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Quake Chess

Introduction

THIS variant is my entry to the 45/46 Cells Contest

It is, somehow, a crossover between other variants. But the main idea is original (as far as I know.)

Setup

The initial board is 8x6 , with two opposing corners missing. Note that the setup is borrowed (with slight modifications) from Christian Freeling's Loonybird.

The LB setup:

North

+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+

| rb|:nb| nr|:k:| br|:bn| rn|

+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+

|:p:| p |:p:| p |:p:| p |:p:| p |

+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+

W | |:::| |:::| |:::| |:::| E

e +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+ a

s |:::| |:::| |:::| |:::| | s

t +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+ t

| P |:P:| P |:P:| P |:P:| P |:P:|

+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+

| RN|:BN| BR|:K:| NR|:NB| RB|

+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+

South

Not unlike Loonybird, a "sane" set of pieces, like Dragonfly, exists.

The DF setup:

North

+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+

| r |:n:| n |:k:| b |:b:| r |

+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+

|:p:| p |:p:| p |:p:| p |:p:| p |

+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+

W | |:::| |:::| |:::| |:::| E

e +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+ a

s |:::| |:::| |:::| |:::| | s

t +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+ t

| P |:P:| P |:P:| P |:P:| P |:P:|

+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+

| R |:B:| B |:K:| N |:N:| R |

+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+

South

--

To memorize the setups, I assume that the DF setup is easy enough. The LB setup, however, can be remembered like this : The Hunters are set like the DF setup, while the carriers are set thus : N N R K R B B, so that the Bishops carry the Knight's side and vise versa. It's not the same setup as Freeling's Loonybird

Pieces

The pieces in the DF set are all the orthodox pieces.

The pieces in the LB set move and capture in different ways. Each piece has two components, a hunter and a carrier. A piece moves like a Carrier, but to capture, it has to move like a Hunter. The pieces are named according to the hunter's name (since it the one that gives check,) followed by the carrier's name.

For example, BR stands for Bishop-Rook, which moves like a Rook and captures like a Bishop.

The King moves, captures and behaves like the Orthodox King of Chess, but it may not castle. It has also the extra power of Quaking (from quake, not quack, which might nonetheless make a fun variant.) This will be explained in the rules.

The Pawns move and capture like their orthodox chess counterparts, but they don't have the initial double-move, or the promotion option (I haven't figured out a satisfactory way which requires effort to promote the pawns! If you have any suggestion regarding THAT, please post in the comments.)

Rules

All rules are as in Standard Chess unless noted otherwise.

* Drops :

When you make a capture, you may hold the piece or pawn you have captured in hand to drop it later on the board (at the cost of a turn.) There are no restrictions on dropping pieces, but there are two restrictions on dropping pawns:

1. Pawns may not be dropped on the last square of a file, effectively passing a turn. (See the Quaking rules later.)

2. Pawns may only be dropped on a completely pawn-less file. This includes friendly pawns and foe pawns. (This rule is borrowed from Gary Gifford's Shatranjian Shogi.)

* Quaking :

The King may, at the cost of a turn, move the file or rank he's on, with everything on it, one move in either direction. This is called a Quake. To avoid too much deformation, a few restrictions had to be made:

1. The whole body of cells must be orthogonally connected. This ensures that a Rook, given an unlimited number of moves, can reach every square on the board (not topologically isolated.)

2. The whole body of light cells must be diagonally connected. This also applies to the dark cells. This ensures that no Bishop is topologically isolated.

3. The whole body of cells must be hippogonally connected. This ensures that the Knight, given an unlimited number of moves, can reach every square of the board. This excludes extremely rare situations like a 2x23 board. But it's necessary nonetheless.

4. If two Kings share a file or a rank, their power on that rank or file is annulled. Neither King can quake on the rank or file.

5. If, by the end of the move, any pawns become on the last square on file they're on, they are removed from the board and pocketed by the player who made the moves. This applies to friendly and foe pawns.

6. The King may not quake out of check.

One last detail : Assume this hypothetical position. The square marked by XXX is void. No piece may move through it, or land above it.

North

+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+

| |:::| |:::| |:::| |

+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+

|:::| |:::| |:::| |:::| |

+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+

W | |:::| |XXX| |:::| K |:::| E

e +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+ a

s |:::| |:::| P |:::| |:::| | s

t +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+ t

| |:::| |:::| |:::| |:::|

+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+

|:::| |:::| k |:::| |:::| |

+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+

South

Assuming the White King makes a quake to the West, towards the void square, or to the East, away from it, he doesn't move the whole rank, but only the strip he's on. This also applies to the Black King when quaking North or South. The White Pawn two steps north from the Black King has an illegal position, because he's on the last square of the "file" he's on, and is therefore pocketed by the last player who made the move.

Incidentally, on two vertical strips (on the same file,) it is legal to have a pawn on each strip.

Note that, when Quaking, the WHOLE rank or file must be moved. A void can only exist if the players collaborated to make it so, by Quaking around it.

Notes

To notate the moves the Geographical Chess Notation is used: (which piece, which direction, and how far.) See THAT article for more details.

A Quake is notated as a King's move. (K-qn) is a quake to the North. To the South it is (K-qs).

--

This is, as mentioned at the beginning of the article, my competing entry to the 45/46 contest.

--

I am not going to make the Quacking variant (from Quack). If anyone would like to, he's more than welcome to do so.

--

Obviously, this whole Quaking matter is a mutator, rather than a game by itself. The question is, why is it applied to this small board, rather than 8x8 Chess ?

Other than the fact that the board inspired the mutator, the Quake creates too small an effect on the 8x8 board. With a board with big density, like this one, it is much more effective.

The LB pieces are a homage to Christian Freeling. Besides, they do make a nice set. The drop rule is very similar to that of Freeling's (since it practically eliminates pawns,) but it is different because the pawns are not eliminated immediately.

Drops eliminate endgame, technically. Therefore there's no reason to worry how the Rook-Knight will manage to mate a lone King on this fluid board.

The fact that Pawns don't promote is because promotion is too easy. All it takes for the King to move to the pawn's rank then Quake right or left, and you have a pawn on the last square of its file. Pocketing pawns, however, is not that advantegous.

--

It is relatively easy to create a physical board for this. All squares are separate, and to Quake just push the file or rank in question with your finger. For the pieces and pawns, use flippable discs, with a White piece on a face and a Black piece on the other.



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By Abdul-Rahman Sibahi.
Web page created: 2007-09-27. Web page last updated: 2007-09-27