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
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.
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.