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1999 Large Variant Contest

Winner Voting Results

(2 Jan 2000) The voting for the winner of the 1999 Large Variant Contest is over. Unfortunately, there were insufficient votes for an official winner to be chosen (we needed at least 8 votes for a winner). Please see below for the actual voting results and also comments.

Thanks again to all the contestants, voters and playtesters. I'll leave the voting system intact so that others may still playtest and vote if they choose -- even though officially, the voting deadline has passed. I declare Vyrémorn Chess the unofficial winner of the contest, with Omega Chess coming in unofficial second place, and Centennial Chess & Eight-Stone Chess in a tie for unofficial third place.

Here are the voting results:

Votes   Entry
-----   -------------------
  0     Bomberman Chess
  1     Centennial Chess 
  1     Eight-Stone Chess
  0     Kings Court
  2     Omega Chess
  0     Quang Trung Chess
  0     Ultra Chess
  3     Vyrémorn Chess

And various comments about the finalists:

Vyrémorn Chess

  • Of the eight finalists, this game has the more interesting ideas than the others.
  • It shows great thoroughness and depth of game/ game strategy throughout play. Well laid out, Easily understood. Holds interest and enjoyable to play after many games. The developer of this game deserves the highest honors for bringing forth the next level of gaming.
  • I was deeply torn between voting for Vyremorn Chess and Omega Chess. Both are great games and deserve to win. Regretfully, I could only vote for one, and I do believe, that by my own criteria for an excellent Chess Variant, my own is the better.

    I personally enjoy the complex interaction of pieces with the board and one another, creating compound logic problems. I enjoy the break with tradition offered by the unique board shapes in both Omega and Vyremorn, but I found my own the more enticing.

    I would like to add that there are many games that I found much more enticing than some of the final eight. These include Chess in the Round and Scirracco. Hopefully, all of the games submitted, will go on to be enjoyed by the many gamers who relish new and exciting challenges. To all of the authors, I extend my congratulations.

Omega Chess

  • The Winner of the 1999 Large Variants contest should be, hands down, Omega Chess. Some people may be annoyed that this variant has been commercially marketted, (why should the rich get richer?) but that's a good thing because then more people will find out about this game and be able to play it. The new pieces, the wizard and the champion, integrate well with the other pieces. The champion's jumping ability makes it an interesting piece. The extra four wizard squares in the corner make a good hiding place for the king. It takes a little longer to complete one's development and for all the pieces to really commence the battle but on a 10 by 10 board that is to be expected. There is a minor flaw in the game in that the wizards weild an unusual amount of power in the opening, so one must play carefully to guard against that. Omegachess is easy to learn and fun to play. I enjoy playing it by email at Richard's Play By Email server at Plus the actual OmegaChess set is very nice! OmegaChess board on one side, FIDE chess board on the other. Staunton style pieces, mideval drawings along the sides. I don't know why, but this game 'feels' like regular chess. Not all chess variants have that appeal.
  • Of all the finalists I have playtested, this game comes closest to chess in feel and tactics, whilst giving more area and flexibility--chich is the idea of large chess, is it not?
  • I was initially sceptical of Omega Chess, but it won me over as a good game during the several matches I played. I still found extricating the pieces from the corners to be rather challenging, and then effectively using the extra real estate to be even more so, but as an all around Chess game it was enjoyable to play. It was very well documented, and required little attention to radically new strategy, which was at once a plus and a minus.

    I was ultimately torn between voting for it or my own contribution to the contest, and in the end, perhaps because of familiarity, I found my own to be the more involving and thoroughly enjoyable games to play.

    I am voting this as a 'does not deserve' not because it does not deserve to win, but rather so that I would have an opportunity to congratulate Daniel MacDonald on an excellent contribution and to offer my congratulations for what I anticipate to be a victory for him. If only I could have voted for two contributions, Omega Chess would certainly have earned my second vote.

Centennial Chess

I think that Centennial Chess more than deserves the title of winner of this contest. I have playtested this game extensively, and have found it to be an incredibly enjoyable game. First of all, it feels like Orthochess, but still has an original feel that doesn't make it just a generic 'Big Orthochess' variant. Second, the two-move rule is ingenious. It solves the often overlooked problem of how to develop pieces in the more crowded opening situation of a large chess variant. Also, it allows for some wonderful gamits. I have, in several of my games, sacrificed a knight to stop his double-move capability. Finally, the Rotating Spearman are really cool. Sorry for being so long-winded, but this is a game that deserves it.

Eight-Stone Chess

The stones in this game provide new strategical and tactical possibilities that are unlike those commonly found in other chess games. The stones provide new defensive possibilities and also provide a way for Bishops to change color and for other pieces to move around a bit more easily without making them too powerful as Ultra Chess makes the mistake of doing. In summary, the stones make it a more interesting game to play than the other finalists.

Quang Trung Chess

I played this one twice, trying to like it, but my objections to it in theory become accentuated as I played. The challenge of keeping the pawns of the last line, along with the gunship kings and the striped queen made this a difficult game to play.... maybe in the long term this could become a popular game as theory was developed... but for now, it radically altered the intent of Chess in my mind, to the point of near unplayability.

Ultra Chess

In the midst of my first and only match of Ultra Chess, I was perpetually overcome by the fact that it offered only minor deviation from FIDE chess. Although the game was thoroughly playable, it offered nothing that left me prefering it to traditional chess, nor did it appeal to my appreciation of variation.

1999 Large Variant Contest

Finalist Voting Results

The ratings for the 1999 Large Variant Contest have been tabulated and now the results are in! Thanks to all who voted, especially those hardy souls who voted for several entries and produced copious and constructive comments! Oddly enough, the top four vote getters were all two-way ties. My ruling is that since there were two entries for each of the top four slots, we have eight finalists instead of four (JWB, let me know if you need another pallet of paper for this! ;-).

So, without further ado, here are the results...

Game Total
36 Vyrémorn Chess 26 1.4 1st Place Finalists
36 Quang Trung Chess 36 1.0
20 Kings Court 16 1.3 2nd Place Finalists
20 Omega Chess 24 0.8
19 Centennial Chess 17 1.1 3rd Place Finalists
19 Eight-Stone Chess 21 0.9
16 Bomberman Chess 15 1.1 4th Place Finalists
16 Ultra Chess 18 0.9
13 Maelstrom 21 0.6
12 Scheherazade 13 0.9
12 Round Table Chess 7 1.7
11 Scirocco 16 0.7
10 Shako 13 0.8
10 Jester Chess 11 0.9
9 Tamerlane II 13 0.7
9 Mini Citadel Chess 12 0.8
8 Spinach Chess 15 0.5
8 Fantasy Grand Chess 12 0.7
7 Camblam 18 0.4
7 Mammoth Chess 14 0.5
6 Nahbi Chess 18 0.3
5 Divergent Chess 9 0.6
4 Round Table Chess II 5 0.8
3 Typhoon 11 0.3
3 Big Outer Chess 10 0.3
3 Napoleonic Chess 7 0.4
-1 Royal Court 5 -0.2
-2 Chesseract 17 -0.1
-3 Chess99 10 -0.3
-4 Pick-the-team Chess 13 -0.3
-4 Flee! 8 -0.5
-5 Conveyor Chess 13 -0.4
-5 Edge of the World Chess 13 -0.4
-5 Little Cheops 10 -0.5
-5 Keyles 9 -0.6
-5 Spiderball 8 -0.6
-6 Quex 11 -0.5

Breakdown by Rating

Entry Number
Quang Trung Chess 5 10 1 20
Vyrémorn Chess 3 1 5 17
Kings Court 1 2 5 8
Omega Chess 3 4 11 6
Centennial Chess 1 3 6 7
Eight-Stone Chess 3 3 8 7
Bomberman Chess 1 2 7 5
Ultra Chess 3 4 3 8
Maelstrom 4 7 3 7
Round Table Chess 0 0 2 5
Scheherazade 2 1 6 4
Scirocco 4 2 5 5
Jester Chess 1 4 1 5
Shako 1 3 7 2
Mini Citadel Chess 3 2 2 5
Tamerlane II 3 2 4 4
Fantasy Grand Chess 4 1 2 5
Spinach Chess 2 5 6 2
Camblam 5 6 2 5
Mammoth Chess 4 2 5 3
Nahbi Chess 5 3 9 1
Divergent Chess 2 3 1 3
Round Table Chess II 1 1 1 2
Big Outer Chess 3 2 4 1
Napoleonic Chess 2 2 1 2
Typhoon 5 1 2 3
Royal Court 1 4 0 0
Chesseract 8 5 2 2
Chess99 6 2 1 1
Flee! 5 2 1 0
Pick-the-team Chess 6 5 2 0
Conveyor Chess 8 3 1 1
Edge of the World Chess 6 6 1 0
Keyles 6 2 1 0
Little Cheops 7 2 0 1
Spiderball 5 3 0 0
Quex 6 5 0 0

Special Awards

The following awards are given by me (David Howe) and represent only my own opinions and viewpoints.

Best Liked Game Round Table Chess With an average rating of 1.7, this game was almost universally rated as excellent. The game, however, did not garner the large volume of votes needed to put it into the finals. Still the very high average should be recognized.
Most Disagreed Upon Game Chesseract This game was rated 17 times, yet its average rating came out to be very close to zero!
Most Arcane Game Spiderball This game is just so odd and difficult to picture and comprehend that Chesseract actually starts looking simple! ;-)
Best Web Page Presentation Nathan McDonald A lot of work has gone into the Vyrémorn Chess web page, and it shows!
Best Graphics Sidney LeVasseur Sidney LeVasseur's Chess Pieces for King's Court and Royal Court. And yes, Sidney did create them himself.
Voter Recognition Rich VanDeventer
Joseph DiMuro
Adrian King
These three rated each and every entry in the contest, along with providing many, many comments!
Special Recognition Hans Bodlaender For creating and maintaining the Chess Variants page, for coming up with the Large Variant Contest idea, and for finding that elusive picture of Grande Acedrex chess from King Alfonso's book!!
Special Recognition John William Brown For publishing a printed volume of the Large Variant Contest entries as a prize for the finalists.

Page written by David Howe.
Page created 10th August 1999. Last updated: January 2, 2000.