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Comments by Bn Em

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Grand Riders Chess. (Updated!) Chess with cross over between Cavalier Chess and Shogun Chess and use the normal riders.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Bn Em wrote on 2022-05-30 UTC

So, I thought that Waran was the English spelling, but now I believe this is more the German spelling. Maybe someone will confirm.

Wikipedia gives the German name of monitor lizards in general as Warane, and the Komodo as Komodowaran or Komododrache (i.e. either Komodo monitor‐lizard or Komodo dragon, as in English)

Maybe there is an orthographic link between RNN and RaveN, and a phonetic link between Raven and Varan by exchanging the syllables?

The first of those seems likely (especially since the BNN is a ‘BaNshee’); the latter seems more of a stretch, though I suppose it's possible given that it may be in some ways the closest thing phonetically that's actually still a word?


Bn Em wrote on 2022-05-27 UTC

Probably he/she just took the name from either Aurelian's Grand Apothecary or (presumably Aurelian's source?) Glenn Overby's Abecedarian game; the latter calls it the French name for Raven, presumably from the Grimbert reference on that page, which gives it as an alternative (the French?) name for monitor lizards.


ArchMage Chess. 10x10 30v30 Fantasy Chess. (10x10, Cells: 100) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Bn Em wrote on 2022-05-20 UTC

Giving the opponent two moves, knowing that he has those, is too costly, though. In the opening you might get away with it, but in a typical middle-game position the opponent would use those to make a hit-and-run capture.

To be fair, Fergus' solution to that issue is quite elegant imo, and even just restricting two consecutive moves by a single piece alleviates hit‐and‐runs per se. It may be getting away from the intended point of this variant to introduce a whole nother idea but it seems like a usable way of introducing multi‐moves into a mostly‐single‐move game without breaking things too much


Falcon Chess. Game on an 8x10 board with a new piece: The Falcon. (10x8, Cells: 80) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Bn Em wrote on 2022-05-12 UTC

Which of the two possible stepping Fortnights do you mean?

  • The one taking one each of wazir, ferz, and viceroy steps? Given that Gilman starts from the various bent/crooked pieces which only have two kinds of step, this is probably a bit out of scope (corkscrew pieces with one kind of step aside).
  • The one taking three Ferz steps, two in one direction and one at 60° (dual to the hex Shearwater)? That'd match the two‐of‐one‐and‐one‐of‐the‐other pattern of the Falcon, and arguably as a Shearwater extrapolation could be nameworthy (I'd've suggested Fulmar, a family of birds related to shearwaters beginning with the F of fortnight as shearwater begins with the S of sennight, but it's already taken (albeit with unclear etymology) for Zephyr+Lama; perhaps Petrel, the group including the fulmars and still beginning with a labial consonant, would suit it?), but presumably he either didn't consider two diagonal directions different enough without the AltOrth‐ness, or it just didn't occur to him. And there are also Nonstandard Diagonals at small enough angles (35°) for more Falcon‐like pieces there too

For a stepping‐Trison component I'd probably choose the former, but individually both are interesting enough imo. There's still a few bird‐of‐prey names unused I think so if one were keen to name them in Gilmanesque fashion all that'd remain would be finding a game to use them in…


Manticore. Moves one space orthogonally, then slides outward as a Bishop.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Bn Em wrote on 2022-05-07 UTC

Perhaps that's where Daniil Frolov got it from?

I've found a few other uses since writing this page (including one in JWB's Meta‐Chess) but haven't yet decided to update it; perhaps some time soon


Very Heavy Chess. A lot of firepower with all compounds of classical chess pieces.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Bn Em wrote on 2022-05-07 UTC

If we're talking prior usage, it's worth mentioning that Valkyrie has at least three distinct usages already: A queen that can also relocate friendly pieces, Bishop capturing as Queen, and a 3D‐specific piece moving as Rook or jumping two steps on either kind of diagonal. Conversely Heroine (albeit perhaps due to potential Drug associations) is afaict only used by Gilman for a Hex‐prism‐specific compound

Fwiw, Gilman also uses Hero on that last page, and there's also a Hero in Hero Chess. Surprisingly, Gilman seems to lack names for the two pieces under discussion (Knight+Chatelaine/Primate, to use his terminology) though. I suppose one could suggest Catholicos for BWN, as a rank above cardinal that starts with Ca‐ (for the usual extrapolations: Zetholicos ⁊c), but besides the long and awkward Archchancellor (note the double ⟨ch⟩) idk what he'd've used for the RFN

Pythia seems to be unused (understandably, given its relative obscurity); arguably it falls afoul of Fergus' objection to multiple ‘popesses’, as there was only one Pythia at a time, but as Jean‐Louis notes, if we can have two Sissas…

Imo Popess feels a bit awkward as a word, and I share Jean‐Louis' reservations re unnecessary loanwords; Pythia, Valkyrie, Heroine, and Baroness all sound fine to me


Chess 66. (Updated!) Board based on the 8x8 arrangement - with the difference that 66 fields are now available. (8x8, Cells: 66) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Bn Em wrote on 2022-04-21 UTC

As I understand it, Fergus has decided to program a variant based on yours, and given it a different name to signal that it's not the same game. As a game in itself yours remains intact (and probably eventually publishable too if and when the Editorship approves), just more difficult to program given the primitives that Game Courier provides.

This game differs from yours only in that both a4 and 4, or both 5 and h5, can be occupied/passed through simultaneously. As such those spaces connect to the rest of the board in the same way they do already, they just stop being a ‘switch’ in the railway sense (aka a ‘set of points’ in my native British English, or German ‘Weiche’ as used in your original German page) and become just an unusual topological/geometrical feature of the board.

I'll admit I find it a little odd that such conditionally untraversible squares should be so difficult to implement (couldn't it be done with uncapturable dummy pieces that appear and disappear as the other square is occupied and vacated?), but I'm not a programmer and I've never had a go at writing GAME Code, so…


Bn Em wrote on 2022-04-20 UTC

It is probably appropriate to add that the switch can be operated not only from 'below' but also from the side.

Seeing as it can also be operated from ‘above’ too, if not already occupied (i.e. from my understanding, B a4–c2; R a6–4 is legal), I would agree that'd make sense.

  1. N a4-c3 ---> N a4-c2
  1. N f5-c4 ---> N f5-d4

?? Are those corrections? Aren't those diagonal moves, the way you've assigned file labels? of two and one steps respectively?


Bn Em wrote on 2022-04-19 UTC

A rook/queen on the rank 4 can only occupy square a4 and not square 4. This applies to the switch h5/5 vice versa.

That's interesting; given that a rook is allowed to move sideways from 4 onto b4 and beyond, that means that a rook on 4 can threaten a rook on b4 without being attacked back. Is this intentional?

The squares 4 and 5 do not have a uniform color. The squares are each composed of both colors.

Strictly speaking, the colours on the squares are a representational convention and bear no real influence on the game; ‘a bishop can change colour’ is equivalent to saying a bishop can reach the whole board, or in other words all squares are effectively the same colour. But that's a minor quibble

En Bw

I assume you mean me? That's one correct letter out of four, with two more misplaced ;)

I don't think that the moves to a5 and b5 are legal since they are on the same line.

That's one of the few things which changes depending on the knight‐move definition; the definition you've chosen would indeed exclude both destinations, as a queen can reach both of those squares; but the more usual definitions H.G. first brought up (either two othrogonal steps in one direction and one at right angles, or (my preferred expression) one orthogonal and one diagonally outwards — in either order (or not…?) and for some suitable definition of ‘outwards’) would probably allow both moves. Equally the question of whether N h4–g6 is legal, and probably other similar moves, is implicated there. There may be some way of defining the knight move to include only a subset of the moves in question, but that's unltimately for Gerd to decide if he wants to look for (or someone else to contribute if they come up w/ sth).


Bn Em wrote on 2022-04-19 UTC

a series of moves in the generic rule-blind style of notation I used earlier

The move sequences given by Gerd in his comment are B d1–4; B 4–b5 and B d1–5; B 5–g6. He also notes that B d1–h5 is not legal, but B d1–a4 is.

How come the Bishop goes from 5 to g6?

The top corners and the top and left sides are shared between h5 and 5, but the bottom side and corners are different. So 5 behaves as h5 from above (and cannot be occupied at the same time as it), and so is diagonally adjacent to g6.

When the Bishop goes from 5 to g6, is it affected if another piece stands on h5?

5 and h5 cannot be occupied simultaneously, so this situation does not arise. But since both are diagonally adjacent (by the same corner) to g6, it would presumably be fine if they could.


Bn Em wrote on 2022-04-18 UTC

a Knight on one of these spaces could not move as though it were on the other space. However, that looks like what the Knight is doing in your example

That much is clarified in the accompanying text. All three of e4, f6, and g7 can be reached by an orthogonal step (taking into account the rule about sideways moves from 5 going directly to g5) followed by a diagonal step.

This holds equally well whether we use the author's preferred definition for the knight move or either of the more common ones H.G. suggested

there are no bugs in the variant and the set of rules is consistent. Complicated, yes, but conclusive.

Afaict, the rules themselves are indeed consistent (and may well lead to an interesting game), but the explanation could be clearer, as shown by the fact that they seem to be unclear in some respect of another to most of the readers here.

Also I second H.G.'s request for clarification on the matter of knights moving through/over closed switches


Bn Em wrote on 2022-04-16 UTC

That's not according to the rules. Correct is: a rook can checkmate a king on h1 from h8, h7, h6, but not from h5 or 5.

Of course. I think I accidentally started on the wrong side of the board and then applied half a correction (it was late last night). But in any case that still answers my question, Thanks


Bn Em wrote on 2022-04-15 UTC

I use the word 'field' as a synonym for playing field or square. 'Field' has nothing to do with space in German.

The English word ‘space’ is used to refer to individual squares (or other shapes if boards are irregular) of the board. ‘Square’ is also used, as is ‘cell’ (especially in 3D) or ‘hex’ in hexagonal‐cell games. As ‘Feld’ is indeed, as Fergus rightly intuited, used for the same thing in German, it is thus the German word for space in this sense. Conversely, ‘field’ in English is rather unusual as a way of referring to spaces (i.e. squares ⁊c.)

Of course the usual sense of ‘space’ is better translated as ‘Raum’ or the like (hence e.g. Raumschach), but that sense is not what's meant here

This reads better, but it seems to be stating the obvious

My reading of the German suggests that ‘Farbtransfer’ — i.e. ‘Colour Transfer’ — is being use in a slightly more technical sense to refer to a particular kind of event (cf. e.g. ‘Bishop Conversion’ due to Carlos Cetina, which is more specific than simply converting bishops by some arbitrary means); after all, neither ‘Farbtransfer’ nor ‘colour transfer’ is an everyday word or phrase. And since the German also does not mention possibility (*‘dann muss ein Farbtransfer stattfinden können’) I'd probably translate it as your tautological‐looking one, but with ‘Colour Transfer’ capitalised

Could a Bishop move from d1 to e8 along the path d1-c2-d4/4-b5-c6-d7-e8?

Assuming ‘d4’ is a typo for ‘a4’, then my reading of the rules agrees that it could indeed take this path, or instead a path d1–e2–f3–g4–5–g6–f7–e8.

The position on the Switches must be clear. Either field 4 or field a4 [but not both; analogously for 5/h5] must be occupied

In other words, a piece moving onto the switch must choose on the turn that it gets there which squares it can move off onto? And so e.g. a rook can checkmate a king on h8 from h1, h2, h3, or h4, but not h5 or 5?


Tardis Taijitu. Xiang Qi board but with movable, bigger-inside-than-outside Fortresses. (9x10x3, Cells: 144) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Bn Em wrote on 2022-03-29 UTC

I've thought of smaller tardises before too, and agree that for most games they'd probably be more practical. As for checkmating difficulty, it seems that Charles was probably relying on the fact that Kings are confined to them, and so presumably the idea (or at least one possible strat) is to get as many offensive forces inside the tardises as possible while the board is still full enough to prevent too much tardis movement (as in the opening setup) and then use that to attack where the king can't escape. And potentially keep the armies spread‐out enough to prevent too much possible movement.

I agree that stopping teleportation whilst in check (after all, The Doctor sticks around until the danger's gone…) looks like a viable option should this indeed be unwinnable in practice


Bn Em wrote on 2022-03-29 UTC

A piece moving diagonally through a cell orthogonally adjacent to a Tardis may do so through either two opposite corners of that cell, or one of the non-Tardis corners and halfway along the Tardis-bordering edge.

It took me disappointingly long to figure out how said diagonal moves into/out of the Tardises work, but I think I've got it now: for reference, a bishop starting from c4 could move souteast into the white Tardis (in its starting position as shown in the diagram) and continue along its a6f1 diagonal; from d4 it could go southeast b6f2 or c6f3, able in both cases to exit to the main board's g1; from e4 the southeast move takes it either d6f4 or e6f5, exiting onto g2; and moving southeast from f4 it may reach g3 via the Tardis' f6 or skip that square completely. Ofc from the latter three squares there are southwestward Tardis‐crossing moves too, and likewise from other squares.

a player may move the entire Tardis […] to swap place with any completely empty 3x3 block of non-Tardis cells

I see where this comes from, though it seems the emphasised restricion may be unnecessary at least in theory; the path‐splitting rule seems like it could be unambiguously be applied recursively, and from a lore perspective Tardises (well, the TARDIS) have been known to materialise inside each other (or even inside themselves, whether at the same or different points in their own timeline) on the show. The only problematic case would be a Tardis straddling a Tardis' edge (though they've never been seen inside each other's doors either, so…).

Subdividing the original Xiang Qi board

It seems the array diagram is missing a rank :‌(

For what it's worth, I like the idea behind this game a lot, though I haven't had a chance to try it; the unusual connectivity is interesting, the moving palaces a nice addition, and the way of incorporating extra space innovative. And the Tardis is the last entry in Man and Beast, too; a suitably unusual way to finish an epic series of articles.


Castle Siege Chess. Traditional Chess merged with Circular Chess.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Bn Em wrote on 2022-03-29 UTC

It looks like there were supposed to be images here, but they've been linked to as if they were in the site's root dir rather than this page's graphics dir. A little digging shows that the board is probably similar (modulo accessible triangular squares, Castle walls, and, apparently according to the text, an extra ring of squares around the outside) to the one in this game, especially since the author's Zillions page for this game claims to supersede that one.

Would also be interesting to know what Castle Action Chess, Castle Attack Chess, and Castle Challenge Chess (mentioned just before the Setup Section) are.


WeGo Chess. Perfectly balanced, simultaneous play.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Bn Em wrote on 2022-03-24 UTC

I would not at all be surprised if there were more like this (in fact I've definitely seen at least one other proposal, though I don't think it was on this site) — like giving players two moves per turn, it's a simple idea with enough tricky details that you'd expect several people to come up with the premise but resolve the interaction details differently.

This version has the advantage, imo, over Hutnik's proposal that the gameplay is truly symmetrical; Hutnik still allows one player to begin with ‘initiative’. Of course that means that this one is also trivially weakly solved (it's a draw with perfect play), but since the perfect strategy is not known actually playing it ought still be of interest.

I'd be interested in seeing this kind of thing applied to Multiplayer variants; it seems like it'd alleviate the usual ‘waiting’ problem, as well as eliminate the (presumably substantial, especially as the nr of players increases) late‐mover disadvantage.


Chess with magical connections. Missing description (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Bn Em wrote on 2022-03-24 UTC

Besides the points made about your other submission, some of which apply here too, I have one further main question about this: What exactly is a ‘connection’? The mention of ‘support’ in the rules section suggests that it means being defended by a friendly piece (and the diagrams seem to support this), but it could be stated more clearly.

Also a minor question: are Kings excluded from providing ‘connections’ (as they are excluded from the effects of your other game), or is it just the own‐side pawns?


Chess with magic fields. Missing description (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Bn Em wrote on 2022-03-24 UTC
  • It's not clear what you mean by ‘extended’ — perhaps you meant ‘additional’? The Bishop and Knight moves added to the Rook/Knight and Queen look quite normal (not at all extended) to me
  • The move you've added to the Bishop is not a Knight move according to the diagram; the additional move there is a Dabbaba move (i.e. a 2‐space orthogonal leap, rather than an oblique one)
  • How does moving Magical Fields work? ‘Along with’ is suggestive of having to bring it with a piece starting its move on it, but that's hardly the only possible interpretation (it could just mean ‘on the same turn’, in which case the constraints on such moves are not well‐defined — can they just go anywhere?), especially since the English elsewhere on the page is (as pointed out) sometimes confusing
  • Rule 3 is not clear at all. It looks like a prohibition on each piece making the special move more than once on a Magic Field, but is that accounted separately for each MF, or for both together? Or, if my first interpretation of rule 2 is correct, only until the piece leaves the MF (i.e. stops carrying it about), after which it can return and make the move again?
  • Are you allowed to use your opponent's MF's?

The concept looks interesting, but I think this could be expressed much more clearly


Hopping Sliders[Subject Thread] [Add Response]
Bn Em wrote on 2022-03-05 UTC

It looks like ski-whatever is the only name anyone's used for these pieces.

Well… strictly speaking Gilman extended (in M&B06) the name Picket, as well as its orthogonal and 3D‐/hex‐diagonal counterparts (resp. Pocket and Packet) and their forward‐only counterparts (Piker/Poker/Paker) and compounds (typically with the suffix ⟨‐on⟩, as in e.g. Fezbaon for H.G.'s Lame Duck), to include pieces which leap over the first cell, or indeed the last or any single intermediate one — these latter three being resp. early‐ late‐ and flexi‐leap versions of the usually Stepping pieces.

It seems he only ever used the stepping form in his actual games though (though it seems ski‐ itself is (or at least originates as) problemist usage, which fwiw Gilman tended to be dismissive of, if not without his reasons)


Bn Em wrote on 2022-03-03 UTC

‘Ski‐’ seems to date back at least as far as Jelliss' ’All the King's Men‘, which would seem to be a work about pieces but not an actual game (I can't seem to access it though, and fsr the link in the Alphab. Index is to https://www.chessvariants.com/link/). Idk if he got his terminology from another source himself

I knew I must have forgotten something — looks like it was indeed Tenjiku's Tetrarch


Bn Em wrote on 2022-03-02 UTC

The Google Custom Search turns up this when searching for ‘ski‐rook’: https://www.chessvariants.com/other.dir/abc-chess.html

Apparently it contains a (leaping) ski‐bishop, though no actual ski‐rook. Only one I could find though. EDIT: Never mind, apparently it's just an example. And all the other usages of ski‐sliders or Pickets (and their compounds) seem to be lame. Which leaves only a game which I've had in mind but not yet got round to writing up, where a leaping‐picket+wazir promotes from a Phoenix/Waffle. And arguably (albeit failing the ‘straight line’ condition) the original GA unicorn/rhinoceros

I must admit I'm surprised these aren't more popular…


Game Courier. PHP script for playing Chess variants online.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Bn Em wrote on 2022-02-27 UTC

Speaking of 404's, I also get those from the What's New page, specifically the two newest links (Cubic Chess and 3D Chess 4 Cubed). Though they also have the External Link icon next to the name, so perhaps that's related.


Morley's Chess. Boards with enlarged sides.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Bn Em wrote on 2022-02-26 UTC

Having just read the book, this description is erroneous. Morley does propose the first variant givn on this page, but it is an alternative proposal, offered almost reluctantly after a digression on Knight's Tours, to the one the book is ‘about’ (though in many ways it's really a long and winding — though charming — book of Chess‐variant apologetics); the main variant in the book has only the ‘corridors’ on the sides, not the ones behind the camps. The second version offered here would seem to be apocryphal.

The corridors originate, according to Morley, as a way of giving the Rooks' pawns the ability of capturing in both directions, as the other 6 pawns can. The promotion rule is, as suggested here, that pawns can promote on the enemy back rank — pawns are given the opportunity to capture into the corridor ‘at their own risk’.

The variant as a whole is intended to expand the possibilities of the game (and counteract its being ‘played out’ — not so much between players of equal strength, as between players of potentially equal intuitive ability but differing levels of learnedness, esp. re the Opening) without making any changes to the rules or pieces, in contrast to e.g. Henry Bird's earlier proposal (referred to in the text) which introduces the Carrera compounds, as the added complexity would in his opinion be, though perhaps interesting to experts, too intimidating for lay chessplayers.

As a change, the ‘inverse Gustavian’ board (i.e. adding everything except the corners on each side) is a nice way of accomplishing that goal imo (and indeed, the Gustavian board has the opposite goal: introducing new pieces while changing the board as little as possible).


Rules of Chess. Missing description[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Bn Em wrote on 2022-02-19 UTC

I see at the bottom of that page a note saying that it was translated by Altavista's Babelfish. We should probably get rid of it,

The note does also say that one “Cherry X.Z.”, who even had an email address linked in Wayback's copy, ‘modified’ it, which may mean it has had some human input to make it sensible Chinese. But my own Chinese isn't good enough to judge the correctness/idiomaticness(?) of the original page, so I can't weigh in on it from that perspective. I'm happy to leave that up to Editorial Discretion


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