Check out Chess with Different Armies, our featured variant for July, 2024.

This page is written by the game's inventor, Ralph Betza.

Confusion Chess 1b

NEW! Rules change from the alpha version.
Up until recently, my research into the Values of Chess pieces was directed at the basic geometric units, and combinations thereof.

Then I started looking at long range pieces, and soon discovered the Crooked Bishop.

Then I started thinking about a piece from historical sources, which turns out to be " the griffion from Grande Acedrex, a large variant from 13th century Europe. This, of course, is very fitting, as a griffion is a mythological animal whose is composed of parts of two different existing animals (it has the body of a lion and the head of a large bird). (So, real `con-fusion'...)" as Hans Bodlaender writes. I had always loved this piece in the abstract, but never got to try it out in a game or analysis.

Finally, even though my main interest these days is in Chess with different armies, I came up with this new game, whose name is Confusion Chess 1b.

Con Fusion, of course, is the unification of two or more different things. All of the new pieces in this game combine two different rules of movement, making first one type of move and then another.

The "1b" means that this is the first version of Confusion Chess, and is in beta test; in the alpha version, there was a bug that would make the position on the board freeze up, and another bug in that the move 1. d2-d4 threatened 2. Qd1:a7.

Rules of Confusion Chess 1b

Observations About Confusion Chess 1a

All of the pieces are long range pieces with curious paths, and so the definition of "open lines" is a bit different than what you're accustomed to.

The total absence of any short range jumping pieces is an interesting experiment.

Although the Bronx is a bit weak, the total amount of force on the board is greater than in FIDE chess; this should lead to shorter games with explosive combinations.

The 1a version was buggy because the move 1. d2-d4 threatens 2. Qd1:a7; and even though this is unclear, I consider it a bug.

1. d4 d5 2. Qd1:a7 Qd8:a2 3. Qa7:b8 e7-e6!? (or even b7-b5!?)

Not Qa2:b1?? 4 Qb8:c7 mate!, of course, but now things are unclear. White is a piece up and ready to grab another, but how can he stop Black from grabbing two pieces and catching up?

The story of Confusion Chess 1a should help you realize that devising a good Chess variant isn't always as easy as it looks.

Observations About Confusion Chess 1b

This one small rules change has made a huge difference in the game play, and all to the better.

With the new starting position, both players must make Pawn weaknesses on both wings in order to develop their pieces, which leads to a more intense fighting game than I saw with the old rules.

The strangely-shaped "open lines" are a feature of the game that takes some getting used to; these long range pieces operate very effectively from the edges and corners of the board.

Sample Game of Confusion Chess 1b

1. d2-d4 d7-d5 (Not 1...a5? 2 Qd1:Na8) 2. h2-h4 h7-h5 3. Rg1-h3 Rg8-h6

White threatened 4. Rh3:g7 Bf8:g7 5. Qd1:g7+

4. Nh1-g3 g7-g6

In order to defend h5. The Pg6 blocks the Nh8, but opens the way for the Rh6 to defend g8 -- and so Black plans Nh8-g8 attacking the Qd1.

5. Ng3-f3 e7-e5?!

White unpins the Pe7 in order to attack the Bronx (the Q). Black responds with a clever move, or maybe not so clever.

6. d4:e5 Bf8:e5 check 7. Nf3:e5

Black cannot reply with 7...Rh6:e5 (attacking the Qd1) because of 8. Qd1-g7+

7. ... Qd8:e5

Now Black attacks h4, and it's hard for White to find the right reply. I spent a lot of time on 8. g2-g4; if 8. g4 h5:g4 9. Bf1:g4 Rh6:g4 10. Qd1-g7+ seems to be a winning attack; however, if 8. g4 Nh8-g8! attacking the Qd1 and defending the square g7, and Black wins.

8. Rh3-d4!

Pinning and winning the Qe5. But wait! Is the Q really worth much more than the R in this game? After 8...Nh8-g8 9 e3 c5 10 Rd4:e5 (not check) Rh6:e5 (attacking d1), is White really winning?

This was where I broke off my analysis, filled with a sense of excitement and wonder at the complexities of this new game.

Sample Game of Confusion Chess 1a

This was the Alpha version of the game, where the R starts on a1 a8 h1 h8 and the N starts on g1 g8 b1 b8.

1. e4 e5 2. Bf1-f3 Bf8-f6 3. Ng1-e2 Ng8-e7 4. O-O O-O 5. b2-b4 b7-b5

Symmetry. Notice that 5...Ne7:b1 was not legal because the path is e7-e6-d5-d4-c3-c2-b1, and c2 is not empty.

I have tried 6. Nb1-d5, but Black can simply answer with d7-d6 and follow with c7-c6, and the N is driven back; Nd5-e3 is awful because these pieces block each other.

I have tried 6. Nb1:e7 Qd8:e7 7. Ne2-d5 d6, with a similar result.

I cannot find an advantage for White in this symmetrical position; there might well be one, but I can't find it yet. In fact, it's almost as if Black has the advantage because White runs out of moves first!

Probably the best try is 6. a2-a4 (defended by the Na1).

(Later:) Probably the best try is 2. b2-b4 *CHECK*!

That's all for now!

Other Links In these Pages

This is a Mailme.