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Comments by David Short

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Existentialist Chess. 10x10 board with many different pieces. (10x10, Cells: 100) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
David Short wrote on 2003-10-04 UTC
After doing some more play-testing with John Lawson, we agreed that
another rule change is in order: The dazzler is the only piece that
is completely immune from the effects of a hyena. By making this
rule change, one can try to use their dazzler to get near a hyena,
and on a subsequent move, jump it and force it to move, force it
to release its spell on any and all pieces it was immobilizing.
This is an important counter-balance rule to prevent the hyena
from becoming overly powerful.

Incidentally I am accepting all challenges to play 
Existentialist Chess thru the following link:


This link will soon be added to the PBeM system of this web site.
My email for receiving challenges: [email protected]
my userid: davidnyjfan

84 Spaces Contest. Information/proposal on judgement of the contest.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
David Short wrote on 2002-12-21 UTC
I would like to remind all judges that you can challenge me to play-test my entries with me by email, contact me at [email protected] <p>Also I want to make a suggestion. After each group has advanced four games into the next round, all judges should submit votes on all of the remaining games (regardless of whether it was in their group or not) to distinguish the three best games that they think deserve consideration in the finals, even though they may not have been among the best four in their own group. Which games deserve the most honorable mention? Nominate three games, from most deserving on down. Nominate one game to receive three points, another to receive two points and one game to receive one point. After all emails from judges are collected, whichever one single game which did not previously advance to the finals receives the most points, will receive one 'wild-card' entry into the finals, thus creating 13 games in the finals. It is to be understood, of course, that the games that are being nominated for a wild-card spot may not have been play tested by the judges that are nominating them, but instead they are simply going by their impressions of them by reading their rules descriptions. This will help ensure that if there seems to be some glaring oversight and a lot of judges from other groups say to themselves 'How did that game not make it into the finals?' they will have a chance to nominate it by this points scoring system and if it receives more points than any of the other runner-up games it will indeed make the finals as one last 'wild-card' entry. What do you all think of the idea? (Obviously, the only restriction being that a judge cannot nominate his own game.)

84 Spaces Contest. Missing description[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
David Short wrote on 2002-12-12 UTC
One other quick comment I forgot to add to my previous remarks: How exactly to you determine who is a 'veteran' ? You shouldn't necessarily only go by how many times someone has entered previous contests. I've entered a few (41 squares, 42 squares, 100 squares), but I have several other CVs published on this site. Someone who has never entered a contest on this site before may actually have had a few other games published here, so they don't necessarily qualify as a newcomer, do they?? I therefore think that the best criteria in judging the 'newcomer vs. veteran' arguement is to look at the total number of CVs they have had published on this site (including their entry or entries for this contest) and rank them from most to least, and make the deliniation somewhere in the middle, or in quarters. Top quarter most experienced evaluates bottom quarter least experienced, second quarter most experienced evaluates second quarter least experienced, and vice versa. The problem is that you can't have it both ways. You can't break the contest down along those 'newcomer vs. veteran' lines AND break them down into the subsets I was suggesting earlier, in which certain types of game designs are equally distributed into different starting groups. The best you can do is start out with my suggestions, dividing all the 12 by 7s, 7 by 12s, and 10 by 10 -16s, and the 4 Newton submissions, and from there, rank the remaining games and randomly distribute them. <p> The problem is that after a while we start making this more complicated than it really needs to be. Here, I've just come up with a proposed breakdown of the 32 published games so far into 4 groups of 8 games each. What my groupings below accomplish is to make sure that all games are equally divided according to the parameters I suggested in my previous comments. That is to say, I've successfully managed in the groupings below to equally seperate all 4 '7 file 12 rank' games, all 4 '10 by 10 -16' games, all 3 '12 file 7 rank' games, distribute one Newton family submission into each of the 4 groups, and make sure that no group contains two entries by the same person. I've also divided the 3 most complicated games (as per my earlier suggestion) into different groups. Those can be found in groups #s 1, 2, and 3, and so therefore I suggest that the 33rd and final (and as yet unpublished) entry into the contest go into group # 4 below, which would be the largest and yet be one without any of the other 3 most complicated games, thus somewhat offsetting the imbalance. After breaking the games into different groups according to the criteria above, I then sorted the remaining games simply according to the order in which they were first published (earliest into one, next earliest into the next, next earliest into the next) and so on. The results of my efforts (and mind you are all free to come up with your own groupings, this is just my suggestion): <p>GROUP # 1: Invasion, Herb Garden Chess, Delegating Chess, Arabian Chess, Ramayana Chess, Ultra Slanted Escalator Chess, Tandem 84, Excelsior <p>GROUP # 2: The Pit, Schizophrenic Chess, Ryu Shogi, Transporter Chess, Unconventional Warfare Chess, Lions and Dragons Chess, Round Table Chess 84, Cross Eyed Chess <p>GROUP # 3: Tree Garden Chess, Quintessential Chess, Wizard Chess, Tetrahedal Chess, Jacks and Witches 84, Beastmaster Chess, Influence Chess, Tamerspiel <p>GROUP # 4: Seenschach, Viking Chess, Orwell Chess, Outback Chess, Chessma 84, Heros Hexagonal Chess, Battle Cheiftain Chess, Wizard's War <p> You're all welcome to tinker with the above list here or there if you come up with some subtle criteria I have overlooked, but I think I've done most of the work for you right here, I can't see too many ways on improving on this. To me, any further alterations to the above will be 'six of one, half dozen of the other' that is to say, not have much practical differences from my suggestion. Please note that there were only 8 games which did not fall into any of my previously suggested categories (board size, contributors) which needed to be specifically seperated, and those were: Tandem84, Round Table Chess 84, Battle Cheiftan Chess, Influence Chess, Wizard's War, Excelsior, Cross Eyed Chess, and Tamerspiel, and of those I just listed, the last 3 do not currently have ZRF files available for them. I have distributed them into groups 1, 2, and 3, so once again the 33rd and final entry which I will also assume does not as of yet have a ZRF ready for it should go into Group # 4, thus balancing out that disparity as well. (Please note that I did not take into account the 'newcomer vs. veteran' criteria when I made the above groupings, but as I have just pointed out, only Tandem84, Round Table Chess 84, Battle Cheiftan Chess, Influence Chess, and Wizard's War have any flexibility to be moved around. The other 27 games, I would think, need to be locked into place, otherwise you start conflicting with the seperation criterias we have spoken of before.)

David Short wrote on 2002-12-12 UTC
I'm not sure that the 'newcomer vs. veteran' thing is that important, but if you guys feel strongly about it, I'm not going to argue too strenuously about it. While I don't have time to be a full fledged judge, I am willing to give my input as a veteran CV designer on the judging process, so that it will be handled fairly and equitably. I am also willing to play-test my own two entries in the contest against any judge by email (see earlier comment). I have a few more ideas: Perhaps you should break the judging into groups of four rather than three: three with eight games each and one with nine. Eleven games apiece seems like an awful lot to me, and depending on how many judges you can get you may be able to distribute things a little easier this way. (Just how many games should come out of each group into the second round of judging is something you can all decide for yourselves.) I am assuming that you will have more than one judge giving their input on a particular group. For example, if you have 12 preliminary round judges to cover the four groups, you have three judges per group. (Another advantage of going with four inital groups rather than three is, as I have already pointed out, there are four different games using 7 files and 12 ranks, four different games using a 10 by 10 board with the middle 16 squares as a 'no-entry zone', and four games submitted by members of the Newton family, and each of the four games for each of the aforementioned subsets could be put into the four different preliminary round groups.) It makes sense to have two judges from the same group play-test the same games with each other, either by email or in real-time. (With internet communication what it is today, moves can be sent in algebraic notation via instant message, using ZILLIONS to record the game, if the direct interactive ZILLIONS in-game link cannot [for whatever reason] be used.) I would also hope that each judge play-test each game they are responsible for at least TWICE. One time does not necessarily give one a good feel for a game, and often once a game has been played for the first time one might begin to pick up on certain strategies once they get into the flow of the game that had not occurred to them simply from reading the rules page and looking at the initial setup, which they will then be better prepared to use (either for attack, or to defend against) during the second time around. After that, if someone wants to play-test it even further than that, that's up to them based on how much free time they have on their hands. I also think that it's always helpful whenever a game's inventor can volunteer to play-test his own game with a judge (as I have offered), since who else has a better initial feel for a game than the creator itself, and I hope that as time goes by more entrants will come forward to volunteer to play-test their own games with judges. Even the games which do not yet have a ZILLIONS OF GAMES zrf file available can be play-tested by email, by including an ASCII diagram with each move transmitted, altered by hand in each reply to reflect the new position that occurs with the move that is being sent. (btw that might also be another initial criteria to use to seperate games into different preliminary round groups: those games which do not have ZILLIONS OF GAMES zrf files available for them, should be equally distributed amongst the groups). <p>Finally I was wondering if anyone was going to make any suggestions as to what criteria judges should use to when evaluating games in the contest. I don't mean to say that I think anything would be written in stone, that anyone MUST use certain criteria when evaluating games, because I would think that judges should be allowed a certain amount of flexibility and freedom in deciding which criteria they feel are most important, and obviously different judges will probably weigh different criteria with different importance, but I wonder if anyone will come out and state POSSIBLE criteria that could be used, or if you would prefer that judges figure that out for themselves without any outside influence. I would certainly be willing and able to give my two cents worth in this forum as to which criteria should be used in evaluating games if I am asked to, but for now will keep my mouth shut in case you'd all rather everyone be silent about that topic. Please let me know. I'll tell you this much though: If you ask me to state the various criteria I think are important in evaluating games, I'll tell you which ones I think are more important than others, but I won't try to come up with any kind of elaborate points-scoring system to give games grades or scores. To me that's a bit too scientific and it's not going to be appropriate or userful for different judges who may personally disagree that a particular criteria I stated should be more (or less) important than the emphasis I would seem to give it.

David Short wrote on 2002-12-11 UTC
I've taken the time to identify which games in the contest have certain
commonalities between them, specifically, the board layout design. 
These games, I feel, should be seperated into seperate inital 11-game
groups as much as possible. The ones where four games are listed should
be broken down into a 2-1-1 ration and the ones where three games are
should be broken down into a 1-1-1 ration. 

12 FILES, 7 RANKS: Herb Garden Chess, Schizophrenic Chess, Viking Chess

7 FILES, 12 RANKS: Delegating Chess, Orwell Chess, Wizard Chess, Ryu

Garden Chess, Seenschach, The Pit.

Finally, I nominate the three games which, to me, seem to be the most
complicated. Certainly there may be one or two others which others might
feel should go into this 'top three' list more than one or two of the
I am listing here, but I certainly wouldn't want to be the judge which 
has to play any of these three games, and therefore I feel each of the
following games should be split up among the three different groups,
one apiece: Ramayana Chess, Tetrahedal Chess, Unconventional Warefare

Further input and voting should be taken among the judges to come up
with that final 3 'most complicated' list and seperate them into the 
three different groups.

David Short wrote on 2002-12-11 UTC
5 people submitted two games apiece: myself, Glenn Overby, Luiz Carlos Campos, William Overington, and Antoine Fourriere. Then there are four entries submitted by three members of the Newton family: Paul, Andrew and Timothy. Splitting the two games submitted by one person into two different judging groups would be easy enough to do. For the four entries by the Newtons, i would suggest that OUTBACK CHESS by Timothy and TRANSPORTER CHESS by Andrew be in the same group and the other two, one apiece in each of the other two groups. I just think it helps prevent any bias (either positive or negative) that a judge's review of one game should not let him color his predisposition to the other game by the same entrant. Ya know what I mean? At least not initially. In later rounds if both games from a single entrant have advanced beyond the first round of judging it may be unavoidable to prevent the same judge from looking at both games if they are asked to review all remaining games still in the running. But at least initially let's try to avoid someone saying 'Wow this game is great, I bet the other game he entered must be equally good, lemme take a look, this guy is really sharp and seems to know what he is doing when it comes to designing a good CV' or 'Wow this game is terrible. I bet the other game he entered must be equally bad, lemme take a look, this guy really has no clue about what he is doing when it comes to trying to design a good CV' No review of one game can in any way influence his perception of the other game. That's just me; I would like to know if anyone else thinks it is a good idea to try to avoid situations like this or if it is really ultimately not a big deal. If you wish to make it truly random in determining which games go into which judging groups then don't thinker with it. Otherwise, deliberately assign the games by entrants with multiple entries into specific groups and all of the other games by people with only one entry into their groups randomly and then randomly assign judges to groups once they have been laid out. Also if I might make a further suggestion, you may also want to further try to seperate and to some minor degree pre-determine which games go into which groups, by making sure that you don't put all of the 7 by 12 or 12 by 7 boards into the same group but try to equally distribute them among the 3 preliminary round groups. The same thing could be said for the games on 10 by 10 boards with the 4 by 4 16-square grid in the center a 'no entry zone'--games into different groups as well. This will further prevent judges who either have a preference or dislike for that type of layout from judging all of the games with that design. Finally, someone like Hans or Fergus should try to pick the 3 games in this contest which they feel are the most complicated or confusing, and/or the ones which they anticipate will take the longest to complete a play-test game (take a long time to achieve victory) and make sure to assign them into different groups as well, so that no judge gets all the 'easy' games while someone else is burdened with all the 'hard' games. Do you guys like these suggestions or do you think it should be TOTALLY random and just live with whatever way it comes out??

David Short wrote on 2002-12-11 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
Excellent contest, guys!! <p>While I am too busy to offer my services as a judge for the contest itself, I am willing to play-test my entries with any judge in the contest. I am willing to play by email with anyone who has ZILLIONS OF GAMES. All we have to do is email each other the algebraic notation of the move we are playing, and use ZILLIONS to record and save the position of our game. I will play one game of ULTRA SLANTED ESCALATOR CHESS and/or SCHIZOPHRENIC CHESS with any bonafide judge in the contest. If you wish to set up a match email me at [email protected] if it bounces back as undeliverable (often happens when I am over my storage limit) try me at [email protected] I will play one game of each or if preferred only one game of one of those two with any judge, and I will defer the choice of color allocation to the person who challenges me. btw I suggest that other people who have entries in the contest and are willing to play-test their games with the judges in this contest by email in much the same way I am describing here, post their email addresses on this comments page and solicit challenges from judges. btw might I suggest that no judge views both games from the same person this might help give a fresh perspective-- I am not the only person who has 2 entries in the contest--- what do you guys think? Is it a big deal if the same judge views both entries by the same player or should they be broken up between 2 different judges?

Tree garden chess. Large chess variant on 10 by 10 board with 4 by 4 area missing from the middle. (10x10, Cells: 84) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
David Short wrote on 2002-12-11 UTCGood ★★★★
Here is another game I would rate as 'good' I don't give any style points for coming up with new pieces, these have all been used before. I am concerned that the mobility of the pieces will be restricted by the 4 by 4 gap in the middle of the board. This game is not the only game to use the idea of a 10 by 10 board with the middle 16 square field a gap which cannot be used to hold pieces, sometimes can be jumped by pieces but in this game cannot be jumped. Still, any game which I don't find overly confusing about how to play it I have to at least grade as 'good' <p>

Invasion. A military inspired Chess variant played on an 84-squares board. (10x10, Cells: 84) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
David Short wrote on 2002-12-11 UTCGood ★★★★
This game has some potential. It shows originality and creativity. The rules are not overly complicated. My only gripe is that it is too dis-similar from traditional chess variants and familiar pieces but that is just my preference for CVs with more traditional chess-like pieces. All in all though i wanted to say nice job. I don't have time to volunteer my services as a judge for the contest but I will give positive feedback on all games in the contest I hope get favorable responses.

Ultra Slanted Escalator Chess. Game on an asymmetrical board of 84 squares with Crabs and Ultras. (10x9, Cells: 84) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
David Short wrote on 2002-12-06 UTC
As long as I'm fishing for comments (hopefully mostly positive) on Schizophrenic Chess, let me also make the same request for feedback on ULTRA SLANTED ESCALATOR CHESS. I would like to remind potential judges of this game not to get too hung up on asking themselves which is a better implimentation of the 'interesting connectivity' of the escalator squares, this variant or its predecessor SLANTED ESCALATOR CHESS, and simply try to evaluate this game on its own merits. <p>One thing I think I should point out to readers who look at the diagram of the board and think to themselves, 'Gee, it looks like it's going to be harder to get one's own pieces to the other side of the board to mount an attack!' that THAT IS THE POINT OF THE GAME! (sorry for shouting!) The challenge is to try to navigate through the available 9 files to get to the other side of the board and launch an attack. To me the game has a similar feel to it as OMEGACHESS, with the CHAMPION-like pieces next to the rooks. <p>Other general comments: Bishops have greater mobility and range if they are fianchettoed. Knights are obviously weaker on this larger board, and while it is tempting to try to advance them out onto the board so that they can take advantage of their ability to leap the barriers, they're probably better off being used as 'stay at home' defenders. Using crabs instead of pawns was absolutely necessary as pawns would tend to get locked up with enemy pawns, but crabs have the ability to make sidesteps to adjacent files with non-capturing moves, thus they cannot be blockaded so easily. <p>I welcome comments and reaction from readers to this game.

Schizophrenic Chess. Game on 12x7 board with Left and Right Schizzys, Bobbers, Teleporters and other exotic pieces. (12x7, Cells: 84) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
David Short wrote on 2002-12-06 UTC
Sorry about the redundancy in the teleporter rules. At first I was only
going to let the teleporter go back to the corner squares if they
were occupied by an enemy piece and let it explode, removing both the
teleporter and the enemy piece, and later decided to extend that to any
square on the player's own first rank occupied by an enemy piece. 

I won't give myself a grade here because obviously I am biased.
No one else has a comment for my game? I think I've created some rather
interesting and unique pieces here, don't you think? Bobber, Schizzies,
Teleporters, Crabs. It amazes me how few entries in this contest 
actually went for the most obvious configuration of either a 7 by 12
board, or a 12 by 7 board. 

I look forward to reading other comments to my game.

Existentialist Chess. 10x10 board with many different pieces. (10x10, Cells: 100) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
David Short wrote on 2002-10-24 UTC
I know that there are quite a few people who regularly visit this
site who have written ZRF files for new variants which are posted on
this site, so my question is directed to them. Has anyone had any
luck yet creating a ZRF for Existentialist Chess?
Please update us on your progress!

Feudal. Chesslike game of wellknown game company.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
David Short wrote on 2002-10-23 UTCGood ★★★★
The game is no longer manufactured, but you can often find someone
selling their copy of the game on Ebay

I think I'll go bid on one now!

Large Variant 99 Contest Index Page. Missing description[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
David Short wrote on 2002-09-01 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
Isn't it about time that run another
Large Variants contest? I submit that every variant of 65 squares
or more which wasn't in the first contest which has been published
on this site since the original contest in 1999 ended (as well
as any new submissions) should be eligible. I submitted my variant
Doublechess (on a 16 by 8 board) just a couple of months after
the deadline for entries for the first contest. I had not been aware
of the existence of this site before then. David, Hans, Peter,
what say you? When are we going to get a new Large Variants contest
on this site??

Existentialist Chess. 10x10 board with many different pieces. (10x10, Cells: 100) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
David Short wrote on 2002-08-03 UTC
Well, since I already posted one comment and rated my game as 
'excellent' I won't tip the scales any further with additional
comments so I will rate this comment as 'none'

I am glad that some typographical errors to the text have been
corrected. Also some additional material was added in a place or two.

I am surprised that this game has not drawn more attention among
the avid enthusiasts of this site since it has been published.
I think that this variant is extremely intriguing and exciting.
One of the things which makes it so interesting is that it is up
for discussion as to what the best strategy to use in this game is,
especially as regards the archer and zednick. Do you confabulate
them as early as possible and commit yourself to one course of 
action, or do you wait a while, develop your pieces a bit, let the
game get into some rhythmic flow, see which way the wind blows a bit
before deciding where to confabulate these pieces? What is the best
use for the archer? What is the best use for the zednick? What value
does one give the new pieces compared to the traditional ones?
How strong can the existentialist be? How can one defend against 
the archer? It would probably take quite a bit of play-testing,
not just one or two games but literally ten or twenty to really
begin to get a feel for the game and get an answer to these questions.
I do not think this game is overly complicated, it's just that there
are so many different possibilities that it may be hard to keep track
of all of them.

David Short wrote on 2002-06-10 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
I think that EXISTENTIALIST CHESS is one of the most intriguing 
cv's I've ever come up with. Yes, it is complicated, but read 
through the rules a few times and eventually you'll get the hang
of it. One of the things that's fun about this game is all the
different combinations you can come up with from confabulating
the archer and zednick. Is the archer too powerful a piece?
Perhaps. One may be forced to give up one of their own powerful
pieces just to get rid of their opponent's archer. 

A few notes to add that I forgot to mention from the text:
A cannon's long jump move is done in a straight line either
horizontally or vertically but not diagonally. Though I didn't
intend it originally as such when I wrote it, so as to go along
with the literal description of the rule as stated, a dazzler
may not jump an enemy shield, either with the long cannon-like
jump (intended rule) or from 2 squares away (unintended rule).

There were a few typos in the text as originally posted, I've
sent in an email to the editors of this site pointing them out
asking them to correct them.

Captain Kirk, you're funny. I know what you mean, but I did not
set out to deliberately make a game that was overly complicated.
I just wanted to create a game with a lot of different pieces
and a lot of possibilities. I think that, by comparison, my game
is easier to follow than a game like THE GAME OF NEMOROTH 
which seems to me to be very hard to play and has pieces conflicting
each other all the time. 

Lastly I would like to add that I welcome anyone to email me
at [email protected] if you would like to play 
EXISTENTIALIST CHESS with me by email. We can submit an ASCII
diagram to each other with each move, though I would prefer to
play against people who have ZILLIONS OF GAMES and when a 
zrf file for this game is eventually posted to this page, use
it to record the positions of the game and only email each other
the moves, and not the diagram too.

Full Double Chess. 32 pieces each, including all combinations of the basic Chess pieces, on a 16x8 square board. (16x8, Cells: 128) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
David Short wrote on 2002-04-18 UTCGood ★★★★
Tony, what you say about the added or diminished relative scopes of
the knights and bishops in double-board variants is true, just as
it is in larger variants to begin with (the knight is an extremely
weak piece in 10 by 10 variants) but the beauty of a game like my
Doublechess variant which I invented is that the knights still 
have their roles to play. Like I said before, pieces on each half
of the board tend to engage each other at the same rate they do in
regular chess. Pawns challenge each other, knights move up to the
third (or sixth rank, for black) rank to attack enemy pawns,
files open up for rooks and queens, diagonals open up for bishops
and queens. 

I think one point that needs to be made here is that in
Full Double Chess, stronger pieces are used, and that's fine,
if you are a player who likes new fangled pieces that can do neat
little tricks and jump through hoops. My Doublechess is more traditional,
uses only orthodox pieces and has the look and feel of traditional 
regular chess. So whether a game like my Doublechess or the new
Full Double Chess appeals to someone is going to be a matter of personal
taste, I guess. 

p.s. I would still like to encourage people to add comments below to
my Doublechess variant, for which I began a discussion.

David Short wrote on 2002-04-17 UTCGood ★★★★
Gee, now I wonder where he could have gotten the idea for this game,
huh? Well, you know what they say, 'immitation is the sincerest form
of flattery' so I guess I should be honored, eh? To anyone who is
not overly familiar with this web site I suggest you scroll down
on this comments page and click on the link for Double Chess below
or find it in the alphabetical index (the one with my name next to it).

Anyone can create a variant on a 16 by 8 board but it's not going to
have the same 'feel' of regular chess like my variant Doublechess does.
I have always felt that games with two kings are flawed. Chess should
be single-minded. Checkmate one king, period!

Terror Chess. Variant on 11 by 11 board with combination pieces. (11x11, Cells: 121) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
David Short wrote on 2002-04-15 UTCGood ★★★★
It would seem that TERROR CHESS is identical to THE SULTAN'S GAME

with the exception that the positions of the marshall and
cardinal are reversed. THE SULTAN'S GAME pre-dates TERROR CHESS
on this web site by three years. 

Nevertheless I still propose that my idea above for a variant
of chess between different armies would be intriguing. 

Oh and I would suggest variants with and alternately without
the 'Battle Move' when programming the ZRF for the above proposed
new variant. Players can decide for themselves which they prefer
to use.

David Short wrote on 2002-04-14 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
It would seem that I am not the first person to create a CV on an
11 by 11 board. (see my SPINAL TAP CHESS) It  would be interesting
to play a game of TERROR CHESS (for WHITE) vs. SPINAL TAP CHESS
(for BLACK) as a game of Chess Between Different Armies !!!

PETER ARONSON I challenge you to create a ZRF for such a game
IMMEDIATELY!! :-) I could then challenge Brian Wong to a game by
email! (if anyone has his address!) (mine is [email protected])

though I suspect that TERROR CHESS has the more powerful army!
Then again who can say for sure?

                     TERROR CHESS vs.  SPINAL TAP CHESS

A game of Chess Between Different Armies created by
David Short with thanks to Brian Wong.

                 a   b   c   d   e   f   g   h   i   j   k
           11  |*R*|*S*|*W*|*V*|*Q*|*K*|*M*|*W*|*V*|*S*|*R*| 11
           10  |*P*|*P*|*P*|*P*|*Cr|*Cr|*Cr|*P*|*P*|*P*|*P*| 10
            9  |   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |  9
            8  |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|  8
            7  |   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |  7
            6  |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|  6
            5  |   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |  5
            4  |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|  4
            3  |   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |  3
            2  |:P:| P |:P:| P |:P:| P |:P:| P |:P:| P |:P:|  2
            1  | R |:B:| N |:C:| A |:K:| Q |:Mr| B |:N:| R |  1
                 a   b   c   d   e   f   g   h   i   j   k

Diagram index:



Pawns move 1, 2, or 3 squares on their initial move and the en
passant rule is the same as it is in OMEGACHESS.
Each side may castle as its game's rules dictate.

Double Chess 16 x 8. On 16 by 8 board. (16x8, Cells: 128) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
David Short wrote on 2002-04-14 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
Now that this comments page is up, I'd like to ask the regular 
readers of to comment on Doublechess.
Doublechess is the first chess variant which I invented, and I
think it is my best one of all the ones I have created. It is my
pride and joy. At the time I submitted it to this site I had learned
that I was just a few months too late to enter it into the Large
Variants contest that was being held at the time. What a pity!
I feel that Doublechess would have been a very strong contender,
but by the time I first learned of this site's existence, the 
deadline for submissions for the contest had passed.

Doublechess' page on this site is unique in many ways. You
won't find too many other games on this site which have sample
games linked to it, and one of the games is annotated in detail.
(The link to my 'Doublechess web site' is no longer valid.)
Doublechess can be played by email on Richard's Play By Email
server, and I frequently conduct Doublechess tournaments on PBM.
The next one may be beginning in a few months and I will post
an announcement about it here (as I did recently for the forthcoming
Omegachess tournament which I will be running on PBM as well) when
I am ready to begin it.

Doublechess is a very simple variant. Simply lay two 8 by 8 chess
boards side by side. Use two chess sets, and replace the second
set of kings with a third set of queens. (if one does not have a
third set of chess queen pieces handy, substitutes can be used until
they are captured. Coins work well, for instance, a penny for a
white queen and a nickel for a black queen.) Set up the first army
of pieces in the traditional setup (RBNQKBRN) in files E to L
and the second army out in the wings (RBNQ, QBNR) in files A to D
and M to P. 

You will notice a few interesting strategic points about Doublechess.
Opposing bishops start along the same diagonals as each other,
often promting them to be quickly traded off if the opportunity
presents itself. If they avoid an early exchange, bishops of like
color can double themselves along the same diagonal to form a battery
in much the same way that one might double their rooks along the same
file in chess. Notice that whereas white begins with two dark squared
bishops on the left side of the board, or queenside (in Doublechess
the 'queenside' refers to files A to H, and 'kingside' refers to
files I to P, mimicking the same sides of the boards which these
terms refer to in regular chess), and black has two light squared
bishops on the queenside. Likewise, white has two light squared
bishops to start the game on the kingside, and black has two dark
squared bishops on each side. Each side can try to exploit the other's
weaknesses on light or dark squares on each half of the board.

The way the board is set up, as players begin to develop their pieces
and pawns, the pieces tend to engage each other on each half of the
board in about the same amount of time as they do in regular chess.
In the middle game it is often the case where pieces will be interacting
with each other and threatening each other on each half of the board
completely independent from what is going on on the other side of the
board. In some ways then, Doublechess is like playing two games in one,
though one really needs to look at the board as a whole to truly
understand and appreciate the game.

There are other strategic differences between Doublechess and regular
chess which make my variant exciting and unique. It is more common
to sacrifice material for attack in Doublechess than it is in regular
chess, since one has so much material at one's disposal to attack with.
In Doublechess then, obviously king safety becomes extremely important.
Thus another axiom of dc is that it is quite possible to win despite
a material disadvantage, more often than one can overcome such a
deficit in regular chess. As long as one has enough pieces to launch
an attack, they can make things interesting.

I should also point out that the one rule that is unique and 
distinctive to Doublechess is the castling rule (see dc's page for
full explanation of the castling rule), and the pros and cons of
long castling vs. short castling can be long debated. It's another
twist to the game which makes it interesting. 

One advantage that my variant has over other CVs is that it only 
uses orthodox pieces, so it is very easy to learn how to play.
Perhaps more than any other CV, Doublechess has the 'feel' of regular
chess. There is a ZRF file available for download at the bottom of
Doublechess' page. I urge everyone who has not played it yet who owns
ZILLIONS OF GAMES to download Doublechess and try it out.
I welcome comments from everyone, pro or con, as to how they would
rate Doublechess as a chess variant. What are this variants'
strengths and weaknesses? Finally I would say that, although I 
realize I am very biased in the matter ;-)  I feel that Doublechess
is such an excellent variant that it deserves consideration as one
of this site's 'Recognized Chess Variants'  and as inventor of this
game I am necessarily disqualified from nominating it to that position.
Might someone else who has an equal appreciation for this game take
up the gauntlet and nominate it along with an eloquent essay on my
game's merits?

Slanted Escalator Chess. Chess on an asymmetric board with interesting connectivity. (8x8, Cells: 60) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
David Short wrote on 2002-04-10 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
gnohmon, you're wrong about a few things. first of all,
while black rooks can control double files if they are on the
a,b,g, or h files, a white rook on the b-file would control
both the a-file and b-file, and likewise a white rook on the 
g-file controls both the g-file and h-file. Download the ZRF
and you'll see. 

Bishops may seem weak but they may yet have a purpose in the game.
It may be true that their ability to penetrate the other side of
the board and attack is more difficult, but they'll still be
pretty good as stay-at-home defenders. Note however that white
bishops at a3 or h3 control very long diagonals (bishop at a3 
attacks e8, bishop at h3 attacks d8)

and while black may be able to control the outside files with
his rooks faster, white should be able to occupy the escalator
squares more quickly. In order that white does not get an overwhelming
advantage in the game, I gave black the first move. Time will tell
if the game is balanced sufficiently or not.

Incidentally, if anyone who has ZILLIONS OF GAMES would like to

or both, with me by email, drop me a line at [email protected]
We can email each other the notation and record and save our games

What I really like about SLANTED ESCALATOR CHESS is that not only
is there interesting connectivity around the board, but that it's
going to be a bit challenging for each side to try to navigate the
board to get to the other side and get a good attack going. 
Should make things very interesting!

Omega Chess. Rules for commercial chess variant on board with 104 squares. (12x12, Cells: 104) (Recognized!)[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
David Short wrote on 2002-04-06 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
I would like to announce that I am going to be running an Omegachess
tournament by email on Richard's Play By Email server at
In order to play in the tournament you must have a PBM userid.
Check out and 
if you are new and want to sign up for a free userid and password
on the server. You do not have to have ever played Omegachess before
on the server to compete in this tournament. If you would like to play
in the event please email me your PBM userid to [email protected]
I have not yet decided exactly how I am going to structure the Omega
tournament. It will probably be a round robin tournament, with between
4 to 8 games in the first round, and a certain number of players 
advancing to a second and final round.

I would also like to announce that I am also going to run a chess
tournament on PBM too. This is traditional orthodox chess!
This tournament is open to the first 25 players who email me to enter.
I will be creating five 5-man sections. Each player will play a total
of 4 games, 2 as white and 2 as black, one game against each of the
other players in the tournament. The 5 section winners will then
advance to a final 5-man section for the championship of the tournament.
In the event of a tie for first place in a section the first tiebreaker
is head-to-head result. In the event of a draw or a 3-way tie where
A beat B, B beat C and C beat A, all tied players advance to the finals
and a larger final section will be created. Again, to compete in this
tournament you must have a PBM userid. You may enter both tournaments
if you like. When emailing me please make sure to specify which
tournament you are entering. Thanks again and good luck!!

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