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Drunken Nights

Introduction

Ralph Betza's original Nutty Knights in Chess with different armies are too much on the strong side, as computer tests by H. G. Muller (see here) suggest.

The Drunken Night is a toned down version of the Charging Knight to restore the balance.

Setup

In the corners, there is the Charging Rook. On the Knight's position there is the Fibnif, on the Bishop's position there is the Drunken Night, and on the Queen's position there is the Colonel. The King and the Pawns are unchanged.

This is the original setup of the Nutty Knights with the Charging Knight replaced by the Drunken Night.

Pieces

The Charging Rook moves forwards and sidewards as a rook, but backwards as a King.

The Fibnif moves as a Ferz or as a narrow forward or backward Knight.

The Drunken Night moves forwards as a Knight, sidewards as a Wazir, and backwards as a Ferz. It lacks the backwards Wazir move of the Charging Knight, taking away the can-mate property and toning down this piece. The name Drunken Night is inspired by the Suizo (Drunk Elephant) of Chu Shogi who moves like a King without the backwards Wazir move.

The Colonel moves as a Charging Rook, as a forward Ferz, or as a forward Knight.

Rules

The rules of Chess with different armies apply.

Notes

My current personal assessments of the piece and army values are the following.

The FIDE Army

  • 2 Rooks @ 5 Points = 10 Points
  • 2 Knights @ 3 Points = 6 Points
  • 2 Bishops @ 3 Points = 6 Points
  • Pair Bonus 0,5 Points
  • 1 Queen @ 9,5 Points
  • Total 32 Points
The values are pretty standard except that I take the pair bonus of the bishops explicitly into the account. A queen is worth three light pieces, at least one of them is a bishop, therefore she is three pieces plus the pair bonus worth.

I expect an error on my estimation of about one point in either direction.

The Nutty Knights

  • 2 Charging Rooks @ 5,25 Points = 10,5 Points
  • 2 Fibnif @ 3 Points = 6 Points
  • 2 Charging Knights @ 4 Points = 8 Points
  • 1 Colonel @ 9,5 Points
  • Total 34 Points

Even with an error margin of one point in either direction, the Nutty Knights are worth significantly more than the FIDE team. This can only be compensated by the fact that the player knows the FIDE pieces better. This effect is crystallised in the saying A piece is as strong as the hand that holds it.

Experienced players may want to switch from the Nutty Knights to the Drunken Nights as their skill in handling this army improves. I estimate the Drunken Night to be 3,5 Points, giving the Drunken Nights army a total of 33 Points, still being on the strong side, but now inside the error margin.

There are many other possibilities to create a slightly weaker version of the Nutty Knights, e. g., by replacing the Colonel with a Charging Paladin (fBfNsbK). I think the Drunken Nights army is most similar to the original and retains its specific flavour.

In an earlier version, I inadvertedly left ouf the forward Ferz move from the description of the Colonel. This creates a new piece, the Charging Chancellor (fsRfNbK) being one pawn weaker than the original Colonel and toning the Nutty Knights down. An army with both the Drunken Nights and the Charging Chancellor is already on the weak side, but still inside the error margin of my estimates.

Grandmasters of the Nutty Nights may prefer this version.



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By Jörg Knappen.
Web page created: 2012-01-16. Web page last updated: 2012-01-16