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Game Reviews by Samson Marriner

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Shako. Cannons and elephants are added in variant on 10 by 10 board. (10x10, Cells: 100) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Samson Marriner wrote on Thu, Oct 16, 2014 09:08 AM UTC:Excellent ★★★★★
when people get bored of how repetitive and figured-out FIDE Chess is (like Bobby Fischer did) this along with a few others has a possibility of replacing it. Elephants and Cannons both bring new strategy elements such as a sort of no extra development necessary, and Cannons add a new edge to attacks. Cannons can also artificially pin Kings. Cannons and Kings cannot checkmate bare Kings, but a Cannon, King and Knight can.

Elephants are a third minor piece (though Bishops are stronger than before), which I prefer since minor piece feels like a more useful term and minor pieces feel more like a currency than a coincidence. Also, Elephants (and Cannons) developing naturally doesn't interfere with any other piece development, and developing Elephants attacks pawns while being weaker than Knights. I could probably go on to talk about some openings which are playable and some which aren't but this is getting long.

The Maharaja and the Sepoys. Powerful lonely king against a full set of pieces. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Samson Marriner wrote on Sun, Oct 5, 2014 08:03 PM UTC:Poor ★
I'm not rating the page poor, but the game (maybe less if there was one).

based on Ralph Betza's ideas on Colourboundness and material value and not counting Black's King or Maharajah's King's move,  

Black (FIDE)'s army is worth 39.4 Pawns. Without promotion, it's 32.60 plus initial double step for new pawns it's 32.85 (estimation for lameness of double step used was fnD = 1/18 of a Crab, then / 7 for Initial)
the Maharajah is worth a cringeworthy 9.75 Pawns, estimating a Bishop - Ferz on an 8x8 board to be worth 2.40 Pawns.

White can force mate from turn 1.

Opulent Chess. A derivative of Grand Chess with additional jumping pieces (Lion and Wizard). (10x10, Cells: 100) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Samson Marriner wrote on Fri, Sep 5, 2014 02:02 PM UTC:Good ★★★★
From playing this on ChessV, I have a few thoughts on strategies.

Firstly, 2 orthogonally adjacent Knights are excellent fortresses, and when combined with 1-2 Lions they can easily hide compound pieces to be brought out later for late game scenarios, where said compound will work well (especially Queens and Cardinals).

Another is that despite speed of getting around the board Wizards are weak, probably the weakest non-pawn piece, since they only have 3 (Ralph Betza ) half-knights, they are quite bad at creating mini-fortresses, and unlike Lions and Knights they are colourbound.

Opening, perhaps after e/f pawn advances, with Wizard to their c/h square is a good idea since it frees a Rook, develops your Wizard, blocks opposing Wizards and protects the opposite central pawn. Also, apparently developing minor pieces first is a good idea.

As often said, sliders are considerably more powerful on larger boards, but Knights seem as strong as / stronger than Bishops in this game.

on another note, funny notation for Wizard is LF, not CF. Funny Notation Camels are L (weirdly, since there isn't a capital C)

King's Court. Variant on 8 by 12 board with Chancellors and Jesters. (12x8, Cells: 96) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Samson Marriner wrote on Tue, Jul 29, 2014 09:08 PM UTC:Excellent ★★★★★
In my opinion the ideal new piece placement for basic 10x10 games is between Rook and Knight, because that way the opening theory basics are used, but with fewer annoying free rook captures.

Also, the King's Counsellor evasion move is a good idea due to their power (slightly above a Cardinal, Jesters are around the power of a Bishop).

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