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Sinojewish Chess

Introduction

This variant can be seen as continuing on from Anglojewish Chess, introducing Curved hex-radial pieces, and 4 Linepiece Hex Chess, mixing them with their Straight counterparts while upgrading AJ Chess' General to a Grandduke. Here I add Hopping-capture pieces as a third group, the Sling having its own Jewish connotation as Star of David 2 Level Chess describes.

It can also be seen as building on Liu Yang, my hex analogue to Fergus Duniho's Yang Qi. On the square board Yang Qi and its offshoot Eurasian Chess inspired my Wildeurasian (WEA) Qi, which added the combined Hopping-capture piece and made the Knight part of a third set of 2 each of 2 duals plus 1 of their compound. As the Hex analogy to square-board duals ill suits oblique directions, I eschew complementing the Sennight with the Overscore and their compound the Sedative, or using the otherwise skipped-over Aurochs, whose compound with the Sennight is as yet unnamed. Instead I looked to Curved radial pieces, which viewed this way are the third group.

This decision made me wonder whether to retain the Sennight at all, as the stand-alone piece that it is in AJ Chess and Liu Yang - and that the Knight is in the FIDE-Yang Qi-Eurasian-WEA Qi sequence. I retain it as it fits the Jewish strand of the theme and 12 piece types can still be accommodated within my planned representation by one large and - bound pieces here having three exhaustive and mutually exclusive bindings instead of the two usual in square-cell games - two small FIDE sets. In this scheme Kings and Queens represent compound pieces, large paired pieces orthogonal pieces, small paired pieces their hex-diagonal counterparts, and large and small Pawns Sennights and Brokers. A more economic representation uses 2 Shogi sets - Kings represent Granddukes, Rooks/Bishops/Golds orthogonal pieces, unpromoted paired pieces hex-diagonal ones, promoted paired pieces corresponding compounds, and promoted and unpromoted Points Sennights and Brokers. A 3-player subvariant could theoretically be played with 3 Shogi sets but would, I suspect, be rather too crowded.

The mix of 5 piece types with a Jewish theme (including all 3 Curved ones) and 2 standard Xiang Qi piece types inherited by Yang Qi et al (and extended here to 6 orthogonal directions) inspires the variant name. David Cannon has drawn my attention to Jewish comunities in China, and particularly the one in Kaifeng, east of Zhengzhou in Henan province. Members of these communities physically resemble, to Europeans at least, the general local population, although locals might spot subtle differences. Their appearance is due to interbreeding between small numbers of ethnic-Jewish migrants and an increasingly large proportion of indigenous converts.

Remaining pieces are typical Glinski and/or McCooey pieces using hex root-3 diagonals except for the Cannonade, the one really novel piece in a hex context - although my 3d Weltschach has its cubic form. For this last group I reuse names of cubic pieces using that geometry's own root-3 diagonals the same way, rather than names of square-board pieces. This is especially sensible for my Jewish-themed hex variants as the Star, and Megastar, of David variants include the Knight and Sennight together.

Setup

Pieces

Steppers and leapers are a miscellany.
The GRANDDUKE moves one step along any orthogonal or hex diagonal and must be kept out of Check. It is the G/McC analogue to the FIDE and Shogi King, under whose page its hex move may be found.
The SENNIGHT is the root-7 oblique leaper. It moves to the closest cells that cannot be reached from the same start in a single Finch or Rabbi move, and having reached such a cell, goes no further in that move. It cannot be blocked. It is the G/McC analogue to the FIDE Knight, on whose page its move can be found. Name means a seven-day week, primarily a pun on its SOLL of 7 and the word Knight but especially suiting the theme. Until Christianity became the Roman Empire's official religion, ethnic Jews were the main group observing such a week in Europe.
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, on whose page its hex move can be found.
Straight linepieces move any distance through empty cells.
The ROOK moves along any orthogonal. It is the same piece as on rectilinear boards.
The UNICORN moves along any hex diagonal. It is the G/McC analogue to the FIDE Bishop, under whose page its hex move may be found.
The DUCHESS combines the Rook and Unicorn moves. It is the G/McC analogue to the FIDE Queen, on whose page its hex move can be found.
Straight Hopping-capture pieces differ from the above in that captures require a single intervening piece, which may be of either army and is not itself captured.
The CANNON moves along any orthogonal. It is the same piece as on rectilinear boards. Name is a translation of the piece's Chinese name as a Xiang Qi piece.
The SLING moves along any hex diagonal. It is the G/McC analogue to the Yang Qi &c Arrow, under whose page its hex move may be found. Named after a weapon usually weak compared to the Arrow as the Arrow compared to the Cannon - although according to the Bible it proved sufficient for David to defeat Goliath with.
The CANNONADE combines the Cannon and Sling moves. It is the G/McC analogue to the WEA Qi Tank.
Curved linepieces make up to 4 steps through empty cells, turning either 60° left at each intermediate cell or 60° right at each intermediate cell, never mixing left and right turns in one move.
The FINCH follows circuits comprising orthogonal steps. Named in honour of Finchley, a major locality within Jewish north London, as well as being a bird by analogy with Rook.
The RABBI follows circuits comprising hex-diagonal steps. Named after the most widely-known Jewish religious title.
The COHEN or KOHEN (Ch) combines the Finch and Rabbi moves. Named after a rank in the historic Jewish priesthood. The similarity in sound to the word queen is fitting as this piece is to AJ Chess what the Queen is to FIDE Chess. It would be much appreciated if my update to Honeycomb Chess sent on 10th Feb 2009 could be posted so that all my references to this piece use the same name.

Rules

For their first move, Brokers may optionallly make a double-step noncapturing move. The middle three in each army may defer this to the second move if the first is a single-step noncapturing or inward (but not outward) capturing move. Enemy Brokers in the right place can immediately capture them En Passant as if they had made only the single step.

There is no Castling.

Granddukes cannot share an orthogonal or hex diagonal without an intervening piece, or enter each other's camps.

Brokers reaching the board's far edge must be promoted to Duchess, Cannonade, Cohen, or Sennight. Underpromotion is not allowed. In the FIDE-set representation a second Duchess can be improvised from an inverted small Rook.

Check, Checkmate, and Stalemate are as usual.

Notes

The appearance of members of China's Jewish communities has contributed the following joke to the already rich stock of Jewish humour:

A European delegation once went on a fact-finding tour of China. One member of the delegation, a devout Jew, grew to miss going to synagogue, until they reached Kaifeng. There he heard about the Jewish community and after asking around managed to get to one of their services. He was amazed. To his eyes, everyone at the synagogue looked like the ordinary Gentile population of the country. After the service the rabbi came up to him and said: "You're new to this synagogue, aren't you?"
"That's right," said the visitor, and explained how he came to be there.
"And you're Jewish yourself?"
"Oh, yes, as far back as anyone can remember. One of my grandmothers was raised a secular Jew, but her parents were both raised as synagogue-going, kosher-eating religious Jews."
The rabbi reflected on all this, before finally saying: "That's very strange, you don't look Jewish."



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By Charles Gilman.
Web page created: 2009-03-14. Web page last updated: 2016-03-15