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Sam Trenholme wrote on 2013-08-11 UTC
While Schoolbook is probably still a variant worth playing, when H.G. Muller gave us a free Capablanca Chess engine with decent strength, I discovered that the game is unbalanced in favor of White because of 1. c4! I spent weeks trying to find a decent Black reply to that opening move without success. I have put Schoolbook on the shelf until someone finds better defenses for Black.

As I recall, I did test the Gothic Chess setup with Muller's program and it appeared to really favor White. I never liked the Gothic setup because of how the Knights are so far out on the flanks and how moving the center pawns forward two squares blocks the bishops.

Before I gave up chess variants, my research shows that the Modern Carrera opening setup: RANBQKBNMR, where "A" is the Knight + Bishop Faerie piece and "M" is the Rook + Knight Faerie piece appears to be more balanced. Of course, there may not be a Capa opening setup without a big advantage for White on account of how much power is on the board. Carrera Chess has been around almost as long as Chess itself (Carrera, Bird, Capablanca, Grand Chess on a 10x10 board, Gothic, and most recently Seirawan Chess on the 8x8 board) and has never caught on...but, quite frankly, that's true of pretty much any western Chess variant with the possible exception of Bughouse Chess.

In terms of the En Passent argument I had, the club in question was not a Chess club. It was a casual social club -- something that has sadly gone out of style with the Internet taking over everything -- where people usually played card games. There were only three of us there who ever joined the USCF or went to a real Chess club.

I have been working hard the last few days hunting on the Internet for any and all Zillions files still extant out there for me to preserve. I have been unable to get a Zillions rule file for Polgar Star Chess; if anyone has a copy of it, please send it to me for hosting on my Zillions archive.

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