by Aleksey Bartashnikov
AlterWay is a computer game. Below, you see a description of the game.
Pieces of both colours are involved in the game. You play for one side (you can have any units except King and pawns) and the computer plays for the other (the opposing side can have any units except King). The choice of the side you will play for is entirely up to you. Any movements made on the board are your moves, the computer only devises puzzling positions and passively watches your actions, waiting for your error. Your task is to capture all of the other side's pieces; but each of your moves must be a capture. That is, no non-capturing moves may be played.
If you succeed in capturing all of the opposing pieces, you win. But if there arises a situation when no more immediate captures can be played and on the chessboard still remains at least one enemy piece, you lose. Besides, you also lose when you have failed to perform the task within the allotted time interval.
What can be easier than to capture all pieces, you may say. However, that `simplicity' is deceptive. Because in almost any situation you will be faced with the possibility of not one but several seemingly alternative captures. And in each of such situations you will have to make a correct choice, deciding what to capture next and what route to follow. Thus, you will not be able to complete the task successfully unless you quickly discover and execute an optimum sequence of captures. But to do that will require much intellectual effort on your part!
In a lot of the tasks the goal can be achieved in several ways, though. The optimality of the route you have chosen is not evaluated by the program and does not affect the result. You can capture any one of the opponent's units by any one of your own units (provided that the capture is legal). It is not necessary to use all of the available units to eliminate the opponent's army: if you have several pieces, and are able to capture all enemy units using just one of them (e.g. a Queen), still it is a victory for you.
The game has two modes: Play and Training. Play mode incorporates 10 levels of difficulty. The difficulty of a particular task is determined by the number of enemy pieces you must capture, the number of pieces at your disposal, and the time interval in which you must cope with the task. The more pieces are on the board, the more alternatives are available and hence the harder is the task. All playing tasks are newly generated by the program, their number being virtually unlimited and the possibility of encountering the same situation twice practically equalling zero. For each task you have coped with the program gives you a certain number of points. The higher the difficulty level, the more points you get.
Try to solve the foollowing task of 5th difficulty level:
What should be the right sequence of capturing the computer's pieces? You need to figure out everything in advance and start acting only afterwards. Because if in the end only one enemy piece remains on the chessboard, you lose.
More detail description of the game and a place to download an evaluation copy of the game, you will find at the Chess Puzzles Series.