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It belongs to categories: Orthodox chess, 
It was last modified on: 1999-05-08
Omega Chess. Rules for commercial chess variant on board with 104 squares. (12x12, Cells: 104) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Kevin Pacey wrote on 2018-07-15 UTC

For the purpose of trying to invent a 10x8 variant, I thought about reducing this variant to 8 ranks rather than 10 (plus omitting the corner squares with the wizards, optionally). My main worry was that then a charge of the b- or i-pawn by the enemy might prove awkward for developing/castling in relative peace.

Greg Strong wrote on 2018-07-15 UTC

I think the biggest problem is the board is too big.  Reduce from 10 ranks to 8.  And you can also solve the problem of KR vs K not being won on this board by adoption the Launch Square rule used in Brouhaha and Apothecary - the hanging corner squares disappear as soon as they are vacated.

Kevin Pacey wrote on 2018-07-15 UTC

A possible mutator variant of Omega Chess would be to simply use the same basic 10x10 setup of Omega Chess, except eliminate the additional 4 edge corner squares and the wizard pieces from the picture (such a mutator variant might be called 'Decimal WAD Chess'). This would, for instance (as in standard chess), allow K+R to always mate lone K, and incidentally allow K+Champion[also known as WAD piece type] to force mate vs. lone K on such a 10x10 board too (the latter Dr. Muller has related elsewhere). One price of this would be that unlike for Omega Chess, 2 knights+K could not force mate vs. lone K (as also is the case in standard chess).

Kevin Pacey wrote on 2018-03-01 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

Interesting extra pieces and pawn movement rules here.

H. G. Muller wrote on 2016-10-12 UTC
files=12 ranks=12 promoZone=2 maxPromote=1 promoChoice=QNBRWC graphicsDir= whitePrefix=w blackPrefix=b graphicsType=png startShade=#FF80FF symmetry=mirror pawn::fceFifmnDifmnHfmW::a3-l3 hole::::b1-k1,a2,a3,a4,a5,a6,l2,l3,l4,l5,l6 knight:N:::d2,i2 wizard::::a1,l1 bishop::::e2,h2 champion::::b2,k2 rook::::c2,j2 queen::::f2 king::KisO2::g2

Omega Chess

This commercial variant has only two unorthodox pieces, three if you count the initial pawn triple push and the generalized e.p. rule. Nevertheless it is a grateful test case for an interactive diagram. Because of its board shape, mentioned e.p. rules, and castling.

    The possibility to black out squares already existed in the interactive diagram, although it was not widely advertized: when you define a piece named 'hole' it will black out the square wherever you place it. No piece can move to or slide over such a blacked-out square, nor can such squares be grabbed and moved. The Design Wizard currently does not provide a means to create holes; you would have to add the required line by typing it in the HTML code, like hole::::e4,e5,d4,d5 to blackout the board center of an 8x8 board.

    The main problem here was to get the unorthodox e.p. capture right. The XBetza notation uses 'e' as modality to indicate e.p. capture, and this can be used as alternative or in addition to 'c' or 'm'. Its meaning is to capture the last-moved piece on an empty square it passed over. The diagram uses the convention that this can happen on each square where an initial-only non-jumping move (i.e. containing 'in') could have been blocked, but originally the 'n' modifier was implemented only on D or A atoms, testing only one square. This was fine for FIDE Pawns, but in Omega Chess we must deal with an ifmnH as well. The diagram code for handling 'n' has now been beefed up to test two squares for blocking, and test up to two e.p. squares for strictly forward pushes.


    As for the castling with a non-corner piece: the diagram uses an algorithm that always allows castling with a piece that moves like an orthodox Rook, even if it is not a corner piece. Official XBetza notation for this would be isjO2, the 'j' on an O (= castling) atom having the specialmeaning that you 'jump' a square when looking for the castling partner, starting from the edge (or at least the nearest blacked-out square). The diagram description doesn't even need that, but of course would fail if there is a non-corner Rook on the King rank that you don't want to participate in castling.

    Jason L. wrote on 2012-03-05 UTC
    Omega Chess has 2 interesting new pieces that fit together well tactically with the original pieces as well as each other. That is its strong point. The Champion turns out to be the much stronger piece compared to the Wizard which loses value as the game goes on. The Champion turns out to be one of the strongest pieces at the end of the game, but its a bit dull to use at the start like the knight which needs an extra move to attack. While the 10x10 board makes the Wizard an interesting piece to use, Omega Chess also suffers from not having enough tension between pawns and fighting for control of squares as compared to variants that maintain the same distance between the pawns. Having more space between the pawns (2 rows) leads to more complex situations, but having that much space also makes the game a little boring when pieces are just setting up with apparently no reason for doing so. If pawns are the soul of chess as Philidor said, then Omega Chess pawns are not at the soul of the game. The pawns simply don't push away key pieces often enough creating a space advantage for one player who is moving its pieces in the right order. So while extra space may seem like a good idea, it hurts the tactical considerations of pawn move that normal Chess has. I believe Omega Chess is a step in the right direction in terms of the evolution of Chess, but its unlikely that a game without enough tension between pawns and a fight for control of the center will gain that much popularity among the general population. The fact that certain options rules in Omega Chess Advanced like temporal knight have been suggested which gives the knight more range suggests that the original setup of the pieces is not quite ideal. The knight and the champion just aren't exciting enough soon enough. With rooks, bishops, and the queen becoming even more powerful, the short range jumping pieces need to be in better positions to create more interesting interaction between sliding and jumping pieces. The wizard is also a little far away from the action. Even after moving to its general development square, it still doesn't seem to be that much closer to doing something interesting except along the right or left flank.

    H. G. Muller wrote on 2011-09-19 UTC
    I completely agree with that. Altough I have the feeling that this major/minor distinction is not very useful, and has only become popular because in orthodox Chess is happens to coincide with the distinction very valuable piece / weak piece. Which is not really implied by the mating potential of the piece, as that seems to have only very little impact on piece value. E.g. the Commoner or WD have mating potential, but seem to be worth less than a Knight, (despite the fact they have an equal number of target squares!), and the Nightrider has no mating potential and is worth more than a Rook. A 'color-bound Kraken', being able to moveand capture on every square of the color it is on, would probably be worth more than a Queen, but still have no mating potential.

    Jeremy Lennert wrote on 2011-09-18 UTC
    I thought the definition of 'major' was 'able to FORCE checkmate with only the aid of a King'? If your standard is 'able to deliver a checkmate if the enemy King cooperates', I believe the Rook also qualifies (can checkmate enemy King near the center of an edge if friendly King has opposition). But I can't for the life of me think of any reason that would matter. The force mate definition tells you the minimum amount of material you need to preserve to win a simplified endgame. How does knowing that a Bishop could hypothetically deliver a checkmate *if your opponent decides to help you* have any effect on gameplay, let alone piece values?

    Fergus Duniho wrote on 2011-09-18 UTC
    On a regular board, a Champion would be a major piece, but on this board, which has an extra space at each corner, the Champion is no longer a major piece. Perhaps this is why the Omega Chess board is shaped as it is. In fact, the Wizard, which is normally a minor piece on a regular board, becomes a major piece on this board. Maybe a King and Wizard can't force checkmate against a lone King, but they can at least checkmate a lone King. Actually, with the board corners, a Rook and King cannot checkmate a lone King, but a Bishop and King can. This makes the major pieces the ones that can move diagonally, the Queen, Bishop, and Wizard. But of these, only the King and Queen combination can actually force checkmate against a lone King. So, this board slightly increases the value of the Wizard and Bishop but at a greater cost to the values of the Rook and Champion.

    Nuno wrote on 2009-02-20 UTC
    This game adds in an ingenious way the movements of several pieces of Tamerlane chess, which is the 'grandfather' variant of all these XX and XXI century 'chess variants boom': We have the camels, dabbaba, ferz, alfil and wazir. What if they were mixed on the other form? Substitute wazir by ferz (so the champion is now colorbound) and the ferz by wazir (so now the wizard is not colorbound). Anyone can try this at home without breaking copyright. I think... But my idea is not that. Just to say that is is interesting to try to see if the game becomes more complex or not, more interesting or not.

    Yu Ren Dong wrote on 2009-01-22 UTC Omega Chess Advanced has added a new piece:Fool. The Fool assumes the identity of the last piece your opponent has moved.

    Nuno wrote on 2008-10-08 UTC
    Here is a board that could be a very good solution for making the Citadel chess and Omega chess corner squares more playable: Interesting ah? : )

    Anonymous wrote on 2008-01-08 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
    Goes into great depth and detail on regular Western Chess moves that many young learners may be confused about. Explains everything in great detail, making everything clear and understandable.

    Walt wrote on 2007-02-21 UTC
    I know the squares don't disappear according to the official rules, but I prefer to play by my house rule.

    Abdul-Rahman Sibahi wrote on 2007-02-21 UTC
    They don't .. all pieces, except Rooks and Pawns may get in and out of the corner squares.

    Walt wrote on 2007-02-21 UTC
    I play that the squares disappear once the wizard leaves.

    Abdul-Rahman Sibahi wrote on 2007-02-20 UTC
    They allow two Knights to force mate.

    Andy Maxson wrote on 2007-02-20 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
    Though the corner squares may appeal aesthetically the take away lots of the rooks power. How about taking away the corner squares and just adding squares behind the champions? Or maybe next to them?

    zach wrote on 2005-06-29 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
    i just played for the first time and i thought it was the best game ever until i started playing san andreas.:)

    chloe wrote on 2005-06-05 UTCGood ★★★★
    i know how to play chess now but i still dont understand the game

    Greg Strong wrote on 2005-02-12 UTC
    Ohh, I'm eager to see your entry! I think that having the Grand Chess army plus Omega Chess's extra leapers on a 10x10 would be a good amount of material and an interesting piece balance for an exciting game that's not too long. Omega Chess just goes on too long without enough tension ...

    David Paulowich wrote on 2005-02-11 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
    Greg: Grand Chess and Shako also bring the two armies closer together, but still on a 10x10 board. This is the approach taken in my 'TenCubed Chess' entry for the Contest to Design a 10-chess Variant. Each player has an entire Omega Chess army, plus an Archbishop (B+N) and a Marshall (R+N).

    Greg Strong wrote on 2005-02-08 UTC
    I've played a couple of games on GC now, and I have mixed feelings. The games tend to be longer than I'd like, and much of the midgame doesn't seem to feel very tense. I wonder if this game would be better on a 10x8 board (+4 corner squares). I noticed in the GC logs that someone has tried this. Anyone have any comment?

    Anonymous wrote on 2003-07-19 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
    I just got my board and I will give Omega Chess an excellent for several reasons. It is a great game! The two new pieces make the game more enjoyable and it is fun to use the pieces when attacking or defending. The pieces are high quality staunton design pieces and they will last a long time. After playing with my friends they got interested. It is a fun game to play with almost anyone. I think that almost everyone will be happy that they got an Omega Chess set. I just love my set!

    RJ wrote on 2003-05-20 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
    I haven't played this enough to know if there are any 'cheap' unavoidable openings, but it seems for now to be a great game. Don't leave your orthochess training comepltely at the door, because alot of the same principles apply here. The only odd thing I find about this variant is castling. You need a consolidating move when castling kingside, and 2 when castling queenside. For that reason, I don't see anyone adopting the queenside castle. If you order a set from the company, then know that these sets are really good! The old pieces look & feel almost like my standard USCF plastic pieces. The new pieces are just as good, and that cresent moon on the wizard is NOT going to break off or bend without a hammer. The board is top quality too as far as 4 fold carboard boards go. I'd prefer a vinal roll-up type board, but that's just personal preference.

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