King Arthur's Chess 72
IntroductionThe idea of playing Chess on a round board is nothing new. Such a game existed in the days of the Byzantine Empire, and numerous adaptations of it have appeared since. Dave Reynolds came up with a board of four ranks and sixteen radial files in 1983; the Circular Chess Society, which he founded, runs world championship contests at regular intervals. You may well be asking, therefore, why I see the need for another twist to an old idea.
In the early 2000s, I became quite exercised in my mind about how the colour-bound path of the Bishop confines it to cells of only one colour -effectively half of the board in FIDE Chess. This makes it impossible for a player's two Bishops to support each other. Game designers thought of solutions like allowing the Bishop an orthogonal step in addition to its normal move (Fergus Duniho), or allowing it to swap places with another piece once in the game (Gabriel Maura). I wasn't entirely satisfied with these compromises: I wanted a solution that would relieve the Bishop of its colour-bound confinement without compromising or distorting its basic nature.
Almost by accident, I found that an odd number of radial files on a round board achieved this objective. One file, called the International Date Line, is coloured differently from the others. A Bishop passing through the International Date Line moves from cells of one colour to the other; a Bishop stationed on the International Date Line can access cells of one colour to its left, and of the other colour to its right.
The game takes its name from the story of King Arthur, famous for his round table whose memory this board evokes. Although I first thought of this game in 2003, I did not implement it on Zillions of Games until 2010.
Zillions of Games estimates that the pieces have the following values: Pawn 1575; Knight 6943 (4.4 pawns); Bishop 9435 (6.0 pawns); Rook 14587 (9.3 pawns); Queen 23795 (15.1 pawns); Conqueror 30387 (19.3 pawns). The King cannot be given a board value: he is priceless.
Play King Arthur's Chess 72!
I have programmed a Zillions of Games file to play this game. You may download it here. You need the Zillions of Games engine installed to play it.
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By David Cannon.
Web page created: 2010-07-26. Web page last updated: 2010-07-26