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Half Nearlydouble Chess and offshoots

Introduction

This page's main variant is not quite the "making a change and undoing it again" that the title suggests. The "Half" refers to John Groeneman's Half Chess concentrating the power of the FIDE first rank into a 4-file board with no Pawns, and the "Nearlydouble" to my own Nearlydouble Chess putting twice usual numbers of capturable pieces on a board with nearly twice the usual squares. The net result of combining these is still no Pawns, twice nothing being nothing, but as many of the rest as in Nearlydouble Chess. The closest non-prime to half of Nearlydouble's 121 squares is 60, and as each army has 15 pieces the best dimensions are 5x12 with 3-rank camps. This retains Nearlydouble's pattern of two symmetrically-placed Bishops on each square colour and slightly lessens the Half Chess limit on Bishop move lengths. That is the main variant here.

Having devised this board I wondered what other games might suit it, naming each to indicate some form of "undoing". A standard army minus a Pawn also has 15 pieces, but how could I arrange just 2 Bishops aside? Glinski's and McCooey's hex games gave the answer of arranging bound pieces along the middle file with the mixed couple either side. At the time of posting I thought that I had seen a previous square-cell variant influencing me, and I have now located two: Triangle Chess and Balbo's Chess. I term the resulting game UNHEXED CHESS. The Knighted-piece army of many 10-file games, but with Pawns halved, again has 15 pieces. This has the complication of an extra piece with a Rook move, and such pieces are best kept to the back rank, so I place Bishops asymmetrically. This variant I modestly term UNGRAND CHESS in reference to some of the most recent 10-filers.

Any pair of opposing armies from my 125% variants may of course be used on this board. For these I prefix UNCROSSED to the name of the original 2-player game. Conversely 125% variants can use four Half ND, Unhexed, or Ungrand armies. Since hearing of Okisaki Shogi I have added an Okisaki version of Uncrossed Shogi, including Rookrankers and Knights as well as a Queen. Finally different - but not too different - armies can be deployed against each other. Combinations such as Uncrossed Shogi versus Unhexed Chess come closer than most attempts to meeting the desire, evident in the likes of WW2 Chess, to pit FIDE and Shogi armies against each other on equal terms.

Setup

Half Nearlydouble Chess

Unhexed Chess

Ungrand Chess

Uncrossed Shogi

Uncrossed Xiang Qi

Okisaki Uncrossed Shogi

Uncrossed Shogi versus Unhexed Chess

Okisaki Uncrossed Shogi versus Half ND

Okisaki Uncrossed Shogi versus Ungrand Chess

Pieces

Pieces are as in the original games.

Rules

Pawns in Unhexed and Ungrand have an optional initial double-step noncapturing move. Those starting on the second rank can postpone it to their second move if they do not use it for their first. Enemy Pawns can immediately capture them En Passant as if they had made only the single step. Promotion is optional on moving into or within the enemy camp (the trek to promotion being so long otherwise) and compulsory on reaching the far rank. A promoted Pawn cannot be promoted any further.

Pieces in Uncrossed Shogi can be promoted as per standard Shogi on entering, moving within, or leaving the enemy camp. Captured pieces can return to the board in unpromoted form, on a square whence they have an unpromoted move, in place of a normal move.

In Uncrossed Xiang Qi, the border of the sixth and seventh ranks serves as River for both players. Elephants cannot cross it, and Points crossing it gain a single-step move sideways. The Fortress to which the General and Ferzes are confined remains the first three squares of the middle three files. Opposing Generals may not share a file without an intervening piece.

In mixed variants, each army follows its own game's rules.

In Uncrossed Shogi versus Unhexed the differential in piece numbers is reduced compared to the two standard games, so I decided to make return from capture player-dependent rather than piece-dependent. On the other hand bringing Chess pieces into the Shogi army might bias the game too much to them, so I decided that pieces should return as their positional equivalents - Pawns as Points, Rooks and Knights minus ¾ of their moves, Bishops as Silvers, and Queens as Golds. Nothing returns as a Bishop or Rook. Promoted Pawns are treated as whatever they are promoted to. Shogi pieces captured by the Unhexed army are lost from the game. Okisaki Uncrossed Shogi versus either Half ND or Ungrand follows the same rules, the latter interpreting the Cardinal and Marshal in the Catholic Bishogi way, returning as the Shogi Bishop and Rook. Uncrossed Shogi (non-Okisaki) versus Half ND has pieces returning as themselves, the latter army being so much stronger. Uncrossed XQ versus Uncrossed Shogi has piece-dependent returns as the XQ army is the weaker one, Shogi pieces returning as themselves whoever captured them.

Check, Checkmate, and Stalemate are as usual.



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By Charles Gilman.
Web page created: 2009-05-16. Web page last updated: 2016-03-31