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Pocket Mutation Chess. Take one of your pieces off the board, maybe change it, keep it in reserve, and drop it on the board later. (8x8, Cells: 64) (Recognized!)[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Greg Strong wrote on 2018-11-30 UTC

It is a great game.

To the extent it has a "problem" (which is debatable), the problem isn't knightrider's the ability to reach the back row and promote.  It is the ability of black to immediately pocket a knightrider and immediately threaten white with multiple back-row forks.  The opening array is well protected in normal chess because chess doesn't have knightriders, but it is very vulnerable to them.  White can protect himself but must do so immediately and correctly, which is annoying.  That said, I think immediately pocketing a knightrider is a bad move.  If white does play it correctly, he's in a stronger position.  And a knightrider is worth at least a tiny bit less than a rook whereas the other class 3 piece, the super bishop, is slight stronger than a rook.  If you're pocketing a rook into a knightrider in the opening you are basically gambling that your opponent messes up and preparing to take advantage of it.  But you are putting yourself at a disadvantage in terms of development if he doesn't.

The only thing I find strange about the game is the fact that castling is disallowed.  That just feels odd.

Anthony Viens wrote on 2018-11-29 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

One of the very best variant on the site!

Truly beautiful concept, and it appears to work.  (I have not had an opportunity to try it myself, yet.)

Reading through the comments, much of the complaints seem to focus on the power of the knightrider's ability to reach the back row and promote.  I wonder if anyone has considered that the knightrider move and the promotion rules may not work together perfectly?  Changing them would result in a different game, but possibly a better one.  Just a thought.

Greg Strong wrote on 2018-03-25 UTC


Aurelian Florea wrote on 2018-03-24 UTC

There are some spelling errors in this article.

Under rules the 4th and 5th subsections, "eighth" is wrongly spelled "eight".

George Duke wrote on 2017-10-03 UTC

11.November.07 here, exactly ten years ago,  I rated Pocket Mutation having played it twice in G. C.  It was described as below

poor, worse than poor then, so let's upgrade it to Poor now.  This type of CV of too much complexity in implementation is total waste of time. I like the streamlined one-idea concepts like top CV of the nineties decade Hostage Chess. Yet ironic  that

Hostage is hardly ever played.

Kevin Pacey wrote on 2017-10-03 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

Excellent concept. One can quibble about the class certain pieces ought to be in, and the extra basic rules are slightly complex, but cool variant.

My tentative estimates for the piece values of this variant are: Class 1: P=1; Class 2: N=3.5, B=3.5; Class 3: R=5.5, NN=5.75, SB=6; Class 4: C=7.5, SR=8; Class 5: Q=10, M=10, SC=10, CC=10.25; Class 6: MM=12.25, SM=12.5, SCC=12.75; Class 7: A=14.5, SMM=14.75; Class 8: AA=16.75. Note that I tend to agree with various world class chess players who historically gave the fighting value of K=4 for on an 8x8 board. I also tend to agree with chess authorities who in the past valued a B microscopically better than a N on average, so perhaps a better value for a N (or the N component portion of any of the appropriate compound pieces listed above) might be, say, 3.49, to reflect this belief, though I prefer not to use ugly fractions when thinking of most piece exchange value calculations that might arise.

Kevin Pacey wrote on 2017-08-26 UTC

@ Greg:

It's possible my memory failed me regarding viewing that someone once made a move (in a finished game log, apparently with the use of a non-rules enforcing preset) by using one of the inventor's ideas for rule changes regarding piece type classification (& adding in the Superknight). Presumably the existing rules enforcing preset would use the still (officially unaltered!?) original rules for the game.

Anyone who wishes to use the suggested new Superknight etc. rules ought to use the non-rules enforcing preset, and tell their opponent that they wish to play with the suggested new rules before the game with a non-rules enforcing preset is underway (it might even be good to verify with the opponent that the original rules are desired to be used, to err on the side of caution).

Fergus Duniho wrote on 2017-08-26 UTC

I corrected the link to show comments in descending order. You were seeing them in ascending order, which started with the earliest comments. You would have found your comments by paging through the comments to the end.

Kevin Pacey wrote on 2017-08-26 UTC

Maybe a systemic bug for Comments to report: when I clicked on "All Comments" for a Pocket Mutation Chess comment, all I see is a list of 'earlier' comments' that don't include, e.g., the latest ones by Greg and myself. Note if I go to the Pocket Mutation Chess webpage instead, I can see the comments made by Greg and myself.

Greg Strong wrote on 2017-08-26 UTC

I don't believe the preset does use the rule changes from the comments.  Actually, I'm not sure any games have been played with the new rules.

Kevin Pacey wrote on 2017-08-26 UTC

I'm wondering if there's a chance that there might be [coming] a second, different, rules enforcing Game Courier preset for this game, with the other [original] rules enforcing preset to be for the games played by the original rules, before the Superknight and other changes, spelled out by the inventor in the comments section, were to be introduced. That's presumably with the rules section for the/a more modern rules enforcing preset showing the latest rules for the various classes of piece types.

This variant looks like a great one (perhaps regardless of the proposed/enacted rule changes as given in the comments section), but I was kind of dismayed that (big) rule changes were made to it after so many games of it had already been played by the original rules - the games making for a lot of study material that now may not be so relavent. I once played over a log of a game of this variant after the proposed rule changes started to take effect, and after apparently being surprised by a consequence of the latest rules, one of the players apparently abandoned the game at once, losing on time.

Michael Nelson wrote on 2016-01-07 UTC
Thanks, H. G.

I will try promoting only the Cardinal and related pieces by one class, returning the SuperBishop to class 3, and adding the SuperKnight to class 4. Hopefully, its value is close enough to the SuperRook to be playable--exactness is not required, just as long as it is a fair amount closer in value to the SuperRook than to the Cardinal, Chancellor, or Queen. 

It is an important design goal of mine to have more than one piece in every value class except 1 and 8 (and I wouldn't object to additional pieces in these classes, if any come to mind). Any addition piece suggestions are welcome if there are good numbers available about their values.

H. G. Muller wrote on 2016-01-06 UTC
The 'SuperRook' is significantly stronger than the 'SuperBishop'. The latter is barely stronger than Rook on 8x8, and would fit well in the same class. <p> The SuperKnight gains 8 move targets on the ordinary Knight, where Rook and Bishop only gain 4 moves in the Super version. That boosts it to the level of at least a SuperRook. But the combination of Knight and King moves seems to be a particularly fruitful one, so its really on the high side of the SuperRook class.

Michael Nelson wrote on 2016-01-05 UTC
I am playtesting the following changes to the Pocket Mutation Chess value classes:

Class 1: Pawn

Class 2: Knight, Bishop

Class 3: Rook, Nightrider

Class 4: SuperRook, SuperBishop*

Class 5: Queen, Chancellor, Cardinal*

Class 6: SuperChancellor, ChancellorRider, SuperCardinal*, CardinalRider*

Class 7: Amazon, SuperChancellorider, SuperCardinalRider*

class 8: AmazonRider

Those pieces marked with * have been move up one class.

I have been motivated by H. G. Muller's research which shows a higher value for the Cardinal than Betza's Atomic Theory would predict--it is essentially equal to a Chancellor or Queen, rather that about halfway between a Chancellor and a Rook as Betza suggested.

I am contemplating adding a SuperKnight (KN, class 4?) and maybe a SuperNightrider (KNN, class 6?). Any thoughts?

Johnny Luken wrote on 2015-05-07 UTCAverage ★★★
I would have to extend my criticism of Crazyhouse to this game, and echo Mr Dukes sentiments.

While I like the concept, I don't think its an actually good game.

My proposed amendment of the drop in rule (pieces are played in with non capture from the spot they were captured) likely brings an improvement here as well.

Non immediate promotion is also unsatisfactory; why not allow pieces to promote immediately on rotationally symmetric opposite squares?

To me these are the most logical ways of importing Shogis mechanics into the more energetic game of FIDE.

Jeremy Good wrote on 2009-07-09 UTC
Why the no castling rule?

Jeremy Good wrote on 2009-06-06 UTC
Put aside the issue of whether every pawn is protected. In Pocket Mutation Chess, the fact that the rooks are initially unprotected can lead to some forcing lines in the opening that don't necessarily enhance the overall game play.

Joe Joyce wrote on 2009-05-26 UTC
Hey Jeremy [welcome back], I was talking about promotion, I believe - it takes 2 turns for promotion vs 1 turn, so you do lose a tempo there. As for the general strategy, I tended to oppose creating a nightrider early on, because I found the rook more useful in general. But the pocket is useful in a number of ways. Using it for pawns is a nice tactic. While pawns can't mutate, they make excellent paratroopers, and sometimes they can promote [to knights, generally, as 1 knight is a bit more useful than 1 bishop in an unknown future situation.] It's been a couple years since I played this, but I found it a truly excellent game, and highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys playing CVs. I find it to be obviously one of the very best variants ever designed, and richly deserving of recognized status.

Jeremy Good wrote on 2009-05-25 UTC
John, okay, thanks for your further comments. Seems to me you're saying you might consider revising your rating? Frankly, I displayed my own rustiness in my last comment because I forgot about the promotion aspect of the game. For that I apologize. Naturally, it would appear to foreshorten things, add more tactical complexity.

Another angle is that I believe it's somewhat a myth that overpowered pieces have no place on an 8 x 8 board and I believe anyone who enjoys FIDE Chess can also enjoy Tripunch chess (for example), but that is indeed a matter of speculation, and here we are getting into an area of subjective aesthetics where people can legitimately disagree.

John Smith wrote on 2009-05-25 UTC
If it is indeed promotion, than I shall change my rating. I've changed my last comment, seeing that there is more mutation than promotion, but contend that the ability of promotion is far too great, overpowering the mutation, and I do not think piece changing without movement should be such an integral part of gameplay. The strength of these pieces is also ridiculous, especially considering the frequent drops.

Amazons are bad, Amazonriders are terrible, and dropping them is just unheard of. There is a certain Eastern principle of balance that makes games like Shogi playable.

Jeremy Good wrote on 2009-05-24 UTC
There are some fun games where pieces mutate each time they move or each time they land on a certain type of square.

Jeremy Good wrote on 2009-05-24 UTC

Joe, I don't know where you're going with that. Don't you gain as many tempi by being able to drop the piece where ever you want? Knights are notoriously difficult to move to the place you want them to go and bishops can't change colors unless you drop them. I have enjoyed converting my rooks to nightriders early in this game and certainly it's much faster than the ordinary way of developing rooks (which in this game is not easy regardless because you can't castle). If you were able to promote automatically but give up the drop option, you'd give up as many tempi as you were gaining.

You could play this game Shogi style and make it a more conservative game, only allowing pieces you capture to be returned to the board as different pieces of the same class.

Joe, I read your remark out of context and see you were likely only trying to engage in dialogue and didn't necessarily have an alternate idea in mind. I will now proceed to get into that dialogue myself:

Having read John Smith's other comment here, I think he misapprehends the intent of this game which is to do precisely as he proposes. It's more a matter of conversion (mutation) than promotion since one is supposedly trading in for a piece of equal value. Hence, the name is appropriate and, I think, also likeable. I urge you, John, to reassess the game after playtesting it. I have criticized others for rating games 'poor' without ever trying them. In some cases it's possible to do so, but rarely. I also don't think it's good practice for book reviewers or movie reviewers to rate books or movies without reading / watching them. Of course anything starring (certain actors I don't like) gets a turkey from me and isn't worth seeing, hehe. In this case, not only has John Smith judged a book by its cover, he has misread the cover.

John Smith wrote on 2008-12-29 UTC
Even if you cannot afford to lose tempi, I think it would be a better game if it wasn't better named as Pocket PROMOTION Chess.

Joe Joyce wrote on 2008-12-29 UTC
Promotion takes 2 turns in this game. How would you do it differently? I once won a game by not promoting a rook, but keeping it on the back rank, pinning a piece that would have been unpinned had I tried to promote. Pocket Mutation is an awesome game, certainly one of the best CVs ever made. Don't let those promotion possibilities fool you, it's a very difficult game that does not degenerate into races to the top - who can afford to lose so many tempi?

John Smith wrote on 2008-12-29 UTCPoor ★
There's too much promotion!

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