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File Sharing Chess


Tactical possibilities are an important part of chess and why we enjoy the game. This author has invented a rule which would create more dynamic interaction between enemy pawns and hopefully limit the draws occurring from "closed" positions.


It has the same rules as chess except for this one added option: the "pawn swap." When a player's pawn is directly in front of an enemy pawn with no squares in-between (such as a "fixed pawn" in standard chess), the player may swap his or her pawn with that particular enemy pawn, after which they can each continue on that file: This move would therefore be an option to either player whenever the pawns are "butted up" against one another (with one exception shown below). Unlike en passant, the pawn swap move would not be a requirement right away. One exception: pawn swapping is illegal if the enemy pawn is threatening a piece (or even a pawn), as shown here: Above, Black may pawn swap and White may not (although Black would probably rather take the bishop) There are some cases in which pawn swapping would be illegal for both, or allowed by both sides, depending on whether either of the pawns is threatening a piece. This exception was written to avoid using the pawn swap to bypass direct threats by moving the enemy pawn out of the way.


The primary purpose of this added rule is to limit the number of draws that are caused by "closed/locked up" games. In my opinion, the winner of the game in such instances should be the player who took advantage of tempo (whose pawn(s) are closer to promotion). There are of course other effects of including this option, but an important aspect is that it would not be used all the time. For example, when enemy pawns are facing each other on the 4th and 5th ranks, the player who makes this pawn swap move would be losing a tempo in the pawn race to promotion. This means pawn swapping isn't so powerful that it becomes the only focus of the game. As stated, pawn swapping is mostly intended to add more tactical, dynamic possibilities, especially "closed" games as shown in the following example: In this diagram above, it would be a draw in standard chess, but Black can take advantage of his/her more advanced pawn on the F file (then on the C file when the white king tries to stop it) As stated previously, pawn swapping usually does not supercede the important principles of chess, such as activating the king toward the end game: - - - Above you will see that in both game types, black wins thanks to having a more active king near the pawns. Next we will show some draws in standard chess that become wins in File Sharing Chess: - - - - In this example, both players have failed to activate their kings, but White has better tempo regarding his/her pawns. White can win using the pawn swap rule with the move c6/s, and Black can take. Then White takes the c5 pawn and Black cannot catch the inevitable promotion after another c6/s move by White. It is a rule that gives him/her advantage but not does supercede the "active king" principle as shown in the following example: - - - - - This is a draw in standard chess, because the kings would meet in the middle of the board with no progress (or on the left near b4 if Black moves to that side). Yet - in File Sharing/pawn swap Chess: since Black has a king near the pawns, he/she wins with perfect play. Likely moves would be: 1. Kg3 c5/s 2. bxc5 Kxc6 3. Kf3 Kxc5 4. Ke3 Kc4 5. Kd2 Kb3 (black king has opposition needed to win) - - Pawn swapping could also provide some attacking chances for Black in some opening sequences, such as this one: - - (after 1. e4/e5 2. Nf3, black could do a pawn swap... 2... e4/s and put pressure on the white knight) - - - In addition to standard chess, one could apply this rule to Chess960 (Fischer-Random) or any other variant in which pawns move forward and attack diagonally. - - ALL GRAPHICS WERE CREATED USING SCREEN GRABS FROM THE BOARD EDITOR AT LICHESS.ORG

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By Jeffrey T. Kubach.
Web page created: 2016-07-08. Web page last updated: 2016-07-08