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The Bermuda Chess Angle

Introduction

The Bermuda Chess Angle was created as an entry for the www.chessvariant.org “10” contest. Originally I was calling it "Bermuda Triangle Chess" but I kept coming up with the question, "Where's the triangle?" Thus the Bermuda Chess Angle name. The Bermuda Chess Angle is the name given to a 6 x 6 square region of the 100 square board. The region encompasses the area between c3, c8, h8, and h3. If you were to draw lines to connect those four points and then shade in the square you would have a nice visual representation of the Bermuda Chess Angle. For some unexplained reason, hundreds of pawns and pieces have vanished in this area without a trace. Many Bermuda Chess Angle players have lost games due to, for example, a Queen traversing through the region only to never appear at the intended destination. Theories are abundant. UFOs, other dimensions, the sunken Lost Continent of Chesslantis, the rising of frozen hydrocarbons which makes the board density so sparse [by releasing methane] that pieces simply fall through. But no single theory can adequately explain all cases of mysterious disappearances.

Setup

Setup is as shown in first figure.

Pieces

Rook, Knight, Bishop, Queen, King (as in orthodox chess)

Ship - moves diagonally or orthogonally up to two spaces

Pawns - as in traditional chess, but can also promote to Ships

Rules

Primary Objective: Capture the opponent's King. Play is much the same as in Western Chess. There is still castling, capture by en passant, pawn promotion, checks. But not checkmates. The disappearing factor can turn what would be a checkmate into a terrible blunder... so to win you must capture your opponent's King. Also, you can castle through a check and even move into check (if you want to). You will later see why moving into check might happen (see example 1). Note that the USCF 3-time repletion draw factor applies. Each side has 10 pawns and also two pieces referred to as Ships. The Ships move diagonally or orthogonally up to two spaces. Pawns can promote as in traditional chess, but can also promote to Ships. Kings can be captured in this game and they can be lost in the Bermuda Chess Angle. Losing your King losses the game. To castle Kingside the King must now move 3 spaces instead of two. To castle Queenside the King must now move 4 spaces instead of 3. Remember, it is legal to castle through a check in this game. One of the few benefits of living along the shoreline of the Bermuda Chess Angle. For each turn play is as follows, until the game ends: 1. White moves. If the move involved moving into, moving within, or moving through [and or out of] the Bermuda Chess Angle, then the Bermuda Chess Angle Factor (BCAF) (calculated in step 2) must be used to determine whether or not the piece (or possibly another) has disappeared. In addition, if any pawns or pieces (friendly or opponent’s) are in the Bermuda Chess Angle, you must determine the BCAF as stated in step 2. 2. (Step 2a) roll a six sided die and note the result* 1 = c file, 2 = d-file, 3 = e, 4 = f, 5 = g, and 6 = h-file (Step 2b) roll again (or roll a second die) and note the result* 1= 3, 2 = 4, 3 = 5, 4 = 6, 5 = 7, 7 = 8 Example: A dice roll of “4, 5” indicates square f7 in the Bermuda Chess Angle. * A random method other than dice roll is acceptable in determining the BCAF. Painting over a pair of old dice makes interpretation instant: i.e., one die with c, d, e, f, g, h on its surfaces and another with 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. 3. If a pawn or piece is on the indicated Bermuda Chess Angle square, that pawn or piece (or even King) is removed. 4. If the pawn or piece [that just moved] passed through the point calculated in step 2 (including point of origin and point of destination) then that pawn or piece is removed from the game. Examples follow. 5. Black moves. If the move involved moving into, moving within, or moving through [and or out of] the Bermuda Chess Angle, then a new Bermuda Chess Angle Factor (calculated in step 6) must be used to determine whether or not the piece (or possibly another) has disappeared. In addition, if any pawns or pieces (friendly or opponent’s) are in the Bermuda Chess Angle, you must determine the BCAF stated in step 6. 6. Determine the Bermuda Chess Angle Factor using the same method as used in step 2. 7. Repeat steps 3 and 4. It is then White’s move again. Note: Captures, Checks, and Checkmates are not final until the player who made the capture, check, or checkmate has completed the Bermuda Chess Angle Factor calculation and piece/pawn removal(if applicable). Examples: Position #1: Black to Move. Here Black played Ship on c3 takes Pawn on c2. This would be checkmate in normal chess. The Ship threatens to take the King on the next move. But unfortunately the Bermuda Chess Angle Factor turned out to be “1,1” (c3) by dice roll. Thus the Ship on c3 disappeared and White’s Pawn is retuned to c2. Also note, if “c4” was the factor the Black Rook would disappear. This would allow White to safely play King takes Ship. Note if Black successfully plays Ship takes c2 the White King has no choice but to play King x Ship on C2 and then hope that the Rook will disappear. If not, Black will attempt to play Rook takes King to win the game (odds are the Rook would survive the Bermuda Chess Angle to do this, but still, the Rook just might happen to disappear). Position #2: White just moved Qf3 to block a check. Here White blocked the check from Black’s Queen on f4. Odds of the Bermuda Chess Angle Factor hitting f3 are slim. But if it happens the White Queen disappears and Black will play Queen takes King and win (unless f3 or f4 show up as a factor). Safer for White was Ship from g1 to f2 to block the check or simply moving the King to e1. Position #3- White to Move White played Rook on a7 takes Queen on i7. But the Bermuda Chess Angle Factor came up “e7.” Since the Rook passed through that square it disappeared in the Bermuda Chess Angle and Black’s Queen remains healthy on the board. In this example Bermuda Chess Angle Factors of c7, d7, e7, f7, g7, h7 would each make the Rook disappear before it could emerge to capture the Queen. But chances are 5 out of 6 he would have made it. Position #4- White Moved Rook from g7 to g10 (double-check) An equivalent position in Western Chess would be checkmate. But here there is a 3 out of 36 (1 out of 12) chance for Black to escape because White must calculate the Bermuda Chess Angle Factor. A factor of f6 would remove the Bishop. Black would then only see check from the Rook and could thus play Ship (f10) takes Rook (g10). Or, if Bermuda Chess Angle Factors of g7 or g8 appear, the Rook never makes it to g10 to deliver check. In that case the King can move to i10 or push his Pawn to h8 to block the Bishop. But, if the Pawn where to disappear, the Bishop would try to capture the King and thus conclude the game (providing the Bishop did not vanish in the Bermuda Chess Angle). Another option would be for Black to move his King to to i9 (remaining in check) hoping that the Bishop will disappear. Position #5 – Knight Moves A Knight will be seen as moving one square orthogonally followed immediately by one square diagonally as in orthodox chess. When in the Bermuda Chess Angle the Knight can be impacted by one, two, or three squares under the influence of the Bermuda Chess Angle Factor. A Knight on c3 could successfully leave the Bermuda Chess Angle and with better odds of doing so by attempting to move to b1, d1, a2, or a4 as only a factor of “1,1” (c3) would prevent this. Going to e2 or b5 each have 2 chances of failing. Going to e4, or d5 each have 3 chances of failing (or 33 chances of succeeding). Still, a 33 out of 36 chance isn’t bad odds.

Notes

The Bermuda Chess Angle variant is not intended for players who want to rely purely on chess logic. The probabilities of pawns and pieces disappearing will certainly destroy many plans.

So, why play this game? If you are much stronger than your opponent this game will give him (or her) a ray of hope.

Also, if you want to use statistics to calculate your chances of success for a given move, this game will let you play around with the math. Though it is fairly simple math, it could serve as a nice statistical/probabilities introduction to young players.

A Special Thanks To:

www.ChessVariants.org for hosting of the chess variants contests and for maintaining an excellent playable archive site.

David Howe, for creating Alfaerie Chess Graphics which were used in this document’s illustrations; and for creating the game submissions form and user-editing features which I used to submit this game, edit it, and add graphics.

(c) March 2005 by Gary K. Gifford



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By Gary K. Gifford.
Web page created: 2005-04-30. Web page last updated: 2005-04-30