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Rich Hutnik wrote on 2008-04-09 UTC
Want to have a streamlined (less kludgy) version of chess with enough depth to it that you won't get bored as you teach newbies?  You want to have it so that they are also open to variants?  A newbie should be able to get going fully in less than 5 minutes.

Well, consider Skirmish Chess (this game), with the following changes:  When you teach the game, don't teach castling, and en passant is moot here (it doesn't have it).  Also pawns only move one way.  Also go with capture the enemy king instead of checkmate.  Also, limit promotion to the basic set of pieces.

You have a decent game that will be able to entertain yourself, and get people playing a form of chess that isn't trivial, and will get them going.  I believe this version would appeal to newbies, because it has a lot of action early in it, and a bunch of captures.

It should be noted that the changes above were added to Skirmish Chess, for a new variant called 'Near Chess'.  It is entered into the CV site and can be found here:
http://www.chessvariants.org/index/msdisplay.php?itemid=MSnearchess

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