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The Chess Variant Pages

This page is written by the game's inventor, M Winther.

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Sam Trenholme wrote on 2009-10-09 UTC
My initial impression of these bifurcation pieces was that they are too complicated. As shown by Muller’s and my own confusion about the pieces, with both of us having years of experience looking at Chess variants, I think these pieces are too complicated to get widely played. And, indeed, I don’t think there have been any games played with these pieces on Game Courier.

What I see with pieces like this is that all of the simple pieces a Chess-like game can have are already invented, and that we’re having to come up with some pretty convoluted moves to come up with new piece types.

The simple Chess pieces seem to be:

It’s possible, of course, to combine leapers and sliders (Can you say “Capablanca Chess”?), but the only combined leapers + sliders in a national game are Shogi’s promoted rooks and bishops. There are also “riders”, sliders whose 1-move “atom” is not to an adjacent square; the knightrider is the most famous piece of this type.

Once we move past these simple pieces, things get complicated and the learning curve goes up. One relatively simple piece is a piece that captures differently than it moves; a piece that, say, moves like a knight or captures like a bishop.

Betza covered the “crooked rook”, “crooked bishop”, and “rose”—sliders which change their direction every square they slide.

Chinese Chess, of course, has the “Cannon”, which has inspired all kinds of pieces that leap before moving or capturing (or a combination thereof). Speaking of leaping pieces, I’m surprised no one has recently discussed having a checker’s king in Chess: A piece that moves like a Ferz, but captures by jumping over an adjacent piece, and can (optionally) capture multiple times in its move. We can, of course, have a wazir (horizontal and vertical) form of this piece, or combine it with any other chess piece.

So, yeah, it looks like pretty much any kind of piece chess can have with a simple move has been discussed here, so we’re moving on to complicated pieces that don’t seem very intuitive to me.

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