers vs. Cylindrical Cinders. Whatever and whenever, but credit Magna Carta for its nice theme. My last comment here 21.July.2007, year and half ago, tolerates Gilman's anti-monarchist leanings. Instead of NO KING, we implore Gilman just to rename them, backwards so as to meet competing interests, NIK and NEEQ, king and queen backwards, Nick and Neek and keep them both on the board, normally, only with their different names to suit.

John Smith wrote on 2008-12-13 UTC
I suggest moves through check illegal, as analogy with castling.

George Duke wrote on 2008-07-21 UTC
This is far from the only time Gilman gets rid of King or Queen or both. Gilman is avowed anti-monarchist and still does this. Gilman's Irwell(2007), regional form for the ''South Pennine metropolitan areas,'' even has four Marshalls(RN) -- Carrera Champions -- per side. And NO KING. We asked Gilman on 18.June.2007 since he persists, why not instead for Irwell just ''re-name King and Queen? How about 'Nik' and 'Neek', King and Queen spelled backwards?'' Many a non-Gilman CV claims novelty solely on grounds of differing names. Just call the central pieces Nick and Neek ( don't look into their proverbial eye when saying that ) and keep the lone proviso ''White cannot castle.'' Gilman here has ''White cannot castle'' right before the picture. That would be plenty for fine new fairy CV by ongoing standards. It may also actually be perfect equaliser for FIDE Mad Queen. Here rather, Magna Carta Black Pawns promote to King or Queen for spares. In turn, White gets to promote to more royal Centaur(BN) and Champion(RN). Both sides must keep one of the both. Gilman changed winning condition, in response to Comments. Theoretically now, there could be 8 or 9, or even 16 or 18 or 20 royal pieces on board at once. Figure out the rest of the symbolism, and you get Rules-set still not so readily balanced between White and Black as typical Betza Chess-Unequal-Armies team. That was the lament of commenters Paletta, Fourriere, Lavieri et al. five years ago. Hey it takes time to get it right. [Fergus Duniho 16.September.2003: ''While I expect that White's object is to checkmate Black's King, what is Black's object?'']

George Duke wrote on 2008-07-16 UTC
Betza thought Different Armies was the premier long-term solution. Gilman's different-armies form here links to Kipling's (1865-1936) ''Runnymede,'' commemorating 15.June.1215. ''When through our Ranks the Barons came, With little thought of praise or blame, But resolute to play the Game, they lumbered up to Runnymede; And there they launched in solid line the first attack on Right Divine, the curt uncompromising ''Sign!.'''' Marshall(RN) and Cardinal(BN) replace King-Queen White pair. The discussion was all five years ago except for my year 2004 postcript.

George Duke wrote on 2004-03-20 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
One of first Chess-Unequal-Armies games is described by Martin Gardner in Scientific American column in mid-20th century. It has Maharajah (same as Amazon) alone versus standard side of sixteen pieces. Then come Ralph Betza´s CUA games. Here is a logical CUA try with standard compounds; its creativity lies in having, in effect, two Kings per side: a K-Q pair as such vs. Ma-C pair as such, their different movements the 'Unequality,' not so mind-boggling as when all pieces unequal. Worthwhile elementary idea.

Charlse Gilman wrote on 2003-11-22 UTC
I have come up with two more ideas to help balance the sides, on which I
would  welcome feedback. Both involve the piece on d8 being a capturable
Queen, which would normally make Black stronger.

One is a ban on moving the same Queen two moves running. This would
represent mediæval women being both unused to exercise and poorly dressed
for it compared to their menfolk and modern women.

The other is to have flooding, an idea inspired by Piazza San Marco Chess,
and appropriate as flooding is not unknown in the Runnymede area (although
it is actually getting worse in modern times). Although there is no River
WITHIN the board, rank 8 could be interperted as the bank, with the
King's forces backed up against it (and hence forced to sign). Every so
(how?) often rank 8 would be flooded for 3 (single or double?) moves, with
rank 7 also flooded in the 2nd of them. Pieces on flooded ranks would be
immobilised, but White Pawns would get promoted as soon as they were on
the last non-flooded rank, either by them moving or by the edge of
flooding moving.

Charles Gilman wrote on 2003-10-11 UTC
If there were 'All Comments by this person' pages I would rate Antoine
Fourrière's excellent! My Duke is the capturable equivalent of the
Grandduke in the 'split ruler' variation (towards the bottom) of my 3d
variant Tunnelchess (at I may add a
'Channel' version of that with moves switching between diagonal and
triagional after crossing a yet-to-be-selected plane of symmetry. Latest
comments have given me the idea of barring promotion to compounds in each
quarter of the board EXCEPT to the one starting in the opposite corner -
a1-d1 to King for example. Would this help balance out either a
dispensible Queen or a require-one Viceace?

Daniel Roth wrote on 2003-10-04 UTCGood ★★★★
To 1 and 2: These versions are nearly similar but: The version 1 makes
black still stronger than white. The version 2 is clearly weaker than
version 1 in the case the Goldrider is no defensive piece. If white plays
well he will get behind the Goldrider and then it is much easier to win
for white.

To 3: This variant looks much better for me but there are still issues in
the case if black pawns can be promoted to Viceace or not. If they can
then it would get very easy for black to win. If they can not then black
have lesser useage of the pawn promotions and this counts for promotions
into king too.

To 4: This sounds the best way. Add knight move to the king and make both
retain and be promotable from pawns.

Antoine Fourrière wrote on 2003-10-04 UTCGood ★★★★
Well, King John was himself replaced by his infant son in 1216. Doesn't it
open the way to a calibrated number of (King-moving? Wazir-moving? Firz-
moving?) Princes, which could act as substitutes, instead of a Queen?
Maybe the French provinces call also for a second 4x4 (5x5?, 3x3x3?)
board, with a crossing of the Channel which would take a delay of two or
three turns...
(3x3x3 is of course debatable, even if it allows your Duke, but shouldn't
there be different laws regarding succession in England and in France?)

Tony Paletta wrote on 2003-10-04 UTC
Balancing a game with different pieces AND possibly different objectives is
a tricky business. Since Magna Carta Chess started as a particular
proposal with historical theme constraints, it should be finalized as
such. I would not consider subsequent efforts seeking a similar or maybe
somewhat dissimilar CV to be spinoffs.

Charles Gilman wrote on 2003-10-04 UTC
The Queen is the piece I am most open to changing as she was somewhat
peripheral to the events. So far I have come up with the following
options, and would welcome feedback before settling on one as the final
form of the game.
(1)Black need only retain the King, but cannot have more than two Queens,
so that a Pawn reaching rank 1 when there are two Queens must be promoted
to an elemental piece.
(2)Black need only retain the King, but the Queen is reduced (and Pawns
potentially promoted) to Goldrider (no backward Bishop move).
(3)Black must retain the d8 piece but it is enhanced (and Pawns
potentially promoted) to Viceace (a Queen with the two forwardmost Knight
(4)Black must retain King and Queen but can also promote to both, as
precedented in Snark Hunt (under small variants).
The number of armies mentioned on this page now adds up to 9 suggested by
myself (including the FIDE one), 5 by Tony Paletta, and 1 by Daniel Roth,
all identical but for the central pair. This makes 2^15=32768 possible
combinations. Anyone care to suggest how many are well enough matched to
mention as spinoffs?

Roberto Lavieri wrote on 2003-09-30 UTCGood ★★★★
(RN, BN) vs. (rb,kn) seems to be a good alternative. The game must be balanced in this way.

Tony Paletta wrote on 2003-09-30 UTC
(RN,BN) vs (rb,kn) is a valid alternative and would allow full promotion;
in commenting, I opted for the (rbn,k) to retain some of the imbalance of
the original CV. 

With either rbn or kn, however, the use of true 'double royalty' and
limited non-royal power might tend to make the variant play a bit slow.

Daniel Roth wrote on 2003-09-30 UTCGood ★★★★
A much better way to balance it is to add N to the black king.

This result in white RN + BN vs black RB + KN

Tony Paletta wrote on 2003-09-28 UTC
Got my comment a bit muddled. White (RN,BN) is favored over Black (RB,K) by
the revised rules (each must retain two pieces) -- for essentially the
reasons I gave. 

Upgrading the Black Q to RBN would almost balance the game, but the
maximum promotion to RBN for Black vs RN for White would favor Black. A
Black Q = RBN with promotions limited to R, B or N for both sides would
probably come pretty close to a balanced game.

Tony Paletta wrote on 2003-09-28 UTC
The revised rules (Black must retain a Q and a K, White a RN and a BN) still favor Black. The Rs, Ns and Bs are obviously balanced; the White RN vs Black RB are roughly balanced and therefore Ps and promotions are also roughly balanced. What's left is a White K vs a Black BN -- about a piece in standard 'point value' favoring Black if both weren't sort of royal, probably about half a piece favoring Black with the royalty restriction.

Tony Paletta wrote on 2003-09-18 UTC
It's not surprising that Black has an edge if White must retain both the
RN and BN; I also agree that White is somewhat better if only one must be
retained. Finding a roughly balanced version of this CV might possibly
(a) weakening Black (Q limited to max of two spaces?) or strengthening
White (RNB instead of RN?) if White must retain both insurgent leaders or
(b) strengthening Black (RNB instead of RB?) and weakening White (R +
'vertical' or two rank N for RN, B + 'horizontal' or two file N for
BN?) if White must only retain one.

A second (related) change might be to limit promotion to R, N or B for
both players.

Roberto Lavieri wrote on 2003-09-17 UTCGood ★★★★
The game play is strange. I have tried the game last night twice against Zillions. I could win with black with kamikaze attack, in a game full of 'taking back' from my part, trying to analize it. My impression is that white´s advantage is difficult to use completely, because the possibility of mad attacks from black against the objective pieces, without being careful on material. I think that, surprisingly, black has an advantage in this unusual game.

Anonymous wrote on 2003-09-17 UTC
If you adopt that rule, then White is undoubtedly superior, having more power on the board and more mobile royalty. How well White's increased power is balanced by having two royal pieces (before promotion) remains to be seen.

Tony Paletta wrote on 2003-09-16 UTC
The game seems a bit better if White must have ONE of the two new pieces.

Roberto Lavieri wrote on 2003-09-16 UTC
It should be an adventure a guess without trying the game, I´m not clear in the answer. If I have some time this night, I´ll try it. If I´m able to guess something, perhaps I´ll give my opinion about.

Fergus Duniho wrote on 2003-09-16 UTC
That would be my best guess, but I'm looking for an official word on the subject from Charles Gilman.

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