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2 Jewels

Introduction

By the end of 2009 I had made up my mind not to bother with a Year of the Tiger variant. The Tiger described in Man and Beast 21: Lords High Everything-Else is a ludicrously strong piece, in the presence of enough other pieces. Then as 2010 arrived two things happened on this site.

Firstly Trampoline Chess prompted an online discussion of "non-pieces" that reminded me of my five-year-old variant Pink Panther Chess - which perhaps explains my reaction to the name of the variant Revenge of the King! This got me thinking about the enlarged version of that variant that the page mentions my considering, with the Thief piece. Then I realised that if I posted such a variant in 2010 it would be highly appropriate to delay it until the new Chinese year and bring in a second jewel with a big-cat name, the Tiger Eye, also called Tiger's Eye. Tiger Eye was the name familar to me from being among the varieties of ring found in NetHack - a game that also inspired my choice of Xorn for Horn+Cross (forward-only version of the Heretic) in Man and Beast 01: Constitutional Characters. This still did not, however, address how Tiger strength might be applied safely to pieces carrying the Tiger Eye.

Secondly, however, I was emboldened in my attitude to divergent pieces. Jose Carrillo's Ajax Chess introduced a simple system of nomenclature for adding noncapturing King moves to square-board pieces lacking the entire King move. This idea I extrapolated to other geometries and adding longer moves, and added to relevant Man and Beast pages. I have not directly applied this idea in this or any other variant, as having the capturing move a subset of noncapturing one still seems rather foreign to me, but what I have adopted is a capturing move very much diminished compared to the noncapturing one. Oddly enough it is my first use of a piece with the "Beatified" character of having a Hopping noncapturing move and a non-Hopping capture. The Pink Panther does give certain pieces missing King moves, as it did five years ago, but these are capturing as well as noncapturing.

The Xiang Qi connection is much reduced compared to my past variants on a "Year of the..." theme. Realy i's just the dimensions of the board. By a coincidence that I spotted only after posting my last variant before this one both have a board of those dimensions and both because an extra rank needed adding to a game originally planned for a 9x9 board. In that case it was to avoid an opening-move Checkmate, and in this one because of the second jewel.

Setup

I decided to give Thieves the Robbing property of Alibishogi, and have two for each of the four bindings (for the Alibaba, of which the Thief is the forward-only form). This pushed the Pawns forward to the third rank. I decided to miss out array Knights, line up the Bishops as per Unhexed Chess, and give them and the Rooks clear lines to increase array protection of Pawns.

Pieces

Each piece has three kinds of move - when not acquiring or passing on a jewel. Princesses do not carry jewels (they have someone to do that for them) and no piece can carry both jewels at once. Firstly there is their basic move, as suggested by their name. Secondly there is their move when carrying the Pink Panther, which is a Shogi or Shogi-inspired enhancement. The basic and Pink Panther moves are as follows:
The GENERAL moves one step orthogonally, like a Wazir, but must be kept out of Check. Carrying the Pink Panther adds the Ferz move, one step diagonally, to promote it to a KING.
The QUEEN moves any distance through empty intermediate cells orthogonally or diagonally.
The PRINCESS moves like the Queen but along the three forward radials only.
The ROOK moves any distance through empty intermediate cells orthogonally. Carrying the Pink Panther adds the Ferz move to promote it to a CHATELAINE.
The BISHOP moves any distance through empty intermediate cells diagonally. Carrying the Pink Panther adds the Wazir move to promote it to a PRIMATE.
The KNIGHT
makes any 2:1 leap, and is unblockable. Carrying the Pink Panther adds the Camel move, any 3:1 leap also unblockable, to promote it to a GNU.
The THIEF moves exactly 2 steps along the three forward radials. Carrying the Pink Panther adds the King move, promoting it to a HOOD.
The PAWN moves one step forward, orthogonally unless capturing which it does diagonally. Carrying the Pink Panther gives it the full move of the SILVERGENERAL
Finally there is the Tiger Eye move. The capturing (and Checking) move remains the same, but the noncapturing move is replaced with that of the Tiger, a Hopping move in any direction, radial or oblique. This requirement prevents it making noncapturing coprime moves (ones whose coordinates have no common factor) as there are no intervening squares. Thus these pieces have huge mobility, at least while there are many pieces on the board, but cannot use that mobility to capture. The Thief has an additional restriction that when carrying the Tiger Eye orthogonally or diagonally without capture it must move at least three steps. As the Tiger move excludes normal linepiece moves through only empty cells and Knight leaps this means that no piece carrying this jewel can actually make its normal move except to capture.

The PINK PANTHER is represented by the pink lion image. The TIGER EYE (TE) is represented by the yellow one as tigers have stripes one of whose colours is yellows. Both jewels can be carried by both players' pieces and neither has a move of its own.

Rules

The initial double-step Pawn move and En Passant are as in FIDE Chess.

When a Thief leaps over an enemy, other than a Pawn or another Thief, it robs the enemy of its move, leaving it with just a Thief move.

A Pawn, Thief, or Princess reaching a square from which it cannot continue forward must be promoted. Pawns are promoted to Rook or Bishop, Thieves to Knight, and Princesses to Queen.

Acquiring jewels:
* Pieces acquire the PP by making two normal moves in immediate succession, capturing or noncapturing in the Pawn's case, in the same direction - one to the square where it is, and one off that square. Thieves can optionally make the second move just one step, but still in the same direction.
* Pieces acquire the TE by making their normal move to the square where it is - again capturing or noncaoturing in the Pawn's case - and immediately moving in the same direction off that square - either another normal move to capture or a move through another piece beyond the jewel to an empty square.
* A piece already carrying either jewel being acquired may be of either army, and survives losing it.

Passing jewels on:
* Pieces passing an ally the PP make two normal moves in immediate succession, capturing or noncapturing in the Pawn's case, in the same direction - one to the square where that ally is, and one off that square. Thieves can optionally make the first move just one step, but still in the same direction.
* Pieces passing an ally the TE make either a normal move or a Hopping move, but in one of their normal directions, to the square where that ally is, and immediately making a normal move in the same direction off that square.
* In both cases the ally to which the jewel is passed survives the move.
* When Pawns pass on a jewel the second move must capture an enemy if diagonal, and be to an empty square if orthogonal.

In very exceptional circumstances a piece can make three moves in immediate succession in the same direction, one carrying one jewel to an ally to pass on one jewel, one empty-handed to where the other jewel is, and one carrying that jewel onward.

There is no Castling.

Check, Checkmate, and Stalemate are to the General what they are to the King in FIDE Chess. A King, however, or a Tigerruler-capturing-as-General, must have the jewel removed in one move and be Checked/Checkmated/Stalemated in a later one. As a player can end up with a King (by their General's possession of the PP) and Queen (by promoting the Princess) the "win by marriage" of Doug Chatham's Bachelor Chess is also allowed. A difference here is that marriage cannot be achieved by promoting a Pawn next to a King already in the enemy camp, but it can by so promoting a Princess. Other extra methods include moving a General over an enhanced piece to land as a King beside an existing Queen, and moving an enhanced piece over a General already next to the Queen. The question of "Medinese marriage" (whether it counts if the enemy's next move can end the marriage) is twofold as the King could be En Vol (see above) as well as the Queen En Prise.



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By Charles Gilman.
Web page created: 2010-02-27. Web page last updated: 2016-03-31