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Fantastic XIII. A bizarre large odd chess variant with the weirdest men from Cazaux's family.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Bn Em wrote on 2022-01-15 UTC

At a first couple glances, this looks nice!

It's nice to see the Ship back again after you took it out of your mainline larger games, and ofc the snake fits logically with it. The Cheetah (aka the Beaver for those who are into Gilman) is nice too (and much rarer than the squirrel) and the Sabre‐tooth I've never seen before — it's kinda terrifying!

A couple of notes: afaik the name snaketongue (whence iirc your shortened snake) goes back to Betza's Bent Riders article — which also mentions the ship (under the name twin tower — arguably in bad taste but acknowledged as such in the original version; I think Greg accidentally(?) removed that when he added his own footnotes).

And regarding your question at the beginning, one argument for even ranks is that otherwise a pawn reaching the middle rank has an advantage over its counterpart that can't be trivially made up for. Idk if i've seen it said this way round (maybe in the comments on H.G.'s Elven Chess) but certainly there was a proposal by Rich Hutnik that on boards with odd ranks the pawn should be able to capture straight forwards to balance that advantage (by discouraging a move to the middle rank). Ofc that hasn't stopped people, and it may well matter less than it was made out to. And indeed (other than a kind of symmetry) there's nothing in particular to suggest any advantage for even files.