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Multiple Formations

Introduction

Initial ideas for this concept came out of the development of Near Chess, and pitting it against Normal (FIDE) Chess formations in Near vs Normal Chess. Discussions regarding this can be found here:

http://www.chessvariants.org/index/listcomments.php?subjectid=MultiFormations

Recent discussions, starting back in the late 20th century, proposed ways to make the opening play for chess to be less stale, and lending to more innovative play. To this end, several ideas have been proposed:

1. Bobby Fischer proposed a shuffle idea in the form of his Fischer Random Chess (Chess960). This is meant to provide a wide variety of opening play.

2. Chess960 had drawn criticism from the likes of Yasser Seirawan and Bruce Harper, who pointed out that shuffles destroy the harmony of the opening formation of pieces. They proposed adding Capablanca Knight mixed with Rook and Bishop pieces that were gated into the game as pieces behind the pawns were moved. This fits in a long line of other proposed solutions by adding new pieces to Chess, to revive the chess book.

3. Using drops to set up pieces. In this, players would be able to set up their pieces as they choose within a given zone. The rules here provide a version of this, in a more modest manner, the use of set formations.

All of these approaches have merit, and worth discussing as means to make opening play fresh and bring back innovation. What is discussed here is one proposal, that being a set number of established formations players can use, governed by a set of guidelines. These rules discuss this, as a starting point for the dialog on this.

Setup

This uses multiple different set up positions. It is a proposed alternative to shuffles as a way to provide a variety to opening book play in Chess. See rules below for groundrules.

Pieces

Same as in FIDE Chess.

Rules

These guidelines were proposed in another thread, and look to be modified over time:

1. Castling is only permitted if the King is in the same row as a Rook at

the start of the game. I would also look to have it so that the King would need to have pieces between it and a Rook.

2. Rooks must be either a row behind or in the same row as the King.

3. Pawns on the second row get to move one or two spaces to start. These

pawns that move one or two spaces are at risk of being En Passante'd.

Pawns that start in the third row only move one space forward to start. En Passante is a weakness of a pawn, that another pawn can do to it.

4. Unless randomly selecting formation to start (like a shuffle), the

white player picks what formation they want to use, then the black player

selects their formation.

5. King and Queen may swap position (this changes how castling might

work). Bishop, Knight and Rook stay in the same column they would normally be in FIDE Chess.

6. Basic rearranging of columns pieces are in is only permitted if people use the FIDE formation (normal Chess). Players would be required to start off with each of their two bishops starting on different colors. Castling would only be permitted with a rook that is located on the outside the Knight in the same column. An example of rules governing this can be found in "Basic Chess":

http://www.chessvariants.org/index/msdisplay.php?itemid=MLbasicchess

Notes

Please comment here. These rules are NOT meant to be the entire set for "the next chess" but are offered as part of the solution for consideration. The author does wish that mutators, new pieces, and different boards also be involved in the discussion.



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By Rich Hutnik.
Web page created: 2009-09-13. Web page last updated: 2009-09-13