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The Chess Variant Pages

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Game Reviews by M Winther

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Expanded Chinese Chess. Missing description (9x12, Cells: 108) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
M Winther wrote on 2011-02-20 UTCPoor ★
The expanded palace removes most of the traditional mating methods. The elbow horse check is rendered almost useless. The standard cannon mate on the last rank (when the king is surrounded by the mandarins) doesn't exist anymore. The added bishops can probably not compensate for this as both bishops move on the same diagonal colour, and the opponent's bishops move on the other diagonal colour. As a result the opponents control half of the squares each, a questionable circumstance. So there is no real bishop pair. The horse is even weaker now on this longer board, and the dragon is almost useless. A rook is even stronger, probably worth three horses. A bishop is probably worth almost two horses. I suspect this game is much more drawish than Xaingqi as it is not easy to invade the squares controlled by the opponent's  bishops (and which cannot be controlled with one's own bishops). I suspect mate is much more difficult to achieve. 

Leaping/Missing Bat Chess. Large variant on a 16x12 board with many fairy pieces. (16x12, Cells: 192) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
M Winther wrote on 2011-02-19 UTCPoor ★
I don't get it. This is not playable, nor is it interesting. So why do people keep inventing these over-complicated variants? Nor does 'crooked' piece movement make any sense. This site is flooded with this type of variant, so the good variants, which are *playable*, and can have an impact in the future, gets drowned in all this muck. Such creations only serve to deter people from taking an interest in chess variants. If some of the chess hardliners want to make variant enthusiasts stand out as unrealistic fools, then they need only link to this type of variant. 

Taikyoku Shogi. Taikyoku Shogi. Extremely large shogi variant. (36x36, Cells: 1296) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
M Winther wrote on 2011-01-05 UTCPoor ★
I think it's appalling. It is incredibly over the top complicated and makes no sense at all. 

Seirawan ChessA game information page
. invented by GM Yasser Seirawan, a conservative drop chess (zrf available).[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
M Winther wrote on 2009-07-24 UTCGood ★★★★
Charles, the common sense rule in chess is that the heavy pieces are best kept in the reserve. The heavy Capablanca pieces are awkward when surrounded by light enemy pieces on this small board. Strategically, it is more clever to keep them in the reserve until the situation is cleared up. This is coupled with the great flexibility of the introduction square. But this would create a game that is unconstrained and allows the players to play with hidden cards. It is destructive to the clarity of the game. Planning becomes very difficult. Generally, free introduction of heavy pieces is not a good idea.

M Winther wrote on 2009-07-23 UTCGood ★★★★
The underlying reason for this dropping method is that the external pieces are forced to make an entry soon. It creates a flow in the game. If all the pieces develop and no entry is done, then the pieces cannot be introduced. If they were allowed to stay outside and enter at any time, then the game would be strategically unclear. It wouldn't be possible to decide for a plan because you wouldn't know what forces the opponent has prepared. It is not proper for Western chess which demands planning and foresight. So it's a good idea. In my Pioneer Chess I go even further. The players, in their first move, must decide from which file they aim to introduce the external piece.

Troitzky ChessA game information page
. Troitzky Chess by Paul Byway, standard pieces on irregular board (with zrf).[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
M Winther wrote on 2009-04-21 UTCGood ★★★★
This is interesting. Only by changing the the board shape we get a wholly different game than orthochess.

Grand Cavalier Chess. The decimal version of Cavalier Chess. (10x10, Cells: 100) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
M Winther wrote on 2008-11-01 UTCPoor ★
No, I cannot agree. I usually wouldn't rate a variant as 'poor' because the creator perhaps tries to express something else than mere chesslike qualities. But here I must use 'poor' because this variant employs 30 pieces with the capacity to move like knight/knightrider. How on earth is a human brain going to figure out all the forks and double-threaths? So it doesn't matter if the game has some clever qualities. It cannot be played in real life. It is hugely over-the-top. Generally, I think there are too many variants that greatly overestimate the capacity of chessplayers. 

Chancellor Chess. On a 9 by 9 or 9 by 8 board with a piece with combined rook and knight moves. (9x9, Cells: 81) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
M Winther wrote on 2007-05-29 UTCBelowAverage ★★
The reason why this form of 9x9 variant will never become popular is because it's too slow, and that's why it's difficult for white to develop an initiative, something which makes the game drawish. Should the Chancellors be exchanged, then it's nothing but a slow and drawish standard chess. This is, however, better than Maura's Modern Chess in that the black squared bishops are retained. Horne's proposal, where the game is played on a 9 by 8 board, is better I suppose.

Modern Chess. Variant on a 9 by 9 board with piece that combines bishop and knight moves. (9x9, Cells: 81) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
M Winther wrote on 2007-05-23 UTCPoor ★
Modern Chess was invented by Gabriel Maura in 1968. In 1972 a controlling body (FENDAM) was formed with delegates representing 16 countries. The first Modern Chess World Championship was held in Puerto Rico 1974. The World Correspondence Championship of Modern Chess was held in the years 1976-1983. Organized events seized in 1983.

Although a fully playable variant, it is curious why 'Modern Chess' attracted that much attention. If the Prime Ministers (Cardinals) are exchanged, what remains is a slow and drawish version of orthochess. The pawns cannot meet immediately in the middle of the board. The fact that the bishops move on the same colour depletes the strategical content, I suppose.

Cataclysm. Large board game with short-range pieces designed to be dramatic without being overly complicated or dragging on too long. (12x16, Cells: 192) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
M Winther wrote on 2007-05-05 UTCBelowAverage ★★
I see no point in this, as this variant is virtually unplayable. The tactical capacity of short-range-pieces is such that this takes too long to play. Could somebody please explain the credo behind these constructs? Are they to be regarded pieces of art, or what? Why not settle for more modest constructs?

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