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This item is a game information page
It belongs to categories: Orthodox chess, 
It was last modified on: 1997-10-07
 Author: Hans L. Bodlaender. Inventor: John Mantle Green. Mideast chess. Variant on 10 by 10 board, inspired by ancient Tamerlane chess. (10x10, Cells: 100) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Georg Spengler wrote on 2015-03-29 UTC
The Camel attacks the opponent's Knight immediately when both are on their most natural developing square. I think this is a major flaw in games featuring both camels and Knights. Since Camels are worth less this hinders the development of the Knights. It would be better to have the Camels on b and i instead of c and h.

John Davis wrote on 2015-03-29 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
Mideast is my favorite decimal Tamerlane, but I am making some changes for my second addition to Grand Chess & Beyond, "Grand Tamerlane". First, upgrading to a Wizard (FL) and a Sorcerer (WJ). Second, simplifying the Cavalier to a Griffon. And finally, I personally like the Pasha/Mastadon better than the a Squirrel, but I am using the Jumping General name for alphabetical reasons and I am a fan of Joe Joyce's work.

Jörg Knappen wrote on 2012-04-02 UTC
The only piece names we can attribute to Falkener are Chevalier and Cavalier. The Castle doesn't occur with Falkener, nor does he describe Mideast Chess or a game similar to it.

Jörg Knappen wrote on 2012-04-02 UTC
By the way, Falkener goes further back in time than expected: The Dover reprint was made from an 1892 edition! Falkener, Edward, Games Ancient and Oriental, Dover Publications 1961 (reprint of 1892 edition)

Nuno Cruz wrote on 2008-12-28 UTC
I was just browsing the pdf of Falkener Book (available on line for download) and I noticed that for Tamerlane chess he modified some piece names for people of the west (Americans in this case but also true for Europeans) to better understand them. Some names that he gave to pieces were precisely the ones given in this variant. Most probably the inventor was familiarized with Falkere's book.

Quintucket (Luke) wrote on 2006-02-12 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
Not really fond of western chess as a rule.

I really like this version though, as well as Tamerlane and Pacific.


Charles Gilman wrote on 2003-05-17 UTC
Yes, the website does give a history of Timur/Tamerlane as a leader and strategist but it says even less about the women in his life than the printed article that I saw! If Squirrel is not to your fancy, Archchess has another alternative name for the piece here called a Castle: Centurion.

Nuno Cruz wrote on 2003-05-04 UTC
For those interested, here is a link to a page with an excellent resume about Tamerlane's life http://www.silk-road.com/artl/timur.shtml

Charles Gilman wrote on 2003-05-04 UTC
Sorry if my previous criticism of the names was wholly negative. The piece here called a Castle is called a Squirrel in the Piececlopedia. The one here called a Chevalier is more usually called a Camel, including in Tamerlane Chess. The name Courtier has no confusion with anything else, but that piece is known widely enough as a Zebra for that to be a better name. I know nothing of the culinary use of squirrel, camel, or zebra! A slightly different piece is called Cavalier in the P'pedia, one from Rennchess, but either way it is a poor name for something distinct from the Knight. The Rennchess Cavalier I would call a Reversible Gryphon and the Rennchess Duke a Reversible Aanca (see Bent Riders under the Gryphon entry; I use Duke and Duchess for orthogonal+triagonal combined pieces). The Cavalier here might be called a Concubine, reflecting Tamerlane's polygamous lifestyle (although this has occasionally been used for other pieces), or for uniqueness a Gryphoness, as the heraldic Gryphon is sexually dimorphous. Either would reflect its Queenlike interchangeability of orthogonal and diagonal moves. For the game itself I would suggest the name of Tamerlane's chief wife if I knew it, reflecting its status as a Tamerlane-like game but with a Queen.

Charles Gilman wrote on 2003-04-27 UTC
The name seems decidedly vague as Chess proper first came to Europe (and eventually the Americas) via Persia and Arabia, which are usually considered Mideast lands. The large number of synonymous pieces is an even bigger problem. Cavalier and Chevalier are virtually the same word, and are alternative forms of the French name for the Chess Knight. Regarding the culinary discussion, a drink called bishop features in Dickens, and as it is described as smoking it is presumably cooked before being drunk. Horses are eaten, by man or pet, in all lands where they are ridden, and then there is rook pie. As for necessity many infants have become teenagers since I last tasted bird or beast.

gnohmon wrote on 2002-04-22 UTC
Equine flesh was still available on menus in places such as Ni^mes, Narbonne, or Carcassonne, as recently as a quarter of a century ago; and perhaps it still is. Given that bovines are now raised in heavily polluting factories and fed on a diet that consists of antibiotics, hormones, noxious chemicals, and nameless gobbets of unidentified (best not to know) flesh, don't you think it would be more salutory and more rational to devour an equine than a bovine? And if the horse talks, so much the better. One cannot subsist on ratatouille alone; at times, carnivory is necessary to sate the taste; so what if it's Bambi's mom, or Black Beauty? Jeeves was thought to have eaten gobs of fish, and therefore such a brain; but nowadays the FDA recommends (NY Times, a week or so ago) that you not eat too much fish because we have befouled the limitless depths of the inexhaustible oceans with our poisons. Given that chicken is a worse factory food than beef, one can eat neither fish nor foul.... Today, if you wish to eat meat, your best chance if survival lies in goat, rabbit (there is a reason why the furry rabbit foot is attached, you know), horse, venison, and the like. Your local ethnic butcher may be able to supply you. Those who scorn the equine feast merely reveal their ignorance of the sad state of affairs to which we have brought ourselves. Of course, there is always the escargot as an alternativ; or perhaps four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie. But why not horse? O thou naysayer, bridle your anti-equine passions and mount a saddle of horse ribs on your table; and hope it does not give you the galloping trots.

gnohmon wrote on 2002-04-20 UTCGood ★★★★
A drunken Bishop first makes an F move in a random direction; if the square chosen is off the board or is occupied by a friendly piece, the move is over; if the target is occupied by foe, capture, move over; if target is empty, repeat the process. <p>A Cooked Bishop is quite another story. I cannot say how it moves until you specify whether it is stewed, fried, sauteed, steamed, or baked. <p>'The Cavalier may not move to an adjacent square'. This makes it quite a bit weaker than the combination of Gryphon + Aanca; value is Q or even less, I guess. I never liked this rule, but it keeps popping up as a way of limiting the strength of the Gryphon. I suppose it creates interesting situations. I'll have to think about it some more. <p>The NAD (named the Castle in this game) should have roughly the same value as the NB. on 8x8 board, that is. <p>The stretched Knights are weak and awkward, and if they don't fork something in the opening they don't add much to your force. As defensive blocking pieces their long moves are an awkwardness and a liability; but if the game as a whole works out, this awkwardness may be a very pleasing element. I wouldn't design it that way because it would need more playtesting; but 'it's a local favorite', so it has evidently been well tested.

John Lawson wrote on 2002-04-19 UTC
You could combine the concepts of a Cooked Bishop and a Crocked Bishop into something like 'Bishop au vin', 'Bishop Marsala', or 'Potted Bishop'! It becomes less appealing when generalized to the Horse, though.

Peter Aronson wrote on 2002-04-19 UTC
That wasn't the sort of fun I meant, John! <br> <br> Cooked Bishop, eh? There are a lot of meanings of 'cooked', you know. It can mean to falsify something, or to improvise something, or something that has been preprocessed, or has a forced solution. Surely one of these ideas are good for a variant . . .

John Lawson wrote on 2002-04-19 UTC
Your long comment has the even more alarming typo 'Cooked Bishop', a piece probably appropriate only to the as-yet-to-be-imagined Cannibal and Missionary Chess.

Peter Aronson wrote on 2002-04-19 UTC
I realize 'Croocked Bishop' is a typo, but I suddenly find myself wondering how a drunken Bishop would move . . .

Peter Aronson wrote on 2002-04-19 UTCGood ★★★★
I would have to agree that the Cavalier (Gryphon + Aanca) is a kind of extreme piece, but if you look at Ralph Betza's note on the value of such <a href='../piececlopedia.dir/bent-riders.html'>Bent Riders</a>, you will see that he rates such a piece as being worth slightly less than an Amazon (Queen + Knight) on an 8x8 board [Although honestly requires me to add that Ralph himself is not entirely convinced of his piece evaluation system, although in my experiance it is at least approximately right most of the time]. On a 10x10 board the Cavalier gains some additional value, while the Amazon would probably break even (Queen components gain in value, Knight components lose in value) -- so call the Cavalier a rough equivalent of an Amazon. <p> Now, would two Amazons be too strong for a 10x10 board? It comes down to a matter of taste I suppose, but I have to suspect that as Tony Paletta noted in a comment on <a href='../large.dir/full-double-chess.html'>Full Double Chess</a>, their presence would tend to reduce the minor pieces to cannon fodder (although there is fun to be had with weak pieces). <p> In any case, I rather like your idea of substituting Cooked Bishops -- the world needs more games with Crooked Bishops (and where, you may ask are <em>your</em> games with Crooked Bishops, Mr. Aronson? Err, well, the <a href='../dpieces.dir/fighting-fizzies.html'>Fighting Fizzies</a> have a WzFF as a Queen, and otherwise, they're all in the future . . .) <hr> I'm commenting on your comment here, rather than by e-mail as you suggested as that way other people can join in the discussion and have fun.

Nuno Cruz wrote on 2002-04-19 UTCGood ★★★★
I do like this game, although the Cavalier is a very 'irregular piece'. I propose to replace it's movement by the one of the Croocked Bishop! This would produce a very enjoyable game, don't you agree? :-)) The other pieces, I believe, are well balanced for 10x10 board, and the fact that Knights depart from the 2nd row turns them more valuable in the opening and during the rest of the game (a problem with other 10x10 board variants that place them on the 1st row!). Please comment me on this to: [email protected]

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