Chess variants on a 10x10 board, in particular Grand Chess.
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My idea of better: the current pieces don't fit into the set. A horse on top of an upsidedown rook... totally out of balance. And the archbishop looks too thick. I will send the alternative set I found and reworked to Fencer. Archbishop/Cardinal has a cardinal's hat in the mitre style of the bishop. The chansellor fits the set and is recognisable as well, but has less character.
How the pieces move shows as well.
cpaul_d2004: Are those the actual names that Capablanca used? I'm not sure why Richard decided to call it Capablanca Random Chess except maybe to honor Capablanca. Capablanca took Bird's Chess and re-arranged a few pieces (The Bishops, Guards and Equerries). I wasn't aware that he also renamed the Equerry and Guard, let alone named them the Archbishop and Chancellor. If he did, then it still doesn't affect the names of the pieces in Grand Chess.
In any case, the post of mine dealt with the notation of Grand Chess, not Capablanca Random Chess. Fencer said he'd fix it, so that's what I'm looking forward too.
cpaul_d2004: The guy that created Grand Chess used to have a web site that had a link to where the set could be bought. In Europe if I remember right. I'm not sure if he has the site up any more though. It seems like I wasn't able to visit it the last time I went looking. When I did see the site a few years back, the pictures of the pieces looked nice.
The pieces would take some time to make your own if you want them to look like one made together set. Obviously you could do as Ed did when he first made some sets and cut and paste some pieces together.
The boards are fairly easy to make. I've been thinking of a way to make a board have three or more sizes. Somehow have an edge slide out, but still be solid when set up for play. It'd be easy to have two game sizes on one board, one on each side. So maybe I'll make a 10 × 10 on one side and an 8 × 10 on the other and just lug a regular Chess board around that I could also attach something to the back of. It'd certainly be possible to make a game table, if one was good at wood working and then you could make lots of different sized boards and keep the unused pieces under the table in a compartment for them. Not to practical to carry a table down to the park for a game or two though.
Nightstorm: Yep! Those are the pieces. I like how they look. If icons similiar to those could be used on the playing boards here, I think that'd be good too. Thanks Nightstorm. Looks like it'll cost $78 plus shipping to get a set, though I could make the board and get the pieces for $39. Then make an 8 × 10 board and use the pieces for that too.
I played a game recently where I purposely did not promote a Pawn for good reason. I've done it in a few other games, but it didn't make any difference. I've also had a couple of opponents not realize they could promote it on the eighth or hold off for a later move of the Pawn. In fact I believe that game is still on going. It's been a back and forth kind of game. He had to take the not promoted Pawn with his Cardinal. Had I promoted it, it would not have gone as well for me.
Kipling: Link to it. Still going on. I have just taken the lead back in it. The link is to the move just before I moved the Pawn to the eighth row.
True, I could have promoted to a Marshall, but that wouldn'tve threatened his Cardinal. This forced him to take the Pawn instead of looking elsewhere for a move as I had every square covered that the Cardinal could move to.
Kipling: Cool. I'm not the strongest player, but it seemed like the thing to do at the time. I got to looking at it after finding it for you and I can see a few things that could been done instead of taking the Pawn. It did force the issue though. I'll let you know when the game is over.
In the Grand Chess, I think it will be exciting to add those two tricky chinese cannons. Perhaps at the first and last rows?
Perhaps we could cancel the "Rook+Knight"? I allways perceive it like a clumsy piece. It could be avantageously replaced by a second "Bishop+Knight", like in Janus game. The dynamism will be improved. Well, it is only (for the moment) my opinion
P-G: The Marshall is a strong piece. Same piece as in Embassy Chess. I don't think of it as a clumsy piece. In Embassy Chess there's less room to maneuver, especially at the beginning of a game. The Marshall has to be developed carefully to avoid being harrassed by the minor pieces. The Cardinal is able to move diagonally. This gives it added mobility at the beginning of a game with all the Pawns mostly on the board. Grand Chess has lots of room behind the initial set up. With the Rooks being able to get right into the game and also, and this is often overlooked, the King has extra room to run to. This greatly reduces the tension of the game as compared to Embassy Chess where the King can be readily attacked and has no place to go. Sacrifices are always something to be on the look for. Defending against them, or initiating one of your own. Later in the game is when the Marshall shines. Crossing the board and getting in close. Very hard to defend against the Marshall, especially if you have a Bishop or other diagonal moving piece backing him up. Both the Marshall and the Cardinal are hard to stop when close to the action. The Knight movement part of them can't be blocked, so they essentually have twelve direct places to attack when up close as compared to the Queen's eight. Look at a 5 × 5 square on the board and you'll see the Queen, Marshall, and Cardinal all cover the same number of squares. Widen the field and the Queen covers more squares.
As for rules changes to Grand Chess. I think one I'd institute would be moving the Pawn promotion row to the ninth row, instead of the present eighth. Then they'd have to cross the same amount of squares as they do in regular Chess. The restricted promotion of which piece can be chosen is a different rule and seems OK by me, but it does take some planning if you happen to have a Pawn in position to promote when there haven't been any piece captures or just a few minor pieces.
I don't know about these Chinese Chess Cannons. Why not add a couple more Rooks if you like power on the board? Or a Marshall and another Cardinal? Yeah, throw in a Queen too. MIght as well have two of every piece except a King. The back row would also have the room to add the pieces used in Ultima. If you want excitement in your Grand Chess, that'd most certainly do it. An Immobilizer working with a Cardinal? Oh yeah. :) The Longleapers of Ultima are similar to Cannons I believe. The Coordinator is too. The Withdrawer is weak, so make it another Queen. And just imagine the Chameleon being able to attack with so many different pieces that they could copy their moves. Ultragrand Chess.
We used to play Ultimamen versus Chessmen. That's an interesting variant of both games and allowing the Chameleon to move as a Knight against a Knight helps the Ultima side as it seems the Chessmen are very strong with having the form of capture that they have. Seeing how there's a few non-equal sided games on this site, it'd be cool to have this variant too, though I suppose we should first get regular Ultima added too.
Walter Montego: It is worth noting that inventor Freeling believes the Marshal is the strongest piece. Many disagree, citing the Queen's better mobility. (Placed on any of the four center squares of an open board, a Queen covers 35 squares, as opposed to the Marshal's 26.) And there are situations where a Cardinal is preferable to either. However, it is widely recognized that Q, M, & C are the strongest pieces. Many newcomers have difficulty grasping the Cardinal's superiority to a Rook.
Chess Variant Pages has a listing for "Amazon-Grand Chess" which adds an Amazon (combined Q & N) to each side of a standard grandchess array, placed behind each Queen; White's on d1, Black's on d10. No mention of it ever having been tested, but it would almost certainly enhance the tactical play.
Also, I'd like to suggest applying the ice chess concept to the grandchess board. This could produce interesting strategic games.
Walter Montego: The Marshall is a powerful piece, I agree. We also agree that its use occurs later in the game. If we compare the dynamism of the two Janus with the Marshall and Cardinal, we can accept that the start of a Janus game is much more fun.
As regards the Chinese Cannons (by the way have you already had time to read the rules of Chinese Chess?).
My intention is not to accumulate powerful pieces like with Rooks but to add two very interesting and exciting pieces full of new combinations possibilities.
I see no reason why Chinese Cannons are not yet used outside the Chinese Chess. Probably simply because it is unknown is a reasonable explanation.
Actually, all occidental pieces are formed from an association of Bishop, Rook and Knight movements. Why not extend that with a so tricky piece? I am certain it will give a new breath to our play.
I ignore the Ultima game. Where, please, can I read something about?
Walter Montego: About Pawn promotion, I have another suggestion than yours: A Pawn is promoted to a Gold General (piece borrowed from Shogi, the Japanese Chess). When captured it returns to a Pawn. No doubt, this will boost the game, due to this terrible threat.
I have not yet an opinion if a promotion could be better since the 5th row in place of the 8th.
Pioneer54: Thank you for intervening. I feel less tempted by the Amazon piece (again a combination with the Knight movement).
My aim is to improve Grand Chess with pieces or rules from old classical games. They are for sure steady value, having been tested since many centuries. The trap to avoid is to overload the game with too many pieces like in some variation of Shogi (Japanese Chess).
A possible starting position may be: PP P P P P P P P P N B C Q C M B N R A K A R
A(rtillery) are Chinese Cannons. Note I preserve the Marshall for those having a different appreciation about . Also worth to note is the possibility to renew with Castle rule, eventually. Don't forget the promotion of a Pawn to a Japanese Chess Gold.
Well that is a summarize of my suggestions. I will be glad to read your reactions, including from Fencer of course.
If you think that could be of some value, a possible name for the game could be "Asian Grand Chess" ?
P-G: My aim is to improve Grand Chess with pieces or rules from old classical games. They are for sure steady value, having been tested since many centuries.
And what proof do you have that your suggestions actually improve Grand Chess? Just because a piece is used in game that has been tested for centuries doesn't proof anything. Otherwise, you'd thrown in the Ace of spades and some Go stones as well.
Well, adding the tricky two Chinese Cannons, adding a second Cardinal and a new promotion rule are for sure not proofs. Who could proof without experimenting? But, in my humble opinion, serious argument to augment the complexity of the game through the use of dynamical pieces.
I didn't tried to proof. I launched some ideas as suggestions.
P-G: I've been thinking about your recent posts. They are worthy of discussion, whether or not merit. Indeed, many adaptations could be made to the grandchess set that conceive "grandchess variants" just as heretofore we have witnessed hundreds of registered chess variants.
Of course, there is a sizable difference in these fields. Chess is centuries old and, especially in the modern era, has been deeply analyzed and become so overmechanized that the highest level games are almost automatically drawn. (This perceived exhaustion of chess was the driving impetus to create variants of it!) Grandchess though (while itself known as a classic chess variant) is just 25 years old, and has undergone no such methodic exploratory transformation. It probably never will, and certainly won't in our lifetimes, so the necessity to develop variants thereof is much less pronounced, although the ideas can be of interest.
The cannon is a good tactical game piece, but its lack of popularity outside the Orient may be due to its obtuse nature in comparison to real battlefield situations. The diagram array you presented appears to be more like an entirely different game construct, rather than an offshoot of grand. You combine elements of xiang-qi, shogi, and grand, but you also placed the Kings on the back rows which (unlike grand) is more akin to Janus, embassy, Capablanca's, and perhaps other ideas. You also expressed a desire to deviate from pieces based on Knight movement, or at least some of them. I don't know what to attribute this to other than personal taste.
Some thoughts on the promotions: -- First, you suggest that a pawn be promoted to a gold general. I'm not a big fan of shogi, but I like the gold and silver generals; the gold is slightly stronger of course. But, on the 10 squared board among the grand array, they would be sharply ineffective. It is hard to imagine how they could even outplay the Knight, which is unquestionably the weakest piece. -- Second, with this suggestion you directly contradict the grand standard of promoting only to an already captured piece. Some leeway is allowale here, since variants are mostly about rule and/or piece changes, but it makes your idea that much further removed from grand. -- Third, you state that a captured gold would revert to a pawn, but this is superfluous since there are no piece drops in grand, unless you want to play it like chessgi (here called "loopchess") but that changes all the game dynamics and unearths a Pandora's Box of whether to allow pawns to be dropped on the eighth or ninth ranks. Or, perhaps you were merely stating a condition of shogi, I couldn't tell. -- Fourth, Walter says he would do away with eighth rank promotions. You wisely refrained from embracing this notion. Shortly after introducing his game, Freeling explained that he had tested limiting promotions to the ninth and tenth ranks, but decided it better to include the eighth rank as well. Even at that, the suggestion to abolish eighth rank promotion has been made before, and been met with disapproval from most grand players. It may only take four moves to promote a pawn, but that doesn't make it easy. -- Fifth, By the time one side is able to achieve a promotion, they usually have a winning edge anyway, so a rule change based just on promotion would have scant impact. Of course, if that were incorporated into other changes, as you have outlined, this would be a different case.
Ultimately, I suspect that variations of grand (if any are to become popular) will be those that (like chess variants) make one simple rule change (instead of an eclectic sort) that is easily understandable yet still provides prolific and dynamic play. But, since the mysteries of grand itself are still largely untapped, it seems likely that this site (or others) will be reluctant to add modifications to the basic game. So, it might be that the best we can hope for is to have fun with these new ideas by tinkering with them on our own quarters, or playing against friends.
Pioneer54: Thank you very much, for submitting your thought. I was afraid my suggestions tumbled in an oubliette :-) .
I agree with you concerning almost all of your points of view, notably about chess.
about cannon "the obtuse nature in comparison to real battlefield situations", chess is not exempt, if we consider the Pawn for example he moves straight on but capture only in diagonal! I am more inclined to think the reason of his lack of popularity is mainly due to his like to say confidential existence. I would not be amazed, when more spreaded in the public, it will generate many enthusiasts aficionados.
Janus is very funny game and the King on the back row authorize to Castle.
My desire to deviate from pieces based on Knight movement is not that I am on principle reluctant but more wishful to explore new territories on a large board (I would like a board of 12x10 for example). Would not be a pity to discard some interesting pieces for the sole reason they are unknown?
Your first point. GrandChess is 10 squared board but don't lose from sight it is only one more than Shogi (9x9). I imagine such promotion could tears the opponent front. But, in relation with you fith point, I feel far less sure. I dare even to say: you are right.
The second point. Would we be afraid to contradict some Grand Chess rules, knowing we are nvestigating a variant?
On your third point, you are absolute right about the capture of a promoted pawn. I should not have precise that superfluous rule.
Ultimately, you may be right. Who know? I thought it may be alike revolutionary game with only adding ome classical pieces.
I am grateful for your open minded and construstive approach. Perhaps some will join their point of view as constructively as yours.
P-G: Your first point. GrandChess is 10 squared board but don't lose from sight it is only one more than Shogi (9x9). I imagine such promotion could tears the opponent front.
I think the argument that the Shogi general isn't effective in GrandChess hasn't so much to do with the board size, as well with the other pieces. In Shogi, there are only 4 pieces that have a long range: rook, bishop (and their promoted pieces), and the two lances. But the lances can only move forwards, and cannot deviate from their file. In Grand chess each side has 2 rooks, 2 bishops, a queen, a marshall and a cardinal. In (grand)chess, on average, the pieces have a far greater mobility than in shogi. Picking a piece from shogi, and dropping it into a chess variant is usually not going to work. Chess, shogi and Chinese chess aren't games with just a set of pieces randomly thrown together. No, chess, shogi and Chinese chess work well (and are hence popular) because of the combination of pieces work well.
It's like taking a unit of Napolean's army that worked well for him, and putting it in the German army of 1940. It ain't going to work.
P-G: Good point there about the pawns, they do have an awkward mobility. You may well be correct about the cannon being not so well known. It has been said that xiang-qi is the "world's most popular game", a rather disingenuous boast since China has by far more people than any other country. Attempts to promote the game elsewhere have produced less than stellar results; whether this is due to the peculiar application of the cannon shot or some other aspect is hard to ascertain.
You write that a gold general (following promotion) could tear into an opponent's front, assuming there was anything left there to attack. This works in shogi, where pieces are continually recycled, but in grand (or another similar game on a larger board), it would require an early promotion, which does occur, but rather uncommonly. I was thinking of the latter stages of grand, when there are far fewer units standing on a more open board. The general would be lonely, and at that point may be only marginally better than a pawn. He may be able to move in many directions, but probably won't be capturing anything.
Abigail's point is well made, that the piece arrays fit the game designs; the oriental games are more strategic. But also good is the mention you made of expanded boards, like 12 by 10. This might be the optimum for your design that would give the cannons greater scope. I agree that many shogi variants are too cluttered; one game ("middle shogi", I think, not sure) was reputed to have gone over 300 turns!!?
Pioneer54: I think the reason for Chinese Chess is confined into China is because it is a very open game (only 5 pawns) resulting in a almost 100% tactical game. I have to be very humble with this opinion because I have a short practise of that game.
I admit, as I replied to Abigaill, you are right, the promotion could became too late for an efficient use.
I maintain, up to now, my point of view: adding Cannons and a second Cardinal could boost the interest for a variant of Grand Chess.
I like your possible approval for a 12x10 board. That may be the solution.
P-G: We have to hope the seed will sprout, and keep our fingers crossed! You've got the creative spirit.
Placing cannons on the grand board would definitely alter the complexion of the game. I would be more amenable to the idea of a "pure" cannon; that is, one that may fire a given distance (say, for example, 4, 5 or 6 spaces), not with the need for an intervening obstacle. Either way, I suppose their range would have to be limited somewhat, otherwise you just get into a free-for-all. In other words, you must move them out into risky territory in order to make them threatening. Alas, I remain a bit skeptical that they could prove to be too powerful, and spoil the idea, or otherwise pose some flexibility problem with a grand variant set........ An extra Card is a bold proposition. It's a dangerous piece, and having a pair of them per side would make matters much more challenging.
I was trying to imagine how your idea would work on a 12 (vertical) by 10 (horizontal) board. It would be neat if this site (or some other) offered something like an "idea editor", a system in which games could be played strictly off the record by setting up your own board size and piece array of choice, just to see what might happen by experimentation. In this way, a handful or so games could be tried, and then you might modify it; something you assumed would be useful might not turn out to be, but something else you had not thought of at all could come to mind. I don't know how difficult this would be to arrange, but there is already a game editor for screen chess and others, so it doesn't seem too problematic.
Pioneer54: was trying to imagine how your idea would work on a 12 (vertical) by 10 (horizontal) board. It would be neat if this site (or some other) offered something like an "idea editor", a system in which games could be played strictly off the record by setting up your own board size and piece array of choice, just to see what might happen by experimentation.
If you have a Windows box, you might consider getting "Zillions of Games". It allows you to create almost any abstract board game you can imagine.
Pioneer54: If I understand correctly, a "pure" Cannon will act like a Rook with a limited range?
The Chinese Cannon implying an intervening obstacle is just what make it so rich of possibilities and so different from all other pieces. Isn'it?
You suggest a 12x10 with 12 rows and 10 columns, have I grasp what you wrote? If correct, I don't see the point for the melioration. I thought more for a 10 rows and 12 columns, in order to expand the positionning at the start. I refrein to propose a 12x12 board, fearing to be consider as a megalomaniac :-). But is that really foolish?
I totaly agree with you, the best would be to experiment and so doing improving more surely.
I wonder if Fencer read this discussion board. Perhaps he could envisage to program your nice idea of a "Idea editor". How a rich source for new ideas it will feed!
Abigaill: I remember many years ago I bought "Zillion of games". It is sleeping somewhere in the house, I will try to retrieve it. Thank you, because I didn't remember we could create some board games.
If I understand correctly, a "pure" Cannon will act like a Rook with a limited range?
Well, sort of. I mean it could move like a Rook, but remain stationary when fired, and only fire so far.
The Chinese Cannon implying an intervening obstacle is just what make it so rich of possibilities and so different from all other pieces. Isn'it?
But only rich in xiang-qi, as yet. Like Abigail astutely said earlier, taking a piece from one game set and putting it into another isn't necessarily a panacea; in fact it may be the opposite, or stoical at best. It is hard to say really without examination, but I suppose that with unlimited fire range, the game would just turn into a shooting gallery, or both players would spend most of their time dodging these threats.
You suggest a 12x10 with 12 rows and 10 columns, have I grasp what you wrote? If correct, I don't see the point for the melioration. I thought more for a 10 rows and 12 columns, in order to expand the positionning at the start.
Yes, the "vertical" dimension would be across the board, like from one player to another.
I refrein to propose a 12x12 board, fearing to be consider as a megalomaniac :-). But is that really foolish?
Not at all! Chess Variant Pages is loaded with countless ideas, including many with large boards. I think foolish are those that purport an oblong board, say like 8 by 20, especially loaded with a myriad of pieces.
I totaly agree with you, the best would be to experiment and so doing improving more surely. I wonder if Fencer read this discussion board. Perhaps he could envisage to program your nice idea of a "Idea editor". How a rich source for new ideas it will feed!
With so many talk boards here, I don't see how he can keep up with all of them, unless a moderator brings a special item to his attention. BTW, maintenance is acutely lacking; one person listed as a moderator here has been gone for two and a half years!!?