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Hex Besiege

Introduction

Köksal Karakus' Besiege Chess takes 2 FIDE arrays, changes one lot's Kings to third Queens, and joins the Black camps back to back. He further developed this into a number of wraparound variants by also joining the White camps, and in some cases the edge files. This inspired my own Quadruple Besiege Chess, of which I went on to develop the hex version Sextuple Besiege Hex Chess.

It recently struck me that no-one had actually done a hex version of the original Besiege Chess, so I decided to fill this gap, building on McCooey's hex Chess. The Wellisch orientation was ruled out because joining two hex boards edge-to-edge would make things too lopsided. As two McCooey boards thus connected form two lobes meeting at corners I adjusted the board ends by merging the corner cells to make the lobes overlap and cementing the rest together with triangular joins of 3 extra cells on either side. This raised the number of cells from the expected 182 (91x2) to 187 while reducing the centre file's length from 22 to 21 cells.

My comments on Besiege Chess include a suggestion that, rather than replacing the second King with a third Queen, it might be more interesting to replace the second King and Queen with Knighted pieces. The equivalent pieces here struck me as having rather too much power, and their names of Seaseholder and Seprechaun are rather desperate in any case. Instead I went for Crowned pieces, specifically the pair used in Fergus Duniho's family of hex Shogis. Indeed the Crowned pieces of standard Shogi might be a further alternative in the original Besiege Chess, where they would redistribute the King and Queen move components (albeit minus royal restriction). In Notes I give two examples of how square-cell Besiege variants could use both Knighted and Crowned pieces, which I have previously used together in Modern Manners and Conclave Ecumenical Chess. As I termed one of the hex Crowned pieces the Besieger this is the first Besiege variant to feature the piece whose name so echoes the theme.

Setup

The array below shows the hex version of the simplest Besiege Chess, with just the Black camps joined and the pieces slightly redistributed. It is to this game that the index statistics refer. Doing the same with the White camps as well would reduce the ranks to 20 but increase the cells to 192, but I am planning a smaller, more Byzantine-like variant joined at both camps in the future. It is also possible to use the 187-cell board below for a three-player version. In these cases you would have either Blue (last to move) besieged by each of the other two from both directions, or Red (first to move) besieged by Yellow from one side and Blue from the other. Where to place the compound pieces in the latter is up for discussion. A simplified view of these two is shown below the main array with the Broker cells darker than those initially occupied by symmetric pieces.

Even with the 3-cell triangles there remain concavities, and I adopt my usual one-foot-in-the-grave rule. This means that each Knight leap, and each step of a diagonal move (though not necessarily the entire move) must be made either within a lobe or within the middle 7 files. For example a diagonal step must have a cell on each side of the border that it follows.

3 players, Blue under siege
3 players, Red under siege

Pieces

As with 4 Linepiece Hex Chess, I generally use the same names as cubic-cell pieces with the same-length moves, which I can do as they cannot coexist on the same board.
The GRANDDUKE moves one step along orthogonals and hex diagonals and must be kept out of Check. It is the Glinski/McCooey analogue to the FIDE and Shogi King, under whose page its hex move may be found.
The DUCHESS moves any distance through empty intermediate cells along orthogonals and hex diagonals. It is the G/McC analogue to the FIDE Queen, under whose page its hex move may be found.
The VICEREINE moves any distance through empty intermediate cells along orthogonals and one step along hex diagonals. It is the G/McC analogue to the Chatelaine, under whose page its hex move may be found.
The BESIEGER moves any distance through empty intermediate cells along hex diagonals and one step along orthogonals. It is the G/McC analogue to the Primate, under whose page its hex move may be found.
The ROOK moves any distance through empty intermediate cells along orthogonals.
The UNICORN moves any distance through empty intermediate cells along hex diagonals. It is the G/McC analogue to the FIDE Bishop, under whose page its hex move may be found.
The SENNIGHT makes root-7 hex leaps. It is the G/McC analogue to the FIDE Knight, under whose page its move may be found.
The BROKER moves one step along the straight-forward orthogonal, except when capturing which it does along either forward hex diagonal. It is the McCooey analogue to the FIDE Pawn.

Rules

Rules are as in McCooey's hex Chess. Brokers must be promoted when they have no further unpromoted move within their starting lobe.

Notes

Here are the square-cell variants mixing Knighted and Crowned pieces. The variant to the left has three FIDE sets with two joined at the Black camps and two at the White camps, with a Chatelaine (using the same image as the Duchess, but the two cannot coexist in 2d) and Primate replacing each of the innermost royal couples, and a Marshal and Cardinal each of the outermost ones. The variant below has two sets on boards enlarged to 9x9, with an extra Pawn in each of the relevant ranks and the 3 pairs of compound pieces in between the simple ones. They are distributed to array one half of the board as Chancellor Chess.



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By Charles Gilman.
Web page created: 2009-07-11. Web page last updated: 2016-03-10