The Chess Variant Pages
Custom Search





Stepping-stones of Chess

Introduction

 

 

 

Steps along the way of Chess

A Book by Shaye-Alexander Ellis Nicholls of Merridonia

 

 

taken from

A Leap of Recreation™

and

Stepping-stones of Chess

both also by the same author

 

and

 

with reference and thanks to

Tiger’s-eye Games

by Glenn Nicholls

 

 

© Copyright Shaye-Alexander Ellis Nicholls 2019

 

The moral right to the author’s work herein is asserted by himself, namely Shaye-Alexander Ellis Nicholls of Merridonia.

Merridonian copyright or Copyright of those of Merridonia is without limit, and those of Merridonia are those that have been accepted by the author and stated to be so accepted by the author.

Merridonian copyright requires acceptance by the author.

Trademarks herein are Merridonian trademarks of the author.

Merridonia is a private world by invitation of the author only.

 

With regard to Steps along the Way of Chess by the author – Shaye-Alexander Ellis Nicholls (SAE Nicholls), as with all parts of A Leap of Recreation and all and any additions to them there can only ever be the granting or the agreement of or for short-term temporary permissions and never long-term or permanent rights or agreements or contracts of any kind, and interpretation of all aspects herein and related to is the reserved right of the author.

The author has full valuation and revaluation rights in all matters relevant to his work and has the right to decide what matters are relevant to his work.

 

 

 

 

Steps along the way of Chess takes place in

 

The Median-lands

of

Satellite-world

More often known as Merridonia

 

Where one’s days can be many and where Justice and Fairness have much Regard

 

 

 

 

 

Indented Contents

 

 

Forward

General Introduction

General Notes

 

Part one: The Games

I) A Chess Set

       LancerChess

       QiPlacements

       Arabella

       Meridian

       Storm

II) Additional Games

       RiverQi

       Siege

       Gyroscope

III) The Jewel series games

       Duel

       Skirmish

       Combat

       Northern Light with Kaleidoscope

       Crystal of Doom

       Lost Treasure

       Relay

 

Part two: Grouping of Games

       The Rainbow group

       The Jini group

       The Chequered group

       The Meridian group

       The Forest group

       The Jewel Series group

       The Woodland parallel group

       The Realm transfer group

       Swing scoring and Mini groups

 

Part three: Timing of Games

       Phased Countdown clocks

       Phased Increment clocks

       Phased Combination clocks

       Phased Swing clocks

 

Circuits and Tours

Further games

Studies etc.

Further thoughts

Listings

 

 

 

Forward

There have been many books on Chess, or rather Western chess since there are other popular forms of Chess, and if the question were asked what is the best or most popular such book there would be a number of different answers.....and amongst them Logical Chess by Irving Chernev (1957) receives mention when talking of outstanding books; but it is not the content of the book that I am thinking of here but its introduction, specifically the words “and chess is the most exciting game in the world”, for excitement is the quality I have tried most to bring into the games and ideas of what follows and though of course this quality is subjective one can but try.....

 

 

 

General Introduction

Steps along the way of Chess (see Further thoughts - Name changes etc.) is intended to be an introduction to the possibilities of the various ideas of Chess and much of the following games are based on five well known games of Chess, namely: Western chess, Chinese chess, Arabian chess, Mongolian chess and Capablanca chess and some knowledge of these games is necessary to understand what follows, but the basic rules to these games are readily available and for those familiar with any of them the rules to the others should not take too long to learn.

There is more however to Chess than just the straightforward playing of games and some of these additional ideas are included in what follows.

The first five games of Part one of LancerChess, QiPlacements, Arabella, Meridian and Storm form the basis for most standard groups of games in Part two and are separately known as A Chess Set (see Further thoughts - Name changes etc.)

The question arises of where and when Chess originated and of what form it was, and it is mostly considered to have originated in India during the 6th century CE and may well have been similar in form to the slightly later Arabian chess, but there are books on the history of Chess for those interested in this subject and it is, I find, an interesting part of Chess.

And it must be emphasised that the book is not intended just for experts but for all levels, and there are one or two games etc. for beginners.

 

Each game is set out as follows:

A brief introduction to the game is given.

There is a background story for each game but this can be passed over for those who only want the mechanics of the game.

There are also representational background additions such as names for players, or that pieces such as Towers have personnel or Siege-towers or Chariots etc. are manned (this is often stated to be so but some imagination may be needed in this regard), but these additions can also be passed over for those who only want the mechanics of the game.

The object of the game is stated.

A diagram of the board and pieces at commencement is shown.

The moves of the pieces, mostly by comparison to the aforementioned well known games of Chess, are described.

There is a section on further rules and notes.

A description of any of the game’s variations is given.

An Information table is shown for referring to details of the game (some are representational). The Satellite game points scored shown in these tables are those scored when the game is played as a Stand-alone game as usual, unless stated otherwise.

After the individual games have been described there is a section on how they are placed into playing groups with bonus points available.

There follows a section describing clocks including Phased clocks and these are the type of clocks that are to be used when games score points of value - see below, and clock settings would require to be authorised by myself where points are so scored.

After Clocks there is a short section on Circuits and Tours followed by Further games, then Studies etc. and then a Further thoughts section; finally there is a Listing of items.

 

Introductory Notes:

Steps along the way of Chess can be referred to as Steps.

Interpretation of game rules is the reserved right of the author (SAE Nicholls).

Background and representational aspects are noted or described as such or are obvious.

Were Steps along the way of Chess to be in book form the presentation would be of a professional standard and not that of an MS Word document as it is here - unfortunately one is limited by such things, but Steps along the way of Chess is very much a work in progress and subject to changes as the author sees fit, and the section on Further thoughts gives an indication of this.

 

 

 

 

General Notes

In general the games would be played with the best practice of Chess. There are certain rules that apply throughout the games unless stated otherwise, amongst them are:

Stalemate is a draw - stalemate can be considered as a situation where a player has no legal move available but (if there is a ‘Royal piece’ in the game) is not in check.

Threefold repetition of moves/position is a draw.

The roles of the King and Queen (or equivalent) have been reversed, though they commence on the same squares unless stated otherwise, and the reason for this is best given by quoting from the game of TigerChess by Glenn Nicholls - "Kings do not shelter in castles whilst their Queens go into battle".

Where appropriate standard Castling rules apply.

Castling has been re-named as Protecting or Safeguarding the Queen.

Players should state ‘Check’ when the opposing Royal piece is under attack but this is not compulsory.

Moves are played alternately.

All pieces move on squares and not their intersections as some games traditionally do.

Tournament Western chess boards have squares of usually two inches in size, but the boards for Steps games could well be very much larger or very much smaller and with decoration and ornamentation. Role-playing in its various forms is possible with the games.

Pieces for the above games are mostly representational or symbolic and life-like except for LancerChess where the standard Staunton (or Staunton type) design pieces are used - at least mostly. For background story purposes pieces are called by various names – e.g. Inhabitants or Participants etc. and there is some leeway in their appearance, tones of colour etc. but see Further thoughts - Name changes etc. for a further note plus pictures regarding this.

Games should designate the variation that is being played.

Game notation can use full piece descriptions and not just algebraic descriptions.

Referees (who are often called arbiters and may have assistants) of games may offer the service of moving pieces (when players would verbally inform the referee of their moves - helpful if the board is very large), or assist with rules or the settings of clocks etc. and they can enforce the spirit of a game.

 

Points scored are called Satellite game points or Satellite nominal points to distinguish games in Steps along the way of Chess from others, but this is for a future time when.....(currently as Background and Representation).....they will have an official certificate issued (with registration) that will be exchangeable with currency of Merridonia (aka Satellite world) and with the exchange rate for Satellite nominal points initially set at 50% of that for Satellite game points; but the issuing of official certificates for Satellite game/nominal points must be authorised by myself (Shaye Nicholls) and it is not likely they will be so until the future and so for the present time points scored may likely carry no meaningful value - note that there is no right of exchange between Merridonian currency and other currencies.....But how much would a Satellite game point be worth compared to a Western chess point of today (2019).....Well.....

.....It is difficult to give any sort of answer as to the value of a typical Western chess tournament point.....But.....the 2017 Chess.com Isle of Man tournament had 161 (160?) entrants for the masters category including some of the very strongest players in the world with a top prize of 50,000 GBP - considered a very high sum for a Chess tournament.....the total prize fund for this category was 110,250 GBP and there were nine rounds played.....this gives a total number of masters category games of 160 x 9 / 2 = 720 and an average value per point of 153 GBP, but this is a very blunt measure as only a few players share in the prize fund.....what then would be the (very blunt measure) average value of a typical official Satellite game point.....Well.....I would hope for something very much more than this but for this to happen the presentation of the games would have to be much more interesting and colourful than Chess in its various forms is currently and Role-playing, mentioned above, may be one possibility - here there could be all sorts of things such as persons playing the role of pieces on giant boards and dressed in costumes (players could be dressed in costumes too), and introductory productions of the background to the games prior to them commencing, and many other possibilities.....something along these lines is in fact performed to an audience of around 3,600 several times in September of even numbered years in the town of Marostica in Italy and below is a picture of this.....the moves it seems are inspired, at least in part, by the game Adolf Anderssen v Lionel Kieseritzky, shown later in Studies etc.

 

 

Also see Further thoughts - Name changes etc. where representational sets of Western and Chinese chess pieces (as distinct from Role-played pieces) are shown and also a highly representational board design called the New-Camelot board is shown.

As well as the presentation of games there is the recording of them and the games in this book have many characters as pieces and together with the background story and representational aspects and settings for the games it is, I feel sure, possible to record an interesting game as a story along with the actual moves.....there is also commentating of games with analysis of them whilst they are in progress (and also post-play comments with analysis) and a key game at top level well commentated on and analysed whilst it is in progress can be very exciting for listeners, particularly if the game is an interesting one.   

 

 

 

 

 

Part one: The Games

 

I) A Chess Set

Introduction

The games that form A Chess Set, namely LancerChess, QiPlacements, Arabella, Meridian and Storm with their variations are very much based on, respectively, the games of Western chess, Chinese chess, Arabian chess, Mongolian chess and Capablanca chess that as said in the General Introduction form much of the basis of Steps along the Way of Chess and because of this basing I have found most all of these games suitable to form standard groups of games as set out in part two of the book.....but when basing a game on such well known and long-played games it is necessary, I think, to try to introduce something that gives an impetus to the existing game and what that something may hopefully be I have, mostly, set out in the introduction to each game or in its further rules and notes section or in the game’s variation section and it is in these game variation sections that comparisons can perhaps best be made since here there is usually a direct playing of the existing base game against the steps game and this idea has been carried forward into standard groups of games.....

 

 

 

The Game of LancerChess

 

Introduction

The game of LancerChess (one word) is a basic variant of Western chess and the object of this game is to provide a few simple changes to the standard game of Western chess such that provide additional scope and some new and interesting complexities to the game whilst retaining the overall feel of the standard game. Of note is the increased individuality of the minor pieces and particularly that of the movement of Queens’ Lancers on opposite coloured diagonals giving an initial advantage for each side on one set of diagonals – advanced players may find this feature of interest. Also included is the Game variation of Clash and a Circuit puzzle.

 

Background

There are very brief details only of this battle that are known – it is known that the battle takes place in the Disputed Realm (previously known as the Fractured Realm) and it is Long Long Long ago. Reasons and causes for the battle are not known and little else of these mysterious times in this Realm is known either.

 

Object

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

 

 

Board at commencement

 

http://www.chessvariants.com/membergraphics/MSa-chess-set/LC3May18%20(2).jpg

 

 

Moves of Pieces

Western chess comparisons for piece moves are as follows:

A King – he is identical to a Queen

A Queen – she is identical to a King

A King’s or Queen’s tower - its powers are identical to Rooks

A Baron – he is identical to a Bishop

A Baroness – she is identical to a Bishop

 

The Knights on G1 & G8 are replaced with Kings' Lancers. These can move to any square either one or two squares away in a vertical or horizontal direction and can jump over any intervening piece if moving two squares. He captures on the square he moves to and not any square he moves over when moving two squares.

The Knights on B1 & B8 are replaced with Queens' Lancers. These can move to any square either one or two squares away in a diagonal direction and can jump over any intervening piece if moving two squares. He captures on the square he moves to and not any square he moves over when moving two squares.

Though they do not appear in LancerChess there is in Further thoughts - Further pieces a description of pieces called a Lance-commander and a Knight-royal.

 

A Pikeman – he is identical to a Pawn of Western chess except for minor promotion changes as below.

Promotions of Pikemen on reaching their end rank are the choice of King, Siege-tower (that in promotion need not be distinguished between King's or Queen's - see note below on Siege-towers), Baron/Baroness or Lancer. If there is promotion to a Lancer then this must be to a King's Lancer if the colour of the promotion square is the same as the colour of the commencing square of the original King's Lancer or to a Queen's Lancer if the colour of the promotion square is the same as the colour of the commencing square of the original Queen's Lancer (see Further thoughts - Various). If there is promotion to a Baron/Baroness there is no distinction in the name and the promoted Pikeman is simply called a Noble and he has the powers of a Western chess Bishop.

 

Underpromotion

Note that the term underpromotion is often used where the choice is made to promote to a weaker piece than the strongest possible, this being the King in LancerChess - reasons for this can include forks by Lancers (in LancerChess - there are different forks in other games) that may be more advantageous, or to overcome a Stalemate defence (an example of this is seen later in Studies etc. with the Saavedra study).  Most Steps games allow for underpromotions in some way even though some are highly unlikely to give advantage over stronger promotions, if at all. 

 

Game transpositions

Of further note is that as well as the usual opening line transpositions there are also (part) game transpositions here where LancerChess can transpose to Western chess if all the Lancers are captured (discounting the slight differences in promotion choices - I have kept these to a minimum). Transpositions from Clash of this sort are also possible - see next; also others - e.g. Capablanca chess and variations of this - see Storm.  Opening line transpositions occur when opening moves lead to the same position they otherwise would but are played in a different order.

 

Further Rules and Notes

Jumping involves linear movement such as the Lancers described above whereas leaping involves oblique movement such as with the Knights of Western chess.

It can be seen that at the commencing position the Queens’ Lancers guard the equivalent of the weakly protected (in Western chess) Kings’ Bishop two squares.

And also with the Queen's Lancer players who are ambitious to win as north may find it a key piece for the reason mentioned in the introduction.

Also of note is that the King’s Lancer can force Checkmate with only his Queen’s help against a lone Queen within a reasonable number of moves and he attacks more squares than does the Western chess Knight on most of the board (48 of 64 squares) and he may give advantages when Protecting the Queen whereas "Long Castling" in Western chess is not considered preferable in most situations.

Western chess is often called International chess and this reflects the status this game has been accorded.

Individual pieces are usually referred to by Northern or Southern but Orange or White is allowed. Players are usually referred to as the Northern Player, or simply North, and as the Southern Player, or simply South, but Orange Player or White Player is allowed as is simply Orange or White.

The board as shown is the Chess-valley board.

 

Representational:

Once a Tower has been or can no longer be used to Protect the Queen it becomes a King's or Queen's Siege-tower (and is manned as is a Tower) to reflect its greater freedom to attack and fittings should be added to the piece to show this, or alternately a separate piece of different appearance can be placed on the appropriate square - it is no different in effect from a Rook of Western chess though.

 

Game variation - Clash

If one side plays with LancerChess pieces and the other side plays with Western chess pieces this is the game of Clash, with the player of the Western chess pieces described as having the Knights. There is little difference in the strength of the pieces of the two sides though the LancerChess pieces seem to have a small advantage and so the Southern player, who moves first, always plays with the Western chess pieces in any meaningful game or tournaments or matches or suchlike. The roles, powers and vulnerabilities of the Western chess King and Queen are reversed so as to match the LancerChess pieces as are all other aspects of the Western chess pieces matched to LancerChess such as piece names, piece style etc. Note that the Western chess pieces are still on their same squares at commencement e.g. the Western chess Queen is still on D1 or D8. The Background etc. is the same as for LancerChess.

The advantage of the LancerChess pieces over the Western chess pieces is, I think, that the King's Lancer is a stronger piece in all phases of the game than the Western chess Knight - see notes to LancerChess above, though not greatly so and this may be somewhat counter-balanced by the Queen's Lancer being "colour bound", but on balance the Lancers seem to have a small advantage over the Knights.

 

The King’s Lancer’s circuit 2D

This is a basic Circuit puzzle suitable for beginners played on a 3x3 board where the King’s Lancer of LancerChess commences from square A1 and he must land on every square of the board once and finish back on square A1. An example follows:

1. Commences from A1 to B1

2. from B1 to C1

3. from C1 to C2

4. from C2 to C3

5. from C3 to B3

6. from B3 to B2! - B3 to A3? and the Circuit fails.

7. from B2 to A2

8. from A2 to A3

9. Finishes with A3 to A1 - and the Circuit succeeds with a jump.

 

The King’s Lancer’s circuit 3D

The King's Lancer can also complete a circuit on a 3D board of 3x3x3 and one possibility is shown below with diagrams and using numbers to show the order of moves. He commences from and finishes on the green coloured number 27 square:

http://www.chessvariants.com/membergraphics/MSa-chess-set/3d1.jpg

http://www.chessvariants.com/membergraphics/MSa-chess-set/3d2.jpg

Notes

If on level 1 the King's Lancer were to jump from the number 8 square to the green coloured number 27 square this would be the 2D circuit of above.

Solutions involving a level jump are also possible and an example is given after the section on clocks.

Circuits and the similar tours are possible with other pieces with that of the Knight of Western chess being the best known and examples of these are also given after the section on clocks.

 

 

Information Table

http://www.chessvariants.com/membergraphics/MSa-chess-set/image002.jpg

Notes on Type of piece

Staunton pieces is the name of a design, credited to Nathaniel Cook, of Western chess pieces that were first made available in 1849 by Jaques of London; they are named after Howard Staunton who for some years around this time was generally regarded as the world's strongest Western chess player.

Staunton pieces are very widely used and are currently the type of piece that, according to the current rules of Western chess, are to be used for competitions - this is not so for Steps.

A picture of an original Jaques Staunton set is shown below and an example of a representational set is shown in Further thoughts - Name changes etc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Game of QiPlacements

 

Introduction

QiPlacements (one word where Qi is pronounced as in the English word key) is very much based on Chinese chess – sometimes called Xiangqi (see Further thoughts - Name changes etc.). The difference here being the placement phase of QiPlacements - a game within a game - though only two deployment placements are made by each player.

Of note here is that boards for QiPlacements would not be of paper or cardboard, as is traditional for some players of Chinese chess, but would be of the finest quality wood or other quality material.

Also included is the Game variation of Encounter and two specified deployment placements - Traditional and Accelerated.

 

Background

In the time of spoken Legends and Myths there is dispute over rights to the Stream that runs between the Rainbow Territories as this Stream is said to have magical healing properties and though this is perhaps but legend and myth only there are many who believe it to be true and there has finally come a time when battle is about to commence to decide who has priority over rights to this supposedly Magical Stream.

 

Object

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

 

 

Boards:

 

http://www.chessvariants.com/membergraphics/MSa-chess-set/image003.jpg

 

The board shown above is that used at the very start of the game where the Cannons are awaiting placement (or deployment if the word is preferred).....the Forbidden placement squares that are explained later can simply be a removable overlay and then the rest of the game can take place on a board without them as shown below and some players may prefer not to have these squares shown at all, but in tournaments or matches or suchlike they must be shown during placement and then after placement they must not be shown for the remainder of the game.

 

http://www.chessvariants.com/membergraphics/MSa-chess-set/image004.jpg

 

 

Moves of Pieces

Chinese chess comparisons for piece moves are as follows:

A Princess – she is identical to a General

An Attendant – she is identical to a Guard

A Protector – he is identical to an Elephant

A Horse – he is identical to a Horse

A Chariot – its powers are identical to Chariots

 

Soldiers – his powers are identical to Soldiers and he promotes to a Leading soldier on his sixth rank who is identical to the promoted Soldier of Chinese Chess and he should differ in appearance to that of an un-promoted Soldier.

Awaiting Placement – see below: Cannons – its powers are identical to Cannons.

 

 

Order of Play:

First there is a placement of Cannons to unoccupied squares within their own Territory, other than the Forbidden squares – see below. The first Blue Cannon is placed then followed by the first Green Cannon; then the second and last Blue Cannon is placed followed by the second and last Green Cannon. This is called the Placement phase. After the placement of Cannons there follows the Engagement phase where Blue moves first and moves are then played alternately.

Background

As part of the background ethos it is forbidden, when placing them in the placement phase, to train a Cannon on a Princess, a Protector or a Chariot – all are initially undefended – and so the Forbidden squares as shown on the board are not permitted to have a Cannon placed on any of them. It is permitted, however, to train a Cannon on a Soldier – see Note below. During the Engagement phase the Forbidden squares (that 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.

Note

The Forbidden squares benefit initially undefended pieces from immediate Cannon attacks, but since these squares benefit Soldiers by their promotion when (if) reaching them they do not also have the benefit of immunity from having a Cannon initially trained on them.

 

 

Further Rules and Notes

There are two initial placement moves that require to be considered differently as follows:

Traditional placement: If south places his first Cannon to square H3 then this must be construed as an offer to play Traditional Chinese chess and if north places his first Cannon to B8 then he is deemed to have accepted this offer and then south must place his second Cannon to B3 and north must place his remaining Cannon to H8. This is effectively Chinese chess and is called the Traditional placement.

Accelerated placement: If south places his first Cannon to square F4 then this must be construed as an offer to play a placement variation called the Accelerated placement and if north places his first Cannon to D7 then he is deemed to have accepted this offer and then south must place his second Cannon to D4 and north must place his remaining Cannon to F7. This is called Accelerated because if played from the Traditional Chinese chess placement position it takes twice as many moves for the Cannons to reach these squares i.e. four moves each side.

Note that if neither the Traditional placement nor Accelerated placement are played then the term Open placement is used though this would be assumed if nothing was otherwise stated.

Tests suggest that with correct play no significant advantage can be gained from the placement phase.

Copying placements during the placement phase can lead to significant loss of material.

Discounting the required order of Traditional and Accelerated placements, the possible number of placement moves is 26 x 26 x 25 x 25 = 422,500 and if there were no symmetry this would lead to 105,625 positions, but there is some symmetry and some positions give advantage – however as something of a guess I would think viable placements run into thousands and perhaps well into thousands. Also see Further thoughts - Other possible games etc. - Deployment variation from TigerChess, where two possible deployment placement variations are described with Western chess as an example.

Princesses, like Generals in Chinese chess, are forbidden to face each other along an otherwise (between them) unoccupied file.

 

Pieces are 3D and not disc-like as they are tradionally in Chinese chess, below is a picture of an antique traditional Chinese chess set whilst in Further thoughts - Name changes etc. there is a picture of a 3D representational set

 

 

 

Note that Generals in Chinese chess are piece names and not player names as they are in QiPlacements.

It has been said that Chinese chess is probably played by more people than any other board game in the world.

Individual pieces are usually referred to by Green or Blue but Northern or Southern is allowed.

Players are usually referred to as the Green General or the Blue General but Northern General or Southern General is allowed as is simply Green or Blue or simply North or South.

 

Representational

The Stream separating the Blue and Green territories is representational only and has no actual effect on the game as the river has no actual effect in Chinese chess.

Horses and Chariots and Cannons are manned.

After the battle the Stream was to eventually become a large River – see the game RiverQi later.

 

Game variation - Encounter

This is simply playing QiPlacements where one side plays with the Traditional placement whilst the other side plays with the Accelerated placement. The Accelerated placement would seem to have a small advantage and so the Blue General (south), who moves first, always plays with the Traditional placement in any meaningful game or tournaments or matches or suchlike. Note that there is not a set procedure of placing Cannons that obliges players to adopt this placement pattern as there is with the Traditional and Accelerated placements and if Encounter is to be definitely played this has to be specifically stated as being so. The Background etc. is the same as for QiPlacements.

The advantage of the Accelerated placement over the Traditional placement would seem to be the quicker control of open files by the Chariots with the possibility of them then moving into the opposing territory.

 

 

Information Table

http://www.chessvariants.com/membergraphics/MSa-chess-set/image005.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Game of Arabella

 

Introduction

The game of Arabella is based on the game of Arabian chess that was the game Western chess developed from. There are in this game a few changes from Arabian chess that hopefully will add some new and interesting features, the most noticeable being the Flying carpets and the Jinis. The game could be called Jini if wished so. Note that the moves for the pieces are set out in a Table and in a way that I think is suitable here. Also included is the game variation of Invasion and there are Traditional and Modern variations with regard to some optional moves.

 

Background

The short background story here makes reference to the story of Aladdin that has been put into film and performed as a theatre play and is well known and readily available. Aladdin was a real life character some centuries ago and an outstanding Arabian chess player - perhaps the strongest of his time.

The story then is:

A wicked Magician has sought to usurp the rule of a faraway Kingdom together with his wicked Enchantress by capturing the King’s young and beautiful and only daughter while he is far away visiting friendly Kingdoms and so his young but brave adopted and orphaned son must defend the Kingdom until he returns.

Prior to the battle commencing the wicked Magician was attempting to deceive the Kingdom into believing his intentions were honourable with regard to the Kingdom in that he wished for the hand of the Princess and no more (he in fact sought to rule the Kingdom by this way and knew of the King’s absence and intended to take advantage of this). As a token of good faith each side exchanged their great Lamp and their Jini who resided within them, but the Kingdom’s Ward lost trust and refused further talks and the wicked Magician refused to return the Kingdom’s Lamp and Jini, mistakenly believing him to be more powerful than his own. Thus at the start of the battle both Jinis are within their Lamps and are prisoners of the opposing side and the wicked Magician and his wicked Enchantress now seek to rule the Kingdom by the forceable capture of the Princess.

 

Object

The object of the Battle (game) is either to Checkmate the opposing Princess or Enchantress or to Capture all opposing Persons and this is shown in the Table mentioned in the Introduction for suitability and clarity – either wins the battle.

 

 

Board at commencement

 

http://www.chessvariants.com/membergraphics/MSa-chess-set/image006.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

Further Rules and Notes

The Prince/Magician or the Princess/Enchantress can move (with their usual move) to the square of their Flying carpets and embark on (board) them and then the move and so capturing ability of the Flying carpet comes into play until they disembark by their own move - they can do this at any time (provided within Checking rules) but until disembarkation the move of the Flying carpet is over-riding. As can be seen the Prince/Magician can embark on either Flying carpet whereas the Princess/Enchantress cannot.

Flying carpets can only carry one at a time and only of their own side - their move is not blocked by an intervening piece and they do not need to be carrying someone to make a move or a capture.

A Check can be escaped by the move of the Flying carpet or by the Princess/Enchantress disembarking when they are on a Flying carpet.

No others can embark on a Flying carpet except those mentioned above.

When on a Flying carpet both the Flying carpet and the Prince/Magician can give check or capture a piece by virtue of their own individual moves as can the Princess/Enchantress also capture a piece by virtue of their own individual move (provided within Checking rules) but this would entail disembarkation.

Capturing a Flying carpet would also mean the Prince/Magician being captured if on board.

Jinis do not have the ability to be embarked upon as do Flying carpets.

Although a Jini’s move includes that of a Prince/Magician he is not of Regal status.

There is no castling type move.

The classification of Persons is as shown in the moves table i.e. Horsemen and Swordsmen.

When on a Flying carpet basic Checkmate situations of a Princess/Enchantress require different moves to that of the King of Arabian chess or Western chess and when not on a Flying carpet some potential Stalemate situations can perhaps be more easily overlooked than with the aforesaid King, for example a Swordsman of the Kingdom on D3 would prevent the Enchantress from moving at all if she were on D1 (a square that a Flying carpet cannot land on).

A lone Jini can force Checkmate against a lone opposing Princess/Enchantress even if on a Flying carpet, but though this is only a theoretical situation the moves played to bring this about would still be relevant in practice in games. A lone Magician/Prince can force Checkmate against a lone Princess/Enchantress if not on a Flying carpet and though again this is only a theoretical situation the moves played would also still be relevant in practice.

Notwithstanding the Jini's checkmating ability there are situations, due to a player needing at least one of his Persons on the board, when a promotion choice to a Jini or a Horseman could involve complex considerations.

As with stating Check, a player may give warning of critical attacks of his opponent’s Persons (perhaps by a small gesture) but as with stating Check this is not compulsory.

Arabian chess was widely played for over a thousand years - longer by five centuries than Western chess.

Individual pieces (characters) are usually referred to as (Characters or those) of the Kingdom or of Enchantment e.g. a Horseman of the Kingdom or a Flying carpet of Enchantment though Regal characters are still called simply by title e.g. the Princess or the Enchantress. It is though allowable to call pieces as Northern or Southern although Regal characters would again still be called simply by title.

Players are usually referred to as the Kingdom’s Ward or the Magician’s Ward but Northern Ward or Southern Ward is allowed as is simply North or South.

 

Swordsmen may or may not have an initial optional two square move as Pawns do in Western chess - see variations below.

 

Traditional variation

In this variation Swordsmen do not have the optional initial two square move as Pawns do in Western chess and so en passant rules do not apply.

 

Modern variation

in this variation, that has to be agreed by both players, Swordsmen have the optional initial two square move as do the Pawns of Western chess and en passant rules apply.

With reference to the above Traditional and Modern variations the procedure is that if a player wishes to play the Modern variation then he needs to place his Regal pieces on opposite squares to that shown in the diagram and this is construed as a wish to play the Modern variation; if the other player also places his Regal pieces likewise he will also be construed to wish to play the Modern variation and a small gesture by each player pointing out the variation situation needs to be made as confirmation of their agreement to the variation and play proceeds with the Regal pieces on these different squares - this is the case whenever the Modern variation is played. If either player has misunderstood the variation situation after a few moves (considered to be by five moves by each player) they may point this out whereupon the game must recommence with a clear understanding of what variation is to be played.

If either player does not show a wish to play the Modern variation then the player who does show a wish to play this variation must then place his Regal pieces onto the squares as shown in the diagram and the Traditional variation is then played.

 

Representational:

There is some background story and representation when releasing a Jini (who is inside his Lamp at the start of the game) that is equivalent to a Swordsman’s promotion, but here the Swordsman must look after the Jini’s Lamp - his home, for the Jini must return there after the battle. If captured a Jini must return to his Lamp but he can be released again in the same way though there is only one Jini for each side and whose Lamp is past each side’s end rank. If a side has released their Jini and he is on the board then a Swordsman of such side upon reaching his end rank must then be promoted to a Horseman. There can and should be ornamental Lamps placed on the borders of the board and if a Jini is released the Swordsman who has done so would be placed alongside his Lamp. A Swordsman can (promote) under-promote to a Horseman instead of releasing his Jini as may happen e.g. to prevent loss by capture (or absence) of all Persons - a player needs at least one Swordsman or Horseman on the board or a loss occurs.

Jinis are in the spirit and duration of game play only - they live in their Lamps otherwise and so are non-forceful, but this has no practical effect on the game.....a Jini's Lamp is a magical home that has everything inside it that a Jini could wish for.

Persons requiring capture in order to win do not include Regality (of different status) or Siege-towers (that are constructions) or Flying carpets (that are Talismans) or Jinis (of game play spirit).

Siege-towers are manned but this does not classify them as Persons.

Horses are available for promotion purposes.

A further background point is that the Prince also has no siblings.

 

Game variation - Invasion (see Further thoughts - Name changes etc.)

In this game variation of Arabella the only differences are that for the Characters of the Kingdom to win they must now Checkmate the Magician, not the Enchantress, and that the Magician and the Enchantress cannot board their Flying carpets - these are now actually non talismanic Catapults (these are manned but not classified as Persons but as constructions) but still move the same and these Catapults, like Carpets, are not counted as Persons that require capturing to win. Those of the Kingdom may have a small advantage and so in any significant game the Characters of Enchantment are south and always move first. The rules regarding the Traditional and Modern variations also apply here and so there are two variations of Invasion here and those of the Kingdom are said to have the Talismans. The deployment at commencement is the same as Arabella depending on whether the Traditional or Modern variation of Invasion is played.

With Invasion and the Traditional variation (no optional initial two square Swordsmen moves) the Characters of Enchantment are now effectively the pieces of Arabian chess except for the promotional options for Swordsmen, and also there are some differences in other rules e.g. winning by capturing all pieces but the King is an Arabian chess rule but here it is the capture of all the Swordsmen and Horsemen; but even so this game would much effectively be Arabian chess playing against Arabella.....note that these rule modifications of Arabian chess apply in the Jini group - see Part two: Grouping of Games.

It perhaps should be noted in this variation that although it is harder to Checkmate the Magician than the Enchantress (she now being unable to board a Flying carpet) he is less effective as an attacking piece now being vulnerable to Check and Checkmate.

 

There are further possible Invasion variations e.g. where those of the Kingdom must still Checkmate the Enchantress to win but where those of Enchantment must Checkmate the Prince to win and where the rules on Flying carpet boarding are as mentioned above, but these are not considered mainstream variations.

 

 

Information Table

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Game of Meridian

 

Introduction

Meridian is a game that has features of Western and Chinese chess and one or two of Mongolian chess – it is not intended to be a full combination of these games however, but rather a fit between Western and Chinese chess with something of Mongolian chess included and there are two core variations called the Western variation and the Eastern variation plus a further variation called Combination that combines elements of the two core variations. There is also a rule variation called the Escape rule and this is something of a novelty and is considered as a variation suitable for exhibition play (see note) that some may find to be an interesting challenge and is also allowable up to high level tournaments or matches or suchlike.

There are, no doubt, many ways of bringing together elements of Western and Chinese chess and perhaps other Chess, but here I have drawn together the features that I personally find to be too associated with these games to leave out; but this has led to two core variations though both seem to give scope for attacking play and games may sometimes be quick and fierce.

Where there are differences between the Western and Eastern variations these are stated, otherwise the two variations are the same. The differences are straightforward however. Combination is explained at the end along with the Escape rule.

Note: Exhibition play is talked of in Part two: Grouping of Games

 

Background

Over time a once great and huge Empire has begun to fragment into a number of Kingdoms within two Khanates and the two Principal Kingdoms are the neighbouring Sapphire kingdom of the Northern Khanate and the Golden kingdom of the Southern Khanate, and as their names suggest much of the source of their wealth derives from Sapphires and Gold. There is though an area of land between them that contains huge deposits of both of these and both Kingdoms have claimed the land as their own and this area has become known as the Disputed lands. This situation has led to their Warriors, traditionally known as the Sapphire Horde and the Golden Horde, to mobilize and battle commences shortly afterwards.

Western variation: The King and Queen of both Kingdoms are themselves young and do not as yet have children and so there are no heirs to either Kingdom.

Eastern variation: The King and Queen of both Kingdoms are too elderly to directly participate in the battle and so both their young heirs (the Princes-royal) do so together with the young Princesses-royal – it is considered essential for a Prince-royal, in particular, and a Princess-royal to prove themselves in a situation of difficulty or conflict.

Here the Kings and Queens take charge of the detention of captured Warriors for by tradition captured Warriors of rival Khanates or Kingdoms are treated as guests with hospitality until their release and so both Kings and Queens prepare areas of their Palaces for such.

Note: A Princess-royal is the title given to the eldest child but where there is a son, and by tradition the eldest son is the heir.

 

Object

Western variation: The object of the Battle (game) is to Checkmate the opposing Queen and this wins the battle and the winning Kingdom (and Khanate) will annex the Disputed lands.

Eastern variation: The object of the Battle (game) is to Checkmate the opposing Princess-royal and this wins the battle and the winning Kingdom (and Khanate) will annex the Disputed lands.

The annexing of the Disputed lands is of course background story.

 

 

Board at commencement

 

http://www.chessvariants.com/membergraphics/MSa-chess-set/image009.png

 

 

 

Moves of Pieces

 

Western variation: A King – he is identical to the Queen of Western chess.

Eastern variation: A Prince-royal – he is as the “Snow Panther” of Mongolian chess – a game played for centuries in Mongolia, and moves both as the Rook of Western chess (or rather the Chariot of Chinese chess since he has no castling abilities) and a non-royal King of Western chess i.e. he has a single diagonal move in addition to his Rook’s move.

Western variation: A Queen – she is identical to the King of Western chess except that she is confined to her Palace as is the General of Chinese chess – also the Queens may not face each other along an otherwise (between them) unoccupied file as with the Generals in Chinese chess.

Eastern variation: A Princess-royal – she is identical to the General of Chinese chess and so she is confined to her Palace as is the General of Chinese chess – also the Princesses may not face each other along an otherwise (between them) unoccupied file as with the Generals in Chinese chess.

A Chariot – its powers are identical to the Chariots of Chinese chess.

A Cannon – its powers are identical to those of the Cannon of Chinese chess.

A Horseman – he is identical to the Knight of Western chess.

A Shieldsman – he is identical to the Counsellor (sometimes called an Adviser or Mandarin or Guard) of Chinese chess and so is confined to his Palace.

 

A Pikeman – he is as the Pawn of Western chess except for the following:

All Pikeman only have an initial one square move except those on the A and I files that have the optional initial two square move as with Western chess and so the en passant rules would apply in their case, though not others.

 

Upon reaching his end rank a Pikeman must promote and his choices are as follows:

Western variation: If his King is captured he can rescue him though he is himself captured in doing so, but he will later be given much reward should his side win the battle.

Eastern variation: If his Prince-royal is captured he can rescue him though he is himself captured in doing so, but he will later be given much reward should his side win the battle.

Western Variation: A Pikeman can promote to a Pike commander who can move or capture one or two squares in any direction but cannot jump i.e. he can only “slide”.

Eastern Variation: A Pikeman can promote to a Pike leader (often called a Leading pikeman) who can move or capture one or two squares vertically or horizontally but cannot jump i.e. he can only “slide”.

In both variations a Pikeman can promote to a Horseman.

 

 

Further Rules and Notes

What variation is played is by arrangement, agreement or by roll of dice or coin.

There is no Castling type move.

I have refrained from bringing the Bishop of Western chess into Meridian (possibly by Pikemen promotions) - Chinese chess, like the Eastern variation, does not have a long-diagonally moving piece and the Western variation already has a King who can move so.....to bring this in would, perhaps, tilt things too much towards Western chess but the possibility remains.

Individual pieces are usually referred to by Sapphire or Golden but Northern or Southern is allowed. Players are usually referred to as the Northern Khan or the Southern Khan but simply North or South or simply Sapphire or Gold is allowed.

In something of a reverse between these two games the Western variation is usually the more tactical and if a comparison with Western chess were required I would say this variation has something of nineteenth century attacking Western chess about it – but only limited comparison can be drawn with this. The Eastern variation perhaps plays more like a typical game of Chinese chess but again only a limited comparison can be drawn.

 

Representational:

The Disputed lands area of the board is decorative only and has no effect on the game in any way but this area also straddles the Northern and Southern khanates as well as the Sapphire and Golden kingdoms.

Horses are available for promotion purposes.

Chariots and Cannons are manned.

Shieldsmen also wield Swords.

Though a Khan does not appear on the board during the battle his powers are those combined of both a King and a Horseman (see Further thoughts - Other possible games etc. - Storm Force 24).

Pikemen may not enter their own Palaces - hence the placements of them at commencement; this does not apply either to the playing rules or as a representational point for Pike commanders or Pike leaders who may enter them (see Further thoughts - Further pieces).

 

Game variation - Combination

This game variation of Meridian is where one player has a King and a Princess-royal whilst the other has a Prince-royal and a Queen, and the player with the King is said to Guard the Princess-royal whilst the player with the Prince-royal is said to Guard the Queen. The Rules are as given except Pikemen have the option of promoting to either a Pike commander or a Pike leader or to rescue their King/Prince-royal or promote to a Horseman. The player with the King, perhaps as expected, seems to have an advantage but this may not be as much as expected and if the King and Prince-royal are exchanged the advantage may change over. The Southern player, who moves first, always Guards the Queen in any significant or meaningful game or tournaments or matches or suchlike.

 

There are a few background story points in this variation as follows:

For the player who guards the Princess-royal the King is able enough to participate in the battle but the Queen is not.

Also for the player who guards the Princess-royal the only and younger son - the Prince-royal, has been seriously injured during training exercises and is unable to participate in the battle, but will recover.

For the player who guards the Queen the King has been seriously injured following a fall from his horse but is expected to recover, though is unable to participate in the battle.

Also for the player who guards the Queen the only daughter - the Princess-royal, is considered too delicate in fitness as yet to participate in the battle, though is improving at a good rate.

 

It is also possible for there to be variations where both players have a King and Princess-royal or both have a Prince-royal and Queen, but these are not considered mainstream variations.

 

Rule variation - the Escape rule (see Further thoughts - Various)

There is for the core variations of Meridian and Combination this possible additional rule whereby a player may, if in an otherwise Checkmate position, move his Royal piece outside of the Palace (but not into Check of course) and if this escapes the otherwise Checkmate position the result of the game is a 'Draw by Escape' and the move should be played to leave the game's final position. If the Royal piece cannot escape Checkmate in this way then the game ends as usual in this Checkmate position.

The move to outside of the Palace must be the usual one for the Royal piece and can be a capture.

A simple way to express this rule might be to say a Royal piece can only leave the Palace to escape being in Checkmate whereupon the game is a draw.

The rule is not allowed in QiPlacements or RiverQi (see later).

Satellite nominal points only (see General Notes) may be awarded for exhibition play, or scored for tournaments or matches or suchlike when this rule is in force and are two for a win and one each for a draw.....the term awarded is the one usually used for the scoring of points in exhibition play, but may also be used where considered suitable.

 

Setup

 

There are a few background story points in this rule as follows:

There are in the Palaces secret underground passageways that are known only to the Royal piece (and a few select other-such) and these lead to the surrounding areas (squares) outside the Palaces and if the Royal piece escapes through the passageways and is not attacked outside the Palace (in Check) the Royal piece will make good their escape - but these passageways can only be used to escape being in Checkmate.

During a game the possible un-attacked squares outside the Palace that the Royal piece could move to are called Escape squares - these will change throughout a game as and when the Royal piece moves within the Palace and they are only potential Escape squares until and unless used (by means of the secret underground passageways mentioned above) when the one actually used together with the square the Royal piece moved from is known as the Escape route. Note that Escape routes also change throughout a game as and when the Royal piece moves within the Palace and are also only potentially so until and unless used. These squares and routes can also change depending on other moves and opponents' moves.

(Potentially) There are eleven Escape squares (nine for a Princess-royal) with a Queen having nineteen Escape routes and a Princess-royal nine Escape routes.

The rule variation can be designated as with Escape routes or with Passageways, with Underground passageways, with Secret passageways or even with Secret underground passageways.

When in a winning position or when attacking players may need to be aware of Escape squares/routes in a similar way as they may need to be aware of Stalemate possibilities.

 

Information Table

 

 

 

 

 

The Game of Storm

 

Introduction

Storm has two Board variations (10x8 squares and 10x10 squares) and is based on Capablanca chess - invented by Jose Raul Capablanca. As with Capablanca chess the games often produce complex tactics. Although playing these games on a 10x10 board can produce these complex tactical positions on a 10x8 board it has been noted when playing Capablanca Chess that the pieces are quicker to engage and so this is considered here to be the main and preferred board size, but the 10x10 board is not precluded from anything. Jose Raul Capablanca was a world Western chess champion.

Also included is the game variation of Crossfire and a further game variation is set out in Further thoughts - Other possible games etc. - Storm Force 24 (also see the game variation of Breakout in this section of Further thoughts, and Breakout also describes a further variation possibility).

 

Background

Many centuries ago it is surmised that the dwellers of the huge Emerald Forest moved into the uncharted regions and dispersed to many other areas where they eventually settled and did not return - there may have been conflict involved but this is not recorded or if so has been lost. The two Castles that were originally built situated north and south of the Forest became overgrown and crumbled away and were not rebuilt. A few of the Forest dwellers it seemed remained however and over a very long period of time they formed two separate and self-governing regions at the north-most and south-most of the forest but did not venture beyond the forest and so the one-time explored regions became uncharted regions once again – at least to the dwellers of the Emerald Forest. However there came a time when all the dwellers wished to explore and map the uncharted regions and also to appoint a group of dwellers to oversee this (called the Guardians of the Forest); but there were differences as to the policies and details of this and also as to who (a Principal guardian) would lead the group of Guardians. This led to a general dispute on how both the forest and the uncharted regions should be organised and governed and eventually a battle became unavoidable.....

 

Object

The object of the Battle (game) is to take Captive (checkmate) the opposing Queen and this wins the battle.

 

 

Board at commencement

Note that only the 10x8 board is shown but the commencing array is the same for a 10x10 board.

 

 

http://www.chessvariants.com/membergraphics/MSa-chess-set/image011.jpg

 

 

Moves of Pieces

When Protecting the Queen she now moves three squares towards the relevant Tower instead of two as does the King in Western chess castling.

Western chess comparisons for piece moves are as follows:

A King – he is identical to the Queen

A Queen – she is identical to the King

A King’s or Queen’s tower - its powers are identical to Rooks

A King’s or Queen’s knight – his powers are identical to a Knight

A Service-maiden – her powers are identical to a Bishop

 

A Forester – his or her powers are as a Pawn except for when promoting on reaching their end rank. Alternately placed Foresters are boys/girls (or men/women) but they need not face each other.

Promotion (compulsory) choices for Foresters are: Either to be exchanged (they actually free them) for a captured fellow King, Prince or Princess or to promote to an Aristocrat (he/she is the same as a Siege-tower - see note below on Siege-towers), a Knight (he/she is the same as a Knight and not distinguished between a King’s or a Queen’s Knight) or a Noble (he/she is the same as a Bishop). Note that the title of Dame has been replaced by that of Knight.

In freeing a captive King etc. a Forester is taken captive themselves, but at the end of the battle they are rewarded for their bravery.

 

A Prince – his powers are explained below with reference to the diagram

A Princess – her powers are explained below with reference to the diagram

 

The moves of the Prince and Princess are described with reference to the following diagram where they are situated on an empty board. The squares shown in the diagram in black are the example squares they are occupying. The Prince and Princess can first move the same as the Knight and these squares are called the strike squares and are coloured orange in the diagram; they can move to or capture on these squares like the Knight i.e. regardless of any intervening dwellers. From the strike squares the Prince or Princess can then continue along the associated follow-through squares (or Paths) as shown in the diagram coloured yellow - they can slide along these follow-through squares to move or capture in the manner of the Rook for the Prince or in the manner of the Bishop for the Princess.....they cannot jump (or leap) over any dwellers situated on the follow-through squares.....they cannot leap (or jump) over a strike square that is occupied i.e. if a strike square is occupied by any piece then the Prince or Princess cannot move to or capture on the associated follow-through squares.....if a strike square is occupied by an opposing piece then the Prince or Princess can capture this piece but cannot move to or capture on the associated follow-through squares. The follow-through paths are as shown in the diagram and cannot be varied by turning off from the strike squares at any other angles to those shown - these paths are described as of ongoing direction and most closely match the direction of the associated Knight’s move.

 

http://www.chessvariants.com/membergraphics/MSa-chess-set/image012.png

 

 

Further Rules and Notes

The Prince and Princess can give rise to a form of triple check and blockable double check (neither of these are possible with the Western or Capablanca pieces - this often refers to the extra pieces in Capablanca chess) as well as the usual form of non-blockable double check. There is also in Further thoughts - Further pieces a description of a possible modification of the Prince's moves and possible combination pieces are mentioned along with a piece called the Storm Emperor, though none of these currently appear in Storm or its variations.

Capturing and captured dwellers are usually stated as taking captive and held captive.

Green has been included in the colours of the pieces as representing the Emerald Forest. The reason for south’s dark green and north’s light green (see Table) is so that the Queens have some of the colour of their commencing squares (see board) – this accords with current Western chess where the white Queen commences on a light square and the black Queen on a dark square - but there should not be a great deal of these green colours used.

 

Representational:

The Southern Prince and the Southern Princess are non-forceful dwellers unlike their forceful Northern counterparts – this is because the Southern dwellers have chosen a different form of rule to those of the north as is seen in Crossfire – see later - this has no practical effect on the game however.

Once a Tower has been or can no longer be used to Protect the Queen it becomes a King's or Queen's Siege-tower (and is manned as is a Tower) to reflect its greater freedom to attack and fittings should be added to the piece to show this, or alternately a separate piece of different appearance can be placed on the appropriate square - it is no different in effect from a Rook of Western chess though.

Service-maidens can be distinguished by the fact that those on lighter squares are light haired whereas those on darker squares are dark haired and they are usually called such e.g. the Northern light haired Service-maiden.

 

Board variation

If played on a 10x10 board then the only difference to the rules of the 10x8 board is the initial move of the Forester who then has an additional option of moving three squares as well as the usual one or two. The en-passant rules and logic also apply to this additional optional move. Sometimes a 10x10 board would be played at the very highest level but the 10x8 board would generally be preferable.

 

 

Game variation - Crossfire

 

Introduction

Crossfire is effectively the playing of Capablanca chess against Storm and the Capablanca pieces (dwellers) are also effectively deployed as in Capablanca chess. The Capablanca pieces are at a material disadvantage since the Precedent and the Adviser are not as powerful as the Northern Prince and the Northern Princess. There are however two advantages for the Capablanca pieces to offset this: firstly is that the Capablanca pieces are always south in any meaningful game or tournaments or matches or suchlike and so always move first and secondly the Northern Princess is the only major piece in the game that cannot force checkmate with the lone help of the Queen against a lone Queen – the Adviser of the Capablanca pieces can. Notwithstanding this Crossfire is tactically complex enough to offer enough scope for possible winning chances to either side and games may be even more tactically complex than Storm. Note that with Crossfire, as with Storm, the Southern King is forceful as also is his Precedent and his Adviser unlike the Southern Prince and Princess in Storm.

The player with the Capablanca pieces is described as having the Precedent and Adviser.

 

Crossfire Background

This is as for Storm.

 

Crossfire Object

This is as for Storm.

 

 

Crossfire Board for the Southern Dwellers at commencement

Note that the Northern Dwellers are deployed as shown for Storm.

 

http://www.chessvariants.com/membergraphics/MSa-chess-set/image013.jpg

 

 

 

Rules to crossfire

The rules are nearly the same as for Storm and so mostly only differences are given as follows:

As shown on the board at commencement the deployment patterns have some differences. The only pieces (but see Foresters below) that differ from Storm are the Precedent and the Adviser whose moves, as per Western chess comparisons, are as follows:

The Precedent – he can move both as can a Rook or a Knight.

The Adviser – she can move both as can a Bishop or a Knight.

Foresters only differ in some promotion choices i.e. they can be exchanged (they actually free them) for a captured Precedent or Adviser (as well as a fellow captured King), otherwise their choices are the same as for Storm.

 

Further Rules and Notes to Crossfire

The notes on the two board variations given in the introduction for Storm also apply to Crossfire.

The notes of Storm including that on the board variation also apply to Crossfire.

 

Although the effectiveness of a piece depends on a number of factors, the following is a somewhat subjective ranking of the five most powerful pieces in Crossfire in descending order:

1. The Prince

2. The King

3. The Precedent

4. The Princess

5. The Adviser

 

The material advantage of the Storm pieces (the Prince and the Princess) over the Capablanca pieces (the Precedent and the Adviser) can be seen here and one of their advantages is that they can attack along the board into the opposing position whilst being shielded (the commencing position shows this) whereas the Precedent and the Adviser (or the King) cannot do this without leaving a line of attack open against themselves.

The King is the only one of these pieces with no leaping abilities but later on in a game when the board becomes more open he may become the most powerful piece due to the many squares his lines of attack can cover when they are not blocked.

With her leaping abilities and four forward lines of attack the Princess may well be as powerful as even the King in the opening and middle game but, as stated earlier, she cannot force Checkmate (with just both Queens also on the board) as can all these other pieces.

Various possible exchanges of the powerful pieces listed above can lead to a number of different asymmetrical combinations of these pieces opposing each other in Crossfire (and Storm and also Capablanca chess), and some players find such asymmetry gives interesting scope to a game; also these exchanges can sometimes lead to a game with some resemblance to Western chess, particularly on a 10x8 board and (contrastingly with symmetry) with King v King of the powerful pieces, and so Western chess is not entirely lost with these games.

 

 

The tables below show the possible Line-ups of the Storm games where each side has only one of the powerful pieces:

http://www.chessvariants.com/membergraphics/MSa-chess-set/lp002.jpg

 

It has been said that the Precedent and Adviser of Capablanca chess are the two most popular "variant" pieces (those outside of Western Chess).

 

In all variations individual pieces are usually referred to as Northern or Southern but Orange or White is allowed and in addition and also in all variations the Northern/Orange (but not the Southern/White) King, Queen, Prince and Princess can be referred to as the Storm.....e.g. the Storm King or the Storm Princess etc. - thus by referring to e.g. 'the Storm Prince' this would specifically mean the Northern/Orange Prince but by referring to 'the prince of the game storm' this would be a general reference to either piece, but see Further thoughts - Name changes etc

Players in all variations are usually referred to as the Northern Guardian or the Southern Guardian but Orange Guardian or White Guardian is allowed as is simply North or South or simply Orange or White.

The games of Storm and Crossfire and the two board variations can be combined into a single procedure of choosing for tournaments, matches or social or exhibition play or suchlike. The procedure for deciding what is to be played is that the host organiser or player sets the board upmost to 10x8 squares or 10x10 squares to decide the board variation and then the guest player chooses the Storm or Crossfire pieces to decide the game variation – sides are decided as shown in the Information table. Choosing in reverse order is also possible.

 

Representational

The southern dwellers of the Emerald forest have, unlike the northern dwellers, chosen their form of rule to include a formal Precedent and Adviser and the positional order of those with executive authority/powers is:

King

Queen

Precedent

Adviser

 

The northern dwellers of the Emerald forest do not have a formal Precedent or Adviser and their positional order of those with executive authority/powers is:

 

King

Queen

Prince

Princess

 

 

Information Table

 

 

 

 

 

The Games

 

II) Additional Games

Introduction

The Additional Games here have a few ideas not included in those of A Chess Set and all have features that could be considered very much as novelties and the games are now a long way from the base games of Steps and are too individualistic to be included in any group of games as set out in part two.....this does not however mean they have any less to offer to those who may be interested in Chess games and one or two of the novelties contained in them are, so far as I am aware, unique to such games.....

 

 

 

The Game of RiverQi

 

Introduction

RiverQi (one word where Qi is pronounced as in the English word key) has a few changes from Chinese chess that it is based on and of these the most significant one is the rule on crossing the River as explained in moves of pieces that follows - the effect of this change is to have a River of 18 squares that has much strategic and tactical significance in the game whereas in Chinese chess the River has no actual effect. In addition to this the Foot soldiers have influence on and around the River though they promote one square later than the Soldier of Chinese chess and Horses have been replaced by the more mobile Warrior knights. There are also two game variations described.

 

Background

Spoken Legends and Myths tell of this battle in that it is known the battle takes place in the River Territories and these legends and myths also tell of the centuries-old conflict of QiPlacements.....Lore speaks of the stream of QiPlacements from centuries earlier becoming this large River over time and lore also speaks of there having been internal strife within the Blue and Green houses since the time of QiPlacements with new lines replacing them although houses and territories were renamed by the time of RiverQi without reference to colour.....the dispute over the (now) River has not diminished over time however and has increased as the River itself has grown in size and the belief in its magical healing powers has also increased as the beneficial effects of the River are becoming more apparent and once again battle is about to break out over rights to the River of many bridges as it has become known.....

 

Object

The object of the Battle (Game) is to Checkmate the opposing Empress and this wins the battle and secures priority over rights to the River of many bridges.

 

 

Board at commencement

 

 

 

Moves of Pieces

 

The Rule on crossing the River referred to earlier is that no piece is allowed to cross directly from one territory to the other either by way of move or by way of capture without first landing on a River square (these eighteen squares can be called bridges). If a piece is situated on the River then there are no such restrictions. The rule has no effect on most pieces however.

Capturing and moving powers by comparison to Western chess/Chinese chess are:

An Empress – she is identical to the General of Chinese chess.

A Chariot is identical to the Chariot of Chinese chess except that the rule on crossing the river applies to it.

A Cannon is identical to the Cannon of Chinese chess except that the rule on crossing the river applies to it. Note that the rule’s application depends on the Cannon’s finishing square and not where the “screen” is – the screen could be on the River as well as in a territory.

A Warrior knight – he is identical to the Knight of Western chess and so he can now leap - unlike the Horse of Chinese chess that he replaces.

A Defender – he is identical to the Elephant of Chinese chess and so he can only use seven squares that include two on the River.

A Shieldsman – he is identical to the Guard of Chinese chess and so he is confined to his Fortress and can only use five squares.

A Foot soldier – he is identical to the Soldier of Chinese chess except that he promotes on his seventh rank to a Leading Foot soldier and not on his sixth rank. The seventh rank is after crossing the River.

A Leading Foot soldier – he is identical to the Promoted Soldier of Chinese chess except that as stated he has been promoted on his seventh rank.

 

Further Rules and Notes

Empresses may not face each other along an otherwise (between them) unoccupied file as the two Generals may not in Chinese chess. Also like the General an Empress is confined to her Fortress.

Pieces are 3D and not disc-like as they are in Chinese chess.

Note that Generals in Chinese chess are piece names and not player names as they are in RiverQi.

Crossing a river would in reality most likely slow down combating forces as it actually does for Chariots and Cannons in RiverQi, but the increased mobility of the Warrior knights in RiverQi over the Horses in Chinese chess results in a more level number of moves required to cross the River for the stronger pieces and may lead to increased cohesion of pieces.

Players or sides or individual pieces are usually referred to by Yellow or Red but Northern or Southern is allowed.

 

Representational

The title of Empress is nominal only as neither Empress has rule over other Territories and will not do so even if their Combatants win the battle.

Shieldsmen also wield Swords.

Chariots and Cannons are manned.

The River does indeed have many bridges.

 

Game variations

The above variation of RiverQi can be considered as the main variation and would be described as the Soldier variation if a distinction with the following two variations were required. The two variations are called the Hawker variation and the Water-horse variation and are as follows:

 

The Hawker variation (see Further thoughts - Name changes etc.)

This only differs from the Soldier variation in that Soldiers are replaced by Hawkers with Hawks and the moves of these are as follows (note that much of this is representational):

Five Hawkers are initially deployed on the same squares as Soldiers and each of them carries a Hawk.

A Hawker moves to and captures on one position vertically forwards as does a Soldier until he has reached the opposing Territory on his seventh rank when the following takes place:

Each Hawker carries with him a Hawk that is a trained hunting bird and will attack opposing Combatants situated in the opposing Territory.

Each Empress has instructed all her Hawkers to release their Hawks upon reaching the opposing Territory.

The Hawker releases his Hawk and withdraws from the battle and his Hawk is left by herself on the position that the Hawker was on.

The released Hawk can exercise her moving and capturing powers commencing on the next move.

If a Hawker is captured before releasing his Hawk, the Hawk is also captured.

A Hawk’s moving and capturing powers cannot be used before she is released.

A Hawk differs much from a Leading Foot soldier. A released Hawk is confined to the opposing Territory where she is released into and she cannot move or capture outside of this Territory (nor on the River). A Hawk can move along any path that is vertically forward, vertically backward or horizontal and land upon any unoccupied square along one of these paths regardless of any intervening Combatants, i.e. a maximum of nine squares if all are unoccupied – this moving ability is called flying. When capturing, however, a Hawk can only capture on one adjacent position that is vertically forward, vertically backward or horizontal i.e. a maximum of four possible squares. She can either move or capture on a move – she cannot do both on one move.

Also see Further thoughts - Further pieces, where other flying pieces of the mythological Dragon and Winged-serpents are described.

Notes

Hawks enable the possibility of a tactical attack or counter attack that may intensify the battle for control of the River.

Scores are the same as for the usual Soldier variation.

As a representational point Hawkers that have withdrawn from the battle after releasing their Hawks then guard any captured opposing Combatants.

 

The Water-horse variation (see Further thoughts - Name changes etc.)

In this variation that should be considered as an experimental variation with no scoring until more is known of it the Warrior knight is replaced by a manned Land-horse and he reverts back to having the move of the Horse of Chinese chess; and in addition to this:

Each side has two large Water-horses (a very representational piece) that are confined to the River and commence on squares B6 and H6 for Yellow and B5 and H5 for Red.

A Water-horse moves as does a Land-horse except that she can additionally move through her immediate diagonal squares, but these squares can still be blocked from her moving through in the same way that blocking occurs with a Land-horse and also note that her confinement to the River prevents some movement for a Water-horse.

Cannons are initially deployed on D7 and F7 for Yellow and D4 and F4 for Red.

 

 

Information Table

 

 

 

 

The Game of Siege

 

Introduction

The idea of Siege is for a game that is somewhat the opposite of games like Storm in that it is less sudden and perhaps more contemplative and is a game of manoeuvring and consideration of different parts of the board and I think it also likely that Siege would generally run to more moves than Storm.

There are in fact one or two novelty features in this game such as the availability of receiving advice from a player’s (called Commanders) adviser (called Staff officers) once in a game, probably at a critical point, and there are two possible ways of winning.

The Game of Siege came about when I was reading comments by Joe Joyce (a long-time inventor of Chess variants) some years ago who remarked that if something was not happening on one part of the board he liked the possibility of making something happen on another part – Siege was the result, but on a smaller board than Joe envisaged.

 

Background

For several years the Rocky Lands have been at war with itself over a number of major political differences and there have formed two separate groupings, with armies, known as the Northern Alliance and the Southern Alliance. There have been a number of inconclusive battles with only small parts of their armies, but now the major parts of the two armies have met at Hilltops Range (whose residents are themselves split on allegiance but do not take part in the battle) in what is the decisive battle of the war.

 

Object

There are two ways of winning Siege:

1. To take the opposing General prisoner (same as Checkmate), or

2. To Capture enemy headquarters.

 

 

Board at commencement

 

 

 

Moves of Pieces

 

A Note on the Hilltops:

The Hilltops, shown on the board (Hilltops range), are both high and almost vertical on all sides and are insurmountable without specialised equipment and so they are unusable by either set of Army Staff or Equipment (pieces) - this is of course very representational. These two areas therefore act as an edge to the board in their effect on how pieces move. The Hilltops cannot be occupied at all and they, or any part of them, cannot be moved over or captured over. Examples of the effects of the Hilltops are given in the section on moving and capturing powers.

 

A Note on Headquarters:

Each Headquarters, shown on the board, has been set up by the General and are the same as any other usual positions and have no effect on the moves or captures of any of the pieces except for the Banner carriers as explained below.

 

Initial deployment of pieces is as shown and their moving and capturing powers by comparison to the pieces of Western chess/Chinese chess etc. are:

 

A General - he is similar to a General in Chinese chess except that he is not confined to a Fortress. He can move to or capture on one position vertically forwards or vertically backwards or one position horizontally. The two Generals may stand on diagonal positions next to each other as neither attacks the other in this situation, and in contrast to Chinese chess they may face each other along empty files (or ranks). Note that the two Generals are not initially on the same file.

The effect of the Hilltops is that a General can move or capture along them with moves e.g. D3 to C3.

 

Banner carriers – these are a group of men who carry the Banner of each army though they and their Banner only occupy one position on the board and are treated as one piece. They can move to an unoccupied position that is one position diagonally forwards or an unoccupied position that is one position vertically forwards. They have no powers to capture opposing pieces or to check the opposing General except that they can capture the opposing group of Banner carriers with one of their usual moves. Since if one carrier were captured the rest of the group would carry on the group (piece) cannot be captured except by the opposing General (who takes the entire group as prisoners) or as already stated by the opposing Banner carriers (who also take the entire group as prisoners). If the Banner carriers reach and occupy either position of the enemy Headquarters then they have Captured Enemy headquarters and this wins the battle – it makes no difference if the position they have reached and occupied is under attack, even by the opposing General, and it makes no difference if the other position in the Enemy headquarters is occupied or not. If the Banner carriers are captured then the difference to the battle is that their Army then only has checkmate as the winning objective. The Banner carriers have been given the mission of Capturing Enemy headquarters and must stay on squares that enable them to reach enemy Headquarters and these are shown on the diagram of the board in a darker green (being forested) and so the Banner carriers must not stray off these darker coloured squares that lead to their goal – it can be seen that some of these squares can only be reached by one of the groups of Banner carriers.

To re-state: Banner carriers can only capture the opposing Banner carriers and the only other piece that can capture Banner carriers is the General.

The effect of the Hilltops is that Banner carriers can move or capture along them with moves e.g. for the Southern Alliance Banner carriers, E4 to E5 or across the diagonal edge with moves e.g. C3 to B4.

Note:

Other than the Hilltops’ restriction only the Banner carriers are restricted in their use of the board.

 

A Cavalryman - he is identical to a Knight in Western chess

The effect of the Hilltops is that a Cavalryman can move or capture around the outside of them with moves e.g. C3 to E4 or to B5. The Hilltops have dotted lines to help show what moves or captures are possible and what moves or captures would not be possible for a Cavalryman e.g. G3 to H6 is not possible.

A Scout - he is identical to a Bishop in Western chess.

The effect of the Hilltops is that a Scout will have his moving and capturing path cut off short in many positions, e.g. on D3 a Scout cannot move or capture to B5 or A6 though he can move or capture across the diagonal edges to E4, F5 or G6 etc .

 

A Cannon - It is identical to a Cannon in Chinese chess.

The effect of the Hilltops on the move of a Cannon is to cut the move off short e.g. from E5 it can only move horizontally to F5 though it has the full range of vertical moves along the E file as it can move along the sides of the Hilltops. The height of the two Hilltops is too much for the trajectory of the Cannon to fire over and so capturing moves are cut short e.g. a Cannon on C1 can only vertically capture on C3 (if C2 is occupied) though the full horizontal 1st rank is here available for capturing. Capturing can take place along the side of a Hilltops e.g. a Cannon on D3 can capture all along the 3rd rank.

 

A (Moveable) Stockade - this can simply be called a Stockade and it is identical to a Chariot in Chinese chess (or Rook of Western chess without castling rights).

The effect of the Hilltops on the move of a Stockade is to cut the move or capture off short e.g. from H7 it can only move or capture vertically to H6 or H8 though it has the full range of horizontal moves and captures along the whole 7th rank and a Stockade would have the full horizontal range of moves and captures along the whole 6th rank if positioned on H6 as it can move or capture along the side of a Hilltops.

 

An Infantryman – he differs from the Pawns of Western chess or the Soldiers of Chinese chess. He moves or captures one position diagonally forwards except that on his first move he has the option to move, but not capture, two positions diagonally forwards to the 4th rank and the first diagonal position must also be unoccupied as he cannot jump. Upon reaching his eighth rank an Infantryman can be exchanged for one of the following of his side’s pieces that is taken prisoner (captured):

A Cavalryman or

A Scout

If a Scout then the Scout’s original diagonals must match with those of the Infantryman’s (both are “colour-bound”). If no piece of the above is available then the Infantryman is promoted to a Senior infantryman and he can move to or capture on one or two positions diagonally in any direction (eight maximum) though he cannot jump but only “slide”. Where one or more pieces are available to exchange, a Player can still choose to promote the Infantryman to a Senior infantryman, but the Infantryman is not allowed to remain as an Infantryman.

The effect of the Hilltops on the move of an Infantryman or a Senior infantryman is that they can move or capture across the diagonal edges e.g. from G3 to F4 or C2 to E4 (first move or Senior infantryman) but not over an edge such as a Senior from G3 to I5. Also some Infantryman cannot make a two position move e.g. the Infantryman shown on B2.

 

Notes:

Each player may appoint and confer over a move with a Staff officer once during a game. This must take place away from the playing area and whilst the Player being advised has the move and so the time is then charged to his/her clock. The Staff officer to the Blue commander is called the Blue Staff officer and the Staff officer to the Grey commander is called the Grey Staff officer.

A Player does not have to appoint a Staff officer.

En passant type moves are not allowed (either by Infantrymen or Senior infantrymen).

The Banners in Siege are plain coloured and are the same as the basic colours of their sides (Alliances) i.e. dark blue and mid grey. The Banners are the same on both of their sides.


Game variation: For some it may be that it is more in keeping with the game for the Infantrymen not to have an optional two square first move and this could be called the Trench variation whereas having the two square option could be called the Field variation (though there is forested land further towards the middle of Hilltops range).....there is no reason why this option should not be decided between the players prior to a game by arrangement, traditional means, or by roll of dice or coin; and it is even possible for the board to be two sided with different colouring and/or markings for the second ranks to suit the variation.....object and scores and so forth are otherwise the same.

Further Game variation possibilities: It seems that both the above variations of Siege can be played where Infantrymen instead move as do Berolina pawns (this site has a page by this name describing this popular variant piece). The only difference to an Infantryman (Regular infantryman as a name? or Regulars for short? - perhaps) is that a Berolina infantryman (as a name? or Berolinas for short? - probably) captures (his non-capturing move is the same) one square vertically forwards and not diagonally as does a 'Regular'.....Subject to testing being OK there is again no reason why this should not be another option decided by players as described above, and games could be tagged e.g. Trench variation - Berolinas. An initial two square move (non-jumping & non-capturing & diagonal) option of a 'Berolina' would apply to the Field variation. The two types of Infantrymen would differ in appearance in order to show what option is being played.....Subject to testing being OK, object and scores and so forth would again be otherwise the same. 

 

Notes on Game variations

It may, I think, be better not to allow any en passant type rules for Berolinas as with Regulars; i.e. not allow this type of rule at all for Siege.

With regard to the exchange for a Scout by a Berolina the Scout's original colour must be that of the "promotion" square - Berolinas are not "colour-bound" as are Regulars and it may be possible for a player to play for the exchange of a Scout that would not be possible with a Regular (perhaps a slight advantage to a Berolina over a Regular in this regard, though a Regular can attack more squares - perhaps 60% or so as a rough average - compared to a Berolina and this greater attacking power may give Regulars the advantage overall compared to Berolinas as they may be able to better put into effect a break-through between or along the Hilltops).

Other variations are possible e.g. one side could play with Regulars and the other with Berolinas or these Infantrymen could be mixed for both sides, and a Siege group along the lines of those described in Part two: Grouping of Games might be possible, but these would require much testing and so at the moment are not considered mainstream and would score no points.....but there may be interesting potential and in the future.....?

 

Further Rules and Notes

There is no castling type move.

Any points that a winning Staff Officer receives are a matter for agreement between him and his Commander.

Players or sides or individual pieces can be referred to by the Northern/Southern Alliance or North/South or Northern/Southern or by Blue/Grey.

Should a situation occur where the capture of Enemy headquarters also left the opposing General in Checkmate there would not be additional points scored and there would still be three points scored for taking the opposing General prisoner as such a situation would be considered incidental only.

 

Representational

Siege is loosely based on the battle of Gettysburg that is considered the key battle in the American civil war of the nineteenth century CE.

The game is well suited to a possible role playing re-enactment.

The specially marked and coloured 10x8 board and the pieces and even players etc. should be highly representational and decorative and the board probably very large.

The direction pointer on the board is not intended to be reflective of army positions at the actual battle of Gettysburg.

The reason for taking the opposing General prisoner scoring more than Capturing enemy headquarters is that taking a General prisoner would likely bring the war to a fairly quick conclusion whereas the capturing of enemy Headquarters only would not likely do so as quickly.

Cannons are manned.

Personnel are on hand to move Stockades.

 

Information Table

 

 

 

 

The Game of Gyroscope

 

Introduction

Gyroscope uses the most short range of pieces on just a 5x5 board but despite this the uncommitted Royal piece can lead to complex and challenging situations and the game should test players far beyond the level of beginners. There are a few influences from the 1965 novel Dune by Frank Herbert - a novel that mentions a Chess variant game called Pyramid chess, though this game is much different to Gyroscope.

Gyroscope can be described as a Maze game.

 

Background

The game takes place in the future when two Directors of the Board of Dune (the governing body of the desert land known as Dune) require the services of an exceptionally capable trade broker known as the Silver broker of Dune city or simply as the Silver broker, and an agreement has been reached between the three that the Silver broker will contract his services for five years to the Director who the more proves his ability at Gyroscope game play, and so a game of Gyroscope has been organised that will decide who obtains the contract.

 

Object

The object of the Game is to Corner (Checkmate) the Silver Broker. The player who delivers this Checkmate move wins the game and so also wins the contract.

Unlike Western chess there is only one King here who is not on either side but can be attacked by both sides and he does not move unless he has to evade a check and then the player who would have had the move for his own pieces must instead move (or move with a capture) the Silver broker out of check or capture the checking piece with the Silver broker or the player can capture the checking piece with a piece of his own; after this move the player who made the checking move moves again. As can be seen players still move alternately in this situation. It should be noted that when the Silver broker is moved out of check he cannot move to a square attacked by a piece of either side i.e. any piece at all but he can capture a piece of either side i.e. any piece at all including of course the piece putting him in check (unless the capture puts him in check).

To restate: The Silver broker only moves (and not necessarily so then) when he is in check.

And also to restate: When a check is made to the Silver broker then any move or capturing move whatsoever must then leave him completely un-attacked by any piece of either side i.e. any piece at all.

 

 

Board at commencement

 

The above diagram is a 2D representation of the board and actual boards are usually 3D and shaped as a pyramid and vary considerably in size. It is possible to play on a 2D board however. The board is called the Pyramid of Dune board or the Market Pyramid of Dune board.

 

Moves of Pieces

Moves are made alternately, but see below.

The Silver broker is primarily coloured silver as his name suggests.

Moving on the same level of the Pyramid is called moving whilst moving up or down one level is called stepping though only the word moving will be used mostly - for simplicity. All pieces are capable of stepping or moving.

 

Initial deployment of the pieces is as shown on the board and together with their names and their moves are as follows:

The Silver Broker – he can move as a King of Western chess does and is Royal and must evade a Check etc.

A Guildsman – he can move as a King of Western chess does but is non-royal and so does not have to evade a check or capture etc. Guildsmen are not on the board at the commencement of a game.

A Tradesman – he moves one square vertically or horizontally. Upon reaching the top level of the Pyramid (square C3) he promotes (he must do so) to a Guildsman.

A Freeman – he moves as does the Knight of Western chess except that he is not a leaper as such and so he can only move to a square no more than one level up or down – as stated above this is known as stepping (the usual Western chess Knight could leap two levels on this board). As can be seen the Freeman cannot move to the top level of the Pyramid - his moves are however unimpeded as he can ‘Step over’ any intervening pieces.

A Bondsman – he moves one square diagonally. As can be seen the diagonal squares do not lead to the Pyramid’s top level and so no Bondsman can move to there.

As stated players move alternately, but if a player loses all his Members (pieces) he does not necessarily lose the game, but his opponent continues to move his pieces until Cornering (checkmating) occurs or if this is not possible the game is a draw. The player who has lost all his pieces still moves the Silver broker if he is put into check.

 

 

Further Rules and Notes

The squares of the board consist only of what are shown on the diagram and there are no hidden squares beneath those on a higher level.

 

Representational

The setting (of the board) is that it is the main Trading exchange centre of Dune and situated in the capital – Dune city. This centre is shaped like a pyramid and consists of a number of fine desks set out in exceptionally well fitted offices (the squares on the board can be called offices). This Trading exchange centre is usually called the Market pyramid of Dune whereby the more senior Exchange members occupy offices that are situated higher up the pyramid. Dune does not have a great deal of resources and the management of these scarce resources is considered of great necessity and Directors (the most senior of such managers) are on the Board of Dune who, as stated, are the governing body of Dune though the main boardroom is not actually in the pyramid. There are others besides Directors though that are on the Board of Dune such as scholars of various disciplines. The populace appoint members of the Board for ten years.

Pieces are members of the Trading exchange.

 

 

Information Table

 

 

 

 

 

The Games

 

III) The Jewel series games

 

Introduction

The ideas behind the Jewel series games are, in part, influenced by two computer applications for Western chess, one being Chessmaster Grandmaster edition (2007 with a chess engine by Johan de Koning) where there are different objectives to Checkmate in the mini games section, and the other being Majestic Chess (2004 with a chess engine by Dave Kittinger) where there are numerous targets and goals set and puzzles to be solved with rewards along a journey; and the Jewel games also have different objectives to Checkmate, at least of a piece but perhaps not so of a square.....(also see Further thoughts – Other possible games etc. – Object variation from TigerChess; though this is not intended as part of the Jewel series).....and there are also extra rewards available along the way.....Majestic Chess quotes former world (Western) Chess champion Anatoly Karpov as saying “The greatest game of all time just got better!”

Although they can be played as Stand-alone games the Jewel games are meant to be played primarily as a linked series of games in a Group of games and the workings of the group are explained in Part two: Grouping of Games. The alternate bonuses talked of in Grouping of Games are however described under each game that follows here.

Whilst it is customary (but not compulsory) to state ‘Check’ when a Royal piece is under attack this situation as such does not arise in the Jewel series and the more readily visible occupation of a Key position and its implications, or the less readily visible threat or possibility thereof, do not perhaps always suit such a statement and so there need be nothing said although possibly a statement of ‘Check’ in Northern Light or Lost Treasure may be said for attacking the appropriate pieces that are necessary to occupy a Key position in order to win (a Princess or a Leader) but again this is not compulsory and it may perhaps be better advised not to give warnings in these situations, but players must here decide for themselves.

 

 

The Game of Duel

 

Introduction and Background

This practice game for the Jewel series is suitable for beginners to play so as to introduce them to the idea of Key positions.....the background is that a Prince arrives in a castle after facing many perils battling through a forest to rescue a Princess but is confronted by a Guard, both are armed with swords and have a duel around a staircase (the B2 square and the Key position – explained later) that leads up to the room where the Princess is held captive – if the Prince wins he will rescue the Princess whereas if the Guard wins she will remain a captive.

There are influences in the background from the mythical tale of Sleeping Beauty by Charles Perrault.

 

Object

The object of the Duel (game) is to Win the Key position as explained later.

 

 

Board at commencement

 

 

Moves of Pieces

Moves are made alternately, but see below.

Both the Prince and the Guard move as the King’s lancer of LancerChess and are not impeded by the B2 square that they can jump over or land on or capture on.

 

As stated, the object is to Win the Key position (or simply to Win the key) as follows:

1. The Prince or Guard needs to have reached and occupied the Key position of B2.

2. The Prince or Guard must occupy the Key position for the immediate next turn of his opponent. This means that his opponent must capture him immediately or lose the game.

 

Players move alternately as stated above although if one side has his Prince or Guard captured then the opposing player may carry on moving until occupying the Key position and this wins.

 

 

Further Rules and Notes

Clocks would typically be Single-countdown of perhaps ten minutes for each player.

Players or Sides or pieces can be called Green/Red or North/South but usually the individual names of the Prince/Guard are preferred.

 

An example game is given where the Guard moves first:

1. Guard to B1 - if the Guard moved to either A1 or C3 he would be captured and the Prince would then proceed to Win the key position. Moving to C2 is effectively the same as B1.

1... Prince to A2 – any other move loses.....if the Prince moves to C3 then the Guard moves to B2 and Wins the Key position as he cannot be captured immediately as required.....if the Prince moves to A1 or B3 then the Guard captures him.

2. Guard to B3 – again any other move loses.....if the Guard moves to C1 the Prince moves to B2 and Wins the Key position as he cannot be captured immediately.....if the Guard moves to A1 or B2 then the Prince captures him.

2... Prince to C2 – once again any other move loses.....if the Prince moves to A1 the Guard moves to B2 and Wins the Key position whilst moving the Prince to B2 or A3 allows his capture.

And now both sides must jump back and forth across the Key position and the game ends by threefold repetition of moves/position. It is not possible to force a win.

 

Representational

The B2 square on the board are the Stairs and is called the Key position, but these do not impede the moves of either the Prince or the Guard and the board can be ornamented with Stairs.

 

 

Information Table

 

 

 

Pieces

 

 

The Game of Skirmish

 

Introduction and Background

Skirmish is the first game played in the Jewel series but could also be played for practice by players who are inexperienced in the idea of Key positions.....the background is that Long Long ago somewhere in a Forest kingdom a dispute arose as to rights of way between two patrolling sets of guards and this led to a Skirmish to decide what set of guards would have priority at a main crossroads.

 

Object and Moves

Object: The object is to Hold the Key position B2 (the Crossroads) and this is the same as to Win they Key position as in Duel except that any piece can do so, not just one.

 

 

Board at commencement

http://www.chessvariants.com/membergraphics/MSa-chess-set/skirmish.jpg

 

 

Moves of Pieces

Moves are made alternately, but see below.

The Crossroads do not impede the move of any sliding piece - a difference to others of the Jewel games (see Further thoughts - various).

Knight – he is identical to the Knight of Western chess

Pikeman – he is identical to the Pawn of Western chess except he has no initial option of moving two squares and upon reaching his end rank he must promote to a Pike commander.

Pike commander – he can move or capture one or two squares in any direction but cannot jump i.e. he can only slide (see Further thoughts - various).

 

As stated, the object is to Hold the Key position of B2 and to do this:

1. A Skirmisher (piece) needs to have reached and occupied the B2 Key position.

2. He must then Hold the Key position for the next turn of his opponent. This means that his opponent must capture him immediately or lose the game. If his opponent does capture him then he would then himself have reached and occupied the Key position and would himself win the game unless he is then likewise immediately captured and this condition continues until no capture is made. As can be seen Knights cannot actually occupy the Key position.

 

If any Skirmisher has captured the last opposing Skirmisher but is not occupying the Key position then he (or any other Skirmisher of the same side) may carry on moving until the Key position is occupied (if this is possible or if not possible then the game is a draw) and this wins the game.

 

Further Rules and Notes

Clocks would typically be Single-countdown of perhaps fifteen minutes for each player.

Players or Sides or pieces can be called Green/Red or North/South or as in the Information Table below.

Against an experienced player nothing more than a draw should be expected but an inexperienced player may perhaps make the wrong move.....

An example game is given where south moves first:

 

1. Southern knight captures C3 - a straightforward opening move

1... Northern knight captures A1 – and a straightforward reply

2. Southern knight to B1 – attacking north’s Pikeman on A3

2... Northern knight to B3? – attacking south’s Pikeman on C1 and seemingly the position is equal.....But.....

3. Southern pikeman to C2 – attacking north’s Knight and south wins in all variations (north needed to move his Knight to C2).....And.....

a) if north’s Knight tries to escape to A1 then south’s Pikeman promotes to a Pike Commander on C3 and.....if north moves his Knight to either B3 or C2 south will capture him next move and after north’s Pikeman moves to A2 (the only move) south will move his Pike Commander to Hold the Key position.....or if north's Pikeman moves to A2 then south's Pike commander moves to B2 and immediately holds the Key position.....

b) if north’s Knight tries to escape to C1 then south’s Pikeman again promotes on C3 and.....if north moves his Knight to B3 south will capture him next move and after north's Pikeman moves to A2 (the only move) south will move his Pike Commander to Hold the Key position.....or if north moves his Knight to A2 south will capture north's Pikeman next move and (after north moves his Knight) south will then move his Pike Commander to occupy the Key position.....or if north’s Pikeman moves to A2 then south’s Pike commander moves to B2 and immediately Holds the Key position.....

c) if north replies in kind with Pikeman to A2 then south promotes his Pikeman by capturing north’s Knight and.....if north then once again replies in kind by capturing south’s knight and so promoting his own Pikeman then south captures north’s Pike commander with his own and south will then move his Pike Commander to Hold the Key position.....or if north promotes on A1 instead of capturing south’s Knight on B1 then south plays - Pike commander to C2! and north cannot avoid the capture of his Pike commander on the next move and then south will move his own Pike Commander to Hold the Key position.

 

 

Information Table

 

 

 

 

 

The Game of Combat

 

Introduction

Combat is not so easy to calculate ahead as Duel and Skirmish and the first move may well give a definite advantage. It seems however that with correct play the game probably ends in a draw after fifteen or so moves but I am not certain of this and it is easy to go wrong.

There are some influences in the background of the story of the mythical Robin Hood – variations of this story are readily available on film and much is available elsewhere.

 

Background

The one-time noble, but now turned outlaw, prepared to loose the arrow of his longbow, but the target was not a person but a tree in the path of a hurrying armed troop of a King’s sheriff and the rules of chivalry demanded that the bowman give fair warning of the intended attack he was about to begin. The shot, though distant, was an easy one for the bowman who was considered possibly the finest archer in the entire Realm and he had indeed won the inaugural all-Realm archery tournament held just a short time earlier.

The causes of the attack about to take place in this long ago time had their origin some years previously when the most powerful King amongst the disputing kings and nobles of the Realm took up a cause in far distant lands but found the cost of his venture way beyond even his means to pay. This King, convinced of the necessity of his cause, decided to partly finance his coming expedition by means of taxing those inhabitants who were under his rule. This heavy tax was forced into being with little support from others of the nobility and was hugely unpopular amongst those who had to pay for it as they found the tax a great burden and could scarcely raise the amounts needed to pay for it.

The tax was levied and eventually collected but there were many who resented what they saw as an unjustified tax and some, including the bowman, decided they would rebel and take action to redress matters. Thus it was that when the collected taxes (of great value and now exchanged into gold coins) were being transferred to the King’s treasury, the bowman (who had received information of this transfer) and his supporters prepared to capture the chest of gold coins for re-distribution back to those who it had been (at least in the eyes of many) taken from unfairly.

 

Object

For Combat the object is also to Hold the key position as in Skirmish – square C3 and this wins the Battle (game).

 

 

Board at commencement

 

 

Moves of Pieces

 

Moves are made alternately, but see below.

The C3 square on the board is the Taxes chest and is the Key position but does not impede the moves of any of the combatants because they can all jump or leap.

 

Moves of pieces are:

The Bowman and the Sheriff move as the King’s lancers of LancerChess

Swordsmen (see Further thoughts - Name changes etc.) and Guardsmen move as the Queen’s lancers of LancerChess

Staffmen and Taxmen move as the Knights of Western chess.

 

 

As stated, the object is to Hold the key position and so:

 

1. A combatant of a troop needs to have reached and occupied the C3 Key position.

2. He must then Hold the key position for the next turn of his opponent. This means that his opponent must capture him immediately or lose the game. If he does capture him then he would then himself have reached and occupied the Key Position and would himself win the game unless he is then likewise immediately captured and this condition continues until no capture is made. Swordsmen and Guardsmen cannot actually occupy the Key position.

 

If any Combatant of a troop has captured the last Combatant of an opposing troop but is not occupying the Key position then he (or any other Combatant of his troop) may carry on moving until the Key position is occupied (if this is possible or if not possible then the game is a draw) and this wins the game.

 

 

Further Rules and Notes

If the winner of Skirmish has chosen the alternate bonus of moving first in Combat then there is of course no roll of dice or coin required to decide who moves first – although the winner of Skirmish may have won the roll of dice or coin anyway the advantage of moving first in Combat may be more than other games in the series (in that the side to move second, unless experienced, may have to be careful with moves throughout the game against an experienced player) and it may be that the winner of Skirmish will decide to make sure of first move in Combat – if that is he decides to choose the alternate bonus.

Clocks would typically be Single-countdown of perhaps thirty minutes for each player.

Players or Sides or pieces can be called Green/Red or North/South or as in the Information Table below.

 

Representational

The board can be ornamented with a taxes chest.

 

 

Information Table

 

 

 

 

 

The Game of Northern Light

 

Introduction

As with all the games of the Jewel series Northern Light does not have Checkmate as its winning objective but to Win the Key position - or simply to Win the Key - and so there is not a Royal piece as in usual Chess games though Northern Light has a Princess that could be thought of as a Semi-royal piece, and the Key position is what could be thought of as a Royal square as with other of the Jewel series games particularly in the background circumstances/story of the game. Despite these differences however a good amount of Chess is present in the game with most of the pieces of Western chess on the board and there are similar tactics and so forth, but there are also different strategies to those of usual Chess games due to the differing nature of Winning the Key position compared to Checkmating the Royal piece and this may require different piece manoeuvres that some may find an interesting change.

As with other of the Jewel series games Northern Light can be described as a Convergence game.

A variation game called Kaleidoscope is included though this game does not form part of the Jewel series.

 

Background

In a future time and in a Kingdom of Magical woods the Inhabitants are at a crossroads and possibly in a crisis, for a talismanic gemstone of great size and potency has been discovered in the Kingdom. This stone has been named as the Northern light and such stones with their potential for good are so rare as to be almost unknown and have attained near mythical status. The discovery of the stone has come at a time of dispute, for there are two young Princesses who have rival claims to the Kingdom’s vacant throne, and whoever succeeds with their claim will also take possession of this stone that has in the meantime been given over to the safe-keeping of trusted inhabitants of the Kingdom.

After much debate it has been agreed that the succession dispute and possession of the Northern light will be decided by means of a game where the rules of the game must be followed and it is a duty of care not to intentionally inflict injuries on opponents in the normal course of events.

The Princesses and their supporters have been designated for the purposes of the game as Green (north) and Red (south).

 

Object

For Northern light the Primary object is to Win the Key position – square D4 and this wins the Northern light gemstone (game). The winning Princess also succeeds in her succession dispute.

 

 

Board at commencement

 

 

 

Moves and Rules

Moves are made alternately, but see below.

The D4 square on the board is the Northern light itself and is the Key position and acts as a block to sliding pieces i.e. the Aristocrats and Nobles (described below) and these pieces cannot move over the D4 square, they can however like all pieces move to or capture on the D4 square. Knights (described below) are unimpeded in their movement by the D4 square.

 

Western chess comparisons for piece moves are as follows:

Princess – she moves as a King, but though of Royalty she is not vulnerable to check or checkmate and so two Princesses can occupy adjacent squares or capture each other etc. 

Aristocrat - he moves as a Rook (but being no castling, is more accurately described as a Chariot of Chinese chess)

Noble - he moves as a Bishop

Knight – he moves as a Knight

 

Page - he moves as do Pawns of Western chess but does not have an initial move option of moving two squares and so the en passant rules do not apply.

Upon reaching his end rank a Page must promote to an Aristocrat or a Noble/Equerry or a Knight.

An Equerry moves the same as a Noble except that his set of diagonals are not those of the Key position whereas a Noble's are and so an Equerry, not being impeded by the Key position, is relatively more free-moving and he should have some difference of appearance to a Noble.

 

As stated in the object, to win the game a Princess needs to Win the Key position (this can be called more simply as to Win the key) and for this to happen the following needs to occur:

A Princess needs to have reached and occupied the Key position of D4.

The Princess must occupy the Key position for the immediate next turn of her opponent. This means that her opponent must capture her immediately or lose the game. The opponent can capture the D4 occupying Princess with any of his pieces including his own Princess (who would then herself need to be captured immediately or would win the game).

The loss of a Princess does not necessarily lose the game as a draw may still be possible; however the loss of both Princesses results in a draw (by lack of material).

If one side has all his pieces captured then the opposing Player may carry on moving until Wining the Key (if possible, or the game is a draw).....note that this does not apply to Stalemate situations that can occur in Jewel games where a player has one or more pieces but, on his move, cannot move any of them - this is a draw.....also there is no equivalent in the Jewel games of a move disallowed, as there is in games such as Western chess etc., of moving into Check.....and also a player may not voluntarily pass a move in any of the Jewel games (see Further thoughts - various).

 

Further Rules and Notes

If the winner of Combat has chosen the alternate bonus then his time allowed for Northern Light is 50% more than that of his opponent. This increase would be set for the parts making up his timing.

The capture of a Princess does not score any additional or bonus points.

There is no significance in a piece occupying D4 other than a Princess.

The capture of the opposing Princess ensures at least a draw and so can be considered a Secondary object that effectively scores a half point - as much as the player would effectively further score for subsequently Winning the Key.

There is no castling type move (see Further thoughts - Various).

Although there is no castling the Key position can shield a Princess from attacks by Aristocrats and Nobles, and the Nobles all move on the same diagonals as the Key position is on and so the other set of diagonals are safer from attack in a different way.

Giving Pages a two square initial move option could give the first side to move too much of an initiative on this size board and the en passant rules could be too influential - Pages as they are take five moves to promote, the same as Pawns do in Western chess but only when they first move two squares - they take six otherwise, on average then Pages take less moves to promote than Pawns, but on average they take more moves to cross the centre of the board and move into opposing territory - three, whereas for Pawns it is two or three depending on their first move.

Players or Sides or pieces can be called Green/Red or North/South or as in the Information Table below.

 

Representational

Being unimpeded by the D4 square an Equerry may be advantageous in certain situations and as a promoted and free-moving Page who is young he may be considered a dashing young officer with a bright future - should his Princess succeed that is.

The board’s D4 square should have a suitable Northern light gemstone ornament.

 

 

Information Table (as a Group game)

 

http://www.chessvariants.com/membergraphics/MSa-chess-set/p112.jpg

 

Differences as a Stand-alone game are:

South moves first.

Choice of sides is decided by arrangement, traditional or by roll of dice or coin.

 

 

Game variation - Kaleidoscope

Kaleidoscope can be played as a Stand-alone variation of Northern Light and the following differences and points apply:

The object of the game is to Encircle the opposing Duchess – Encirclement is identical to Checkmate and so players should say 'Check' when the Duchess is under attack but this is not compulsory.

The Princesses are replaced by Duchesses who are identical to the Kings of Western chess. The Duchesses are, like the Princesses, young, but not quite as young.

The board is identical except that the D4 square should have an ornamental Crown (called the Woodland crown) instead of an ornamental Northern light gemstone - the D4 square still acts as a block to sliding pieces in the same way as with Northern Light.

Stalemate applies to Kaleidoscope as in Western chess.

South moves first.

Choice of sides is decided by arrangement, traditional or by roll of dice or coin.

Scores are one Satellite game point for a win and a half each for a draw.

The background and representational points of Northern Light also apply to Kaleidoscope except that the rivals are the Duchesses instead of the Princesses.

In other respects the games are the same (but see Further thoughts - Various, regarding castling type moves).

Both Northern Light and Kaleidoscope are talked of further in Parallel chess in Part two: Grouping of Games.

 

 

 

 

The Game of Crystal of Doom

 

Introduction

Crystal of Doom is likely to be a more tactically complex game than Northern Light and many pieces could become involved in the struggle to achieve the game’s object of Securing the Key position. There is though still much in the way of the usual tactics and objectives of Chess but there is no ‘Semi-royal’ piece as with Northern Light and the placement of pieces may have the Key position much in mind.

 

Background

The talismanic Crystal of Doom lies at the centre of an overgrown and crumbled labyrinth in a jungle and two rival sets of forces have arrived and both seek to gain possession of this talisman. The whereabouts of this crystal have long been unknown and only a legend of a far away land and time but its location has now finally been discovered. Inside the labyrinth are writings about previous adventures concerning the Cloaked Kingdom and amongst the writings is the story of the time in the far distant past when a wicked magician attempted to usurp the rule of this kingdom and in order to make himself invulnerable placed his heart at the top of a seemingly impregnable tower and so the wicked magician believed he could not be harmed and would succeed in his plans but here the story becomes less easy to read but it seems a young Prince ended his wicked ambitions (see Arabella earlier).

The discovery of the crystal has rather polarised those of the rival forces (pieces). Those of the northern forces believe that this legendary gemstone will always bring harm and disaster upon those using it whilst those of the southern forces believe that with understanding the crystal can be used to beneficial effect. Both sides now seek to secure possession of this gemstone. The northern forces will if they secure possession put an end to it whilst the southern forces may if they secure possession seek to use it.

Both sides have arrived at the labyrinth and will now battle to secure possession of the crystal.

 

Object

The object of Crystal is to Secure the Key position – square E5 and this wins the Crystal of Doom (game). This is somewhat more complicated than Holding or Winning the Key position and is explained in the rules section.

 

 

Board at commencement (see Further thoughts - Name changes etc.)

 

 

 

Moves of Pieces

Moves are made alternately, but see below.

The E5 square is the Crystal of Doom and is the Key position and as with Northern Light acts as a block to sliding pieces i.e. the Chargers and Attackers and these pieces cannot move over the E5 square but can however like all pieces move to or capture on the E5 square. This square has no effect on the movement of other pieces though.

 

Moves by (mostly) Western chess comparison are:

A Cloaked prince – he has the combined moves of a Knight of Western chess and a Queen’s lancer of LancerChess.

An Adjacent - he moves as a King of Western chess but is not vulnerable to check or checkmate etc. and so is not “Royal”.

An Attacker - he moves as a Bishop of Western chess.

A Leaper – he moves as a Knight of Western chess.

A Charger - he moves as a Rook of Western chess (or as there is no castling, rather as a Chariot of Chinese chess).

An Advancer - he moves as a Pawn of Western chess including the initial two square move and the en passant rules apply.

An Advancer must promote on his end rank to an Adjacent, an Attacker, a Leaper or a Charger. If he promotes to an Attacker on the set of diagonals that the Attackers do not cover he is called a Raider.

 

As stated the object is to Secure the key position and for this to happen any piece must first occupy the position but here the opponent does not need to immediately capture this occupying piece but does need to at least maintain an attack (after completing his move) on this occupying piece whilst this piece occupies the Key position or will lose the game – should the occupying piece be captured then the same conditions will then apply with regard to the now opposing occupying piece and this would continue if there were further captures.

If one side has all his pieces captured then the opposing player may carry on moving until Securing the key (if possible, or the game is a draw).

 

Further Rules and Notes

If the alternate bonus applies then the piece advantage means that the player with the advantage commences with two Adjacents whereas his opponent commences with only one Adjacent and he must place only one on his choice of side of the board, or alternately he can choose to have a Crystal prince, who moves as a Knight of Western chess and a King’s Lancer of LancerChess, instead of a Cloaked prince – a Crystal prince attacks more squares than does a Cloaked prince on most of the board (56 of 81 squares) - see Further thoughts - Name changes etc.

Although an additional Adjacent is a greater material advantage than a Crystal prince over a Cloaked prince the advantage of choosing a Crystal prince over an additional Adjacent is that he can be brought into the game early on and perhaps make a quick impact whereas an Adjacent is shorter ranged and may take significantly longer to make an impact.

There is no castling type move.

 

Representational

The board can have an ornamental Crystal on the E5 square.

 

 

Information Table

 

 

 

 

 

The Game of Lost Treasure

 

Introduction

Lost Treasure is likely to have a slower build up than Crystal of Doom due to only two pieces on each side being able to win the game and the game’s object of Capturing the Key position could be thought of as a combination of those of Northern Light and Crystal of Doom.

 

Background

The Lost Treasure has been more myth than reality for many centuries and supposedly was somewhere within a huge island known as the Lost World but none knew where this was.....however exploration within a permanently foggy part of one of the great oceans has indeed revealed a huge island and an initial exploratory expedition has reported that there is indeed a vast amount of treasure within caverns that are at the centre of this island. The Island appears to be uninhabited but.....it may not be.....and two rival expeditions have set sail to recover this Treasure. The voyages are long and both have set off from the Realm – one from a northern region called Forestasia and this is the Northern expedition and one from a southern region called Anglonia and this is the Southern expedition (see Further thoughts - Name changes etc.).....there are a number of personnel on board the expedition ships including the Recorders. The worth of the Treasure is thought to exceed that of the rest of the world put together.

Forestasia’s expedition will, if successful, use the Treasure to assist with the natural world of life and suchlike and also education whilst Anglonia’s expedition will, if successful, use the Treasure for private purposes.

 

Object

The object of Lost Treasure is to Capture the Key position – square F6, and this wins the Treasure (game) and is explained in the rules section.

 

 

Board at commencement

 

 

 

Moves of Pieces

Moves are made alternately, but see below.

The F6 square is the Treasure and is the Key position and as with Northern Light and Crystal of Doom acts as a block to sliding pieces i.e. the Captains and Navigators and these pieces cannot move over the F6 square but can however like all pieces move to or capture on the F6 square. This square has no effect on other pieces though.

 

 

Moves per Western chess comparisons are:

 

Leader – he moves as a King but is not vulnerable to check or checkmate etc. and so is not Royal.

Navigator - he moves as a Bishop

Armed escort - he moves as a Knight

Captain - he moves as a Rook (or as there is no castling rather as a Chariot of Chinese chess).

 

Orderlies move as the Pikemen of LancerChess but do not have the initial two square move option.

Orderlies must promote on their end (8th to 11th) ranks to either a Navigator, an Armed escort or a Captain.

 

As stated the object is to Capture the Key position and this is the same as Securing the Key position as explained in Crystal of Doom but to win Lost Treasure the occupying piece must be an Expeditionary leader and not any piece as in Crystal of Doom - there is no significance in any other piece occupying the Key position.

If one side has all his pieces captured then the opposing player may carry on moving until Capturing the key (if possible, or the game is a draw).

 

 

Further Rules and Notes

If the alternate bonus applies then the take back one move advantage means that the player may, before completing his current move, take back his immediately preceding move - the position on the board is adjusted accordingly and play proceeds from there, but clocks however are not usually adjusted.

There is no castling type move

 

Representational

The board can have ornamental objects as representational of items of Treasure on the Key position square of F6.

 

 

Information Table

 

 

 

 

 

The Game of Relay

 

Introduction

Relay is a game of three stages where each stage is larger than the one before and could be described as a series of Race games and the use of a dice brings a fairly large element of luck into the game though it is not without skill and the game can be played by teams of up to three players. It is very broadly based on Backgammon, but perhaps more so on Ludo - the rules to both these games are readily available. There are two standard variations: the Running variation and the Obstacle variation, and the relatively few rule differences are noted - the Obstacle variation is the one used as the tie-break game for the Jewel series.

Games in A Chess Set do not use a dice during the course of play when moves are made, but sometimes a game involving the luck of a dice may make a change from Chess and with Relay even an inexperienced player has a chance of winning against a strong player.

 

Background

A game in the Jewel series has finished in a draw and because games must be decided as they happen the game of Relay is played and this consists of up to three races that take place in the stadium of a running club.

 

Object

The object of the game of Relay is for both a player’s runners to return to their Starting/Finishing square (see Further thoughts - Various) before both the opposing runners do so – this wins a race, and the first to win two races wins the game. After players have started the Starting squares then become the Finishing squares.

 

Board at Commencement (see Further thoughts - Name changes etc.)

 

http://www.chessvariants.com/membergraphics/MSa-chess-set/rlbd.jpg

 

 

Moves and Rules

 

Moves are made alternately.

Each side has two runners (can be a boy and a girl) for each of their three distances as shown on the board i.e. short, middle and long.

Prior to starting each race the runners are situated as shown on the board and these are called their Waiting squares – D2/D6 and D1/D7 and D-Southern surrounds/D-Northern surrounds. The runners' corresponding Starting squares are D3/D5 and D2/D6 and D1/D7.

One standard dice or preferably a Runich dice of suitable size – see later, and a rolling cup are needed for races. For the middle and long distance races all six sides of the dice are used. For the short distance race only amounts of one to three are used to move runners and the method used is that if a four, five or six is thrown then the number on the opposite side of the dice is turned up and shown and used. Opposite sides of a standard dice add up to seven and so this method works to give equal chances to moves of one two or three squares.

Players start first with the Short distance race and these runners are then moved to their Starting squares of D3 and D5. The first player to move throws the dice and must move a runner clockwise the number of squares he has thrown on the dice and so if he has thrown a two (or a five) he would move a runner to square C4. After the first move the opponent does likewise and moves one of his runners clockwise according to the throw of the dice and were this a four (a three is opposite to this) he would move one of his runners three squares to square E3. Successive moves are simply made in this way until and unless a runner is sent back to their waiting square.

Sending back means that a runner on the track must return back to his Waiting square and so to complete his race he must start again. There are two ways to send back an opposing runner and they are what are called forward sending back and diagonal sending back. Forward sending back occurs when a runner lands on a square with a single opposing runner on it who is then sent back. Diagonal sending back occurs when the square that a runner lands on leads diagonally across clockwise to the next side of the board with a single opposing runner on it e.g. if a runner landed on C4 then a single opposing runner on D5 would be sent back; example squares from the Long distance track are A3 sending back on E7; D7 sending back on G4; G3 sending back on E1 and so forth. The central square of D4 is the Clubhouse (a representational point) and acts as a block to diagonal sending back however and so a runner landing on any corner square cannot diagonally send back an opposing runner.

As can be seen it is possible for a sending back to occur both forwards and diagonally on the same move and this is called a Double sending back.

If a square is occupied by two runners of the same side then neither may be sent back and this is called a Protected square and the runners are called Protected runners – an opposing runner may still land on such squares however. As can be seen it is possible for one runner of each side to occupy a square and this is called a Critical square as a runner landing on it sends back the opposing runner whilst he and his fellow runner are then Protected runners. Squares can also be safe from a sending back if no possible dice roll can do so and these are called Safe squares and any runners on them are called Safe runners. Note that all these situations are only while they last as such and would constantly change.

A player may not choose to pass a move.

 

Running variation - for a runner that has been sent back a player must re-enter (see Further thoughts - Various) him to the race from his waiting square to his starting square on the player's next turn (the dice is not thrown) and he may not send back an opposing runner when this happens - effectively he loses a turn but re-entering back to the starting square does not constitute passing a move.

Obstacle variation - for a runner that has been sent back a player may choose when to re-enter him to the race from his (safe) waiting square to his starting square (the dice is not thrown) but he may not delay re-entering if this would mean choosing to pass a move (for example, if his fellow runner finishes his race then he must re-enter without delay) and he may not send back an opposing runner when this happens - effectively he loses a turn but as with the Running variation the re-entering does not constitute passing a move.

Runners cannot block other runners when they are moving and a runner simply overtakes any runner in front of them if the throw of the dice takes them past them.

If a race has not ended after a set number of moves have been made by each player called the cut-off point (the numbers are stated later) the rules change and now there is no more sending back at all. The player who moved second when commencing the race now moves first for this phase of the race. The two phases of the race can be described as pre cut-off (this includes the set move number) and post cut-off. The object of the race is the same and should now be reached.

Note that it is not necessary for a player to throw the exact amount on the dice to land on their starting/finishing square for a runner to complete their race but only the minimum necessary and the runner then returns to (is placed on) the Clubhouse - a runner can send back an opposing runner with this move but only if on his Finishing square and only if the exact amount on the dice is thrown to land on it.

After the completion of the short distance race players then commence the middle distance race with first move reversed from the short distance race and the winner of the short distance race receives an extra throw of the dice to start with.

After the completion of the middle distance race players then commence the long distance race if needed – one of the players may have won the required two races, with first move reversed from the middle distance race and the winner of the middle distance race receives an extra two throws of the dice to start with.

 

The cut-off points for each race are as follows:

Short distance – Fifteen moves by each player

Medium distance – Twenty moves by each player

Long distance – Thirty moves by each player

 

 

Notes

There are further ways of playing a sending back besides the two variations given; for example a runner could be sent back to his waiting square and re-entering to his starting square (or dice counted square) could require the highest possible roll of the dice.

There could be more runners etc. but the above is standard.

If preferred the term Flat races can be used instead of the Running variation and Jump races instead of the Obstacle variation.

Players or Sides or pieces can be called simply North/South.

A different team member may play each race.

Starting/Finishing squares may differ in appearance from other squares.

With the Obstacle variation a player has the possibility of positioning runners to give more likelihood of sending back opposing runners and so an extra element of tactics/strategy is present that is not in the Running variation and some might prefer this.

 

 

Information Table

 

http://www.chessvariants.com/membergraphics/MSa-chess-set/rltb.jpg

 

Differences as a Stand-alone game are:

South moves first for the first (short distance) race.

Choice of sides is decided by arrangement, traditional means or by roll of dice or coin.

North colours are mainly Green, South colours are mainly Red.

The game takes place in the Relay Running stadium of Bridge Green.

The game takes place in the future.

For both variations Satellite game points for a win are one.

Different players may play the individual Races but how they share any winning point is a matter for agreement between themselves.

For both variations in exceptional or extraordinary circumstances Satellite game points might be awarded of a half to each side.

 

 

 

 

 

Part two: Grouping of Games

 

Introduction

As well as being Stand-alone games some of them may suggest themselves as forming a related group and where this happens they can be played as a grouped format by individuals or by teams of small numbers – up to four or so, large numbers would not allowed – and where additional points can be scored as a group bonus for an overall win as determined by total points scored for and against. Points for each individual game and bonus points are shown below - where teams play points are shared as they agree between themselves. Note that teams does not mean players consulting in a single game - this does sometimes happen and a well known Western chess game with this is noted below, and background and details of it are readily available:

Paul Morphy v Karl II, Duke of Brunswick and Comte Isouard de Vauvenargues in consultation.....this famous game was played in 1858 during an opera at an opera house in Paris and is sometimes called the Opera Game - Paul Morphy is regarded as the world's strongest Western chess player of his time and won the game on his 17th move with Checkmate following a Queen sacrifice. 

 

Of the games that follow - and as already stated in the general introduction - the basic rules of how to play Western chess and Chinese chess and Capablanca chess are readily available as they are for Arabian chess and Mongolian chess. The other games have already been described.

It is hoped that by grouping games into groups this will result in more than the sum of the parts of the individual games: A study of the workings of groups - see below, shows that tense situations can arise with many points at stake on the outcome of one game and this in turn can depend on a single move, for example if scores are level in the Meridian group at the commencement of Combination then a win in this game effectively scores seven points - two for Combination itself plus the five group bonus points that would have been secured; also the bonus points can exceed the sum of the points scored for individual games by the group winner(s), for example three points scored in the Chequered group for the individual games secures the group bonus points of four. Also see Enhanced game status designations below.

There are a number of possibilities of forming groups - one based on Siege has been mentioned and a River group based on the RiverQi variations might be possible, but the current standard ones follow and consist of:

The Rainbow group

The Jini group

The Chequered group

The Meridian group

The Forest group

The Jewel series group

The Woodland parallel group

The Realm transfer group

 

Also an example is given of Swing scoring with a possible Mini group.

And Exhibition play is talked of.

Additionally the Runich dice is shown.

 

Object

The overall object of playing a group is partly to maximise points scored for individual games and also to score an overall win and so also to win the group bonus.

Some details of the standard groups now follow - the games are in playing order:

 

 

The Rainbow group

1. Chinese chess

2. QiPlacements

3. Encounter

Tie break game is Chinese chess

Notes

Chinese chess could here also be thought of as QiPlacements - Traditional placement

For QiPlacements the Open or Accelerated placement must be played (but not the Traditional or an Encounter placement and if moves led to such this would need to be considered proper) - see QiPlacements

For Encounter south has the Traditional placement – see QiPlacements

All three games score 1 point for a win and ½ each for a draw

Group bonus points are 3

 

The Jini group

1. Arabian chess

2. Arabella - Traditional or Modern variation

3. Invasion - Traditional or Modern variation

Tie break game is Arabian chess

Notes

Arabian chess is modified so as to accord with Arabella/Invasion in certain relevant rule and representational aspects - refer to the Characters of Enchantment in Invasion in Arabella.

A roll of dice or coin decides whether the Traditional or Modern variation of Arabella is played - see Arabella

A roll of dice or coin decides whether the Traditional or Modern variation of Invasion is played - see Arabella (also see Further thoughts - various)

For Invasion those of the Kingdom (north) have the Talismans - see Arabella

All three games score 1 point for a win and ½ each for a draw

Group bonus points are 3

 

The Chequered group

1. Western chess

2. LancerChess

3. Clash

Tie break game is Western chess

Notes

For Clash south has the Knights – see LancerChess

Western chess scores 1 point for a win and ½ each for a draw

LancerChess and Clash score 2 points for a win and 1 each for a draw

Group bonus points are 4

 

The Meridian group (see Further thoughts - Various)

1. Meridian 1st core variation

2. Meridian 2nd core variation

3. Combination

Tie break game is Meridian 1st core variation

Notes

Core variations are Western and Eastern variations - see Meridian

1st core variation is decided by roll of dice or coin

2nd core variation is the one not played in the 1st core variation

For Combination south Guards the Queen – see Meridian

The Escape rule is not allowed to be in force - see Meridian (also see Further thoughts - Various)

All three games score 2 points for a win and 1 each for a draw

Group bonus points are 5

 

The Forest group (see Further thoughts - Various)

1. Capablanca chess

2. Storm

3. Crossfire

Tie break game is Capablanca chess

Notes

For Crossfire south has the Precedent and Adviser – see Storm

Capablanca chess scores 2 points for a win and 1 each for a draw

Storm and Crossfire score 3 points for a win and 1 each for a draw

All three games are played on the 10x8 board

Group bonus points are 6

 

 

Rules and Notes

The above five detailed groups are based around the games of A Chess Set and before moving to other groups some rules and notes are given for these five groups.

Notwithstanding their basic rules, Chinese chess and Western chess and Capablanca chess must all accord respectively with QiPlacements/Encounter and LancerChess/Clash and Storm/Crossfire with regard to their rules and piece types and piece names, role reversals and protecting Queens, boards and so forth.

In these groups players change sides for the second and third games and then for the first Tie break game but do not change sides for further Tie break games. Sides for first games are decided by arrangement or traditional means or by roll of dice or coin - sides mean north and south, however named.

Tie-break - if the scores are level after the group games are played then two games of the tie-break game are played. If the results of these are level then a third game is played and if this game is a draw then the player of north, who has moved second three times, is awarded a nominal win and the group bonus points. There are no points scored for these games themselves as they are played only to decide who wins the group bonus points. Note that all the tie-break games are those played first in their group and that with the first played game in the above groups it is not possible for a winner to be decided, but when played as the tie-break games they are now “promoted” to being the key games. If agreed the first two tie-break games may be played with the Parallel playing format - described later but here adjusted for players playing the same side in both games (see Further thoughts - Various).

Statistics for Western chess show that white (south), who moves first, would have about a 40% chance of winning a Tie break such as above if of three games of Western chess, but of course this may not apply to the other tie-break games. It should also be said that though north may appear to be at an advantage in a Tie break he may, as south, be at a disadvantage in the group third games where there is preset asymmetry.

For group games clocks are mostly set at typical tournament times and are Phased Countdown or Phased Increment or Phased Combination clocks throughout - with Phased combination being preferable, except those used in tie-break games are Phased Swing clocks - with the standard variation being preferable, set at faster times (typically a third or so overall time of typical tournament times is allowed). Independent Single countdown clocks are set throughout – see Part three: Timing of Games for an explanation of clocks and where suitable tournament times are included as examples.

Standard groups score Satellite game points throughout (except for tie-break games as stated).

 

Enhanced game status designations

Studies of these above groups also shows games as having effects on the outcome of the group bonus points and they are then designated as follows:

“Enhanced game status: Inactive”. This is where whatever the result of the game being played there will be no difference to who wins the bonus points as they have already been secured. As an example, if playing the Rainbow group, one side wins the first two games then they will have secured the bonus points and so the third game of Encounter would be designated as Inactive.

“Enhanced game status: Influential”. This is where whatever the result of the game the bonus points will not be secured by either side but the result may have a bearing on who eventually does win the bonus. An example of this designation would be the first game of Arabian chess in the Jini group - see note below.

“Enhanced game status: Critical”. This is where it is possible for one side only, depending on the result, to win the bonus points. As an example, if playing the Chequered group, one side wins Western chess then this side can secure the bonus by then winning LancerChess and the resulting lead of 3-0 wins overall, but the other side cannot do this. The game of LancerChess would here be designated as Critical.

“Enhanced game status: Pivotal”. This is where it is possible for either side to win the bonus points, but where it is also possible that neither side wins the points depending on the result. An example would be if playing the Meridian group where each side had won one of the first two games (or drawn both) - in this situation the third game of Combination would then be designated as Pivotal since if either side won this game he/they would secure the bonus, but a draw would not secure either side the bonus.

“Enhanced game status: Decisive”. This is where, whatever the result, one side achieves the overall win and so wins the bonus points. As an example, if playing the Storm group one side wins Capablanca chess and the other side wins Storm then whatever the result in Crossfire one side will win the bonus points - in this situation the third game of Crossfire is designated as Decisive.

Notes 

In tie-breaks games such as Arabian chess in the Jini group can become designated that they would not be otherwise.

These designations can be shown to spectators etc.

 

 

Rules

 

The Jewel series group

The Jewel series group does not include any of the games of A Chess Set and has different workings to the grouped games of above. Note that the Jewel series group can be called simply the Jewel group.

Each game has one or two points for a win but if this is a draw then the tie-break game of Relay is played and the winner of this receives the game point(s).....this is different to the other groups shown above where the tie-break game is played (if necessary) only after all the games have been played. At the end of the series there will be a winner (or winners if a team) because there are seven total game points and half points are not scored because of the tie-break for each game.....the winner then receives the five bonus points that the group series carries.....also for each game except the last the winner can choose to have an advantage (alternate bonuses) taken into the next game instead of receiving the point(s) for the game and in this case the game point(s) is carried forward and the winner of the next game can receive the full points including the carried forward point(s) or take an advantage into the next game instead and this can be repeated until the last game and so it is possible for up to seven points to be won - for the last game that is - and in this situation the bonus of five points would also be decided by the result of this game unless a tie-break were needed - twelve points in all.....the maximum points for a single game in the other groups is nine – by the Storm games, but this Forest group can carry more possible total available points – fourteen in all.

In contrast to the previous types of groups players play the same side throughout the series other than the practice game of Duel.

Jewel is meant to be mainly played as a Group Series of games but can be played as Stand-alone games as is shown in the following table.

 

Jewel table (see Further thoughts - Various)

http://www.chessvariants.com/membergraphics/MSa-chess-set/newj1.jpg

Note that the choice to move first in Combat by the winner of Skirmish is only if the Alternate Bonus choice is made.

Only in exceptional or extraordinary circumstances would a game of Relay not lead to a win for one side.

A possible updated table is shown in Further thoughts - Various

 

 

 

Parallel chess and the Woodland parallel group

Northern Light and Kaleidoscope can be played by two players playing in tandem with the playing format called Parallel playing and then would be Parallel chess with the group name of the Woodland parallel group (or simply the Woodland group). A player winning both the games in this group would score an additional two bonus points - four Satellite game points in all, but they must be played as Parallel chess for the bonus points possibility to apply and both games must be won otherwise the usual Stand-alone points are scored, and the following also applies (see Further thoughts - Various):

Two boards are placed alongside each other and designated board one and board two.

What game is played on what board is decided by arrangement, traditional means or by roll of dice or coin – the relevant game ornaments can be placed on the boards for indication.

Who moves first on board one is decided by arrangement, traditional means or by roll of dice or coin.

With the Jewel series group games players usually play the same side and so colour throughout; however, players here may alternatively play different coloured sides for each game (mainly green and red – but then the usual north and south of the boards for Jewel is disregarded, and also see Further thoughts - Name changes etc. where board colours for Crystal of Doom are mentioned together with a general note on board and piece colours) – this is decided by arrangement, traditional means or by roll of dice or coin.

Following the above choice players choose what coloured side(s) to play their games with – this is decided by arrangement, traditional means or by roll of dice or coin.

The above choices determine how the pieces are set out on the two boards.

Players may only move first in one of the games.

 

With Parallel playing of Chess moves must alternate between the games - there are two acceptable patterns as follows.....(but note that South here is just a convention that refers to the player moving first in game one on board one, the board that is on his left side, and North is a likewise convention – players are seated opposite each other throughout as usual, and they do not change over).....

 

Firstly the Vertical (Player) crossover pattern:

1. South game one, 1... North game one; 2. North game two, 2... South game two;

3. South game one, 3... North game one; and so on.

Here the flow of moves is clockwise.

 

Secondly the Diagonal (Player) crossover pattern:

1. South game one, 1. North game two; 2... North game one, 2... South game two;

3. South game one, 3. North game two; and so on.

Here the flow of moves does not continuously follow a clockwise or anticlockwise direction.

 

Moving pattern is decided by arrangement, traditional means, or by roll of dice or coin.

 

It is possible for each game to have its own set of clocks, but players could be considering a move for one game whilst their clock was running for the other and one set of clocks is generally preferred to a dual system, but players may need to be careful about when they press their clocks (pressing one's clock stops it running and sets the opponent's clock running) and any referee may take this upon himself.

 

Parallel playing notes

The background story of the Woodland group is that the Kingdom of Magic woods is split between rivalries for the Northern light and rivalries for the Woodland crown (succession to the vacant throne) and that the Princesses of Northern Light are rivals for possession of the Northern light whilst the Duchesses of Kaleidoscope are rivals for the Woodland crown, however these sets of rivalries remain separate and do not meet.

With Northern Light and Kaleidoscope a comparison can be made between the different type of games that are produced by the different objectives of a Princess Winning the key and Inhabitants Encircling a Duchess and when the Woodland group is played this comparison can be made as the games happen - some might find it interesting to observe the games when played in Parallel format.

The Parallel playing format could be used for other Head games (as they are called) – Storm on the different board sizes for example, or the two core variations of Meridian, or the same Head game on both boards - see next, or various other Chess games or variations of them, or mixed games - perhaps of a much different type, and this format might suit exhibition play, but only the Woodland group in the above format is currently a standard group for this format.

The above suggestion of Parallel playing with the two core variations of Meridian is also mentioned in connection with tie-break games for the Meridian group in Further thoughts - Various.

 

Parallel match play

If a match (as distinct from a group) were played of one particular Head game with the Parallel playing format, then, instead of one player having the (considered so for most all Chess games) advantage of first move followed by the other player having this advantage for the next game this advantage would be in balance.....there could be an uncertain outcome for both games until near their end with twice the points available and some may find this to be exciting in games in matches.....very high level match games would likely continue into a second day as there may possibly be twelve or even more hours of play and so there would then be an overnight intermission and probably one or two intervals - sealed moves would come into play then (see Part three: Timing of Games).

A further point with Parallel play is that players need to consider how to allocate their efforts over the two games (and this may change as the games progress) so as to try and maximise the points they win, and so additional skills may be required to that of Linear play (as the currently usual match format of one game at a time can be called).

 

 

 

Transfer chess and the Realm transfer group

Following on from Parallel playing is another playing format called Transfer playing and this is based on and similar to a popular Chess game and its variations called Alice chess that was invented by Vernon R Parton (a page can be found for this game on this site).

The standard Head games for playing with the Transfer playing format are LancerChess – described earlier, and Western chess, and where so played this would be called Transfer chess.

Note that the roles of the King and Queen in Western chess have been reversed though their commencing positions are the same – this follows the pattern of LancerChess.

The rules for Transfer chess are as follows:

There are two standard 8x8 chessboards placed alongside each other – board one and board two (board one is on south’s left-hand side) and both boards have north and south at the same ends.

The object is to Checkmate the opposing Queen.

South moves first.

Choice of sides is decided by arrangement, traditional means, or by roll of dice or coin.

There are four deployment variations

A. all pieces for both north and south are deployed as usual on board one. This is called the Vertical closed variation.

B. all south’s pieces are deployed as usual on board one whilst all north’s pieces are deployed as usual on board two. This is called the Diagonal closed variation.

C. all pieces for both north and south are deployed as usual on board one except for their Royal pieces (the Queens) who are deployed on their usual squares on board two. This is called the Vertical open variation.

D. all south’s pieces are deployed as usual on board one except that his Queen is deployed on her usual square on board two, whilst all north’s pieces are deployed as usual on board two except that his Queen is deployed on her usual square on board one. This is called the Diagonal open variation.

Deployment variation is decided by arrangement or, if not, two rolls of dice or coin decide, where first roll decides either one of A or B or one of C or D and second roll decides between either A or B or between either C or D.

When a piece, except the Queen, completes a move or capture on one of the boards it must be transferred to the corresponding destination (finishing) square on the other board and in this connection:

A move must be legal before transferring.

The destination square on the other board must be unoccupied but intervening pieces on this destination board can be (effectively) jumped over.

A Queen may not transfer between boards but may make any legal move within her own board and in this connection:

A Queen may move to a square correspondingly occupied on the other board (even if by the opposing Queen) - see Transfer playing notes for implications of this.

Where a Queen is so situated as above and in a Check or a Checkmate situation occupancy of the corresponding square(s) on the other board is discounted, i.e. the effectiveness of pieces checking/checkmating a Queen is not reduced in any way by such squares.

A Queen must escape check if possible and a piece from the other board may be transferred to block the check.

Players must alternate moves as usual but do not have to alternate their moves between boards.

En passant captures are not allowed throughout all variations.

Castling or suchlike is not allowed throughout all variations.

Players should state Check when the opposing Queen is in check though this is not compulsory.

For all variations played with this format and played as Stand-alone games LancerChess scores two Satellite game points for a win and one each for a draw and Western chess scores one Satellite game point for a win and a half each for a draw.

 

The Realm transfer group

This is a group played by two players with the Transfer playing format.

The details of play are as follows with the two group Head games played in the order shown:

1. Western chess

2. LancerChess

 

Notes

Western chess scores one point for a win and a half each for a draw

LancerChess scores two points for a win and one each for a draw

Bonus points are two but both games must be won

All points are Satellite game points

South moves first in both games

Choice of sides in the first game is by arrangement, traditional means or by roll of dice or coin, then players reverse sides for the second game

Deployment variations are decided by roll of dice or coin where: first roll decides one of variation A or B is played; then second roll decides one of variation C or D is played; then third roll decides their allocation to the two games

A player winning both the games in this group would score five Satellite game points in all, but they must be played as Transfer chess for the bonus points possibility to apply and both games must be won otherwise the usual Stand-alone points are scored.

 

Transfer playing notes

The (limited) background story is that told of earlier in LancerChess – see LancerChess, but there is additional background in that with variations A and B the Queens are with their armies for their (relative) shelter and safety whereas with variations C and D they have been cut off from their armies due to a misunderstanding of messages sent to them.....this background also applies to the games when played as Stand-alone games in this format.

By confining the Queens to one board a certain amount of their scope is reduced than is otherwise, but this may sharpen the focus on the game's object to checkmate them and also the Queens may have safer escape moves cut off and so their positions may, depending on the deployment variation, be more precarious and some may find these things to be of interest. A further point of possible interest is that Queens can indirectly guard their own pieces (and also opposing pieces) on the other board by occupying their corresponding square since capture of this piece would not be allowed as the Queen occupies the destination square on the other board of the would be capturing piece - in this way a centralised and entrenched piece can be established on a board, but the Queen's position may be very precarious on the other (see Further thoughts - Various).

There are other Chess games that could be played in this format and it is possible to have more boards and transfer rules for them, but only the Realm group in the above format is currently a standard group for this format.

 

 

 

Relay - Swing scoring and Mini groups

Relay can be used as a Tie break game for numerous games as well as the Jewel group games and in addition to this the Relay Swing scoring system could be considered as a mini group and an example demonstration follows - note this system is not used for the Jewel group and also note that the Head game (LancerChess here) does not need to result in a draw:

A game, for example LancerChess (numerous others are possible), has resulted in e.g. a draw and so points are level at 1-1.

A game of Relay is played (preferably the Obstacle variation).

The winner of the short distance race has a point added to his score and so is one point ahead of the loser i.e. 2-1.

The loser of the short distance race can choose to accept the score and then players keep their points or he can choose to play the middle distance race.

If the Middle distance race is played the winner has one point transferred from the loser's points total.

The score is now either 3-0 to the winner of the short distance race or 2-1 ahead for the player who was the loser of this race.

If the score is 3-0 this ends the game with the final score as 3-0.

If the score is 2-1 then the loser of the middle distance race can choose to accept the score and then players keep their points or he can choose to play the long distance race.

The winner of the long distance race has one point transferred from the loser's points total.

The score is now either 3-0 or 2-1 and this being the final race this is then the final score.

Note that if LancerChess had finished 2-0 then a score of 3-0 could have been possibly reached earlier than in the example.

If a player has zero points upon finishing the short distance race or the middle distance race this ends the game and the game may not extend beyond the long distance race.

Other games have other scores/results and so before Relay commences there may be different amounts than shown above for each player, but the principle is the same and equal amounts are always at stake for transfer.

There are no bonus points in the way of other groups though Relay gives an additional point.

The score amount transferable is the lower of the players' point scores up to a maximum of one point - it is not permitted for players to go below zero at any stage.

Authorisation would be required for this system of play/scoring and there is currently no standard Mini group with this playing/scoring format.

 

 

 

Exhibition play

There are what are called simultaneous exhibitions where a sometimes grandmaster strength Western chess player plays a number of other players of moderate strength and the grandmaster moves round the boards in turn where the players make their move and the grandmaster makes his - players are expected to make their move as the grandmaster arrives at their board and the grandmaster does not usually take long to then make his move. There are also occasional blindfold simultaneous exhibitions where the grandmaster cannot see the board and the moves are told verbally to him. There is no reason of course why the games of Steps could not be played in such exhibition formats; but exhibition play can be in different formats to this and can be at longer times, and some exhibitions, for example, could feature fewer players playing an experimental game or variation or a less frequently played game variation and Phased clocks (see Part three: Timing of Games) could also be used, and in addition to this the boards and pieces could be of a particularly striking appearance to suit the theme of an exhibition and players could also be costumed - there are many possibilities with exhibitions since they would not usually score on a level as would tournaments or matches (see Further thoughts  - Various, regarding tournaments and matches) but they would probably be well suited to accompanying productions or role playing and here there could be possibilities of awards based on this as well as the game itself.  

It should be noted that of currently registered Western chess players less than one percent are of grandmaster strength (about 1,500).

 

 

The Runich dice (see Further thoughts - various)

There are at many points in Steps along the Way of Chess the possible use of a dice to decide matters such as choice of sides and so forth.....the preferred type of dice for this is the Runich dice though it needs to be of a suitable size and this dice can also be used where appropriate in the third Evergreen (as parts of A Leap of Recreation™ are known, with Steps along the Way of Chess being the second) of A Lacework of Strands where another interesting puzzle I have called the Ball-barrel puzzle is also shown (this puzzle though is not my copyright).....

.....The Runich dice is based on the original Rubik’s cube - invented by Erno Rubik, and as the picture below shows is a puzzle that can be used in the same way as the original cube.....but is it easier or harder to solve though?.....Well.....there are, I am sure, more possible solutions than the original.....But.....the original cube has only one place for each of the 26 uniquely coloured parts that give 54 coloured surfaces – 8 corners with 3 sides, 12 edges with 2 sides and 6 fixed centres with 1 side.....with the original cube then we at least know where each part must go.....with the Runich dice it is not so definite.....however the picture shows what the alignment pattern of a standard dice usually is and this then is the object of the puzzle – note that the opposite sides of a dice add up to seven.....

The Runich dice is © Copyright 2018 of Shaye-Alexander Ellis Nicholls 

 

 

http://www.chessvariants.com/membergraphics/MSa-chess-set/dice.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

Part three: Timing of Games

 

Introduction

There are several types of clock in use for timing chess and a game of chess or such at any type of event or at any level is not tied to using any particular type of clock or actual time settings on such clocks – this can be decided by organisers, tournament committees etc. Also at points during a game there is sometimes a switch to another type of clock as is for example the case after sixty moves in the 2018 world Western chess championships final - see tournament clocks below. The type of clock used may give rise to different approaches to managing clock times and so an element of additional skills can enter into games.

Most Chess clocks, and they can be mechanical or of digital technology, are currently of three basic types as follows:

 

Single countdown clocks

This is where a fixed amount for the whole game is entered onto both players’ clocks and where this amount simply counts down on each move and a player will lose the game on time when his amount counts down to zero. These are sometimes called blitz time control clocks, particularly for very short games; but I prefer the term Single countdown clocks and they are mostly used for games of up to about 30 minutes for each player.

 

Tournament clocks

There are also what could be called tournament or traditional or fixed control or classical clocks whereby a specified time is allowed for a number of moves followed by another such specification and these time controls may be continued in like manner though not necessarily with the same average time per move and can be called the first time control, the second time control etc. – note that unused time is carried forward to the next time control. Also note that tournament clocks often use increments as described next in Fischer clocks and may well have a final 'rest of the game in' time control.

An example are the time controls for the above mentioned 2018 world championships as follows:

(first time control) 100 minutes for the first 40 moves

(second time control) 50 minutes for the next 20 moves

(third time control) 15 minutes for the rest of the game

There is an increment of 30 seconds per move from the commencement of (and throughout) the game

 

 

Fischer clocks

These clocks were the idea of Robert (Bobby, as he is usually known) Fischer and consist of firstly entering a balance onto each player’s clock and then for each move a player makes his clock has an additional fixed increment added to it - for example: Initial balance 120 minutes with an Increment of 60 seconds per move. The use of increments with clocks is becoming widespread including at fast times. Bobby Fischer was a world Western chess champion.

 

Hourglass clocks

Mention should also be made of these clocks, though rarely used in Chess for tournaments etc., whereby an initial amount of perhaps up to a minute or so is entered onto each player’s clock and whilst they are moving their clock counts down whilst their opponent’s clock increases by the same amount – if a player’s clock counts down to zero he loses the game on time. An actual hourglass is shown below and it can be seen how they work, though they could be of digital technology:

 

 

 

There are a few other features with regard to clocks as follows:

To allow for the actual moving of pieces etc. there can be a delay in the operation of clocks and this is often called time lagging and also in long games players mostly should, I think, have a break and a rest and this is usually called an adjournment whereby the operation of clocks is halted but I prefer the following terms:

A Clock pause is where there is time lagging of up to 20 seconds

A Clock hold is where there is time lagging of more than 20 seconds

An Interval is where there is an adjournment of up to 1 hour

An Intermission is where there is an adjournment of more than 1 hour

Where an Interval or Intermission occurs the player to move must write down his next move and hand this to the referee - this move is not shown to his opponent and is called a 'Sealed move' and is made by the referee upon the game re-commencing.

 

 

Of the Phased clocks that follow (see Further thoughts - Name changes etc.) Phased countdown and Phased increment clocks are somewhat based on Fischer clocks and other clocks but whereas Fischer clocks were intended to mostly end time pressure and eliminate what are called time scrambles these two phased clocks do not aim to do so (and Phased swing clocks still less so) but rather to reduce them as sometimes time pressure is an interesting and valid feature of a game and time scrambles may on occasions bring a dull game to life.

Note that full clocks information including settings must be displayed to players, referees and spectators etc. throughout a game, and moves and move counters must also be displayed as Phased clocks often need to take move numbers into account.

 

Phased clocks each have one variation except for combination clocks [plus there are Independent Single countdown clocks] and a description of these clocks follows in the order shown below:

Phased Countdown - standard

Phased Countdown - triple controls

[Also Independent Single countdown clocks]

Phased Increment - standard

Phased Increment - variable parameters

Phased Combination clocks

Phased Swing - standard

Phased Swing - open ended

 

 

Phased Countdown clocks - standard

These clocks have one significant difference to Fischer clocks and operate as follows:

Firstly, for each player an amount called the Main balance is entered onto what is called the Main clock.

Secondly, for each move a player makes a fixed amount called a Reserve increment is added onto a separate Reserve clock as it is called – this is different to Fischer clocks where the increment is added to the same clock as the main balance is entered onto. The reserve clock is not used until the main clock has counted down to zero.

Thirdly, when his main clock has counted down to zero the player then uses his reserve clock where no more amounts of time are added to and so this clock acts as a single countdown clock and if this counts down to zero the player loses the game on time.

An example would be for a main balance of 120 minutes and with a reserve increment of 60 seconds.

As can be seen the player has a degree of control of how much reserve time he builds up as by moving quickly he will have a larger reserve time when he switches to his reserve clock due to more increments in a given time.

 

 

Phased Countdown clocks – triple controls

A variation of this type of clock is to include a further iteration when using the Reserve clock and using a Secondary reserve clock.....(this acts as did the Reserve clock - now called the Primary reserve clock and with a Primary increment).....and with the same or a different Secondary increment to the first iteration, for example 30 seconds - iterations could continue but this would be most unusual.

Both variations of Phased Countdown clocks are allowable for the very highest level tournaments or matches or suchlike with the triple controls being generally preferable.

 

 

Independent Single countdown clocks

With all Phased Countdown clocks and in any meaningful or significant game players would have an overall time limit (for example 200 minutes for each player and this amount would correspond to the above example times for triple controls with perhaps 180 minutes if not triple) and this would be entered onto Independent Single countdown clocks and these clocks count down continuously (though they would be halted during Intervals or Intermissions) but only take effect if a player’s Phased clock is still running and so a player can lose on time before his Independent clock counts down to zero (when he would lose whatever the situation was on his Phased clock) – the time entered onto these Independent clocks allows for Clock pauses and suchlike. The purpose of these clocks is to prevent an excess of time allowed to that intended and (as with Phased clocks) also to stop games from needlessly continuing indefinitely (if a game were to needlessly continue by any chance the referee should warn players of the developing situation and if the game were still to continue needlessly the referee would be obliged to stop the game and declare the result, perhaps with the assistance of software and any assistant referees - referees have this power in such situations).

These clocks can be simply referred to as the player's Independent clock or Independent Countdown clock.

 

In addition to Independent Countdown clocks players with standard Phased Countdown clocks would have the following:

A Main clock

A Reserve clock

 

In addition to Independent Countdown clocks players with triple Phased Countdown clocks would have the following:

A Main clock

A Primary Reserve clock

A Secondary Reserve clock

 

 

Phased Increment clocks – standard

These clocks have one or two significant changes to Fischer clocks and operate as follows:

Firstly, an amount called the Initial Balance is entered onto each player’s clock. Unlike Phased Countdown clocks there is only one clock for each player - but see below, and this is called the player’s Compound clock.

Secondly, for each move a player makes an Increment of a fixed amount is added to his clock but in contrast to Fischer clocks this is only for a set number of moves called the Cut-off point. During this phase of the game (the pre cut-off phase) if a player’s clock counts down to zero he would lose the game on time.

Thirdly, at the cut-off point a Final increment (this could be called the Cut-off increment) is added to each player’s clock – this is different to Fischer clocks where the increment is of a fixed amount throughout the game.

Fourthly, (the post Cut-off phase) the clocks now act as Single countdown clocks with no more time added to and if a player’s clock counts down to zero he loses the game on time.

An example would be for an initial balance of 60 minutes; an increment of 60 seconds with a final increment of 60 minutes at a cut-off point of 40 moves. These settings would give a maximum time allowed for the whole game for each player of 160 minutes.

As the example shows (assuming the game runs to more than the Cut-off point) up to the Cut-off point of 40 moves the maximum time allowed for each player is 100 minutes but a minimum of 60 seconds a move is allowed and so players have less flexibility than with Phased Countdown clocks but have more certainty of periodical times allowed.

Note that the Final increment is added immediately after the actual making (in the above example) of move 40.

 

 

Phased Increment clocks – variable parameters

A variation of this type of clock is to include players each having their own choice (within set limits) of their own initial balances and increments and also final increments and cut-off points, provided the predetermined overall maximum time for the whole game for each player were not exceeded.

Both variations of Phased Increment clocks are allowable for the very highest level tournaments or matches or suchlike and both have equal preferability.

Note that where this clock variation is used players must simultaneously declare their settings to the referee immediately prior to the game commencing.

A spreadsheet template with example figures for this clock variation is shown below and example range limits are also shown.

 

http://www.chessvariants.com/membergraphics/MSa-chess-set/image016.jpg

 

Independent Single countdown clocks as explained in Phased countdown clocks are set for all significant games using Phased increment clocks with 200 minutes entered being an example and this would correspond to the above template amounts as the time entered would not be less than the maximum allowed for the game in either variation.

 

In addition to Independent Countdown clocks players with Phased Increment clocks would have the following:

A Compound clock

 

There is also an alternative way of displaying these clocks and that is to enter the Initial balance onto an Initial clock and the amount of all potential increments onto an Increment clock and then to transfer them to the Initial clock as and when they occur - this gives full visibility to the actual and potential times. In the example in the standard Phased increment clock 60 minutes would be entered onto the Initial clock - being the initial balance, and 100 minutes would be entered onto the Increment clock - being 40 initial increments each fixed of 60 seconds and a final increment of 60 minutes; then for 40 moves 60 seconds a move would be transferred from the increment clock to the initial clock, then after making move 40 the final increment of 60 minutes would in addition also be transferred, after this the initial clock would count down as a Single countdown clock and if this counts down to zero the player loses on time. Players then have in addition to an Independent Countdown clock the following:

An Initial clock

An Increment clock

Note - this 'in advance' display method for increments cannot be used for Phased countdown clocks as the potential increments are not known in advance for these clocks as they are for Phased increment clocks.

 

Phased Combination clocks

There is also is a combination of standard Phased Increment clocks and standard Phased Countdown clocks whereby clocks are as a standard Phased Increment clock but (using the alternative way of displaying mentioned above - also see here the note to this) when the initial clock counts down after the final increment (now called the Cut-off increment) has been transferred there is, as with a standard Phased Countdown clock, a reserve increment added to a separate Reserve clock for each move - for example 30 seconds or 60 seconds, and after the initial clock counts down to zero this separate reserve clock is used and counts down as a Single countdown clock and if this counts down to zero the player loses on time.

Independent Single countdown clocks as explained in Phased Countdown clocks are set for all significant games using Phased Combination clocks.

This Phased Combination clock is allowable for the very highest level tournaments or matches or suchlike.

In addition to Independent Countdown clocks players with Phased Combination clocks would (under the alternative way of displaying mentioned above) have the following:

An Initial clock

An Increment clock

A Reserve clock

 

The terminology for increments for these clocks is as follows

The Initial increments

The Cut-off increment

The Reserve increments

 

Other variations of Phased Combination clocks are possible but this is the standard and accepted one.

 

 

Phased Swing clocks - standard

Based mostly on Hourglass clocks these clocks may be considered something of novelty clocks with regard to their use for games, however there are interesting possibilities with these clocks – but first their method of operation:

Firstly, an amount called the Swing balance is entered onto a clock for each player that is called their Swing clock.

Secondly, an amount called the Reserve balance is entered onto a separate clock for each player that is called their Reserve clock.

Thirdly, whilst a player is moving his swing clock counts down and his opponent’s swing clock goes up by the same amount.....if a player’s swing clock counts down to zero then his reserve clock is then used.....time used on the reserve clock does not increase the balance on either the opponent’s reserve clock or swing clock and after using his reserve clock the player’s swing clock will once again increase as his opponent then uses his swing clock.....if during this phase (the pre Cut-off phase) a player’s swing clock and then reserve clock count down to zero he would lose the game on time. It can be seen that the combined balance of the swing clocks is always the same during the pre cut-off phase.

Fourthly, after a set number of moves called the Cut-off point both players’ balances on their reserve clock and swing clock are combined onto their reserve clock and these act as single countdown clocks and if a player’s clock counts down to zero he loses the game on time.

An example would be for a reserve balance of 30 minutes and a swing balance of 30 seconds with a cut-off point of 40 moves.

Players have with these clocks opportunities to directly impose time pressure by moving quickly and/or by introducing complexities and highly tactical or double edged situations into a game.....unlike standard hourglass clocks however there are possibilities with the use of the reserve clock to defend against these measures and so a game can take on an exciting hunter and hunted character and could even have the hunter and hunted reversed....it is also possible if both players’ reserve clocks run low or very low before the cut-off point for the clocks to become virtually as standard hourglass clocks – at least up until the cut-off point when the remainder of the game (the post Cut-off phase) could take on the character of a blitz game (aprox. 5 min. per player) or even a bullet game (aprox. 1 min. per player), particularly with small swing balances of less than 20 seconds.

Note that the combining of clock balances occurs immediately after the actual making (in the above example) of move 40.

 

Phased Swing clocks – open ended

A variation of this type of clock is not having a cut-off point and so there is no combining of balances followed by a single countdown on the reserve clock, but Independent Single countdown clocks would prevent a game from going on indefinitely and so should be set for these clocks.

 

Both variations of Phased Swing clocks are allowable up to high level tournaments or matches or suchlike and sometimes at the very highest level of such with the standard clocks being generally preferable.

Independent Single Countdown clocks as explained in Phased countdown clocks are set for all significant games using Phased Swing clocks with 60 minutes entered being an example and this amount would correspond to the above example amounts for both variations.

 

In addition to Independent Countdown clocks players with Phased Swing clocks would have the following:

A Swing clock

A Reserve clock

 

 

 

 

Circuits and Tours

 

Introduction

Where a piece lands on every square of a board the usual terminology is: a Closed Tour for where the piece can return to its commencing square or an Open Tour for where a piece does not or cannot return to its commencing square; but I prefer the term Circuit for where a piece can or actually does return to its commencing square and the term Tour can then be used for where the piece does not (or cannot) return so.

The best known of these Circuits and Tours are those of the Western Chess Knight and these have been recorded and noted for many centuries, but the smallest square board he can tour is a 5x5, though he can tour a 4x3 board:

Below are some possible solutions to Circuits and Tours mentioned above and in LancerChess - note that the numbering method for the Knights is different to that I have used for the King's Lancer and that I have used the A1 square as the commencing square throughout.

 

 

A Tour of a Knight on a 5x5 board:

http://www.chessvariants.com/membergraphics/MSa-chess-set/tr23.jpg

 

 

A Tour of a Knight on a 4x3 board:

http://www.chessvariants.com/membergraphics/MSa-chess-set/tr24.jpg

 

 

On square boards Knight circuits are only possible on even numbered ranks/files due to the fact that a Knight lands on a different coloured square (a different set of diagonals) each time he leaps (a circuit on any square or rectangular board of any odd number of squares is therefore not possible for a Knight).....a 4x4 circuit is not possible but a 6x6 is and there are many possible for the standard 8x8 chessboard. Below is the oldest such 8x8 circuit known and dates back to the 9th century CE and is by al-Adli ar-Rumi:

 

http://www.chessvariants.com/membergraphics/MSa-chess-set/ald01.jpg

 

 

A 3D Circuit of a King's Lancer on a 3x3x3 board - here he finishes on his commencing square numbered 27 with a Level jump having just made a Plane jump:

http://www.chessvariants.com/membergraphics/MSa-chess-set/lj1.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

Further games

 

Introduction

I have included the three games that follow in this section with one or two reservations, but they may play well and some may like them; however, I will say what reservations I have of them:

 

Touchstone is, as can be seen, the same in terms of mechanics as the game of Western chess except for the promotion rules (I have here discounted the King/Queen changeover aspect of the game to Western chess as this is of no real effect), but this changed promotion aspect may sometimes bring something extra to a game and so I have included it and there is also some representational and background additions that may also be of interest to some and give scope for productions or role playing etc.

Shadow is a game that would require some extensive practical testing to see that it does not have refutations to the game’s several (perhaps more) and, I think, interesting possible playing development situations I have written about in the game’s individual introduction.....if the game does offer the scope I would like as written in its introduction then it may prove to be a compact game of interesting ideas and the background is very capable of forming a detailed story for possible role playing, or similar, for introductory purposes and/or during play.

TwinDraughts is of course based on the game of English Draughts (aka American Checkers) and this game has, it seems, been more or less determined by computers to end in a draw with correct play, but for a long time prior to this the percentage of draws was very high indeed at top level and this then is perhaps no surprise. As with the game of Shadow, TwinDraughts is a game that would need extensive practical testing (perhaps with computers) to see if it actually ‘works’ inasmuch that both sides, discounting strong computers, have reasonable winning chances and there is scope to avoid constant draws otherwise the game would, I think, be withdrawn from Steps, as would any other of its games if eventually determined to fall short of such requirements. As with Touchstone and Shadow there is scope for role playing and suchlike.

 

 

 

The Game of Touchstone

 

Introduction

Chess or rather Western chess is regarded as sacrosanct by many of its players and for them seemingly any change is a step too far. However, Touchstone is virtually identical to Western chess and is intended as a colourful makeover to Western chess that hopefully some will find preferable to the existing game – perhaps those who would like a more representational and background aspect to Western chess.

There are some influences in the background of the story of the legendary King Arthur – variations of this story are readily available on film and much is available elsewhere.

 

Background

In the Time of spoken Myths and Legends and in a region called the Fractured Realm there is The Touchstone and this is the name that has been given to the stone that the legendary 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 unite the Fractured Realm and not just be one of a number of kings or others of the nobility who rule over particular areas as is the existing 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 safe-keep them, and disputes have broken out and escalated and have now led to battle being about to break out between the two main rivals.....

 

Object

The object of the Battle (game) is to Checkmate the opposing Queen and this wins the battle and the winning King and Queen will acquire the Touchstone and the undrawn Excalibur - for a while at least.....but both were to be lost and forgotten in the mists of time.

 

 

Board at commencement

 

 

 

Moves of Pieces

A King – he is identical to a Queen

A Queen – she is identical to a King including vulnerabilities to check and checkmate etc.

A King’s or Queen’s tower - its powers are identical to Rooks

A King’s or Queen’s knight – he is identical to a Knight

A Baron – he is identical to a Bishop

A Baroness – she is identical to a Bishop

A Duke - he does not appear on the board during the Battle – his powers are those combined of a non-royal Western chess King and a Western chess Rook (but with no castling abilities) but his powers are not called upon during the battle

 

An Earl - he does not appear at the commencement of the battle - his powers are those combined of a non-royal Western chess King and a Western chess Knight

A Viscount - he also does not appear at the commencement of the battle – his powers are those combined of a non-royal Western chess King and a Western chess Bishop

 

A Pikeman – his powers are identical to Pawns except when rescuing his King or promoting or under-promoting as follows:

A Pikeman can rescue his King or promote or under-promote upon reaching his end 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. As a reward this now imprisoned Pikeman is promoted to a Duke though he is not himself available for rescue by any further Pikemen reaching their end rank. If the rescued King is further captured and rescued then there are further promotions of Pikemen to Dukes

A Pikeman can promote to an Earl or a Viscount

A Pikeman can under-promote as follows (his name is not distinguished between e.g. a King’s or Queen’s Knight etc.): an Aristocrat and he is as a Western chess Rook; a Noble and he is as a Western chess Bishop or a Knight and he is as a Western chess Knight

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

To rescue his King, if captured

To promote to an Earl

To promote to a Viscount

To under-promote to an Aristocrat

To under-promote to a Noble

To under-promote to a Knight

Note - As the game is much based on Western chess I have followed this game's principle (as I have also with LancerChess) that under-promotions are allowed to the other pieces, however unlikely the necessity or advantage of doing so.

 

Further Rules and Notes

The rare, in Western chess, mid-game but usually exciting promotion of a Pawn to a Knight has in Touchstone an additional and I think more dangerous and more exciting though still fairly rare possibility of a mid-game promotion of a Pikeman to an Earl. Also see Further thoughts - Other possible games etc. - Promotion variation from TigerChess, where another interesting possibility of a mid-game promotion is described with perhaps a less rare occurrence.

 

Representational:

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

Once a Tower has been or can no longer be used to Protect the Queen it becomes a King's or Queen's Siege-tower (and is manned as is a Tower) to reflect its greater freedom to attack and fittings should be added to the piece to show this, or alternately a separate piece of different appearance can be placed on the appropriate square - it is no different in effect from a Rook of Western chess though.

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 - see LancerChess earlier.

 

Information Table

 

 

 

The Game of Shadow

 

Introduction

Shadow is a game that combines ideas and pieces from several other games. There may be a good number of moves of manoeuvring to control Woodland river before tactical elements make themselves felt or there may be one or more early releases of Hawks to give a sudden sharp tactical side to the battle, or there may be a long wait for a Pikeman to promote – there are many possibilities though the board, at sixty three squares, is one square smaller than the standard Western chess board. As with RiverQi earlier the rule on crossing the river also applies here.

 

Background

In the future a young King and his Queen were crowned in the Woodland kingdom. The river running through the Woodland kingdom is thought by most to have great healing and other beneficial qualities and to be amongst the richest concentration of these qualities that the river system it is a part of contains. Thus it was that attention by some began to be attracted and secretly entering the Woodland kingdom came a renegade and Dark Seer who had discovered the great concentration of beneficial qualities in its river.

At the far south of the Woodland kingdom was a large and ancient fortress - similar in appearance to a huge castle and dating back by untold centuries. This uninhabited fortress was dark and forbidding and generally avoided by those of the Woodland kingdom due largely to the frightening legends of its far distant past about a noble simply called the Count. It was to this fortress that the Dark Seer came and made of it her base of operations.

It was not long before the Seer was regularly bathing in the river and then a distinguished looking man of middle years (the Seer herself was of middle years) had joined her. Had anyone at that time taken much notice of them they would have soon been aware that they were starting to look younger and fitter almost by the day and soon both (through enchantments) were gaining great influence amongst some of the kingdom’s inhabitants.

Whilst all this was happening it seemed the opposite was happening to others of the kingdom, in particular the Queen and to some extent the King. The Queen’s health and fitness seemed to be declining and there was a reduction in the King’s heretofore exceptional physical strength. This was a great mystery to the healers of the kingdom, who were considered most knowledgeable in their field, for both were young with no previous problems and like all those of the Kingdom were benefited by the seemingly health giving qualities of the river.

But the High Count (as the Seer’s companion had now declared himself) and the Seer knew exactly what the cause of the King’s and Queen’s problems were, for their (mis)use of the river had a rebounding and negative effect on the King and the Queen and others. Both the Seer and the High Count also knew full well that to maintain their well-being required continuous (mis)use of the river and that sooner or later they would have to forcibly usurp the rule of the kingdom. To this end the Seer and the High Count put much effort into enchantments winning over as many of the Inhabitants as possible.

These activities of the Seer and the High Count could not be hidden for very long though and so it was that the King and Queen and their advisers turned their attention towards them and issued a Royal summons requiring them to present themselves and explain their activities; but the High Count and the Seer realised that they would certainly be arrested and tried for serious crimes and so gathered their supporters and prepared for the Battle that would decide who the future rulers of the Woodland kingdom would be.

 

Object

The object of each player is to Lock-up (Checkmate) the opposing Woodland Queen or Dark Seer and this wins the Battle (game).

Note that should the Woodland King and Queen’s inhabitants win the battle they may well demolish the Dark Fortress as it becomes called.

 

 

Board at commencement

 

 

 

Moves of Pieces

Pieces move on squares and not intersections as they do in Chinese chess and the pieces are 3D and not disc-like as they are in Chinese chess

The Northern pieces are prefixed by ‘Woodland’ e.g. a Woodland Rider and the Southern pieces are suffixed by ‘of the Shadow e.g. a Pikeman of the Shadow. Exceptions to this are the High Count and the Dark Seer who are called by these names

The Rule on Crossing the River is the same as described in RiverQi but is restated for clarity and is that no piece is allowed to cross directly from one area to the other area without first landing on a River square. If a piece is situated on the River then there are no restrictions. This rule applies to capturing moves as well as non-capturing moves.

Initial deployment of pieces is as shown and their moving and capturing powers by comparison to the pieces of Western chess/Chinese chess etc. are:

The Woodland Queen and the Dark Seer are identical to the Kings of Western chess except that they are confined to the nine square Woodland City or the nine square Dark Fortress respectively – no other piece is so confined. Note that their moves are different to those of the Generals of Chinese chess but they may not face each other along an otherwise (between them) unoccupied file and this is the same as for the Generals of Chinese chess.

The Woodland King and the High Count have identical powers to the Dukes of Touchstone except that the Rule on Crossing the River applies to them. Note the reduction in the Woodland King’s strength has left him with lesser powers than he had previously – these were the powers of a King (of LancerChess, Storm etc.), and also note that the title High Count is considered equivalent to that of a Duke.

A Rider – he is identical to a King’s Lancer of LancerChess except that the Rule on Crossing the River applies to him.

A Siege-tower – it is identical to the Chariot of Chinese chess except that the Rule on Crossing the River applies to it

A Cannon - it is identical to the Cannon of Chinese chess except that the Rule on Crossing the River applies to it

 

Hawkers and Hawks have been described earlier in RiverQi but are explained again here:

A Hawker moves to and captures on one position vertically forwards, as does a Soldier in Chinese chess, until he has reached the opposing Area on his sixth rank when the following takes place:

Each Hawker carries with him a Hawk that is a trained hunting bird and will attack opposing Inhabitants situated in the opposing Area

The King/Queen and the High Count/Dark Seer have instructed all their Hawkers to release their Hawks upon reaching the opposing Area

The Hawker releases his Hawk and withdraws from the battle and his Hawk is left by herself on the position that the Hawker was on

The released Hawk can exercise her moving and capturing powers commencing on the next move

If a Hawker is captured before releasing his Hawk, the Hawk is also captured

A Hawk’s moving and capturing powers cannot be used before she is released

A Hawk differs much from her counterpart, a Promoted soldier, in Chinese chess. A Hawk is confined to the opposing Area where she is released into, and she cannot move or capture outside of this Area (nor on the River). A Hawk can move along any path that is vertically forward, vertically backward or horizontal and land upon any unoccupied square along one of these paths regardless of any intervening Inhabitants, i.e. a maximum of nine squares if all are unoccupied – this moving ability is called flying. When capturing, however, a Hawk can only capture on one adjacent position that is vertically forward, vertically backward or horizontal i.e. a maximum of four possible squares. She can either move or capture on a move – she cannot do both on one move.

 

A Pikeman - he is identical to a Pawn of Western chess and when reaching his end rank he is promoted (he cannot stay as a Pikeman) to a Squire (Woodland or of the Shadow) only.

A Squire (see Further thoughts - Name changes etc.) – this is a conferred title – has identical powers to a non-royal Western chess King.

 

Notes

As with RiverQi (Hawker variation), Hawks enable the possibility of a tactical attack or counter attack that may intensify the battle for control of the River.

 

 

Further Rules and Notes

The seven Woodland river squares can be called Bridges as the river has a good number of these

 

Representational

Withdrawn Hawkers are removed from the board and placed with captured opposing Inhabitants whom they guard.

Woodland river is downriver to that of RiverQi and larger than the river in RiverQi (though it covers less squares – note that the nine squared Woodland city, being a city, is far larger than the palaces of RiverQi or indeed the Dark Fortress of Shadow, but all this is representational and has no effect on the game’s mechanics).

Siege-towers and Cannons are manned.

Players can be costumed in suitable colours etc.

 

 

Information Table

 

 

 

 

Notes

 

 

The Game of TwinDraughts

 

Introduction

TwinDraughts (one word) has for pieces the draughtsmen and draughts kings of the standard game of English draughts (or American checkers) and the rules for this game are readily available. TwinDraughts uses the same board as does English draughts but in contrast uses all the squares instead of just one set of diagonals and this effectively means there are two games taking place. Also in contrast to English draughts there is now a Royal piece called a Champion or rather one for each set of diagonals and there is also a race element to the game. There is though still much in the way of tactics and so forth of English draughts present in TwinDraughts.

 

Background

Long Long Long ago there came about in a small but expanding and heavily forested Kingdom a dispute between two Princes for the hand of one of the most eligible Princesses of the Kingdom.

After much tactful negotiation an agreement was reached whereby two Champions and a number of Men-at-Arms (collectively called Armed representatives) for each Prince would do battle to decide who would win the hand of the Princess.

At the agreed time and place the Armed representatives deployed themselves ready to commence the battle in the presence of their Princes and a number of others including the father of the Princess and the Princess herself.

 

Object

The object of the Battle (game) is to obtain a Decisive win and this requires a win on both sets of diagonal squares by either capturing a Champion or by any Armed representative reaching his end rank.

A Decisive win will result in the Princesses’ father giving the hand of his daughter to the winning Prince.

 

 

Board at commencement

 

 

 

Moves of Pieces

Moves are made alternately but note that moves do not have to alternate between the two sets of diagonals – players are free to choose whilst games are in progress on both sets of diagonals.

The rules on capturing are those of the standard game of English draughts in that captures are compulsory and must be continued where possible; but where a choice of capture(s) or capturing branches occurs players are free to choose between them and do not have to maximise the number of total captures.

Initial deployment of pieces is as shown and their moves and capturing powers (by comparison to English draughts) are:

A Champion: he moves and captures in an identical way to a Draughts king of English draughts. The capture of a Champion means a loss on his particular set of diagonals and then play continues only on the other set of diagonals - if this set is undecided. Note that Champions do not have to evade capture etc. as Kings do in Western chess and no warnings such as Check are required and these should not be given.

A Man-at-Arms: he moves and captures in an identical way to a Draughtsman of English draughts.

Should either a Champion or a Man-at-Arms reach his end rank or a Champion be captured then this means a win on this particular set of diagonals and then play continues only on the other set of diagonals - if this set is undecided.

If a Champion or Man-at-Arms reaches his end rank and by so doing also captures a Champion this is incidental only and has no other impact on the game.

A capture of a Champion or an Armed representative reaching his end rank would halt any capturing sequence.

The first move is determined by players drawing or being dealt a card from a shuffled pack of fourteen cards. Each card shows one of the possible fourteen opening moves for the South-side player and the equivalent move on the contrasting coloured set of diagonal squares for the North-side player, e.g. one of the cards will show D2-C3 for South-side and also show the equivalent move of D7-C6 for North-side. The South-side player has one of the fourteen cards first and if this was the aforementioned card then his first move would be to move his Man-at-arms from the D2 square to the C3 square. The North-side player must now draw or be dealt one of the remaining thirteen cards and move according to the North-side move shown on his card – he cannot therefore have a card with the equivalent move of the South-side player’s move and so the first move for each player cannot be the equivalent on contrasting coloured sets of diagonal squares and so players can prevent full copying on the different diagonals.

These cards are called the TwinDraughts design pack and have a forest wildlife design on their backs – designs are shown on both halves of the fronts and backs of the cards.

 

Further Rules and Notes

The hand of the Princess will not be given for less than a Decisive win.

Anything less than a Decisive win is called an Inconclusive battle and is a draw

After a first diagonal set win then all pieces are cleared from this set of diagonals except the piece reaching his end rank or capturing a Champion and play then proceeds to the other set of diagonals – as can be seen this first diagonal set loosing player now has the move. This procedure can and should be carried out following a win on the second diagonal set.

TwinDraughts can be described as a Pathfinder game.

 

Representational

Ornamental spectators can be placed alongside the board including the Princess and her father.

 

Game variations

To First win

There are several possible variations of TwinDraughts including what is called to First win whereby the win is obtained by the first player to win on one of the sets of diagonals only (this should reduce the number of draws, perhaps significantly so) – the points scored are half of those shown in the Information Table. Both to Decisive win and to First win can be played by two teams of two and to First win can be played by four players as individuals – each player only plays on one set of diagonals and teams share points as they decide for these variations and moves must alternate between sets of diagonals, also the use of the pack of cards is adapted to suit the variations, additionally the representational and background aspects may require adjusting and players can, if they want, decide this for themselves (there may become standard adjusted forms for this eventually).....like the core game, these variations would require considerable testing, but if OK, details such as move patterns etc. would be set out.

 

 

Information Table

 

 

 

 

 

 

Studies etc.

 

Introduction

A facet to Chess that has many enthusiasts is that of the study of games or that of game positions or of problems - sometimes these are composed positions or sometimes they are positions that have occurred in actual games or are based on such. Often studies or problems are of the type where white (south) is required to play and win or to deliver checkmate in a specified number of moves.....The following are no more than just the briefest of introduction to this very large field of studies and problems and they can be readily found in many numbers; amongst them I have included famous games and critical positions occurring in them and one or two of these include within them situations of delivering checkmate within a certain number of moves, as can be seen.

As an aside it should be mentioned that spectators of games, who, I think, are an important part of Chess, can and often do share in the tension and excitement of an outstanding game or a brilliant moment occurring in a game and an example of this is given in the following (The Golden Move).

 

 

 

 

The Saavedra study

This is often considered to be the most famous of all Western chess studies and is known as the Saavedra study or position where Fernando de Saavedra discovered the key move of 6. Pawn to C8 and promotes to a Rook.....the commencing position is shown below with the standard Western chess symbols. This study is not recommended for beginners though.

The original position and solution were published in 1895 but the adjusted and now usual position as shown below was given in 1902 by Emanuel Lasker who was the world’s Western chess champion at the time.

 

The Saavedra position with white (south) to move and win

 

1. c7 South commences with Pawn to C7

1...Rd6+ North responds with his Rook to D6 and checks south’s King – other moves lose as south’s Pawn will promote to a Queen with an eventual win

 

2.Kb5 South escapes the check by moving his King to B5. King to B7 would lose the Pawn by pin and King to C5 would be followed by the strong move Rook to D1 and south needs to be aware of this defensive resource

2...Rd5+ North checks south’s King by Rook to D5 otherwise south’s Pawn will promote to a Queen and north will be unable to prevent south’s eventual win - for example if the Rook is played to D2 then south’s Pawn will promote to a Queen and attempts at checking south’s King run out shortly whereupon south will take control

 

3.Kb4 South now moves his King to B4 and stays in control of the situation

3...Rd4+ North now checks south’s King by moving his Rook to D4 to prevent south’s Pawn promoting

 

4.Kb3 South keeps control by moving his King to B3

4...Rd3+ Once again north checks south’s King to prevent the promotion by moving his Rook to D3

 

5.Kc2 South moves his King to C2 to ensure the Pawn’s promotion

5...Rd4 North now moves his Rook to D4 and if south’s Pawn then promotes to a Queen north will move his Rook to C4 checking the King and attacking the Queen and after south captures north’s Rook the game is a draw by stalemate

 

6.c8=R And so south moves his Pawn to C8 and promotes to a Rook and the aforementioned stalemate position cannot occur and in addition to this south is threatening to move his Rook to A8 with checkmate to follow.....this is the key move as mentioned

6...Ra4 To prevent south’s threatened checkmate north moves his Rook to A4.....other moves are possible but they cannot both prevent checkmate and retain north’s Rook

 

7.Kb3 South moves his King to B3 and both threatens to capture north’s Rook and also threatens checkmate by moving his Rook to C1 and so north must either lose his Rook and lose the game fairly quickly or be checkmated.

 

 

 

 

The Golden move

The Golden move was the name given to a move played by Frank Marshall in the Western chess game Stepan Levitsky – Frank Marshall, Breslau on 20 July 1912, after the following moves had been played

 

1.d4 e6 2.e4 d5 3.Nc3 c5 4.Nf3 Nc6 5.exd5 exd5 6.Be2 Nf6 7.0-0 Be7 8.Bg5 0-0 9.dxc5 Be6 10.Nd4 Bxc5 11.Nxe6 fxe6 12.Bg4 Qd6 13.Bh3 Rae8 14.Qd2 Bb4 15.Bxf6 Rxf6 16.Rad1 Qc5 17.Qe2 Bxc3 18.bxc3 Qxc3 19.Rxd5 Nd4 20.Qh5 Ref8 21.Re5 Rh6 22.Qg5 Rxh3 23.Rc5

 

The position was as below

 

 

 

Frank Marshall now played 23...Qg3 and it was said that the spectators showered the board with gold coins upon seeing this - not a few consider this to be the greatest of Western chess moves ever played - former world (Western) chess champion Garry Kasparov called it the most brilliant move in the history of (Western) chess. Stepan Levitsky as white resigned the position as his best reply (Queen takes Queen) will leave him a piece down and at this level of play would have led to a loss.

 

There are of course other candidates for the greatest move ever played but I think if there is to be what could be called The Platinum move we must take into account the situation as well as the move itself and so:

 

 

 

The Platinum move

 

In November 2016 the world Western chess championship final took place in New York between the holder Magnus Carlsen of Norway and the challenger Sergey Karjakin of Russia.

 

The playing format was for twelve games at long time controls and if the scores were level after this then four games were to be played at rapidplay with increments, and if the scores were still level after this the match would proceed to paired games of blitz play with increments. Continuing tied scores would lead, after ten games, to a final game where a draw would result in the player of the black pieces being declared the match winner – this game would give slightly more time to white.

 

Magnus Carlsen was favourite but Sergey Karjakin won the eighth game only for Magnus Carlsen to draw level on the tenth game; the next two games were draws and so the match proceeded to rapidplay.

 

The first two games of rapidplay were draws but Magnus Carlsen won the third and so the situation now, on 30 November 2016, was that if Magnus Carlsen won or drew the fourth and final rapidplay game he would win the match and remain world champion whereas if Sergey Karjakin won this game the match would proceed to blitz play.

 

The following moves were played:

 

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. d4 cxd4 4. Nxd4 Nf6 5. f3 e5 6. Nb3 Be7 7. c4 a5 8. Be3 a4 9. Nc1 0-0 10. Nc3 Qa5 11. Qd2 Na6 12. Be2 Nc5 13. 0-0 Bd7 14. Rb1 Rfc8 15. b4 axb3 16. axb3 Qd8 17. Nd3 Ne6 18. Nb4 Bc6 19. Rfd1 h5 20. Bf1 h4 21. Qf2 Nd7 22. g3 Ra3 23. Bh3 Rca8 24. Nc2 R3a6 25. Nb4 Ra5 26. Nc2 b6 27. Rd2 Qc7 28. Rbd1 Bf8 29. gxh4 Nf4 30. Bxf4 exf4 31. Bxd7 Qxd7 32. Nb4 Ra3 33. Nxc6 Qxc6 34. Nb5 Rxb3 35. Nd4 Qxc4 36. Nxb3 Qxb3 37. Qe2 Be7 38. Kg2 Qe6 39. h5 Ra3 40. Rd3 Ra2 41. R3d2 Ra3 42. Rd3 Ra7 43. Rd5 Rc7 44. Qd2 Qf6 45. Rf5 Qh4 46. Rc1 Ra7 47. Qxf4 Ra2+ 48. Kh1 Qf2 49. Rc8+ Kh7

The position was now as below

 

 

 

Magnus Carlsen now played the Queen sacrifice 50. Qh6+ and, on his 26th Birthday, this move won the match and ensured he would stay as world champion - it is Checkmate next move for if 50... Kxh6 then 51. Rh8 Checkmate or if 50... gxh6 then 51. Rxf7 Checkmate.

 

So though it is subjective of course this move of 50. Qh6+ is my choice for The Platinum move.

 

 

 

The Silver move

With a Platinum move and a Golden move perhaps we should add a Silver move and the following, though once again subjective, would be my choice. This was played in a most famous game by Adolf Anderssen against Lionel Kieseritzky on 21 June 1851 in London, but was not a tournament game being played during a break in what was the first Western chess international tournament (Adolf Anderssen went on to win the tournament and was for some years afterwards considered to be the world's leading player).

 

The following moves were played:

1.e4 e5 2.f4 exf4 3.Bc4 Qh4+ 4.Kf1 b5 5.Bxb5 Nf6 6.Nf3 Qh6 7.d3 Nh5 8.Nh4 Qg5 9.Nf5 c6 10.g4 Nf6 11.Rg1 cxb5 12.h4 Qg6 13.h5 Qg5 14.Qf3 Ng8 15.Bxf4 Qf6 16.Nc3 Bc5 17.Nd5 Qxb2 18.Bd6 Bxg1

 

The position was now as below

(Note that Adolph Anderssen played the black pieces but still moved first – the diagram shown is as all games are now shown i.e. with white as south and moving first.)

 

 

Adolph Anderssen now played 19.e5 and this move ensures his win despite the fact that a second Rook is then taken; the move both cuts the defensive line of the opposing Queen and threatens Checkmate in two starting with Nxg7. The game continued:

 

19...Qxa1+ 20.Ke2 and it is thought that Lionel Kieseritzky resigned the game at this point, but it may be that he played the move 20... Na6 that leads to 21.Nxg7+ Kd8 22.Qf6+ (a Queen sacrifice) Nxf6 (taking the Queen - blocking with Ne7 also loses to Checkmate next move) 23.Be7 Checkmate. 20...Ba6 would also eventually lose as would 19...Ba6.

 

So my choice, again entirely subjective, is 19.e5 for The Silver move.

 

 

 

A Chinese chess game

So far only Western chess has featured in these studies so can Chinese chess then, that has no piece stronger than the Rook of Western chess, produce something of its own form of excitement - well, in Terence Donnelly's 1974 book Hsiang Ch'i there is a game given where south (shown as black in the book and moving first) delivers checkmate on his 24th move that is the 10th check in succession and the source of this game is given as Chin tai hsiang ch'i ming chu hsuan (Selected famous modern games of Chinese chess), Shanghai, 1958.

The moves of this game are as follows and are given with traditional piece descriptions and the diagram shows a traditional board with traditional disc type pieces moving on line intersections (this is unlike that used in this book for Chess games) but uses Western chess algebraic move notation:

 

1. Cannon e3, Horse g8 2. Horse g3, Horse c8 3. Soldier e5, Guard d10 - e9

4. Horse c3, Chariot h10 5. Soldier e6, Soldier x e6 6. Horse c3 - e4, Cannon h4

7. Cannon x e6+, Elephant c10 - e8 8. Cannon e3, Cannon x e4+ 9. Horse x e4, Chariot h6

10. Chariot i2, Chariot d10 11. Chariot b1, Cannon a8 12. Chariot f2, Cannon x a4

13. Horse f6, Chariot h8 14. Horse x e8, Chariot d8 15. Horse d6+, Horse e7

16. Cannon x e7+, General d10 17. Horse x c8+, Chariot x c8 18. Chariot d2+, Chariot h8 - d8

19. Cannon d7+, Chariot e8 20. Cannon x i7+, Chariot c8 – d8 21. Chariot b10+, General d9

22. Cannon i9+, Guard f8 23. Chariot x d8+, Chariot x d8 24. Cannon e9 Checkmate.

 

 

 

The diagram above shows the final position.

As can be seen the Red General cannot escape Checkmate by capturing the Black Cannon on E9 as the rules of Chinese chess do not allow Generals to face each other on an otherwise (between them) unoccupied file and I have kept to this rule for all games in this book that have similarity (though in varying degrees) to Chinese chess.

 

 

 

An Arabian chess mansuba

There is much more to Chess though than spectacular moves and situations as shown above – there are many subtleties, and a good example of this can be seen in the following study position, called a Mansuba, of an Arabian chess position taken from The Oxford Companion to Chess by David Hooper and Kenneth Whyld 1984 under the heading Mansuba. This Mansuba is from a manuscript dated 1257.

I have named the pieces in a commonly understood western way as follows: a King moves like a King in Western chess and a Knight also moves as does a Knight of Western chess whilst the General moves one square diagonally and could also be called a Counsellor. Kings can commence on either E1/E8 or D1/D8 as they have with the study here and with the General on D4 commencing on E1.

The position is as follows and white is to play and win by baring the opposing King (this counts as a win with Arabian chess):

 

 

1. King c7, Knight a6+ 2. King b7, King b5 3. Knight a3+, King a5 4. Knight c4+, King b5

5. Knight d6+, King a5 6. General c3, Knight c5+ 7. King c6, Knight e6 8. Knight b7+, King a4 9. Knight c5+

 

and the following winning position is reached as the blue Knight will be captured on the next move thus baring the opposing King:

 

 

 

 

 

Further thoughts

 

Introduction

Games and things are not necessarily fixed in terms of rules, names or appearances and so forth - there can be improvements or corrections or new variations and many other things major and minor, and practical playing experience could suggest changes.....the following lists some current thoughts along these lines but they are possibilities only and not definite in any way and this section could be updated and change at any time as could any other items:

 

Name changes etc.

The words/phrase 'Stepping-stones of Chess' may be used instead of 'Steps along the way of Chess' as the book's title or in some other way and they are reserved for use by the Author as are the words/phrase 'The Diamond Set™' or 'The Diamond Set'  (not necessarily as a trademark and 'A' can replace 'The' here), also mentioned in Further thoughts in A Lacework of Strands.

The name of 'A Chess Set' may be changed to 'The Chess Set' but this is not likely.

The name of Invasion for the variation of Arabella may be changed.

Chinese chess, that is also called Xiangqi, could also perhaps be called Eastern chess.

The use of the word Storm in and the way of naming Kings/Queens/Princes/Princesses in the game of Storm may well be re-thought, and a likely possibility is that the prefix of Storm before King, Queen, Prince or Princess is assumed to refer to the northern of such as the northern Prince and Princess take precedence over their two southern counterparts - see Storm/Crossfire for comparisons regarding this.

The Water-horse variation of RiverQi could simply be called Water-horse whilst the Hawker variation of RiverQi may be changed to the Hawk variation.

The name of Swordsmen in Combat may be changed.

The names of Princes (Cloaked and Crystal) in Crystal of Doom may be changed.

The board colours for Crystal of Doom may change, as may those of any game in Steps if thought preferable, and the same applies to piece colours, though the stated basic colours of both should certainly predominate if at all possible - also it must be ensured that board and piece colours for games enable a good playing experience.

The Region names (Forestasia and Anglonia) in Lost Treasure may be changed.

The name Woodland occurs in more than one game/group and this may be altered.

The piece called a Squire in Shadow may be renamed and the promotion rules in this game may well be revised.

The word Phased where used to describe clocks may be changed to Stepped.

The times that games take place may be changed and may be set out in an appendix.

 

The design, type and colours of pieces or boards may be changed for games, and an example picture of a representational piece set of Western chess is shown below followed by an example picture of a 3D representational Chinese chess set

I should add that these particular designs are examples only and are not intended to be used in Steps games.

 

 

 


 

There are alternative boards, one is for Relay and is called The Bronze Stadium board, and this shows actual distances for the races and is shown below

 

 

 

 

There is also a very representational board called The New-Camelot board where the area called The Tournament Arena can be used for numerous games with their boards - this, the copyright of Glenn Nicholls, is also shown below

 

 

 

 

 

Further pieces

There are pieces that do not actually appear on the board in games but are described, and there are pieces that have not been described elsewhere at all

The Khan of Meridian has already been described; also in Meridian there are a Pike commander and a Pike leader - a complementary piece would be a Pike senior (he could also be called a Senior pikeman) who is not in any game but there is a Senior infantryman (who moves as would a Pike senior/Senior pikeman) in Siege who is able to move/capture one or two squares diagonally, though he cannot jump but only slide.

Another possible piece would combine the powers of a King’s lancer and a Queen’s lancer (see LancerChess) and he could be called a Lance-commander. This piece appears in Tiger’s-eye Games by Glenn Nicholls.

Also a possible piece is one that can leap to all the squares in a 7x7 box of squares that a King cannot reach from the centre square (24 squares in all) and he could be called a Knight commander, but considering his power would likely be called a Knight-royal. This piece appears in Tiger’s-eye Games by Glenn Nicholls.

There are also (representational) mythological pieces that are winged, also from Tiger's-eye Games by Glenn Nicholls, of a Dragon and elder and younger Winged-serpents and these move (respectively) as do the King, Aristocrat and Baroness of Touchstone but they can fly and so are unimpeded in both their movement and captures by any pieces. These pieces do not currently appear in any Steps games though might possibly be incorporated at some stage as background or even in a game.

 

The Prince of Storm/Crossfire could be modified as shown below (but is perhaps not so logical and direct in the moves).....also note various combinations are possible here with the other similar Storm pieces. 

As can be seen there are extra squares that this piece can arrive at by means of two different Knight Leaps - e.g. the square C6 could be arrived at by means of a Leap to square C5 or D6.....the square designations are as per the usual Chess method.

These extra squares, then, have the advantage of extra accessibility, but they have the disadvantage of possible blocking of two follow-through sets of squares.

I have not named this piece as yet due to the more direct moves of the Prince of Storm/Crossfire taking precedence.

 

 

There is also a piece, also from Tiger's-eye Games, that combines the powers of the (northern) Prince and the (northern) Princess of Storm and he is here called the Storm Emperor.

 

 

 

Other possible games etc.

 

Game variation - Breakout:

This game variation is based somewhat on Western chess, Capablanca chess and Seirawan chess (a game invented by the Western chess grandmaster Yasser Seirawan and Bruce Harper and that uses the extra pieces of Capablanca chess on an 8x8 board) with something of the game of Storm added. The representational background will probably be that of Storm except that the Castles mentioned there as background have been rebuilt and are situated on two extra squares to a standard Western chess 8x8 board - these squares being behind d1/e1 and d8/e8 and are called the Southern or Northern castles – d wings or e wings.

At game commencement occupying these extra squares (Castles) are the Precedent and Adviser of Capablanca chess whilst the King, Queen, Rooks, Bishops, Knights and Pawns of Western chess occupy their usual positions but are named as in Storm, though as standard with Steps the roles of the King and Queen are reversed and Protecting the Queen is then reversed from the squares in Western chess.

Movement to and from the Castles is less free-flowing than that of across the board (called the Emerald Forest as per Storm) as it would be in actuality and so pieces can only move/capture to or from the Castles from or to the adjoining first rank (Foresters, as Pawns are called in Storm, still promote on their eighth rank as set out in Storm/Crossfire) though they can move/capture within the Castles, if possible.

The remaining rules are the same as Storm and the scores would likely be two Satellite game points for a win with one each for a draw, but at the moment the game is initial only.

 

 

Notes on game variation of Breakout -

The name Breakout may be changed.

Pieces situated outside Castles, including first ranks, have the whole board available for movement/capture except for the Castles as described - note that the aforesaid restrictions also apply to a player's own pieces if they are situated in his opponent's Castle.

It would be possible to have the Prince and Princess of Storm commencing the game instead of the Precedent and Adviser but one of the objects of this game is to counter-balance the power present on the board (in contrast to Storm and Crossfire where the object is to provide tactical ‘fireworks’) and these two pieces may bring a little too much of this, but the possibility remains.

The board could and perhaps should have ornamental Castles (as representing a Forest the board could be decorative also) and also the Uncharted Regions (dense forest that is representational background in Storm) remain outside of the Forest and Castles. The background story is basically that of Storm but may need adjusting.

It is likely the Precedent commences on the Castle d wing and the Adviser on the e wing but this could be changed if beneficial in any way.

In Breakout, as in the games of Steps, the equivalent of Castling of Western chess is called Protecting (or Safeguarding) the Queen and if the Queen has been moved to within her Castle and so foregone being Safeguarded she could then be described as being Castled, giving a distinction.

There are with the Castles some additional defensive resources available such as the facilitation of the re-grouping of pieces or giving shelter to a piece and if the Queen were to move there early in the game she could be almost immune to attack for much or all of the opening and middle game – at least in some games, perhaps many games, also there are defensive resources available with Castles in the endgame, and these defensive resources could be considered an interesting counter-balance to the much increased potential attacking power on an 8x8 board.

It seems possible to play with the Capablanca pieces on an 8x8 board without the Castles of Breakout and the rules associated with them whereby at commencement the d and e file Foresters are placed on their third rank whilst the Precedent (likely d file) and Adviser (likely e file) are placed behind them - d and e file Foresters do not have an optional initial two square move.

 

 

Game variation - Storm Force 24:

This is a game variation principally based on Storm and where players can choose their three powerful pieces up to a value of twenty four and place them on the 10x8 or 10x10 Storm board - hence the name of the variation. The value of twenty four comes from the King plus the Precedent plus the Adviser as these are the pieces of Capablanca chess that Storm is based on (the King, Prince and Princess of Storm have a value of twenty seven  - Storm Force 27?). What three squares are available for the pieces to be placed on are to be decided, but would likely be those of the King, Prince and Princess of Storm or those of the King, Precedent and Adviser of Capablanca chess - the placement of the remaining pieces would likely be according to those of Storm or Capablanca chess depending on the squares available for the three powerful pieces - see commencing board diagrams for Storm and Crossfire for clarity.

Below is the Table of piece values but they are initial and rounded and somewhat subjective approximations only and subject to change.....It should also be kept in mind that the values are primarily for the opening and middle game where the highly tactical possibilities of the variation may well be influential in deciding the game's result; but for the endgame the values could well change and two examples, also mentioned in Storm and Crossfire, would be that the King may be of more value than the Forest Prince and the Adviser may be of more value than the Forest Princess.

 

 

Notes on game variation of Storm Force 24 -

Since there are twelve piece choices the game's name may be changed to Storm Force 12.

Players can choose three pieces whose value is less than twenty four but not more and they may not choose more than one piece of each type.

Players also choose what of the available three squares to deploy their three chosen pieces on.

Players do not declare what pieces they have chosen and what squares they have chosen for their deployment to each other but to the referee and then the pieces are placed on their squares and the game commences.

Players would probably be allowed perhaps 15 minutes or so to decide on these pieces and their deployment and would have to then commence the game, with any shortfall if there were any.

The principle of having a certain amount to 'spend' on pieces could be applied to other Chess games and also different types of games from Chess and an example of this is the game of Flagship in A Lacework of Strands.

Only practical play could determine if refinements or adjustments were required to the rules or piece values or deployment of other pieces (e.g. Knights and Service-maidens) and whether some deployments were not acceptable for any reason (e.g. an unavoidable loss of material etc.). As with Breakout the game, at the moment, is initial only.

There is the possibility of further pieces being added to the table but the alternate name of Storm Force 12 would have to change, and in connection with this I have not included the Khan, who is mentioned in Meridian, or the Storm Emperor, who is mentioned above in Further pieces, as these are or would be considered more appropriate as background pieces than as participating pieces for this particular variation. 

Players may have a particular liking for certain pieces (and their deployment squares) and they may be adept in their use of them and they may like the possibility of choosing them, but then their opponent may know of these preferences and base his choice on what the player perhaps does not like to play against rather than what he himself likes, and both players may be thinking along these lines and some unexpected and interesting deployments may arise because of this, and there are likely around 1,000 possible deployments for each player.

Forester promotions follow the same logic described in Storm/Crossfire.

As with Breakout the likely scores are two Satellite game points for a win and one each for a draw - Storm (and Crossfire) score more as they are considered the prime games and so take precedence.

The background would be basically that of Storm but may need adjusting.

 

 

Object variation from TigerChess:

TigerChess (one word) forms part of Tiger's-eye Games by Glenn Nicholls and a possible version of this can be played with the LancerChess pieces and board whereby the four squares behind c1/c8, d1/d8, e1/e8 and f1/f8 (that can be called the northern and southern Palace c, d, e and f wings) form each sides Palace. The playing rules are as follows - 

At the commencement of the game each player has a piece called the Royal guard posted to one of the four squares of their Palace and the Royal guard may not leave his post and move from his square but he guards the square in front of him by wielding a sword (representational points).

The Kings' Lancers are called the Standard bearers and should carry a decorative flag.

An additional object of the game is to Occupy the Palace and this must be carried out by the Standard bearer capturing the Royal guard as described below and this scores three Satellite game points.

 

Notes on object variation from TigerChess -

I have not yet decided on a name for this game with this possible object variation.

Checkmate is kept as a secondary object.

The loss of a Standard bearer still leaves Checkmate as an object and this scores two Satellite game points - if Occupying a Palace also results in Checkmate (or check) to the opponent the score is still three Satellite game points.

The Standard bearer captures the Royal guard by moving as usual and from the board but if he moves to the square in front of the Royal guard he can be captured (the Royal guard does not move in doing so though and can only capture the Standard bearer - this could change to any piece but is unlikely to) and so there is usually only one square on the penultimate rank that the Standard bearer can capture the Royal guard from - discovered checks could make the end rank square available though.

The reason for the higher score of Occupying a Palace than Checkmate is that only the Standard bearer can deliver this and to do so he must travel deep into his opponent's territory to land on (usually) just one square - this could be a long and risky journey and his opponent may well target him for capture, but attempts to defend both him and the Queen may lead to the opponent gaining the initiative.....Occupying the Palace may be an exciting object with complex possibilities in some games.

The posting of the Royal guards could be by arrangement or by draw of card etc.

Occupation of the Palace may not be carried out whilst the player's Queen is in or remains in check or if this causes the player's Queen to be in check or checkmate.

Palace squares can only be moved to when the Standard bearer captures the Royal guard.

There may be adjustments to the rules of this object variation – there are a number of possible changes, but the principle of Occupying a Palace would be basically the same.....one possible and perhaps preferable change is to have a moat in front of the Palaces that requires the Standard bearer to be on the one necessary corresponding square of the end rank in order to jump over the moat and carry out Occupation of the Palace, and here the Royal guard has no capturing powers other than a theoretical only power to capture on any wing of his Palace.

There can and perhaps should be ornamental Palaces.

Palaces could be called Strongholds with northern and southern c, d, e and f rooms or wings.

 

 

Promotion variation from TigerChess:

This idea also comes from TigerChess and is where a Pawn (or equivalent and by whatever name) may promote on the penultimate rank but to a lesser piece (e.g. a knight), but in conjunction with this only the first Pawn to reach their end rank can promote to a greater piece - this means that there can be one or more Pawns on the penultimate rank that cannot be promoted and they can only move or capture to their end rank and then stay there until and unless captured.

 

Notes on promotion variation from TigerChess -

A name has yet to be decided for this promotion rule that could be used in games such as Western chess or LancerChess etc.

This rule could be changed so that any Pawn reaching the end rank could be promoted to a greater piece.

It would be interesting to know how often Pawns in Western chess safely or apparently safely reach the seventh rank but not the hoped-for end rank.

Early promotions to such as a Knight may not give much of a material advantage compared to a later end rank promotion but they may give an attacking initiative whereas the end rank promotion may not happen and the chance would have been lost - this possible early promotion could be a complex and interesting decision.

It is unlikely this rule would change standard scores. 

 

 

Deployment variation from TigerChess:

This is again based on an idea from TigerChess and that has some similarity with Fischer Random Chess; also called Chess960, there being 960 possible starting arrays (that are reflectively, if not rotationally, symmetrical and include castling rights) to this Western chess variation and invented by the former Western chess world champion Bobby Fischer who is also mentioned in Steps Part two: Timing of Games - many players consider Bobby Fischer to be a leading candidate for the strongest ever player of Western chess. To return to this deployment variation from TigerChess, the rules are as follows -

Note - Bobby Fischer invented Chess960 as a way of preventing memorised opening theory from having too much influence on a game as compared to playing abilty. For those interested in opening theory there is much information readily available for Western and Chinese chess - high level tournament players of these may know a great deal of such theory.

Note - the game used here as an example is Western chess but could be others, for example LancerChess.

 

The Pawns are placed on their usual squares but the pieces are placed on any empty squares as follows

1. South places one of his pieces on his first rank

2. North places two of his pieces on his first rank

3. South places two of his pieces on his first rank

4. North places two of his pieces on his first rank

5. South places two of his pieces on his first rank

6. North places two of his pieces on his first rank

7. South places two of his pieces on his first rank

8. North places his last two pieces on his first rank

9. South places his last piece on his first rank

The only stipulation here is that each player must have his Bishops on opposite colours.

Play now proceeds as usual except there is no Protecting the Queen (castling) whatever the array - but see below.

 

Notes on deployment variation from TigerChess -

A name has yet to be decided for this deployment placement procedure

A Protected Queen (castled) position, or rather similar positions, can come about by means of the placings.

Either player can force some asymmetry if he chooses to.

The placement choices for each player start off with eight possible squares for five possible piece types = 40 choices and so there are 40 x 40 = 1,600 possible positions after just one deployment placement by each player but this may not stay so as there are many transposition possibilities and players can force some symmetry if they choose to; also with standard commencing play the number of possible moves tends to increase for some time into the game (perhaps more noticeably so for pieces than for Pawns - in Western chess there are sixteen possible Pawn opening moves and four possible Piece opening moves for each side), but here the placement choices reduce from the initial forty for each player down to just one each and so there is here a noticeable contrast in the stages of a game that may be interesting to some, and in connection with this players may delay the placement of the key pieces of the King and Queen, perhaps to see where their opponent places theirs, but then the longer the delay of placing these key pieces the less choice there is of squares for them and this aspect may also be interesting to some.

The possible arrays are calculated by: each player must place a Bishop on one of four squares and so has 4x4 possibilities; the King can then go on one of six squares with the Queen on one of five squares; then the first Knight has four squares and the second Knight three squares, but either can occupy either square with no difference; then the Rooks have to occupy the last two squares also with no difference, and so there are 4x4x6x5x4x3/2x2x1/2 = 2,880 possible starting arrays for each player and the game has 2,880 x 2,880 = 8,294,400 possible starting arrays though there is some symmetry, but I would like this calculation checked.

There could, perhaps by way of cards rather than software, be a randomisation procedure used and with reflective symmetry.....(much as with Chess960 but with no castling rights - some interesting positions could arise here where Queens are placed in dangerous positions and this, I think, may be a worthwhile variation in its own right though would need some experimentation to determine if there are any unacceptably advantageous arrays, also the variation would need naming).....but the idea of this deployment variation is that players determine their commencing array for themselves whilst taking their opponent's placings into account - this could be a complex game within itself (there may be significant advantages to one side in some arrays) and so a significant amount of time would likely be set for this stage - see below.

This deployment stage of the game would have a clock time for each player of say an hour that would count down and then if a player had not completed his placements in this time he would have to continue the game with such pieces and their placements as he had.

These two as yet un-named, and somewhat contrasting in idea, deployment variations are, I think, suitable for exhibition play or social play, but could at times be played in a more significant way and score points accordingly - but not more (and perhaps less) than the head game.

 

 

Various

In LancerChess promotions to a Lancer could take place without reference to the colour of Lancers' commencing squares and so a player could then have a Queen's Lancer operating on a different set of diagonals to that of his original Queen's lancer.

To win a race in Relay could require a Runner landing on a square past his starting square.

In Relay the somewhat confusing wording regarding sending back and re-entering a runner to a race may well be worded clearer.

For the Rainbow, Jini, Chequered, Meridian and Forest groups it may well be preferable for the first two tie-break games to be played with the Parallel playing format

For the Jewel games the rules regarding Stalemate situations together with passing of moves - likely forced passing, may be revised; and in this respect the ideas set out in 'From Stalemate to Checkmate' by Glenn Nicholls (refer to page of this name on this site) in Tiger's-eye Games may, in a suitably adjusted form, be brought in. 

The rules for first moves in the Jewel series group and that for the bonus for a Skirmish win in the group and also for Stand-alone Jewel games may well be revised and this would then be shown in an updated Jewel series table and individual game tables, and a possible updated Jewel series table is shown below - also in connection with the Jewel games when played as a Group-series is the possibility of players/teams being called the Green TimeLord/s (north and one word) and the Red TimeLord/s (south and one word) throughout the games, if players or teams play the same sides throughout; additionally the Jewel games probably require their 'takes place when' times overhauling and probably sides played clarifying as well.

 

 

The Jewel series game of Skirmish may be changed so that the Key position acts as a block to sliding pieces as with the other Jewel games, and in this case the Pike commander piece would be changed to a Lance commander though the promotion to this piece from a Pikeman is perhaps not quite so logical, then again if named a Royal pikeman or a Pike royal.....? 

The rules of Combat may be changed both as a Stand-alone game and as a game within the Jewel series due to the perhaps (but perhaps not) large amount of first move advantage, but this would first require analysis or data to determine the appropriateness of this - perhaps compiled by computers, computer or other analysis could lead to changes in this or any other Steps game and/or its situation within Steps.

The game rules of Northern Light and/or Kaleidoscope may be changed to include Castling type moves.

The rules of the Woodland group may be looked at again.

Information tables including that of the Jewel series group may be updated to include a Notes section where appropriate. 

In Transfer chess the rules could disallow a Queen moving to a square occupied by a piece on the corresponding square on the other board, but then the exciting, I think, entrenchment possibility by the Queen talked of in Transfer playing notes would not arise and so this change is most unlikely.

The letter case shown for board files and algebraic notation varies between upper and lower case and this may well be changed to all showing the usual convention of lower case.

 

The game of Mongolian chess could be played in the Meridian group and here the group would change to the following format:

The Meridian group (alternative)

1. Mongolian chess

2. Meridian - Core variation

3. Combination

Tie break game is Mongolian chess

Notes

Core variations are Western and Eastern variations - see Meridian

What Core variation is decided by roll of dice or coin

For Combination south Guards the Queen – see Meridian

The Escape rule is not allowed to be in force (but see below) - see Meridian

Mongolian chess scores 1 point for a win and ½ each for a draw

Meridian and Combination score 2 points for a win and 1 each for a draw

Group bonus points are 5 (4 points is a possibility so as to bring into line with the Chequered group and then the bonus points for the Forest group may possibly become 5)

Promotion rules for Mongolian chess are as the Eastern variation of Meridian (except not to a Pike leader) as are other rules such as piece types and names (Teme are called Barons/Baronesses where Barons commence on the F file and Baronesses commence on the C file), role reversals, general board appearance and so forth - also there is no castling type move for the Queens. The Berse or Snow Panther (called and as a Prince-royal of Meridian) starts on E1/E8 not D1/D8 and his Chu (called Pikemen) must move to E4 followed by his opponent moving his to E5 as the first moves of the game; all other Pikemen only have a single square first move.

The Checkmate rules of Mongolian chess apply as does the draw rule of "Niol", but there is no draw by "Robado".

Note that there is a point (or two) less available overall with this changed group format though it may perhaps be a logical change although Mongolian chess is significantly more similar to Western chess than Chinese chess whilst Meridian is intended to be a fit between these two games. Also note the modern rule variations of Mongolian chess do not apply here and that there are one or two changes to the traditional rules. A further note is that of background and is along the lines of the Meridian variation of Combination where the Kings have both been injured and are unable to participate in the battle (game) and their daughters are considered too young to participate - the Kings, however, are expected to make a full recovery over time eventually. An additional note is that I have used the names of Baron and Baroness as I have also used these names in other games for this piece, but these names may change; also, although this piece does not appear in Meridian currently there is a possibility it may do so - see Meridian, Further Rules and Notes.

Also possible with this changed Meridian group format would be to have the Escape rule (described in Meridian) in force for the Meridian and Combination games, but there would then be less points scored, this change though could perhaps be suitable as an exhibition group.

The Escape rule mentioned above may be upgraded to score the same as when the rule is not in force for this alternative (or additional and perhaps separately named) group and then probably for Stand-alone games.

Other possibilities for the Escape rule are as an option(s) for the Meridian group(s) and/or possibly for South only in Combination (likely? - perhaps) as Group and/or Stand-alone games.....and then all with probably the same scores as without the rule.....apologies if this sounds confusing but what I am saying is that I would like to keep all possibilities for this rule open.

There is, I think, something to be said for this alternative Meridian group format becoming the main one (including the changed bonus points for this group and the Forest group - but this would not be definite) and this may possibly become the case.....But.....I'm not enthusiastic.....

One further point with the Meridian group as it stands is that it may well be preferable for the first two tie-break games to consist of one of each of the two core variations (preferably played in the parallel playing format) and then if a third game were necessary this would be the 1st core variation played.

 

In the Jini group whether the Traditional or Modern variation of Invasion is played could be the opposite to the one played in Arabella.

In Merridonia the Runich dice is spelt Rhunich - pronunciation is the same.

 

Tournament and Match play:

Tournaments are basically where a number of players enter such to play a series of a specific game or variation thereof and at the end of the tournament there are placings according to the results of the entrants.

The playing of official tournaments would likely have their own scoring system with likely only the highest placed entrants (perhaps only the top three of four) receiving points over and above those set out in the Information Tables, but these additional points (probably to be called Tournament bonus points) would often be of a large amount since such tournaments would often last for at least a week - the format and details or a template for this may, at some point, be written as a separate heading, possibly under Grouping of Games. Note that the Tournament bonus points would depend on a number of factors such as the number and strength of entrants, the number of rounds played and so forth.

There is also match play where usually just two players play a series of a specific game or variation thereof and as with tournaments this may at some point be detailed under a separate heading or described along with tournaments. As with tournaments there would likely be points scored by the winner over and above those set out in the Information Tables and these additional points would likely be called Match bonus points and they would depend on factors such as the strength of the contestants and the number of games played and so forth.

With lengthy tournaments and matches there would be rest days for players and likely also for others such as referees.

 

 

 

 

 

Listings in order:

 

First steps

Of the book, of the author

Of the Median-lands, of Merridonia

 

Indented contents

 

Forward

“.....the most exciting game in the world”

 

General including:

Interpretation of rules etc.

Standard points of note, rules and procedures etc.

Of Kings and Queens

Boards and pieces, game notation

Referees and additional services

Scoring and currency

Role playing and productions

Picture of Role played game

Game recording and story telling

Live game commentating and analysis

Post play comments and analysis

 

Base Games

Western chess

Chinese chess

Arabian chess

Mongolian chess

Capablanca chess

 

A Chess Set games and variations

LancerChess

Underpromotions

Game transpositions and Opening line transpositions

Clash

The King's Lancer's circuit 2D

The King's Lancer's circuit 3D

Picture of Staunton chess pieces

QiPlacements - Traditional placement

QiPlacements - Accelerated placement

QiPlacements - Open placement

Picture of traditional Chinese chess pieces

Encounter

Arabella - Traditional variation

Arabella - Modern variation

Invasion - Traditional variation

Invasion - Modern variation

Meridian - Western variation

Meridian - Eastern variation

Combination

Meridian and Combination with Escape routes

Storm - 10x8 board

Storm - 10x10 board

Crossfire - 10x8 board

Crossfire - 10x10 board

 

Additional Games

RiverQi - Soldier variation

RiverQi - Hawker variation

RiverQi - Water-horse variation

Siege - Field variation

Siege - Trench variation

Siege with Berolina infantrymen

Gyroscope

 

The Jewel Series games

Duel

Example Duel game

Skirmish

Example Skirmish game

Combat

Northern Light and Kaleidoscope

Crystal of Doom

Lost Treasure

Relay - Running variation

Relay - Obstacle variation

 

Game groups

A mention of consultation games

The Rainbow group

The Jini group

The Chequered group

The Meridian group

The Forest group

Enhanced game status with groups

The Jewel series group

 

Also there is included

 

Parallel playing of Chess

The Woodland parallel group

Parallel match play

Transfer playing of Chess

The Realm transfer group

Transfer chess piece entrenchment

Relay - Swing scoring and Mini groups

Exhibition play

The Runich dice

Picture of Runich dice

 

Clocks

Single countdown clocks

Tournament clocks

Fischer clocks

Hourglass clocks

Picture of Hourglass

Clock pauses

Clock holds

Intervals

Intermissions

Sealed moves

Phased Countdown clocks - standard

Phased Countdown clocks - triple controls

Independent Single countdown clocks

Phased Increment clocks - standard

Phased Increment clocks - variable parameters

Phased Combination clocks

Phased Swing clocks - standard

Phased Swing clocks - open ended

 

Circuits and Tours

Tour of a Knight on a 5x5 board

Tour of a Knight on a 4x3 board

Circuit of a Knight on an 8x8 board

3D Circuit of a King's Lancer on a 3x3x3 board

 

Further games

Touchstone

Shadow

TwinDraughts and variations

 

Studies etc.

The Saavedra position

The Golden move

The Platinum move

The Silver move

A Chinese chess game

An Arabian chess mansuba

 

Further thoughts

Name changes etc. including:

    Picture of representational Western chess pieces

    Picture of 3D representational Chinese chess pieces

    Alternative boards

Further pieces

Other games, variations etc. including:

    Game variation - Breakout

    Game variation - 8x8 Capablanca chess

    Game variation - Storm Force 24

    Object variation - Occupation of an opposing Palace

    Promotion variation - Lesser value piece promotion on the penultimate rank

    Deployment variation - A note on opening theory

    Deployment variation - Piece placements played by players

    Deployment variation - Piece placements at random decided by cards

Various including:

     From Stalemate to Checkmate reference

     Tournament & Match play

 

 

 

Shaye-Alexander Ellis Nicholls of Rhun, Merridonia

 

E&OE

Book Ends

This 'user submitted' page is a collaboration between the posting user and the Chess Variant Pages. Registered contributors to the Chess Variant Pages have the ability to post their own works, subject to review and editing by the Chess Variant Pages Editorial Staff.


By Glenn Nicholls.
Web page created: 2016-10-23. Web page last updated: 2016-10-23