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Waffle Chess. Chess on a 10x8 board with waffles added.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Aurelian Florea wrote on 2021-07-22 UTCGood ★★★★

The idea of introducing two waffles (phoenixes) on a Capablanca board is a very interesting one. But the main drawback proved to the author to be finding a position where all pawns are defended in the initial position. This leads to a sole position where the waffle and knight share the best first move development field. To this gets in a way of the usual castling. To counter this a new way of castling is introduced. I don't like that because it requires to little effort creating a new problem of it's own. I'd approach this by offering the knight the forward fil moves when unmoved. Probably with just move power. This will help the knight further to the center without hindering the waffle's development. It can also go the other way around offering the field towards the center to the waffle by allowing it the two forward wide zebra move. This has the advantage of having the knight on it's orthodox chess spot after it's initial move, so orthodox chess openings can be used. This would help the game become more popular among regular chess players. Both solutions seem to be better than an arbitrary castling rule.

Greg Strong wrote on 2021-01-28 UTC

Thanks for elaborating. Yes, rook takes king is how I am encoding the one-space move in Wildebeest and that'll apply here too.

H. G. Muller wrote on 2021-01-28 UTC

The problem with Fairy-Max was mainly that at the time I configured it for Wildebeest, there was no convention in the XBoard protocol for encoding such moves. And I didn't bother to think about it, because it seemed a quite useless move in the first place; normally you would want your King to go as far into the corner as possible.

But the problem can be solved, by adopting conventions that are not that strange if you think about it:

  • A move of the King to the Rook square can indicate a castling where the King indeed moves there. So it basically uses the normal encoding, and the only thing that is somewhat unusual about it is that the King seems to go to an occupied square.
  • A move of a Rook to the King square can be used for one-step (O1) castling. This is also not so strange, as indeed this would be where the Rook ends. (Both in classical and fast castling!)

Greg Strong wrote on 2021-01-28 UTC

Ok, I can accommodate.

💡📝Kevin Pacey wrote on 2021-01-28 UTC

I'm not really inclined to change the fast castling rules - as it is I have quite a number of games that use them (including in presets that still don't have formal rules pages).

Greg Strong wrote on 2021-01-28 UTC

I later had some misgivings, but mainly because somehow people have found it difficult to program in rules-enforcing presets or maybe other software - yet Wildebeest Chess and Fischer Random rules enforcing presets have both been programmed in the past.

The option to move only one space in Wildebeest has definitely made it harder to program.  Fairy-Max, for example, doesn't allow a single-space move.  ChessV does allow it, but if you do it and save the game it won't restore correctly (will be fixed in the next version.)  I'm adding support for fast castling to ChessV now which is why I'm raising the question.  I think it is still early enough to change it, if you are so inclined.

FRC, incidently, is a different beast - it uses "O-O" and "O-O-O" notation since this is unique.

💡📝Kevin Pacey wrote on 2021-01-28 UTC

I had fast castling include a K stepping just one space because I thought it gave players an extra option, as can happen in Wildebeest Chess, or in Fischer Random Chess sometimes (when the random setup makes it necessary).

I later had some misgivings, but mainly because somehow people have found it difficult to program in rules-enforcing presets or maybe other software - yet Wildebeest Chess and Fischer Random rules enforcing presets have both been programmed in the past.

Another misgiving is that if games of e.g. Waffle Chess are ever played over-the-board, with touch-move rules in tournaments, a player may have to grab both his king and his rook at the same time to clearly indicate his intent to castle - something Fischer Random must have to cope with over-the-board too, though.

Greg Strong wrote on 2021-01-28 UTC

Is it important that the Fast Castling rule allow the King to move only one space? I think it is cleaner with the Flexible castling approach of two or more squares toward the rook. Then the notation of from-to is unique.

💡📝Kevin Pacey wrote on 2021-01-11 UTC

Thanks Greg.

Greg Strong wrote on 2021-01-11 UTC

The image has been fixed.

💡📝Kevin Pacey wrote on 2021-01-11 UTC

On a seperate issue, I'm wondering if the game's design could have been improved, that is by switching the positions of the waffles for the knights in the setup.

I don't like that idea too much because it leaves two pawns unprotected per side in the setup, which goes against Fergus' guide to what makes for good CVs (a part I tend to agree with - although there are some noteworthy exceptions which are really big ones, namely shogi and Chinese Chess both leave multiple pawns unprotected in their setups).

In Waffle Chess as it already is, the cost of the above guiding policy is that the waffles and knights interfere with each other's development to the third rank, at the start of the game at any rate, though with the Fast Castling rules, a N usefully protects a Rook's Pawn if said N is not developed early on, and a K castles to that side of the board.

Castling is, as Fergus notes, a 'kludgy' rule, which solves a given CV's problem(s). Fast Castling might be seen as especially kludgy, but it can solve certain problems with the setups of any number of CV ideas.

💡📝Kevin Pacey wrote on 2021-01-11 UTC

I don't understand what happened to the diagram on this page. It used to show waffles, not ferfils, for the elephant figurines. Apparently someone (not me) updated the page last August, that is in 2020.

Aurelian Florea wrote on 2018-12-04 UTC

I guess I there are more my variants. I hoped I could help. I'll keep them in mind for something else later then.

Thanks for reminding me about my goals.

It is very kind of you!

💡📝Kevin Pacey wrote on 2018-12-03 UTC

Hi Aurelian

The 3 variant ideas you've diagrammed would already be much more your own ideas than mine IMO, especially as I have almost no experience with the use of off-board gating squares, as you've used, in variants or in making their diagrams/presets. Variants with gating used are IMHO probably closer to still being what H.G. just might call ground-breaking, and/or being more interesting, than e.g. my 12x8 Fairyland Chess idea below. That idea now looks a little more suspect to me because of the potential sweep of the diagonal pieces and possibly that of the frogs too (all in combination with the WADs being concerns, e.g. with them turning out no better at times than using waffles in the setup instead); these might become unnerving eventually from the setup position, as far as perhaps often hindering worry-free castling. In addition, the bishops each having a diagonal leading to an enemy WAD in the setup may at the least not be in good form. [edit: this last point seems not so important at all; e.g. now I recall my somewhat successful 10x8 Frog Chess variant (on Game Courier) has B's diagonals leading to enemy Rs in that game's setup, plus I rate Bs and WADs at almost same value on 12x8. I may still keep looking at this 12x8 variant idea in spite of the other concerns I've also mentioned, as I'm not sure they're really justified.] [edit2: I now have serious doubts about the viability of the Fairyland Chess idea again. See the indicated edits to my original post on that idea, which is found somewhat further below.] [edit3: I thought of a different (and apparently better) setup for Fairyland Chess that seems to work, but it's thus become a clear mutator variant of my Parity Chess variant, IMO; see the comments thread for the Parity Chess preset for more.]

Other than all that, I hope you're making progress with your multi-variant Apothecary (and mysterious Catugo) projects. I have pretty well exhausted variant ideas of my own that I'm currently able to invent and submit (i.e. relatively easy ones), for now. Otherwise, I have a backlog of minor personal projects, e.g. ones relevant to my chess study, not to mention more preparing for the holidays.

Aurelian Florea wrote on 2018-12-03 UTC


And by the way if you like my ideeas and like to improve on them or something I'm sure we can find some Grand Chess or Capablaca chess presets, even with rules enforcement, that can be easilly modified to play these games! I can do it if you wish :)! Or anyone else for that matter :)!

Aurelian Florea wrote on 2018-12-03 UTC

I thought about this as a simple mutator (as you call it) on your initial idea of adding on a capablanca board minor pieces and as I'm uncomfortable with the modern elephant for being color bound I replaced it with the Spartan lieutenant. The waffle/phoenix and the frog seem like natural additions.

An difficulty I have with these ideas is that the frog's trebuchet jump may be a bit too much :)!

But then something HG once said to me in the context of discussions about apothecary chess 2 (correctly I think) is that you need more strong pieces to make the game a bit faster and more decisive. I'd propose, in order to make the exchanges more interesting to have pieces close to queen value. So I propose for the added major piece besides, the minor ones I've considered above: the Marshall (R+N), the Minister (B+N+W)- there are probably other names for this one- and the unicorn (B+NN)- the strongest of the three. For which is with which I though to pair the game with Spartan Lieutenants with the Marshals (in order to have a diagonal and orthogonal piece), the game with the waffle/phoenix with the Unicorn (as there the unicorn is the only strong piece proposed with no wazir move) and the frog game will have the Minister. But I would not add a new strong piece in the normal setup by expanding the capablanca board or pushing or deleting pawns. But through an alternative piece introduction method. This would be other gating (the piece sits behind a friendly piece and takes it's place when this one got moved), the Seiwaran way, or through bruhaha squares. Out of those here I'd prefer gating as the Seiwaran way leads to sometimes game-breaking tactics and the Bruhaha way is to fixed. Gating would alleviate a bit of the first move advantage as black would be able to create his strategy already knowing where the white gated piece goes.

Next are some diagrams illustrating what I think maybe it's good to be considered:



Thinking about the initial setups was not trivial and quite fun so I'm glad the best turned to be different. I chose reasonable gating options to be displayed by both players.

And the most important thing, although I think Kevin you are not quite comfortable with this one. But I'm putting it out there for discursion.  I almost always though that practical promotion only to queen is maybe not such a good idea. So I think I/we should consider 7th rank promotion to lesser pieces.  The question here is "to rook or not to rook"!... Well, if we allow promotion to rook than most promotion will be rook as basically you will never promote at 7th rank to non-rook and it really rare to promote to the stronger pieces as an extra rook (almost, you do lose your promoting pawn after all)  usually wins you the game among serious players. The second alternative is to promote to any of the 3 minor pieces but not rook. That is quite good actually as the 3 minor pieces are close in value and there are plenty of opportunities to promote the the slightly weaker ones. But then there will be no promotion to rook, and personally I don't like that just for it and besides now KP vs K is again not necessarily a win as it would be when being able to promote to a rook on the 7th rank. So I had cooked a third longer but I'm thinking better rule.

A player can promote a pawn to a rook on the 7th rank if at least one of the two following cases occurs

1. The next two conditions are both simultaneously true:

  i). This player has already promoted another pawn regardless of to which it had promoted it

  ii). This player has at least double the number of all minor pieces to the number of rooks

2. The player is down to it's last pawn

Kevin besides maybe other concerns I think you are thinking that this rule is to complex for new players. But I don't think this is a big issue as player will come in contact with this rule later anyway, after getting the basic differences. But I do think that it makes the game have more options :), and that tends to be good :)!

💡📝Kevin Pacey wrote on 2018-12-03 UTC

I've considerably edited my last post in this thread, for any who missed it.

💡📝Kevin Pacey wrote on 2018-12-03 UTC

Hi Aurelian

An older 10x8 game I made, Hannibal Chess, makes use of ferfils (i.e. modern elephants) plus the FIDE army, but with the ferfils in different spots in the setup than is the case for waffles in Waffle Chess (I wish to have pawns in a setup all protected, in all my games to date). That's ignoring the fast castling rules I've used for Waffle Chess (or [10x8] WAD Chess) since that piece type makes development otherwise way more awkward than for (e.g.) Hannibal Chess, perhaps. In the Notes for Hannibal Chess' page, I mentioned that lieutenants (i.e. the elephant-like pieces from Spartan Chess) could be used instead of ferfils (it'd be a mutator variant called Lieutenant Chess, in that case). Frog Chess is also an old 10x8 game of mine, but uses frogs instead of ferfils, and with their place in the setup slightly different from Hannibal, Waffle (or WAD) Chess.

Wide Chess is one 12x8 variant of mine (which is also old), with waffles and lieutenants used besides the FIDE army in the setup for it (fast castling rules are used here too, this time since castling would take a lot of moves regardless, on 12x8). In the Notes to that game's page I mentioned that WADs could be used instead of waffles (that mutator variant would be called Wide WAD Chess). I've given some thought to somehow using frogs plus another piece type, with FIDE army, in a 12x8 variant (or mutator of one), but so far I couldn't find a setup I liked, whether or not I used my fast castling rules (as in Wide Chess). For example, I tried using frogs with ferfils plus the FIDE army on 12x8, but found no possible setup to meet all my needs/desires. [edit2: Revisited this 21-Dec-2018, and came up with a variant idea I noted as a mutator in an edit to a Champagne Chess preset Comment I made. I also used frogs plus lieutenants to make a mutator variant idea, given in an edit of mine to a Comment to Parity Chess preset.]

Using frogs plus lieutenants, instead of frogs plus ferfils, did not seem to help, and using frogs plus waffles [edit3: revisited this 21-Dec-2018, and came up with a variant idea I noted as a mutator, in an edit to a Wide Chess rules page Comment I made.], instead of using frogs plus ferfils, may well not help, either, though I could check [edit: I've looked back at my old scribbled notes, and I had considered and rejected this idea, too - however, looking now, using frogs plus WADs(Champions) instead just might prove feasible to some degree, IMO.]. It would possibly be just classed a mutator variant of Wide Chess, though (especially if the non-FIDE pieces occupy the same spots in the setup as for in Wide Chess). That is, perhaps not deserving a page of its own, though a preset could be made and possibly be made official, without editorial objection, assuming the idea can be made to work. As an aside, I'm sure a 12x8 variant with both ferfils and lieutenants (plus FIDE army) could work, but it would be rather bland in my humble opinion since the lieutenant piece type is merely a slightly augmented version of the ferfil type. Hence I tried using ferfils with dragons (plus FIDE army) instead, in my new 12x8 Champagne Chess, which I hope is a more interesting mix of piece types to use together.

P.S.: My intuition about what makes a given CV a mutator of another may not always be agreed to by others, though the concept is hard to define regardless. Here's one attempt, made on this website, which I'm not at all sure covers what I've alluded to in the previous paragraphs:


[edit: Here's a diagram of a variant idea (maybe to be called Fairyland Chess, if it pans out after studying it at my leisure). The castling rules would be as in Waffle Chess, and the frogs move like 3-leapers (by rank or file) or like ferz' (1 square diagonally). The idea is to successfully make use of frogs and WADs(Champions) plus FIDE army on 12x8, as alluded to in my earlier edit. I'd tentatively estimate the piece values as P=1; N=3.06(or 3 approx.); F=3.13(or 3.25 approx.); B=3.75; CH=3.86(or 3.75 approx.); R=5.5; Q=R+B+P=10.25 and Ks fighting value=2.67:] [edit3: This setup has at least one possible drawback in that maybe a frog can rush to the k-file on the 4th rank in 2 moves, which might be to some degree annoying.] [edit4: Seems not a problem at all for Black at move 1, as there's more than one way to deal with it fairly cleanly.] [edit5: this first setup idea may be fatally flawed after all, as first of all castling may be unsafe/awkward to arrange if e.g. White moves frog-pawns one cell forward each, making it tough to soon move either champion in a safe way (from harrassment by B[s] and/or a rook's pawn), and, also due to the setup, charging either rook's pawn may make well castling hazardous/awkward to some extent in general even if a champion is not moved as preparation first (e.g. a champion may be left out of active play for ages).]

[edit2: Here's a backup setup for this, which I currently dislike more than the original setup, e.g. due to the Bs positions, i.e. not allowing 'fianchetto' deployment of them, and hitting pawns in front of champions in the setup, A straight leap of a frog could be annoying as moving a Black pawn one cell could block a N from a nice developing square, and otherwise developing a kingside frog by a ferz-move might be awkward; all this seems to make this backup setup fatally flawed; thus this whole variant idea may need to be rejected.][edit6: I thought of an apparently better setup than the one below or above, but it's clearly now a mutator variant of my Parity Chess variant; see the Comments thread for the Parity Chess preset for details:]

Aurelian Florea wrote on 2018-12-02 UTC

Hi Kevin!

This game would also work with spartan elephants I think. Isn't it?

You have made a game with frog + spartan elephants, but would they just work in this one replacing each the waffle/phoenix? 3 games. And if you want 12x8 also you may choose 3 groups of 2 :)!

💡📝Kevin Pacey wrote on 2018-12-01 UTC

I've edited my original comment on this preset, by deleting reference to a Waffle plus K  being able to mate a lone K. I had the Waffle mixed up with the WD piece type (not included in this particular variant), which I actually do know has mating potential, from some of H.G.'s older comments.

💡📝Kevin Pacey wrote on 2018-12-01 UTC

Hi Greg

I originally wanted to use 'Phoenix Chess', but meanwhile someone used that name for a 2018 preset submission of theirs (which is still unapproved - though I checked their publicly available settings files link, and saw that that game in no way resembles my own). - so I assumed the Database would not allow me to use that name myself. After that, I felt Waffle Chess was the next most attractive choice of name, which I decided to use.

Greg Strong wrote on 2018-12-01 UTC

Interesting.  I will ceratinly try this out but I wish you had not used the name Waffle.  I know that's Betza's name but it is a really, really bad name for chess piece.  This piece has been used for about 400 years in Chu Shogi under the name Phoenix (a much better name.)

💡📝Kevin Pacey wrote on 2018-12-01 UTC

For this game's 10x8 board I tentatively put P=1; EW=2.695(or 2.75 approx.); N=3.38(or 3.25 approx.); B=3.75; R=5.5; Q=R+B+P=10.25 and K's fighting value=3.2. This variant's design was inspired by my desire to use a symmetrically moving piece type along with a FIDE army, and Dr. H.G. Muller suggested that the Waffle(aka Phoenix) might be an interesting choice, if feasible. Fast castling rules are used in this variant to try to facilitate king safety and development. Note that all the pawns are protected in the setup.

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