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Posers and Puzzles

Posers and Puzzles

  1. 09 Nov '08 11:46 / 3 edits
    I have made another new chess variant called “frontal chess” that, according to my analysis of the simulations of this game, appears, at least to me, to be a very interesting and attractive game and much more so than the very similar “ram chess” (which has a number of similarities to “frontal-swap chess” ) that I invented earlier (and, because of this, I now consider “ram chess” to be one of my “rejects&rdquo.

    I had posted my article on “ram chess” in the “only chess” forum (the “ram chess” thread is currently on page 3 in the “only chess“ forum) but I now think I was wrong to post it there and should have posted it in the “Posers and Puzzles” forum as I have done with this thread. The “only chess” forum should be only about standard chess -don’t you think?

    I truly believe that this “frontal chess” has the potential become very popular -I certainly would like to play it for real with somebody (so far, I had to make do with a number of simulations only).

    Here is the article that I have written on frontal chess describing the rules as well as explaining the reasons for each rule -although I have checked it through, I may have made a few spelling mistakes and other errors and there may be better ways I could have worded some bits of it so please feel free to make any suggestions to improve it:


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    Frontal chess (word count: 2332)

    Frontal 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.
    Frontal 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 frontal chess is about the same as that for standard chess because, although the behaviour of the pawns is more complex, this fact is offset by the fact there is no castling nor en passant moves in frontal-swap chess.

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

    The rules for frontal-swap 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 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 also 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 frontal-swap chess, the players have no more pieces in frontal chess than in standard chess although each player is given two extra pawns.

    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 j2 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 rule
    White has the first move in the game but, in whatever go when white first move a pawn in the game, whether white moves a pawn for the first time in the game in the first go of the game or the second go of the game or the third go of the game etc, white is not allowed to move that pawn two squares forward but can only either move that pawn one square forward (either straight forward or, in the extremely unlikely event the pawn can catch so early in the game, catch by moving diagonally one square forward)

    The reason for this constraint on white’s first move is to stop white having a subtly unfair advantage over black for going first for this constraint doesn’t apply to black’s first move in the game.
    This is because one of the consequences of the rules of this game is that it is nearly always in a players general interest to have his pawns generally more forward than his opponent’s (and definitely much more so than in standard chess).
    If one player manages to get his pawns even slightly more forward than his opponent and by just one pawn and by one pawn move then that could give that player a significant advantage.
    If the first pawn move white does in the game is to move a pawn two squares forward then, as long as white keeps moving pawns two squares forward every time black does, then white will be able to virtually guarantee that he can maintain this advantage. But, the effect of making white only allowed to make his first pawn move in the game a pawn move just one square forward is to denied white of any such special advantage over black.

    No castling allowed
    Unlike in standard chess, no castling is allowed in frontal-swap 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 on average for a player to get the other player into checkmate and thus allowing castling would make it more likely for the game to last too long.

    Castling probably wouldn’t be such an advantage in this game as it would be in standard chess anyway because castling would place the king closer to the pawn in front of the empty corner square that could be considered to be a slight weakness in the position -IF that is the case, then castling may be regarded as “redundant” in this game if it were allowed.

    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 frontal-swap chess.

    The reason for this rule is because en passant moves tend to have a bad effect on this particular 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 pieces move exactly like in standard chess.
    But the pawns in frontal chess behave a bit differently from the pawns in standard chess:

    Firstly, a pawn is not allowed to catch another pawn in frontal chess by an en passant although, of course, one pawn can still catch another pawn or any other piece by catching diagonally forward using the usual non-en passant capturing move just like in standard chess.

    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 with the exception of white’s first pawn move 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, unlike in standard chess, a pawn can do a special move called a “frontal-swap” (hence the name of this kind of chess).

    The only requirement for a pawn to do a “frontal-swap” move is that an opponents pawn must be on the square that is immediately directly in front of it.
    The frontal-swap move simply consists of swapping the positions of the two pawns (hence the name of this move; “frontal-swap&rdquo i.e. you move the pawn onto the square immediately directly in front of it and you move your opponents pawn from that square immediately to the square you just moved your pawn from.

    The whole point of having this “frontal-swap” move in this game is partly as a way of both breaking-up pawn formations to turn what may become an otherwise “closed” game that lasts too long to a more “open” game forcing more interesting interaction between the opposing pieces that also tend to make the game last less long and partly to make it easier for pawns to get past each other so that they are much more likely to get promoted and thus this also helps to reduce the length of the game.

    What happens when you get a pawn across
    In standard chess, when you manage to move a pawn right across the board to the last row of squares (on your opponent’s side) then you can simply “promote” a pawn which means turn it into any kind of piece of your choosing and normally you would choose to promote it to a queen.
    But, what happens when you get a pawn across in frontal chess is more complicated than that for there is two possible things that can happen: either you are only allowed to promote it using what is called “resurrection promotion” or you are only allowed to perform what is called a “queen dethronement” -both of these thing are explained below:

    …Article continues in the next post….
  2. 09 Nov '08 11:53 / 1 edit
    …Article continued from the last post….


    Queen dethronement
    You must only do a “queen dethronement” of a pawn that you have managed to get right across the board to the last row of squares on your opponent’s side if both of the players have got their queens on the board because neither player has their queen currently captured and off the board.
    A “queen dethronement” is not a promotion of the pawn because you don’t replace the pawn with anything! -instead, you just take the pawn off the board and also take off your opponents queen off the board!
    This makes a queen dethronement give you a similar advantage to you promoting a pawn to a queen in standard chess; both result in you being a queen up on your opponent. If anything, a queen dethronement usually gives you a slightly greater advantage to you when you get a pawn across compared to promote a pawn to a queen when you get a pawn across.

    Resurrection promotions
    You must only do a “resurrection promotion” of a pawn that you have managed to get right across the board to the last row of squares on your opponent’s side if at least one of the players hasn’t got a queen on the board because it is currently captured and off the board.
    Only then must you do a resurrection promotion which is similar to a promotion in standard chess except, 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 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).

    When it is illegal to get your pawn across
    If NON of your pieces are off the board AND your opponent has NOT got his queen on the board because it is currently captured than, logically, you cannot do either a “resurrection promotion” nor a “queen dethronement” if you get a pawn across. In that situation, you are not allowed to get that pawn across i.e. 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 either one of your non-pawn pieces is caught and off the board or if and when your opponent promotes one of his pawns to his captured queen. Fortunately, his situation doesn’t tend to happen very often and, when it does, you can usually get around this by forcing an exchange of pieces with your opponent first (after all, you would have all your pieces on the board!) and then move your pawn to the end row of squares to be promoted to one of your pieces that was captured during the forced exchange thus this doesn’t present a significant obstacle to getting your pawns across and, as a bonus, the occasional tactic of forcing an exchange for this purpose only serves to make the game more interesting!

    Reason for the “resurrection and dethronement” policy

    The rules for your options of what you can do if you get a pawn across in this game can be called the “resurrection and dethronement” policy.
    The reasons for this “resurrection and dethronement” policy are:

    Firstly, and most importantly, 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. But the “resurrection and dethronement” policy has been specifically been designed with that problem in mind and, with it, neither player will ever demand to ever have a greater number of pieces of any particular kind than what he started off at the start of the game thus, unlike in standard chess, there is a guarantee that you will never need extra pieces made available for this game for the purpose of promotions.

    Secondly, 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 “resurrection and dethronement” policy it may sometimes be sometimes in your interest to, say, promote a captured rook! (this can arise if you plan to make your next promotion after that one to be a promotion to your captured queen) thus you may make slightly more interesting choices when promoting in this game.
  3. 09 Nov '08 16:37 / 2 edits
    I have just noticed that I have put this thread in this “only chess” forum by mistake when forum when I both intended to and should have posted it in the “Posers and Puzzles” forum.

    Can anyone tell be how do I request this thread to be transferred to the other forum and how to contact the mod?

    -I have totally forgotten how to contact the mod and I have been just going in circles trying to work it out for myself.
  4. Standard member Talisman
    Time traveller.
    09 Nov '08 18:12
    Originally posted by Andrew Hamilton
    I have just noticed that I have put this thread in this “only chess” forum by mistake when forum when I both intended to and should have posted it in the “Posers and Puzzles” forum.

    Can anyone tell be how do I request this thread to be transferred to the other forum and how to contact the mod?

    -I have totally forgotten how to contact the mod and I have been just going in circles trying to work it out for myself.
    Well i guess that's your sunday over with!
  5. 10 Nov '08 15:08
    Originally posted by Andrew Hamilton
    I have just noticed that I have put this thread in this “only chess” forum by mistake when forum when I both intended to and should have posted it in the “Posers and Puzzles” forum.

    Can anyone tell be how do I request this thread to be transferred to the other forum and how to contact the mod?

    -I have totally forgotten how to contact the mod and I have been just going in circles trying to work it out for myself.
    I thank the mod for moving this thread to where it belongs