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Peasant Revolt. Modest variant with unequal setup. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
knappen wrote on Fri, Feb 10, 2017 01:23 PM UTC:

From tablebases we know, that not only KNNN vs. K is won for the Knights, but even KNNN vs KN is generally speaking a win for the side with the three Knights.


P.S. Posting anonymously, because my login failed

Jorg - email me if your password didn't work. I've been able to get around that by giving new passwords. Joe Joyce

George Duke wrote on Thu, Feb 9, 2017 09:22 PM UTC:

On 30.Jan.2017 H.G. Muller brought up pawn-accompanied 7N versus 3Q: End_Games. Here is where he originally broached researching this match-up among others,, in several Peasant Revolt statements of different unusual endgames -- because not normal Beginners' Chess piece mixes that get memorized from tables.

George Svokos says too(All Comments PR) it takes K+N+N+N+N to defeat K, that three Knights are not enough. Of course games are won with definitional insufficient mating material depending on the leftover position. Usually you want the best definitions to exclude such cases, but the present example you can arrange K+3N to a mated position (not all of them necessarily Helpmates).

Muller's very insight then that "that the Knights could do better than they do now, with a bit more strategic insight" has parallel in my on-again maintaining that on 8x10 Rook versus Falcon should turn out to be 5.0 to up to 5.75 maximum, if Falcons are instructed to strategically open as early as possible.

Board size almost always factor, and on 8x10 or certainly 10x10, the 3Q will defeat especially 6N more or even most often(majority); on 10x10 the Peasant Revolt mix tilts way towards the Knights and Black. Rules are crucial too raised by Charles Gilman's query, is promotion in yQs v. xNs to Queen both sides, or not?

H. G. Muller wrote on Fri, Mar 26, 2010 04:47 PM UTC:
Seven Knights still have a light advantage over three Queens. (When I start the Knights from the back rank.) From watching the games, however, I get the impression that the Knights could do better than they do now, with a bit more strategic insight. Such as awarding keeping them close together, and defended by the King or a Pawn. I usually see it coming when white is wrecking its own position (to greedily capture a far-away Pawn), and indeed, it than somewhat later its score collapses, and it loses. It is very easy to create an outpost Knight, defended only by another Knight, but not able to move anywhere. In the long run a second Queen then comes to attack it (which was initially beyond the horizon), to secure a Q vs 2N trade. So if I could program my insight into the program, seven Knights might get back a huge advantage.

For the Queens the situation seems mainly tactical. They are dependend on white letting its guard down, and when that happens they force the decisive trade.

Jörg Knappen wrote on Fri, Mar 26, 2010 01:53 PM UTC:
So how many knights does white need now (with the improved strategy for black) to equalise, and how many knights are still superior to three queens?

H. G. Muller wrote on Thu, Mar 25, 2010 07:56 AM UTC:
Well, as I originally saw this as standard Chess with a peculiar position, I allowed each side to promote to Queen. If one sees it as an independent Chess variant, it is indeed an interesting idea to fine-tune the odds in this through the promotion.

Now that I am converging to an engine that is pretty good at this, (compared to normal Chess engines), it seems that black has the better chances after all. The path to a black win almost always goes through trading a Queen for two Knights. With two Queens vs four Knights it is usually an easy win. It is very difficult for white to avoid a Q vs 2N swap, (for which all Knights must remain doubly defended, or defended by a Pawn), keep all its Pawns defended, and prevent creation of a passer, and in the long run it will not succeed.

The development advantage of white also is a bit illusory: although the Knights can be developed in a single move, you have many, and to develop 6 Knights takes 6 moves, comparable to the 5-6 P+Q moves you need to develop 3 Queens. The Knights start in a very vulnerable position, all undefended, and the array has some Pawns undefended as well. Even with a more favorable array, (moving 4 Knights and 4 Pawns one rank forward) white scores only 20%, now that black uses a proper strategy.

I guess, however, it makes little difference what black promotes to. Even limiting him to a Knight, would make promotion a sure win. In practice white never allows promotion; it gives a Knight for the passer. But loss of a Knight is always fatal.

Charles Gilman wrote on Thu, Mar 25, 2010 06:40 AM UTC:
The reason why the array
is less friendly to Black than it looks is twofold. Firstly, a Queen can be captured in one move whereas two Knights cannot. Secondly, Knights can be moved otu of camp straight away, whereas a Queen usually requires two moves: first a move either by a Pawn or to a camp square with a clear path, then a Queen move out of camp. The exception is that c7-c6 allows two Queen moves out of camp. This means that Knights can be developed more quickly, with Pawns only needing to be moved at all in order to prevent Checkmate once the Queens do break through. I suspect that Black might do better without the v7 and f7 Pawns, despite this making a still smaller army! Incidentally, how are Pawns promoted? If it's White to Knight and Black to Queen because that's what they start with, Black should be able to compensate for the slow development time and concentration of power, especially as their Pawns have necessarily been developed. If it's White to Queen and Black to Knight because that's what starts on their promotion ranks, Black is stuffed.

H. G. Muller wrote on Tue, Mar 23, 2010 03:07 PM UTC:
Very similar in spirit to Peasant's Revolt is the following:

. q . q k . q .
p p p p p p p p
. . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . .
N N N . K N N N

I don't know if this variant is already listed on these pages, or not. Again, it is not really a variant; it is normal Chess starting from a different opening setup. The setup is unreachable from the orthodox setup, however, so perhaps it qualifies as a sub-variant. In that case, I would propose the name 'Charge of the Light Brigade'.

At first glance it looks the game is heavily biased in favor of black. After all, conventional wisdom has it that a Queen is worth three Knights, or even more (Q=9.5, N=3). And here you have only two Knights for each opposing Queen. This does not take into account the elephantiasis factor, however.

I tried this with engines, and it seems the given setup, with 6 Knights is about even. With a 7th Knight on d1, there is little doubt that the 3 Queens virtually do not stand any chance at all, which in itself is already spectacular. Most Chess engines count themselves leading by +5 to +8 Pawns with black in that case. As a consequence of such gross mis-evaluation, most normal Chess engines are pretty poor at playing this too. It required a specially re-programmed engine that sets the piece values Q=9.5 and N=5 (rather than the usual 3) to do well with white. In that case normal Chess engines (even the very best) lose more often than not with black, even against 6 Knights. If black also knows that it is favorable to trade one Queen for two Knights, it becomes much harder to win with 6 Knights, as it is difficult to always avoid such trades. It could be that valuing the Knights even higher, so that you would rather give up Pawns than allow a Q vs. 2N trade, would be an even better strategy, and make this position a definite win fo white even with 6 Knights.

George Svokos wrote on Wed, Nov 4, 2009 01:18 AM UTC:Excellent ★★★★★
I think the possible advantage of black may actually not be relevant, even if they do have one (though I am not convinced its skewed heavily in black's favor.) In Hoyle's book of games, it states that 'The Peasant's Revolt is another exercise in end play...It can probably be demonstrated that the knights win, but with less than expert management they are hard put to a draw.' Its certainly true if black loses two knights and their pawn they will be 'hard put to a draw.' And if Frey indeed intended this to be an 'exercise' in end play the it should be probably viewed as a chess problem or puzzle rather than a game per se. Few problems/puzzles are equal in strength. The starting array is unusual for an 'end play exercise,' however this means we should probably have a different mind-set (end game, not opening game) in terms of tactics when playing Peasant's Revolt. Frey probably (although they remain unknown to me currently) had his reasons for designing the Peasant's Revolt end play as he did, and changing it changes his rationale for designing the problem the way he intended (with concomitant different results.)

H. G. Muller wrote on Tue, Nov 3, 2009 09:37 AM UTC:
Well, I think it makes a huge difference if you try this with a 2800-rated player or with a sub-1000 one. Seeing the promotions coming requires some depth. I dont think Fruit would leave a Human player any chance, both with black or with white. Not even if you give it only 1 second per move...

George Svokos wrote on Tue, Nov 3, 2009 01:48 AM UTC:Excellent ★★★★★
I tried an experiment to see what the results would be when I set the Java applet to play itself (computer vs computer)ten times. Of those ten games, white won three, black won one, and there were six draws. Given this admittedly small scale assay, the three knights did not do so well. I suspect the dynamics of human vs human would differ from computer play, but it certainly seems as if white can do well when handled skillfully.

H. G. Muller wrote on Mon, Nov 2, 2009 09:57 PM UTC:
I tried this positon with Fruit 2.1 in sef play (after all, this is normal Chess), and white is totally slaughtered. Even when I take away the back Pawn, black wins every time (with 3 Knights).

George Whelan wrote on Mon, Nov 2, 2009 05:00 PM UTC:
I see what you mean about 4 knights versus a bare King, it's just that (in
my admittedly limited experience) the game seems to revolve around Black
protecting and then queening his pawn. With 4 knights as well as his King
at his disposal I have found that White's options for removing that threat
are not great and Whites pawns create a landscape of their own which can
work to Black's advantage in hemming the White king in with the knights. 

Regardless I'm ecstatic to finally get some history on this and I'm glad
we can have some proper accreditation listed. :-)

George Svokos wrote on Mon, Nov 2, 2009 05:33 AM UTC:Excellent ★★★★★
This is a fun variant to play. I am not sure I agree with the statement that four knights, as in the original game, would unduly favor black. Perhaps a little, but if white takes black's pawn and two knights, black will not be able to win the game. A skillful white player can probably force a draw. H.L. Frey, when he invented the game in 1947, probably knew that it takes four knights and a king to mate a bare white king. As such, perhaps creating a 'Peasant Revolt II' should be considered, as this was Frey's original intention, and he likely had reasons for the four knights.

George Whelan wrote on Mon, Apr 13, 2009 12:44 PM UTC:
Hey Silvio,

As far as I know, Peasant's Revolt is completely in the public domain. I
certainly didn't invent it. I remember it from a book a friend lent me
well on 28 years ago, whose title I can't recall. 

Go for it!

Silvio Quadri wrote on Sun, Apr 12, 2009 12:01 PM UTC:
Hi. I'm Silvio from Argentina.

Can I publish my own version of Peasant Revolt in my game website? The game rules or game name has some restriction for usage?


silvioq at gmail

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