The Chess Variant Pages

This page is written by the game's inventor, Cyrus Arturas.

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H. G. Muller wrote on 2022-05-18 UTC

I am not an editor here, so my words carry no official weight. But I think the article is annoyingly verbose and digressing. E.g. the introduction section contains no information related to the variant at hand other than the e-mail address of the author (which people can already get from the author's profile) and two external links. The remaining 85% discusses the history of Chess, what other chess variants the author likes etc. I don't think an article about a specific chess variant is the proper place for that.

Dwelling on the obvious, such as "The unique units seen in chess variants are called fairy pieces" is just diluting the information one would be interested in. OTOH, in the Setup section it would be more useful to write the coordinates of the starting squares of the pieces, rather than their number. Most readers will likely be able to count, but it would be nice if they could unambigously associate the names with the images at that point. Although I admit that (perhaps with the exception of Prince / Princess) most images speak for themselves. But if the image is supposed to be selfexplanatory, why waste words on the fact that the pieces of a player occupy 3 ranks?

There doesn't seem any need to explain what e.p. capture is, and why it was introduced during the evolution of chess to its current orthodox form. Scrolling through pages and pages of diagrams containing only information everyone knows is pretty annoying. Most articles on CVP would simply state "King, Queen, Rook, Bishop and Pawn move as in orthodox Chess, including the initial 2-step move for the Pawn and e.p. capture". The same applies to castling, where if you want to be truly elaborate you could still mention that the King moves 2 squares towards the Rook, if you think "moves the same as in orthodox Chess" was too difficult to understand. This would get rid of 17(!) diagrams, and gets the reader to the interesting stuff immediately.

There isn't any need to explain what checkmate or stalemate means. Spending a diagram (3 times!)  for illustrating what you mean by "adjacent square" also seems overdoing it.

Typographically, the article now uses headers for the descriptions of the individual pieces of the same 'level' as those used site-wide for the article's main sections (Introduction, Setup, Pieces, ...). While they are all supposed to be sub-sections of the Pieces section. There is an extra redundant header "Unit Moves and Captures", which repeats what "Pieces" is already supposed to convey. Rules and Notes sections seem to be missing entirely; one would have expected description of the check / checkmate / stalemate (if it would have to be given at all) to appear in the Rules section, not in the description of the King's moves. Other draw conditions than stalemate (repetition, 50-move) are now not mentioned at all. It would probably suffice just to mention that all these rules are the same as in orthodox Chess.

As to the variant itself: it always saddens me when people use a well-established piece name (such as Griffon) for another piece. As if there isn't already enough confusion.

When a Sorceress, Mage or Archmage swap a Pawn to last rank, does that Pawn promote? Does the swapped Pawn count as having moved? Would a Pawn swapped back to 3rd rank regain its two-step move? BTW, it also seems a bit superfluous to have practically the same diagram for illustrating the swapping in 3 places. It would be better to discuss the swapping once (e.g. in the rules section), and then just refer to that from the descriptions of the pieces that can do this. It is not clear to me why the description of the swap has two side-by-side diagrams. On supposes that the second diagram shows the position after the swap, but then it is illogical that it still has an arrow in it. I would think that a single diagram with a two-way arrow would suffice. In general people can be expected to know what 'swap' means, so devoting a diagram is already quite generous.

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