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Falcon Chess. Game on an 8x10 board with a new piece: The Falcon. (10x8, Cells: 80) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
George Duke wrote on 2008-10-06 UTC
Anticipating, ''91.5 Trillion...'', and copyright by formal number in year 1996 and unrevised, this article is early super-multi-variant form -- comprising millions CVs -- well before proliferation. There is no one Rules-set described, anyone reading it sees immediately. Under Figure 1 in the beginning ten sentences, what does it say? ''It is also possible to position the Pawns initially in the third rank rather than the second. It is possible to play with fewer Pawns, even just the five of the Chinese game. If a game board of size 10x10 is used, one variation positions the Pawns in the third rank initially, allowing for from 2 to 5 additional game pieces to be positioned within the second rank. These additional pieces may be weak pawn-like ones, that is one- and two-step movers. Alternately, the additional pieces may include a novel major fairy piece or two, such as the Giraffe of Timur's Chess.'' Use Michael Howe's Optima or Novo and Betza's Chess Augmented Knights, plug in pieces and there are billions of CVs in combination; or just put in second rank any piece-type in CVPage. Sub-section ''Other Embodiments'' has play with no Queen and switched arrays. Last section ''More Variants'' incorporates Xiangqi and Shogi pawn-like pieces. Also there are Mutators for Falcon Chess with Progressive and Fischer Random. Sub-section ''Changing Games'': ''It is possible to position only some of the Pawns in the third rank in the 10x10 board size.'' More millions. Any variant thought of specifically has framework here, except 8x8 (like Joyce's Royal Falcon). Preferred 8x10 with no Queen promotion and Castling 2 or more over exists in comments and the first few mutators of ''91.5 Trillion,'' not here.

H. G. Muller wrote on 2008-08-07 UTC

I am close to releasing a new version of the WinBoard Chess GUI, which I expect to become widely distributed amongst Windows and Linux users. Most of the people no doubt will only be interested in playing 'normal' Chess, but I planned to include Fairy-Max with the distribution, as it can both play normal and many variants. The distribution package would look a lot like the experimental version that can be downloaded from the link I gave in the post below.

In this new WinBoard I included some support for Falcon Chess in the menus: people can click 'Falcon' as one of the options in the variant menu, and will then be able to use WinBoard as Graphical User Interface for an engine that could actually play it, provided they use one of the wildcard pieces supplied by WinBoard to represent the Falcons. I suppose you have no objection against this, and as WinBoard itself does not play the game, but only acts as a display, it probably does not fall under the patent anyway. As it would only be useful to use WinBoard this way if you did have a Falcon-Chess-playing engine, and the user can communicate with such an engine only through WinBoard, I make WinBoard pop up a licensing message, mentioning your name and the patent number. (Similar to what I make WinBoard do in Gothic Chess.)

Fairy-Max, in the download below, does include Falcon Chess as a pre-defined variant, in its fmax.ini file, and when programmed by this preset, actually does play the game (as you could watch in the broadcast). Can I leave this in, or would you prefer me to take out the Falcon-Chess game definition?

Please let me know ASAP, I hope to be able to releas this weekend.

George Duke wrote on 2008-08-06 UTC
True, this is not a Rules-set, instead as it says an essay. It adds to official 1990's copyrights variance-material to suit CVPage in 2000. Right away under the first picture, it refers to having five Pawns as alternative, as Chinese Chess. (Later Overby in Beautiful Sun adopts similar starting array.) Of course, five Pawns would be just ridiculous artwork of no playability. Still in Chapter I, under ''other embodiments'' I mention replacing Queen on 8x8 with Falcon -- something close to what 2008 Seirawan-Chess derivatives might envision in back-rank piece substitutions. Also speculated are 9x9 set-ups. We like to think that preliminarily we are anticipating in 1996-1999 the 10^50 or so CVs (one for each atom between Sun and Mars) using Falcon developed later in 2005 ''91.5 Trillion...'' article including under Comments. What's one hard and fast Rules-set in early going of inevitable widespread experimentation? Figure 23 establishes Free Castling, invented in 1992-1993 along with Falcon, now becoming more prevalent on large boards, whether King goes 1 or 2 over, and always going more at option. Chapter IV ''Symmetrical Expansion'' lays the groundwork for Scorpion, actually described here and publicized fully-definitionally in 2003 ''Passed Pawns, Scorpions and Dragons.'' Elsewhere copyrights show Scorpion, Dragon really invented 1996. Only one of several rationales within Chapter Five ''More Variants'' is illegal infringement of USP5690334 and accompanying copyrights. For example, Rook is still Rook if going 1-, 2-, and 3 steps only, but we would probably not object if someone implements new Falcon along with all fully-short-range movers like Squirrel, Dabbabah, Ferz. That raises the 20 claims of this patent that have never actually appeared in any website, other than USPTO itself online.

H. G. Muller wrote on 2008-07-21 UTC
I put up the zip-file with Fairy-Max, a confiuration file including Falcon Chess, and the WinBoard_F GUI, all packed together as a ready-to play combination on my website. For those who want to try it out, the download link is:

(Beside Falcon Chess it also contains definitions for normal Chess, Capablanca Chess, the unspeakable variant, Knightmate, Shatranj, Courier Chess, Cylinder Chess.)

George Duke wrote on 2008-07-16 UTC
In response to recent inquiries> Falcon is interpolated from Rook Knight, and Bishop, not extrapolated. Falcon (including special case Bison--Bison being first implemented in patented Falcon 8x10,9x10,10x10) is of the implicate order, out of which RNB emerge, their template, vernacular cookie-cutter if one will. From another standpoint, RNB and F can be said to intersect at common origin, having further mutually-exclusive cells for destination. Knight can be awkward when children first learn Chess lessons at age 6. Knight is potentially confusing until broadening horizon and starting to see entire board(s). Bishop is awkward without using checkered bi-colour board begun in 12th Century. 
Actually, undoubtedly the King came first. Knight, King and Rook are of course unchanged since 6th-Century Indian Chaturanga. But everyone knows (think Jungian archetypes) the first tiled patterns took tentative one-steps King-like through either triangles or squares. The plain checkered board came from fishing nets tens of thousands of years ago. Non-technological civilisations, more sustainable than ours,  and their tiles and nets and fields and stone patterns of geometrical shapes. Adjacent triangles have diagonals, like squares do, sides and vertices, so the Knight was not far behind, going through line and corner one each.

George Duke wrote on 2008-07-11 UTC
In  the standard model, the symmetry of the six quarks was established at CERN, Geneva, with finding of the top quark in 1998. Table of Quarks(Joyce, Finnegan's Wake 1929). The glue that holds Bishop, Knight, and Rook together, beyond mnemonics the reason why section two is so long, most skimming it still do not move Falcon correctly in application. The article itself thoroughly panned by the now-conventional free-expression artistic community here, but in the long run thoroughly necessary rudiments, even upon taking any act overseas. 
SYMBOL    NAME     CHARGE         FALCON MOVE        O = Orthogonal
U         Up         2/3          Orth-Orth-Diagonal
D         Down      -1/3          Diag-Diag-Orthogonal
C         Charm      2/3          Diag-Orth-Orthogonal
S         Strange   -1/3          Orth-Diag-Diagonal
T         Top        2/3          Orth-Diag-Orthogonal
B         Bottom    -1/3          Diag-Orth-Diagonal
Top and bottom, the more charming ones called split block and split diagonal. The point would be that these are the movements, period,  not ''Camel away'' or ''Zebra away.'' Pawn 1 e4  d5  2 e4xd5 is common enough opening (imagine FRC), but we do not say Pawn moves to Camel square in two moves, or Pawn Camel away. Knight reaches Camel square in two, or Zebra square in three, but talking that way is secondary. (to be continued)
[For WB_F and F-M, my usual provider has chosen this week for major upgrade, so will contact easily next week conveniently the implementations. However, please have Scharnagl or other circles try it before I do right away, no problem.]

H. G. Muller wrote on 2008-07-10 UTC
I prepared a 500KB ZIP file with WinBoard_F and Fairy-Max, rigged for playing Falcon Chess. Perhaps George wants to have a look at it. And if he allows it, I can also sent it to others for testing.

Contact me at h.g.muller MAGIC_CHAR hccnet PERIOD nl, and I can mail the file to you.

H. G. Muller wrote on 2008-07-10 UTC
The first 100 games (at 40/1 min Time Control), with Falcons replacing the Rooks on a1/a8 and j1/j8 in the Capablanca setup (RNABQKBCNR) of one player, ended in a 56.5% victory for the Falcons. This is about half as much advantage as a full Pawn would give (so 1/4 Pawn per Falcon).

Overnight I ran another match at 40/2 min TC, starting from the array RNBFQKFBNR, deleting Falcons of one side and Rooks for the other. So no A or C on the board here, just two empty squares on the back rank. (The setup with RNFB seemed unplayable, due to the undefended b- and i-Pawns, which where too easy targets for the side with the Falcons.) This ended in 54.5% (102 games) for the Falcons.

From watching some of the games I got the impression that d1/g1 are much better starting positions for the Falcons than a1/j1; the Falcons were involved in play quite early, and very active. Starting on a1/j1 they were often not touched until the late middle-game. There was no castling with Falcons, and they usually came into play only after evacuating the back rank, and playing Fa1-d2 or Fj1-g2.

From seeing the Falcon in action I have to retract my earlier coined names for it: the way it moves creates the overwhelming impression of a snake! It slithers in between the other pieces to its destination, where it bites with deadly precision. Best name for it would be something like Cobra or Viper.

As the WinBoard_F GUI currently does not support the Falcon piece, and has no bird-like piece symbols, I use its feature of the 'wildcard piece' (which is allowed to make any move) for representing the Falcon. The standard bitmap symbol for this in WinBoard is the Lance (but of course WinBoard offers the possibility for the user to define its own piece symbols through font-based rendering). On second thought I was not too unhappy with this symbolism either; it also recalls the image of a weapon that is difficult to use in dense crowds, but which can be dangerous at a substantial range if you manage to poke it through holes in the crowd.

I also ran some tests where I played K+F vs K+R, each behind a closed rank of 10 Pawns. I played those at somewhat longer time control, so I don't have enough games to get reliable statistics. But from watching these end-games, I got the impression that the Falcon and Rook are also well matched here. It seemed to me the Rook was more dangerous for developed Pawn structures, especially with Pawns on both wings, by attacking them from the 7th rank, while the Falcon was more dangerous to undeveloped Pawn chains (as I started out with). So often the Falcon managed to win one or two Pawns before a secure Pawn chain could be constructed, and before the Rook could launch a counter attack through the resulting openings, but then the latter often had no difficulty to recoup the damage.

George Duke wrote on 2008-07-09 UTC
Communicating e-mails to Greg Strong fall 2006, I had Falcon declining in value already then, based on how many pieces on board to 5.0, equality with Rook, only by 15 pieces/Pawns remaining(the programming criterion I suggested), more or less evenly between both sides. So Mueller and I would be in some agreement from our heuristics. I'll get the exact table soon that I sent to Strong, no longer considered trade secret, since Muller or others no doubt will eventually refine them further, the slight gradual decline in value of Falcon from all 40 pieces on board. Thanks for presentations on Falcon-Bison. Rightly M/ points out Falcon-Bison equivalence once 3, or usually 4 and 5 in most positions, units remain. Think of irony that ancient games like Timur's, Courier, Gala, will have their endgames solved by 2020, 500 or 700 years later, while new ones Centennial, Jacks & Witches, Falcon, and a hundred others, we can have full set of end-game tables way before any understanding of openings. The exact reverse of cases.

H. G. Muller wrote on 2008-07-09 UTC
Because I am still struggling to implement the Falcon in Joker80, where efficiency is a hallmark, I decided to add a few lines of code to Fairy-Max to implement support for multi-path moves. Fairy-Max is inefficient anyway, and does not know about pins and check tests; it simply plays on until the King is captured.

So it is possible now to define pieces like Falcon in Fairy-Max (in this as yet unreleased version), so that I could already start running some games for asymmetric play testing.

The initial results suggest that a Falcon is not worth nearly as much as mensioned somewhere below. As the Falcon seems a piece similar to the Rook, initially hard to use on a crowded board, but reaching its full potential as the board gets empty, I decided to test it against Rooks. So I took a Capablanca setup, and replaced both Rooks of one side by Falcons. If the Falcon would be really worth 6.5, against a Rook 5, this would mean the Falcon player is leading by 3 Pawns from the outset. Such 'piece odds' games normally produce 80-90% scores. (Simple Pawn odds results in 62% for Capablanca Chess with Fairy-Max.)

The setup seem to be completely balanced, however. Currently it is at 39.5-37.5 for the Falcons, far below the level of significance for determining which piece is better (Rook or Falcon), but almost ruling out completely that the Falcons convey a +3 advantage.

I would currently be inclined to value the Falcon a quarter Pawn above the Rook.

H. G. Muller wrote on 2008-07-06 UTC
After converting my tablebase generator to bigger boards, I can now confirm that the Bison (and thus Falcon) + King can always mate a bare King even on 14x14 (takes 82 moves, worst case). But not on 16x16. I can only do even boards, so 15x15 remains uncertain.

H. G. Muller wrote on 2008-07-05 UTC
This Falcon is a very nasy piece to program. The multi-path character of its moves subverts all properties of pinned pieces on which my engine Joker relies for efficient legal-move generation. There is no longer a well-defined pin line: pieces pinned by a Falcon can often move in multiple directions without exposing the King. Also it is no longer sure that a pinned slider cannot move along its pin line to block a check by another piece (if this other piece is a Falcon). A check by a Falcon can have the character of a contact check (for interposing is not an option if the King is checked through multiple paths) despite being inflicted from a distance.

I guess I will simply generate moves as if the enemy Falcons have no moves, (so generating pseudo-legal moves with pieces pinned by a Falcon, and with other pieces when in check by a Falcon), and then test for their legality afterwards (by testinng if an enemy Falcon happened to be aligned with our King, and then testing all the generated moves for leading to a position where this Falcon is sufficiently blocked). Cumbersome, but I don't see an efficient alternative.

George Duke wrote on 2008-07-03 UTC
The third section of article will not be used at all as is, of course, having served as attention-getter. Muller is first to find force of Falcon to corner to win, that Paulowitz and I questioned. Glad you find the Paulowitz example and my response. That's good, that Falcon wins, like Rook. No one programmed play of Falcon yet, so great, that we keep Falcon on par with Rook to the end, about which I was uncertain. //The first over-the-board play of Falcon was between Vera Cole and myself December 1992, and the same month another lady and gentleman became players. By 1994 still only two dozen had tried the Falcon move on 8x10, each signing non-disclosure agreement. I doubt whether more than 200 games were played in 1990's, but I experimented with board positions for the Mates in Two here. About 2000-2003 we played a lot in coffee shops, still no computer play. Games were usually decisive well before endgames. Once the board was deliberately angrily forcily overturned and all the pieces struck and strewn around a Denver, Colorado, cafe by Mladen, born at Yugoslavia, I believe Slovenia, when I checkmated with Falcon. The only ''computer play'' is human-human at Game Courier 2003-2008.

H. G. Muller wrote on 2008-07-03 UTC
Oh, and since there is no e-mail address in my profile on this discussion board, for people that want to contact me privately:

I can be reached with user name h.g.muller, with provider hccnet. nl

H. G. Muller wrote on 2008-07-03 UTC
George Duke:
| Right, that paragraph could be improved, let's see. That was written 
| in late 1996, when copyright mailed in USA, and not revised for the 
| CVP 2000 article. If one King and Falcon stand on own back rank, 
| and other King at its bank rank, with no other pieces on board, no 
| checkmate is possible with good play.

I did some more tests using a converted Joker80 engine, and it seems that on a 10x8 board this statement is plain wrong. Joker has no difficulty at all in checkmating a bare King with King + Falcon, even if they all start from their own backrank (or even if the bare King can start in the center). Even if I let the defending side search 100x longer, making it search ~10 ply deeper, so that it sees the mate coming long before the winning side does, and would avoid it if possible.

David Paulowich:
| Falcon Chess has the opposite problem: I have not seen anyone state 
| that King and Falcon can force a lone King into a corner. 

OK, so I am the first then. ;-) Even an engine with a comparatively shallow search has no problems driving a bare King into a corner with King + Falcon, as long as it knows that it is bad for a bare King to be closer to a corner. Even if the defending side enormously outsearches it. This applies to 8x8 boards (where there is ironclad proof through an end-game tablebase) as well as 10x8 (where it is based on time-odds play testing).

This page really need thorough revision. Apart from poor presentation, some of the statements in it are just plain false, or very unlikely to be true at least...

George Duke wrote on 2008-07-02 UTC
Suppose Rook is just unlimited-range orthogonal piece that can be blocked. What is most important is that there is one complement to RNB, dictating them, from which Rook, Knight, and Bishop derive, not vice versa. Coincidentally, ''Octopus'' is already-used and mentioned acceptable alternate name for the three-way three-path piece and is still okay too. Also Phoenix, Horus, Scorpion or other names. Muller's name for Centaur(BN) of Dancer would also aptly fit Falcon. The game is not so much ''Falcon Chess'' as ''Chess.'' Falcon and Octopus both look like Figure 19. Poetic reasons, Falcon now prevails, because of Sun(F) Falcon, Moon(P) Sheep, Mars (N) Horse, Mercury(B) Elephant, Jupiter(K) Lion, Venus (Queen) Hawk, Saturn(R) Serpent. See the tables at ChessboardMath that extend in from 2x7 or 3x7 to as many as 7x7 natural and cultural associations, the star cluster Pleiades seven, days of Week, Birds, Animals, Metals -- all lists of seven items matched with the seven natural Chess pieces. Mythological associations often resonate dually, so imagination connects easily Falcon and Octopus, as in Figure 19, movement patterns showing either tentacles or wings spread. [My 19.February,2008 Comment at Chessboard Math has many natural sevens(7's) including ''Falcon.'' ]

H. G. Muller wrote on 2008-07-02 UTC
Why do you call this piece a Falcon, btw? A falcon is a flying creature, which makes it a very illogical name for a piece that can be blocked from reaching its destination by ground-based troops! Octopus would have been a more apt name, as the piece seems to have distinct tentacles that can slither through openings in the crowd, to attack what is at the other side. With a bit of imagination (considering neighboring (3,1) and (3,2) as one waving tentacle tip) there are even eight!

H. G. Muller wrote on 2008-06-30 UTC
| Just as Greg Strong was about to finish Falcon Chess for ChessV, 
| it is fine to put Falcon in engine free of charge throughout years 
| 2008, 2009 and 2010 to play, so long as strictly not commercial 
| (unlike standards-degrading Zillions). Please inform what is going on, 
| and put the patent #5690334 two or more times about the Rules or 
| Board, since ultimately we would like to market Falcon material too. 

OK, I will see what I can do. I will let you know as soon as I made something, and send it to you privately, so that you can judge if it meats your standards.

Anonymous wrote on 2008-06-27 UTC
I also need to talk to Muller privately.

- Sam

George Duke wrote on 2008-06-27 UTC
Thanks again for interest. We'll find a way to contact privately. I recommend to get on Game Courier, Muller, the Play system here. Nothing to it. You may be just the candidate to develop this worldwide. Let's discuss it privately anytime after you study it some weeks, and get your understanding up. You would not expect to learn a programming language in one sit-down. Take your time for something more important than Fortran or C++. (Only half-kidding, but I cannot spell out policy in rough atmosphere.) And at Game Courier, Muller, you can get the upper hand among prospective programmers. Thanks again. -- Barring that, Muller, let me look at Joker or whatever engine and respond later.

H. G. Muller wrote on 2008-06-27 UTC
You talk a lot, but you say very little. I have no idea what Game Courier is, and I see no reason why anything that should be said between us cannot be said here. If you see this CV-page as advertizement for your patented game, you would do well to declare your licensing policy here. That would be much more useful than describing the excruciating detail, and boasting how many variants the patent covers. The latter just scares people away from the variant.

But you made it clear you don't want me to make an engine to play your game. Well, so be it. There are plenty of other variants that are not patented. Even the patented UNSPEAKABLE variant does allow me to implement the game in an engine. But if you want to use your patent to prevent anyone can play the game, it is up to you...

I am not sure what better place there could be to discuss the KFaK end-game than here, or why the mating potential of a piece that (due to the patent) can only occur in this variant would be 'of lesser interest'. What do you think the CV pages are for, really? To talk about Chess, or to talk about patents????

George Duke wrote on 2008-06-27 UTC
Hopefully, Falcon topic will be talked out for rest of summer soon. I told Jeremy Good 1 1/2 years ago Falcon in CVPage is ''a lost cause,'' because of differing values, or CVPage refusal to evaluate at all objectively. It is interesting Charles Daniel dislikes Falcon. Fine. It grows on you. Gradually you realize Falcon is correct, and your piece is incorrect. It takes a while. Stephen Stockman, as excellent a player as Daniel, dislikes Falcon too. They do not ruffle any feathers, and you will see no effect on our(my) ongoing topics. Compare qualities of Comments and Rating evaluations sometime, or get an impartial outsider to do so. I think we do a good job. Stockman calls, in keeping with CVPage-inspired etiquette, vehemently Falcon ''a stupid piece,'' when I beat him. That is his thank you for the game played. Hey, it was already becoming competitive ambiance. See completed log of Duke-Stockman. Now ask Fourrier or Carlos or Good about Falcon play. Their expected public silence is understandable, in face of perennial Internet problem of lowering standards and belligerence when a Comment system is open to all, but WE happen to know what THEY think.

George Duke wrote on 2008-06-27 UTC
Nah. I am not answering these fully in atmospheres of hostility. Of course there are grey areas. Please do not use Falcon at Joker or anywhere else without talking to us. All you have to do is enter Game Courier, get emails and start conversation. There are individuals, friends and associates there I email five years running, such as Lavieri. (In those days there were no Ratings. Ratings have become another farce, because one person might play in 30 seconds, whilst Fourriere says sometimes he takes 30 minutes a move.) Falcon's ''91.5 Trillion...'' has on the order of 10^50 different Rules sets, all inclusively patented. Most emphasize no Queen promotion: Daniel and Carlos are playing now with Queen promotion. Incidentally, the possibility of promotion to Falcon always differentiates from OrthoChess, regardless whether Falcons get captured early. Daniel has been playing well and removed Falcons in Carlos game, reverting to OrthoChess strategy. The library of OrthoChess goes to tens of thousands of volumes. My brief comments cover 0.00001% at most of the broad topic of fully-realized Chess with all four potential compounds, Falcon included. Hey, thanks for interest, Muller. And still very seriously, drop posturing and please discuss specifics of endgames etc. of less general interest elsewhere sometime as suggested. // Charles, I got cut off from Computer to correct details of last Comment including 'I's and do so now. The 'We' refers to Falcon partners in Colorado USA when that applies. Keep on laughing within your laughable games whilst the faces on the horizon are not even smiling.

H. G. Muller wrote on 2008-06-27 UTC
Incredible! After four posts of extremely verbose and incoherent ranting you managed to address exactly zero of my questions / issues.

So let me repeat the most important ones:

1) Am I allowed to include Falcon Chess as a variant that Joker80 can play, and offer it for free download?
2) To which pieces can a Pawn promote in this game?
3) Does, according to you, a single Falcon have mating potential against a bare King on a 10x8 board? And on 8x8?

Note that the fact that this page is a copy of a patent application, which by necessity has to be elaborate, is in no way an excuse. No one forces you to publish the full patent application here. In fact patent applications are utterly unsuitable as contents on They are meant for lawyers.

George Duke wrote on 2008-06-27 UTC
Most Falcon Chess arrays protect all Pawns. We thought back in 2000 or 2001 that surely by 2008, we would have constructive feedback whether to diverge from natural-seeming RNBFQKFBNR, unusual for unprotected Pawns. With departure of Abdul-Rahman Sibahi and Jeremy Good, those ruminations are at standstill. Anyone seeing the need for essentially one Chess, not a wide variety, and the natural evolution of Falcon from RNB basis, is welcome to get emails through Game Courier to inquire. Just post a Falcon Preset sometime and we will watch to accept it. So-called royalties would be out of the question until there is fee membership or other material for sale. My partners told me to add the last part, more or less.

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