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Springboard

Introduction

Springboard – a set of light variants:
 
© copyright G. Nicholls 2011-2016
 
It is all too often difficult or almost impossible to persuade Chess and
Xiangqi players to try out a game variation which involves much in the way
of change from their favourite standard game (and any change is too much
for some).
The following therefore have very few changes to these two standard games
though the changes can produce some interesting play and features:
 
A.   ChessTitles
B.   Touchstone
C.   Touchpaper
D.   QiPlacements
E.   The King's Lancer's Tour - A Beginner’s puzzle

Setup

A.   ChessTitles:

This is a “toned down queen” game of Western Chess and could also be
useful as a training or tie-break game.

1.    The object of the game is to Checkmate the opposing Duchess and this wins the game.

2.     The Sides (Pieces) are called South (White) & North (Black).  South
moves first and moves are then played alternately.

3.     The Players are not named.

4.     The Board can be the “Touchstone board” (shown) or a standard 8
x 8 Chess board.  Piece colours are not set but should be of suitable
contrast.

5.     The clocks are single countdown and when used for tie-breaking the
suggested time is sixty minutes for each Player.

6.     Squares are called Squares and not Positions as in some games.  The
designations are those of standard Western Chess algebraic designations.

7.     Points are a nominal one for a win and a nominal half for a draw.

8.     Initial deployment of the Pieces with their names and Western Chess
comparisons for their moving/capturing powers is as follows:

a)     E1/E8: Dukes – his powers are those combined of a (non-royal)
Western Chess King and a Western Chess Rook

b)    D1/D8: Duchess – her powers and vulnerabilities are identical to
Western Chess Kings except that castling “short” and “long” 
(called “Protecting the Duchess”) are reversed from Western Chess.

c)     A1/A8 & H1/H8: Aristocrats – his powers are identical to Rooks.
Note that the correct name initially are Equerries and not Aristocrats as shown on the board, and that once one has been or can no longer be used to Protect a Duchess, he is then called an Aristocrat.  This transformation situation arises in other games and is mentioned in e.g. my Stepping-stones of Chess page, Touchstone, see Towers & Siege-towers.

d)    B1/B8 & G1/G8: Knights – his powers are identical to Knights.

e)     C1/C8 & F1/F8: Nobles – his powers are identical to Bishops.

f)      A2 through H2 and A7 through H7: Squires – his powers are
identical to pawns except when promoting – see below.

g)     Earl – he does not appear at the commencement of the game.  His
powers are those combined of a (non-royal) Western Chess King and a Western Chess Knight.

h)    Viscount – he does not appear at the commencement of the game.  His powers are those combined of a (non-royal) Western Chess King and a Western Chess Bishop.

i)    Squires promote on reaching their eighth (end) rank, either by way
of moving or capturing, and can choose to promote only as follows:

i)    To promote to an Earl.

ii)    To promote to a Viscount.

iii)  A Squire is not allowed to stay as a Squire nor allowed to be
exchanged for any captured Pieces.

9.     A Player should state “Check” if the opposing Duchess is in
Check but this is not compulsory.

10.   Draws include Stalemate and threefold
repetition of moves/position.

 
 
 





B. Touchstone

Touchstone is virtually identical to Western Chess and the intention of the game is mostly to have embellishments to bring about a “makeover” to Western Chess:

Background:  “The Touchstone” is the name that has been given to the Stone that “The Sword Excalibur” is set in and many have tried to draw this Sword from the stone as legend tells that he who does so will become King over the entire Realm and not just one of a number of Kings or others of the Nobility who rule over particular regions as is the current situation.  Though none have so far succeeded in drawing the Sword from the stone there are rivals who seek to acquire The Touchstone with Excalibur still undrawn – perhaps to safekeep them – and disputes have broken out and escalated and have now led to Battle being about to break out between the two main rivals.....

1.    The object of the Battle (game) is to Checkmate the opposing Queen and this wins the Battle (game) and the winning King will acquire The Touchstone and the undrawn Excalibur - for a while at least.

2.     The Sides (Pieces) are called South (White) & North (Black). 
South moves first and moves are then played alternately.

3.    The Players are named “The Southern Lookout” who plays South and “The Northern Lookout” who plays North.

4.     The Board is a standard or standard type 8 x 8 Chess board and one
possibility called the “Touchstone board” is shown below.  Usual colours for Pieces are brick-red & yellow for South and blue & dark-green for North.

5.     Clocks are single countdown with suggested tournament/match times of sixty minutes for each player.

6.     The roles of the King and Queen and so Castling (called
“Protecting the Queen”) are reversed from Western Chess.

7.     Squares are called Squares and not Positions as in some games, and
are designated as per Western Chess algebraic designations.

8.     Initial deployment of the pieces is the same as for Western Chess
and together with their names and moving/capturing powers (per Western
Chess comparisons)  are as follows:

a)    E1/E8 – Kings – his powers are identical to Queens

b)    D1/D8 – Queens – her powers and vulnerabilities are identical to
Kings

c)     A1/A8 – Queens’ Towers – its powers are identical to Rooks

d)    H1/H8 – Kings’ Towers – its  powers are identical to Rooks

e)     B1/B8 – Queens’ Knights – his powers are identical to Knights

f)      G1/G8 – Kings’ Knights – his powers are identical to Knights

g)    C1/C8 – Baronesses – her powers are identical to Bishops

h)    F1/F8 – Barons – his powers are identical to Bishops

i)       A2 through H2 and A7 through H7 – Pikemen – his powers are
identical to Pawns except when promoting – see below.

j)      Duke – he does not appear on the board during the Battle (game) – his powers are those combined of a (non-royal) Western Chess King and a Western Chess Rook but his powers are not called upon during the Battle (game).

k)    Earl – he does not appear at the commencement of the Battle (game)
- his powers are those combined of a (non-royal) Western Chess King and a
Western Chess Knight.

l)     Viscount – he does not appear at the commencement of the Battle
(game) – his powers are those combined of a (non-royal) Western Chess
King and a Western Chess Bishop.

m)    Names in under-promotion – if a Pikeman under-promotes then his name is not distinguished between e.g. a King’s or Queen’s Knight etc. but he is simply called as follows (moving/capturing powers in brackets): Aristocrat (Rook), Noble (Bishop) or Knight (Knight).

9.      Pikemen can promote/under-promote or rescue their King upon reaching their end (eighth) rank.  If his King is captured then the Pikeman has the choice of rescuing him and, if he does so, the Pikeman is then held as a prisoner in his King’s place and the King then occupies the Pikeman’s Square.  As a reward this now imprisoned Pikeman is promoted to a Duke though he is not himself available for rescue by further Pikemen reaching their end rank.  If the rescued King is further captured and rescued then there are further promotion(s) of Pikeman(men) to Duke(s).

10.   The rescue/promotion/under-promotion choices for a Pikeman are
summarised as follows:

a)    To rescue his King, if captured.

b)    To promote to an Earl.

c)     To promote to a Viscount

d)    To under-promote to an Aristocrat.

e)     To under-promote to a Noble.

f)      To under-promote to a Knight.

g)    Pikemen are not allowed to remain as Pikemen when reaching their end
rank and they cannot rescue a Duke.

11.   Game Points scored are one for a win by Checkmate and a
half each for a draw.

12.   Players should state “Check” if their opposing Queen
is in Check but this is not compulsory.

13.   Draws include Stalemate and threefold repetition of
moves/position.

14.   There can be ornamental pieces placed alongside the board – e.g. The Touchstone with Excalibur set in, also any Dukes held prisoner can be placed with other prisoners (captured Pieces).

15.   After the Battle, the winning King’s Knight and Queen’s Knight are promoted to the newly created class of ranks of, respectively, King’s Lancer and Queen’s Lancer.


 






C.  Touchpaper

Touchpaper is very similar to Xiangqi and the intention of the game is
mostly as a “makeover” with slight changes to Xiangqi:

Background:  Though the reasons for the Battle are long in the past and are unclear and are little known, two Empresses and their armies have, after many minor skirmishes, finally confronted each other across the stream that divides their territories.  A cannon is trained on and, most unusually to commence a Battle with, is about to fire on an opposing horse; but as the touchpaper is lit and the canon is fired there is not the expected result of a cannon-ball hurtling through the air but, perhaps due to something magical in the powder or (as lore later speaks of) The Touchpaper, there are several transformations that take place:  The stream dries out, the cannons move ground and are no longer trained on the horses and the potential for soldiers to enhance their powers when crossing the (now) streambed is increased.  Though these transformations initially transfix both armies this soon passes and the Battle will shortly commence.....

 

1.    The object of the Battle (game) is to Checkmate the opposing Empress and this wins the Battle (game).

2.     The Sides (Pieces) are 3D and called & coloured Red (South) & Blue
(North).  Red moves first and moves are then played alternately.

3.     The Players are named “The Red General” who plays the Red
(South) Pieces and “The Blue General” who plays the Blue (North)
Pieces.

4.    The Board is a modified “River Territories board” (from "Wing and RiverQi") and called the “Touchpaper board” as shown below and has the usual two Palaces (Fortresses) and also the dried out streambed as a line across the middle.  Pieces move on Squares and not on intersections.  Effectively the board is the same as the standard Xiangqi board.

5.     Clocks are single countdown with suggested tournament/match times of sixty minutes for each player.

6.    As with Xiangqi Generals, Empresses may not face each other along an otherwise unoccupied file.

7.    Squares are called Squares and not Positions as in some games, and files are designated A to I (west to east) and ranks are designated 1 to 10 (south to north).

8.     Initial deployment of the pieces and their names and
moving/capturing powers (per Xiangqi comparisons)  are as follows:

a)    E1/E10: Empresses – her powers, limitations and vulnerabilities are identical to Generals

b)    D1/F1 & D10/F10: Guards – his powers and limitations are identical
to Guards

c)     C1/G1 & C10/G10: Defenders – his powers and limitations are
identical to Elephants

d)    B1/H1 & B10/H10: Horses – his powers are identical to Horses

e)     A1/I1 & A10/I10: Siege Engines – its powers are identical to
Chariots

f)      D4/F4 & D7/F7 (Different to Xiangqi): Cannons – its powers are
identical to Cannons.

g)    A4/C4/E4/G4/I4 & A7/C7/E7/G7/I7: Soldiers – his powers are
identical to Soldiers except that his sixth rank promotion powers are
different from Xiangqi as explained below:

h)     Soldiers promote to Senior Soldiers with enhanced powers upon
reaching their sixth rank either by way of moving or capturing.  A Senior
Soldier’s enhanced powers are that he can move to or capture on one
square vertically forwards or one square diagonally forwards or one square
horizontally i.e. a maximum of five squares.  The promotion is automatic
and so they cannot stay as Soldiers.

9.       Game Points scored are one for a win by Checkmate and a half each
for a draw.

10.      Players should state “Check” when their opposing Empress is in Check but this is not compulsory.

11.     The “chasing rules” of Xiangqi do not apply and perpetual check is allowed.

12.    Draws include Stalemate and threefold repetition of moves/position.

13.    After the Battle the transformations start to fade and the stream starts to flow again and eventually becomes a large river.

  


D.  QiPlacements:

This is Xiangqi where the Cannons have a largely free deployment and it is
possible to get to the standard set up when deploying the Cannons.  This
game could be useful for tie-breaking.

1.     The object of the game is to Checkmate the opposing Princess and
this wins the game.

2.     The Sides (3D Pieces) are called and usually coloured Red (South)
and Blue (North).  Red moves first in both Phases of the game – see
below.  Moves are played alternately in both Phases of the game.

3.     The Players are not named.

4.     The Board is the “Touchpaper board” (shown) with a few cosmetic
changes: the Stream separating the Red & Blue Territories is flowing; the
Palaces are not as decorated, also “the Forbidden Squares” are marked
– see below.

5.     The clocks are single countdown and when used for tie-breaking the
suggested time is sixty minutes for each Player.

6.     Squares are called Squares and not Positions as in some games.  The
algebraic designations are those as stated in Touchpaper.

7.     Princesses, like Generals in Xiangqi, are forbidden to face each
other along an otherwise unoccupied file.

8.     Points are a nominal one for a win and a nominal half for a draw.

9.     The chasing rules of Xiangqi do not apply & perpetual Check is
allowed.


10.    Initial deployment (on Squares and not Intersections) of the Pieces with their names and Xiangqi comparisons for their moving/capturing powers is as follows:

a)     E1/E10: Princesses – her powers, limitations and vulnerabilities
are identical to Generals.

b)    D1/F1 & D10/F10:  Attendants – her powers and limitations are
identical to Guards.

c)     C1/G1 & C10/G10: Protectors – his powers and limitations are
identical to Elephants.

d)    B1/H1 & B10/H10: Horses – his powers are identical to Horses.

e)     A1/I1 & A10/I10: Siege Engines – its powers are identical to
Chariots.

f)      Awaiting Deployment – see below: Cannons – its powers are
identical to Cannons.

g)     A4/C4/E4/G4/I4 & A7/C7/E7/G7/I7: Soldiers – his powers are
identical to Soldiers and he automatically (compulsorily) promotes to a
“promoted Soldier” on his sixth rank, either by way of moving or
capturing, and the promoted Soldier is identical to that of Xiangqi.
 
11.   Order of Play :
 
a)     First there is a deployment of Cannons to unoccupied Squares within
their own Territory, other than the Forbidden Squares – see below.  The
first Red Cannon is deployed then followed by the first Blue Cannon; then
the second and last Red Cannon is deployed followed by the second and last
Blue Cannon.  This is called the “Deployment Phase”.

b)    After the deployment of Cannons there follows the “Engagement
Phase” where Red moves first and moves are then played alternately.

c)    It is forbidden, when deploying them in the Deployment Phase, to train a Cannon on a Princess, a Protector or a Siege Engine – all are initially undefended – and so the Forbidden Squares as shown on the board are not permitted to have a Cannon deployed to any of them.  It is permitted, however, to train a Cannon on a Soldier.  During the Engagement Phase the Forbidden Squares (which are also the Soldiers’ promotion Squares) are the same as ordinary Squares and have no different effect (other than promotions) than any other ordinary Square, also Cannons are now free to attack any Piece, whether defended or not, in the same way as any other Piece is free to.

12.  Players should state “Check” when the opposing Princess is in Check though this is not compulsory.

13.  Draws include Stalemate and threefold repetition of moves/position.

14.  In chronological terms QiPlacements precedes Touchpaper which itself precedes RiverQi and ChessTitles precedes Touchstone which itself precedes LancerChess.  Qi in QiPlacements is pronounced as in the English word key.
 
 
 
 

E.The King’s Lancer’s tour (2D version) - A Beginner’s puzzle
 
This is much simpler than the Knight’s tour and once the principle is seen for the smallest boards with odd and even numbered ranks and files then it should be straightforward to make a successful tour on any sized board:
 
1.     The King’s Lancer, who features in several Tiger’-Eye Games, can move or capture by moving one or jumping two squares horizontally or vertically.  His maximum possible number of moves is therefore eight.  Interestingly he covers more squares from the edge (usually six) and corner (four) of the board than the Knight (usually four and two), also with the help of the Western Chess King he can deliver Checkmate within a reasonable number of moves on the standard   8 x 8 board.

2.     The object of the King’s Lancer’s tour is to land on every
square of the board once only and to return to his starting position which
is the A1 square.  The usual Western Chess algebraic notation is used.

3.     On a 3 x 3 board the King’s Lancer could move as follows:
 
Move 1:  A1 to B1
Move 2:  B1 to C1
Move 3:  C1 to C2
Move 4:  C2 to C3
Move 5:  C3 to B3
Move6:   B3 to B2!   B3 to A3? and the tour fails
Move 7:  B2 to A2
Move 8:  A2 to A3
Move 9:  A3 to A1  and the tour succeeds with a jump
 
4.      On a 4 x 4 board the King’s Lancer could move as follows.  This
is very straightforward:
 
Move 1:  A1 to B1
Move 2:  B1 to C1
Move 3:  C1 to D1
Move 4:  D1 to D2
Move 5:  D2 to D3
Move 6:  D3 to D4
Move 7:  D4 to C4
Move 8:  C4 to C3
Move 9:  C3 to C2
Move 10: C2 to B2
Move 11: B2 to B3
Move 12: B3 to B4
Move 13: B4 to A4
Move 14: A4 to A3
Move 15: A3 to A2
Move 16: A2 to A1  and the tour succeeds


The King’s Lancer’s tour (3D version) – A Mini puzzle

The principle for the 2D version of the tour also applies to the 3D version and examples are shown visually as follows:

 
The numbers show the order of moves.

1.	On a 3 x 3 x 3 cube the King’s Lancer could move as follows:



 

2.	On a 4 x 4 x 4 cube the King’s Lancer could move as follows:


 

Scores:  One Game Point (two for the 3D version) is awarded as a once off only (but see scores section in Jewel Facet 2: Ambush in the Forest) to a Beginner if he/she can demonstrate how to succeed with The King’s Lancer’s tour on basic board (cube) sizes within fifteen minutes of being set the puzzle.
The Beginner can choose to attempt either the 2D or the 3D version but not both.


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By Glenn Nicholls.
Web page created: 2011-10-24. Web page last updated: 2011-10-24