The Chess Variant Pages



This page is written by the game's inventor, Lawrence Smith.

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H. G. Muller wrote on 2015-03-10 UTC
Just an idle thought that occurred to me:

Rather than just letting the players move in a fixed order, you could transfer the turn to the player from which a piece was captured. Only on non-captures the turn would proceed to the next player in the normal sequence (say the left neighbor).

This would do a great deal for mitigating the ganging-up problem, as you would always immediately get the opportunity to recapture  piece that was taken from you. After the recapture the turn would go back to your assailant. So attacking basically did not cost him a move (unless he grabbed a hanging piece), which provides a nice incentive to attack.

Providing an incentive to attack is always a problem in multi-player Chess, as battle tends to weaken your forces in Chess, which weakens your position w.r.t. all players except the one you attack. Games like Crazyhouse and Shogi, where you get the captured pieces in hand for dropping, are much more suited as a basis for multi-player variants. Battle does not on average weaken the battling factions, as all material is recycled. And in hand it is often more dangerous than on the board, so both players could actually benefit.

It could also make the game faster, and less boring for the other players, as the recaptures are 'easy moves', which require little thinking as you do not have many reasonable alternatives. So basically the game would proceed as a number of trades between player A and zero or more opponents, after which player A would make a non-capture move, and the 'initiative' would transfer to player B, the next-in-line. This avoids that you have to wait a long time for your turn to come up while there is nothing to think about. Situations that present you with easy-move recaptures bring you on move immediately, and you could play the recapture quickly. While exchanges between the battling players go on, you plan your 'unforced move' for when the turn comes to you in the natural order. It might take many moves before that turn comes up, but only of lots of material gets traded, which in any case would force you to reconsider your plans. So the wait for the turn would never be boring, as it would only take very long when a lot is happening on the board.

I guess checks might require a similar turn transfer as captures, in which case evasion from check might have to give the turn back to the checker.

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