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  1. 24 Oct '08 14:39 / 5 edits
    I have invented a new kind of chess game called “ram chess”.
    It is played on a 10 by 10 board and is specifically designed not to last too long.

    I have written an article describing the rules for it that assumes the reader already knows how to play standard chess. I have posted this article below. I have checked for printing errors but I could have easily missed something so please feel free to point out any printing errors or better ways I could have said things.

    If anyone tries to play this, please let me know what you think of it:

    Ram chess (word count: 1691)

    Ram chess is a chess-variant that is played on a 10 by 10 chess board.
    There are many chess-variants that is played on a 10 by 10 chess board but one thing what most of them have in common is that the games tend to last too long.
    Ram chess has been specially designed to minimise that problem because the rules are subtly designed such that if both players employ at least crudely the best strategy for this game, the game should come to a rapid conclusion in roughly about 70 goes into the game if not sooner.

    The overall complexity of the rules for ram chess is about the same as that for standard chess because, although the behaviour of the pawns is a bit more complex, this fact is offset by the fact there is no castling nor en passant moves in ram chess.

    Below is the disruptions of the rules for the game with the reasoning behind each rule:

    The rules for ram chess

    The pieces:
    Both players have exactly the same number and type of non-pawn pieces as in standard chess, I.e. each has: two rooks, two knights, two bishops, one queen and one king.
    Each player has 10 pawns each rather than just the usual 8 pawns in standard chess.

    One thing that often makes a 10 by 10 chess board game generally last much longer than the standard 8 by 8 chess board game is that many 10 by 10 chess variants have extra non-pawn pieces. More chess pieces means more pieces you have to consider each go which tends to make the thinking time for each move greater. More chess pieces means more pieces you have to develop and also it often means more opponent pieces you may have to catch before you can get your opponent into checkmate. So to try and help stop the average game lasting too long in ram chess, the players have no more non-pawn pieces in ram chess than in standard chess.

    Starting position:
    The starting position is similar to that of standard chess except:

    1, the corner squares are left empty in the starting position.

    2, the order and arrangement of the non-pawn pieces are the same as in standard chess except they are placed from squires b1 to i1 for white and they are placed from squires b10 to i10 for black.

    3, the white pawns start of in a row of 10 from squares a2 to 2j I.e. completely filling the second row of squares and, similarly, the black pawns start of in a row of 10 from squares a9 to j9 I.e. completely filling the ninth row of squares.

    White’s first go:
    White has the first move in the game but, when white has the first move in the game, white is only allowed to move one of his pawns (and not any of his non-pawns) and also only allowed to move one of his pawns just one square forward (not two squares forward).

    The reason for this constraint on white’s first move is purely just to stop white having a very subtly unfair advantage over black for going first for this constraint doesn’t apply to black’s first move in the game.

    No castling allowed:
    Unlike in standard chess, no castling is allowed in ram chess.

    The reason for this is because castling would generally allow players to place their kings in a safer position which means it would generally take longer for a player to get the other player into checkmate and thus castling would make it more likely for the game to last too long.

    No en passant allowed:
    Unlike in standard chess, no “en passant” moves (I.e. a pawn catching another pawn immediately after it has moved two squares forward and past its diagonal line of fire) are allowed in ram chess.

    The reason for this rule is because en passant moves tend to have a bad effect on the game by deterring a pawn from moving past opponent’s pawn thus making it generally take longer to get a pawn across and promoted in the end-game and the reason this is bad is because getting a pawn across helps to prevent the game lasing too long by helping to decide the game by often giving the player that promotes a pawn a big decisive advantage.

    How the pawns move and catch:
    The non-pawn pieces move exactly like in standard chess.
    But the pawns in ram chess behave a bit differently from the pawns in standard chess:

    Firstly, as already said, a pawn is not allowed to catch another pawn in ram chess by an en passant.

    Secondly, like in standard chess, a pawn can move either one or two squares forward (providing there is nothing in the way) but, unlike in standard chess, a pawn can move two squares forward not only on its first move (but, as already said, with the exception of the pawn move in white’s first go in the game) but any move after that (so a pawn can move forward two squares forward in one go and then that same pawn move forward two squares forward in the next go or in the go after that etc -I.e. with no special constraint).

    Thirdly, just like in standard chess, a pawn can catch a non-pawn piece by moving to one of the squares that is diagonally in front of it. But, unlike in standard chess, a pawn cannot catch another pawn this way! Instead, the only way a pawn can “catch” another pawn in ram chess is by a special move called a “ram” (hence the name of this kind of chess).
    A given pawn X can only “ram” an opponent’s pawn Y if that opponent’s pawn Y is:

    1, opponent’s pawn Y is on the square that is immediately directly in front of pawn X.

    2, there is another pawn of the same colour as pawn Y that is diagonally in front of it.
    -in other words, pawn Y is protecting at least one other pawn from non-pawn pieces (because that other pawn is diagonally in front of it).
    -or, in yet other words, there is an opponent’s pawn Y on the square immediately in front of pawn X and there is also another opponent’s pawn on at least one of the two squares that are horizontally next to your pawn X.

    Providing these above two simple conditions are satisfied, your pawn X can “ram” the opponent’s pawn Y.
    This “ram” move simply consists of not only “catching” pawn Y by taking it off the board but also taking your own pawn X off the board! (and to never be used again in the game). So, you can think of this “ram” move as like a suicidal kamikaze pilot act or a bit like a ship’s desperate suicidal “ram” into another ship that results in both ships sinking -that is the actual analogy where the name “ram” comes from.

    The reason why pawns can only “ram” another pawn in ram chess and not catch diagonally or by any other means is because having these “ram” moves only almost inevitably makes it in at least one of the two players interest to blast some holes through the pawn formations in the mid-game using this “ram” moves and there is usually very little the other player can do to stop it. The reason why this is a good thing is because this almost inevitably leads to a rapid break-up of the pawn formations in the mid-game and that really helps to open up the game forcing more interaction between the opposing pieces and this, in turn, tends to make the average game come to an earlier conclusion thus stopping it lasting too long.

    Promotion of pawns:
    If you manage to move a pawn right across the board to the last row of squares (on your opponent’s side) then, just like in standard chess, you can “promote” a pawn which means turn it into another kind of piece. But, unlike in standard chess, you cannot change it to any kind of piece you like but, instead, you are constrained because you are only allowed to change it to one of your non-pawn pieces that have been caught by your opponent earlier in the game (and which is currently off the board because it hasn‘t yet been used to promote another one of your pawns that you have managed to get across earlier -if you had got some pawns across earlier that is). If non of your non-pawn pieces are off the board, then you are not allowed to move that pawn to that last row of squares because that would be an illegal move until if and when one of your non-pawn pieces is caught and off the board. In that fairly unlikely event, you could always get around this by forcing an exchange of pieces with your opponent first and then move your pawn to the end row of squares to be promoted.

    The reasons for this constraint on how you can promote a pawn are:

    Firstly, it makes the game more interesting and this is at least in part because usually (I.e. in standard chess) what kind of piece you should promote your pawn to is a non-brainier -it should almost always be a queen but with a very rare exception where the position is such that you would do more good with a knight. But with this constraint you may sometimes be forced to make a slightly more interesting choice.

    Secondly, if you are not playing on a computer nor online but rather playing with actual physical pieces, it stops the annoying practical problem of what happens when you want to promote a pawn to a queen when your queen hasn’t yet been caught (so it is still on the board) and you have no spare queen pieces to use for this purpose.

    This is despite the fact that, if anything, this constraint on pawn promotion would slightly prolong the average game -the advantages of this constraint still outweighs this disadvantage.
  2. 24 Oct '08 16:56
    3, the white pawns start of in a row of 10 from squares a2 to 2j I.e. completely filling the second row of squares and, similarly, the black pawns start of in a row of 10 from squares a9 to j9 I.e. completely filling the ninth row of squares.

    a2 to j2 I think is what you were looking for. a2 to 2j is not consistent

    I think in multiple cases where you say catch, capture would convey the idea more clearly

    (but, as already said, with the exception of the pawn move in white’s first go in the game)
    the (but, as already said,) can be deleted. A change to as previously stated would make it a stronger clause.




    Could all be dialectic difference though...
  3. 24 Oct '08 18:35 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by tamuzi
    3, the white pawns start of in a row of 10 from squares a2 to 2j I.e. completely filling the second row of squares and, similarly, the black pawns start of in a row of 10 from squares a9 to j9 I.e. completely filling the ninth row of squares.

    a2 to j2 I think is what you were looking for. a2 to 2j is not consistent

    I think in multiple cases where you s ...[text shortened]... sly stated would make it a stronger clause.




    Could all be dialectic difference though...
    Thanks for that

    It is a pity I cannot re-edit the post now you pointed out this.
  4. 25 Oct '08 00:56
    Originally posted by Andrew Hamilton
    I have invented a new kind of chess game called “ram chess”.
    It is played on a 10 by 10 board and is specifically designed not to last too long.

    I have written an article describing the rules for it that assumes the reader already knows how to play standard chess. I have posted this article below. I have checked for printing errors but I could h ...[text shortened]... y prolong the average game -the advantages of this constraint still outweighs this disadvantage.
    The promotion rule is a bust because it doesn't cover what happens when there haven't been any pieces caught. The whole thing is a bust in my opinion.. it's a good idea but it sounds like a game of draws. With the "ram" move a person can just trade off all the pawns and if both players play reasonably well or at least at the same level then no pawns equals a drawn game.
  5. 25 Oct '08 10:23 / 4 edits
    Originally posted by tomtom232
    The promotion rule is a bust because it doesn't cover what happens when there haven't been any pieces caught. The whole thing is a bust in my opinion.. it's a good idea but it sounds like a game of draws. With the "ram" move a person can just trade off all the pawns and if both players play reasonably well or at least at the same level then no pawns equals a drawn game.
    …The promotion rule is a bust because it doesn't cover what happens when there haven't been any pieces caught..…

    I think somehow you missed the part of my post where I said:

    “If non of your non-pawn pieces are off the board, then you are not allowed to move that pawn to that last row of squares because that would be an illegal move until if and when one of your non-pawn pieces is caught and off the board. In that fairly unlikely event, you could always get around this by forcing an exchange of pieces with your opponent first and then move your pawn to the end row of squares to be promoted. “

    -this covers what happens when there haven't been any non-pawn pieces caught.

    I have just noticed that I should have said “by forcing an exchange of non-pawn pieces” in the above statement where I said “by forcing an exchange of pieces” because I should have been a bit more specific on that.

    …it's a good idea but it sounds like a game of draws. With the "ram" move a person can just trade off all the pawns and if both players play reasonably well or at least at the same level then no pawns equals a drawn game..…

    I don’t quite understand your reasoning here -suppose both players DO trade off all the pawns, then if both players play reasonably well or at least at the same level -why would that make a draw more likely? -I mean, why would a game of chess be more likely to end in a draw if neither player has any pawns as opposed to both players having pawns?

    I have simulated a few games by played a few game against myself (without taking sides of course ) and sometimes black won and sometimes white won but non of them ended in a draw even when most of the pawns where eliminated.

    I think if you just try the game for real you will see why it wouldn’t be particularly likely to end in a draw EVEN if you are aiming to force some sort of draw against your opponent right from the start.
  6. 25 Oct '08 11:44
    Originally posted by Andrew Hamilton
    [b]…The promotion rule is a bust because it doesn't cover what happens when there haven't been any pieces caught..…

    I think somehow you missed the part of my post where I said:

    “If non of your non-pawn pieces are off the board, then you are not allowed to move that pawn to that last row of squares because that would be an illegal move unti ...[text shortened]... N if you are aiming to force some sort of draw against your opponent right from the start.[/b]
    pawns are the soul of chess. If you take away all the pawns you have no promotion possibilities. you have no pawn storms, no pawn forks, nothing at all. you also have a wide open board which makes exchanges likely.

    the 1st move rule seems rubbish to me too. Ofcourse white has a (slight) advantage over black because he has the first move. this advantage is even more diminished when the board is 10x10. If you see having the first move as a problem, fine. But then to force the white player to make a pawn move 1 forward only is idiotic. This is just takes away white's possible opening moves. I for one would not accept this. Play 2 games, one with white and one with black if you don't think it's fair.

    The reasoning behind taking away the en passant rule seems silly to me too. It only has a slight effect on whether you're more likely to promote pawns if at all. Without mentioning that promoting a pawn is only one of many means to gain a decisive advantage in a game. Besides, many players see en passant as an integral part of the chess game. Taking it away is only confusing, more so when the possibilities for it are much more likely to occur (since you can move pawns 2 squares forward all the time).

    I don't know how to put this gently, but you would probably understand better if you had a better understand of chess itself.
  7. 25 Oct '08 12:47
    Originally posted by schakuhr
    I don't know how to put this gently, but you would probably understand better if you had a better understand of chess itself.
    Says schakuhr with a smiling clown face.
  8. Standard member Talisman
    Time traveller.
    25 Oct '08 13:10
    Originally posted by Andrew Hamilton
    I have invented a new kind of chess game called “ram chess”.
    It is played on a 10 by 10 board and is specifically designed not to last too long.

    I have written an article describing the rules for it that assumes the reader already knows how to play standard chess. I have posted this article below. I have checked for printing errors but I could h ...[text shortened]... y prolong the average game -the advantages of this constraint still outweighs this disadvantage.
    when i've mastered the normal version i may give it a go!
  9. 25 Oct '08 16:56 / 6 edits
    Originally posted by Thomaster
    Says schakuhr with a smiling clown face.
    …the 1st move rule seems rubbish to me too. Of course white has a (slight) advantage over black because he has the first move. this advantage is even more diminished when the board is 10x10...…

    True -but wouldn’t it be better for white to have no “slight” unfair advantage over black than to have such an advantage no matter how “slight”?

    …If you see having the first move as a problem, fine. But then to force the white player to make a pawn move 1 forward only is idiotic....…

    It has the effect of helping to reduce whites edge over black in the speed white can develop his no-pawn pieces as well as the speed white can throw his pawns forward to have a greater influence on the pawn structure that is “set” (if “set” is the right word here -it doesn't stay "set" for very long!) in the early part of the mid-game.

    …This is just takes away white's possible opening moves...…

    Only for the first move -after that, the number of possible sets of opening moves multiplies with each go until about go 5 when the number of possible sets of 5 first opening moves approximately equals that of that which white can do in standard chess (very roughly 15,000,000 I think -but, admittedly, this is a very crude approximation) -I think it makes very little practical difference to the variety of opening moves white can do in the first few moves.

    … The reasoning behind taking away the en passant rule seems silly to me too. It only has a slight effect on whether you're more likely to promote pawns if at all.….

    Actually, according to my analysis of the simulations of the games, it has a huge effect because I observe that the en passant rule often makes it in neither players interest to attempt to make a pawn pass another pawn. If you don’t believe me, I am afraid the only way you can be convinced is to try a few games and, just like me, try some with en passant moves and some without and then analyse and compare the two -but this is, of course, very time consuming, and it took me hours of experimentation to finally get this point. I have experimented now with at least 20 variations of chess (probably more -I have lost count).

    … Without mentioning that promoting a pawn is only one of many means to gain a decisive advantage in a game. .…

    -but every bit helps.
    No single attribute alone in my game prevents the game lasting too long but they all add up.
    With these rules, the game would rarely last much longer than about 80 goes and usually less I think. With some of the variants I initially experimented with, some of the game lasted 100+ goes which in my book is totally unacceptable.

    …I don't know how to put this gently, but you would probably understand better if you had a better understand of chess itself....…

    My rating is just 74 point below yours at the moment -I see no reason why my “understanding” of the game would be significantly less than yours.

    I am not “good” at chess.

    Did you know that the person that invented the rubrics cube confesses to be no good at solving it!?
  10. 25 Oct '08 19:05
    Originally posted by Andrew Hamilton
    True -but wouldn’t it be better for white to have no “slight” unfair advantage over black than to have such an advantage no matter how “slight”?

    I just don't see it as unfair, rather as an integral part of the game. It is up to the white player whether he wants to try to make something of having the first move or not. Most players are unhappy with a draw with the white pieces while they don't mind drawing a game with the black pieces.

    The problem I have with that the first move must be moving 1 pawn forward is that white is restricted in his opening choice and more or less has to commit to a pawn move. When you first move a knight out you can still decide on whatever setup. If you first have to make a pawn move your opponent already knows an inkling of your plan; you cannot move the pawn backwards.

    Ofcourse the whole nature of the game is different so this may or may not apply at all to your variant.


    Actually, according to my analysis of the simulations of the games, it has a huge effect because I observe that the en passant rule often makes it in neither players interest to attempt to make a pawn pass another pawn.

    I suppose it has its pros and cons - I can understand that it's easier to create a passed pawn when the pawn can't be taken off en passant. On the other hand the game becomes less dynamic (there are less possibilities).


    My rating is just 74 point below yours at the moment -I see no reason why my “understanding” of the game would be significantly less than yours.

    I am not “good” at chess.

    Did you know that the person that invented the rubrics cube confesses to be no good at solving it!?


    I'm sorry - I based this upon the gap between our RHP ratings which is about 600 points.
  11. 25 Oct '08 20:40
    Originally posted by Andrew Hamilton
    [b]…The promotion rule is a bust because it doesn't cover what happens when there haven't been any pieces caught..…

    I think somehow you missed the part of my post where I said:

    “If non of your non-pawn pieces are off the board, then you are not allowed to move that pawn to that last row of squares because that would be an illegal move unti ...[text shortened]... N if you are aiming to force some sort of draw against your opponent right from the start.[/b]
    That's a well known rule of thumb. If you're down a pawn and want a draw trade off the pawns and if you're up a pawn then trade off the pieces for a win. With no pawns there can be no promotions. This a bishop, night, or two knights can't win but if you add a couple of pawns in then the win is elementary. Making it illegal to promote a pawn when no pieces are gone is a bust because then somebody can just take two or even three moves to capture or blockade that pawn or if the pawn is attacked then it can run a square up to promote and must either be protected or lost. The rules of chess have been refined over many years and just making the board bigger and changing a few rules around isn't going to cut it. Maybe you can call it "ram" chess and make pawns only be able to capture forward... This would speed up the game and make it unable to get locked up by blockaides and such. also, the "ram" name still works. But there are still many problems even with that idea... It's hard to create a variant without making up new pieces. Take all of the pawns off the board and tell two GMs to play. I guarantee you they will laugh and agree to a draw before even making a move. From your simulated games, when you say they don't end in draws, I just assume that you lack proper endgame technique and not that the game is less likely to be drawn.
  12. 26 Oct '08 10:57 / 2 edits
    Originally posted by tomtom232
    That's a well known rule of thumb. If you're down a pawn and want a draw trade off the pawns and if you're up a pawn then trade off the pieces for a win. With no pawns there can be no promotions. This a bishop, night, or two knights can't win but if you add a couple of pawns in then the win is elementary. Making it illegal to promote a pawn when no pieces t you lack proper endgame technique and not that the game is less likely to be drawn.
    …Making it illegal to promote a pawn when no pieces are gone is a bust because then somebody can just take two or even three moves to capture or blockade that pawn...…

    As I pointed out before, you can get round that by forcing an exchange of non-pawn pieces BEFORE (often just before) you move that pawn forward to be promoted and, judging from my game simulations, there is usually a way for you to do this and with little your opponent can do to stop it. In that situation, it would even make sense to, say, exchange your queen for one of your opponent’s knights and then, in the next go, get that queen back by promoting a pawn thus at least making your opponent a knight down. Besides, in most of the games I found that there are non-pawn pieces exchanged even before a pawn gets a chance to get across to the other side anyway.

    …From your simulated games, when you say they don't end in draws, I just assume that you lack proper endgame technique and not that the game is less likely to be drawn....…

    In my simulations, usually by the end-game, one player is up a piece or two on the other player (sometimes up on pawns and sometimes up on non-pawns and sometimes up on both) and so I presume that the player that is down a piece or two would typically resign -but I always simulated the game to the end just to check and I couldn’t see any way the loosing player could have got out of it.

    Because of the peculiar and rather volatile way the pawn-formations tend to break up in this game -I observed a strong tendency for one player to end up a few pieces up on the other (and get a better position) just after the pawn formations really start to be cut apart. I know this would be time consuming but, really, I think you will just have to try a few games yourself to see what I mean. Non of my simulated games resulted in all pawns being illuminated although one came close to this.
  13. 26 Oct '08 13:38 / 2 edits
    Originally posted by tomtom232
    That's a well known rule of thumb. If you're down a pawn and want a draw trade off the pawns and if you're up a pawn then trade off the pieces for a win. With no pawns there can be no promotions. This a bishop, night, or two knights can't win but if you add a couple of pawns in then the win is elementary. Making it illegal to promote a pawn when no pieces t you lack proper endgame technique and not that the game is less likely to be drawn.
    …If you're down a pawn and want a draw trade off the pawns and if you're up a pawn then trade off the pieces for a win....…

    I just noticed something peculiar about that statement: how can you have it both ways? -I mean, how can it BOTH be true that:

    (1) “If you're down a pawn and want a draw then trade off the pawns”

    AND

    (2) “if you're up a pawn then trade off the pieces for a win”

    ?

    Let me explain it this way: lets say white is up a pawn. Then that means rule (2) applies to white so that, according to (2), if the pawns are traded off (one-for-one until there is just one left) then the game is likely to end in a win (for white in this case).

    But, to say that “white is up a pawn” is equivalent to saying “black is down a pawn” thus rule (1) ALSO applies at the same time (but applies to black in this case) so that, according to (1), if the pawns are traded off (one-for-one until there is just one left) then the game is likely to NOT end in a win but rather it is likely to end in a draw.

    -so how can it be that if one player is up on a pawn and if pawns are traded off that it could be BOTH true that the game is likely to end in a draw AND the game is likely to end in a win!?
    -unless what you imply here is that which of the two players is forcing the trade-off makes a difference?
  14. 26 Oct '08 13:52 / 1 edit
    On reflection I think if my restrictive “white’s first move” rule proves to be generally unpopular with players then I should get rid of it. The question is WOULD it be unpopular?

    I like to try and start a mini-opinion pole here:

    Should I get rid of the “white’s first move” rule from rum chess -yes or no?

    -if enough people answer and the majority say yes then I will officially get rid of that rule.
  15. 26 Oct '08 19:31
    Originally posted by Andrew Hamilton
    [b]…If you're down a pawn and want a draw trade off the pawns and if you're up a pawn then trade off the pieces for a win....…

    I just noticed something peculiar about that statement: how can you have it both ways? -I mean, how can it BOTH be true that:

    (1) “If you're down a pawn and want a draw then trade off the pawns”

    AND

    (2) “if ...[text shortened]... you imply here is that which of the two players is forcing the trade-off makes a difference?[/b]
    Pawns aren't pieces and pieces aren't pawns. When you are up a pawn you trade off the pieces. When you are down a pawn you trade off the pawns

    You seem to think that what might rarely happen is just as good as if it didn't happen at all. The fact that it COULD possibly happen is a flaw. Simulations aren't everything, you have to assume the worse and imagine scenarios in which your rules will "ram" into one another.