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Chigorin Chess. White has knights instead of bishops and a chancellor for his queen; black has bishops instead of knights. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
🕸Fergus Duniho wrote on Mon, Oct 23, 2023 06:20 PM UTC in reply to Diceroller is Fire from 05:18 PM:

Since Betza did not say that Chigorin is the inventor, and I did not find anything online saying that he is, it is likely that Chigorin was the inspiration for this game and not its inventor. Also, Betza is a prolific Chess variant inventor, and his best known game is Chess with Different Armies, which, like this game, is an unequal armies variant.

Diceroller is Fire wrote on Mon, Oct 23, 2023 05:18 PM UTC:

Why Ralph Betza is mentioned as inventor while he’s just author?

Jeremy Good wrote on Sat, Dec 20, 2014 06:51 PM UTC:
My excellent rating is based on a feeling, not experience, just the feeling that the CDAs of Knights vs. Bishops would be enormously fun to play and experiment with for FIDE enthusiasts. I assume that the struggle will hinge partly on whether the side with the knights can minimize unfavorable exchanges, get good outposts for its knights and keep the position fairly closed. I have a few open invitations to play Chigorin Chess currently and would like to invite people to explore it with me.

Jeremy Good wrote on Sat, Dec 20, 2014 06:48 PM UTC:Excellent ★★★★★
For my own purposes, I am going to dub the side with the knights the Chigorin Chess CDA (Chess with Different Armies). The side with the two bishop pairs, I'm going to call the Kaufman CDA Army, after FIDE Grandmaster, great chess computer programmer and Shogi expert Larry Kaufman, in honor of his work on Bishop Pairs.

Gary Gifford wrote on Fri, Apr 25, 2008 10:10 PM UTC:
In regard to the comment, 'What can you say about the poor Knight? It doesn't get any weaker as the game goes on, it's just that the other pieces get stronger while the Knight stays the same.'

That may often seem like the case, but it is often not the case (at least not in FIDE chess). There are many end-games, for example, when one player has a Bishop of color opposite to that upon which his opponent's pawns rest. And, the other player has a Knight which can attack that player's pawns. I have won many such end-games. In fact, there are end-game books which clearly point out the scenarios in which knights end up being decisively better than Bishops.

H.G.Muller wrote on Fri, Apr 25, 2008 08:14 PM UTC:
It is not obvious to me that this is two. With two Bishops on each color,
each Bishop now has two othe Bishops with which it can cooperate.

When I have time I will run all combinations BNNN, BBNN, BNBN, BBBN and
BBBB against the 4 Knights, to see how the advantage grows. BBNN is known
to be more than double the BNNN advantage (the difference being the pair
bonus, of about 50cP), while BNBN (like colored Bishops) does give double
the BNNN advantage. But I haven't tried BBBN yet. And this measures very
small differences, so it should use many games (1000+).

David Paulowich wrote on Fri, Apr 25, 2008 07:55 PM UTC:

How many Bishop pairs should you count? Two seems right to me. I chose that 4N vs 4B setup to allow standard chess programs to be used, but Zillions seems to be more reliable on Windows Vista than Deep Fritz, which is the only other chess engine I own.

Ralph Betza also writes 'What can you say about the poor Knight? It doesn't get any weaker as the game goes on, it's just that the other pieces get stronger while the Knight stays the same. In fact, it would be reasonable to conclude that the value of the Knight during the opening and middlegame exceeds its conventional value. In fact, that would explain why I have won so many games by allowing my opponent to 'win' a Bishop for a Knight in the early part of the game.'

H.G.Muller wrote on Fri, Apr 25, 2008 07:11 PM UTC:
Why use Zillions for this, if Rybka or any other normal Chess engine can do

I did actualy try the positions you give with my engines, but I have some
difficulty interpreting the results. How many Bishop pairs should I count?
Two, or four?

David Paulowich wrote on Fri, Apr 25, 2008 01:49 PM UTC:

Ralph Betza has written here 'It is clear from the discussions of endgame advantage that the Knight must be actually stronger than the Bishop in the opening and middlegame: if their total value is roughly equal, and the Bishop gets stronger as the number of pieces on the board decreases, and everybody agrees that the Bishop is generally stronger in the endgame, then it must be true that the Knight contributes more to your position in the early part of the game than the Bishop does.' DAVID SAYS: I would not be surprised if a series of test games yielded a surplus of early wins for White in Chigorin Chess. [EVEN SIMPLER EXAMPLE] Both players keep their queens and the games is 4 Knights versus 4 Bishops:


When White has 4 N and Black has 4 B, 'Zillions Chess' values a Pawn at 1847 points and puts Black 2588 points ahead after 1. d2-d4.


When White has 4 B and Black has 4 N, 'Zillions Chess' values a Pawn at 1847 points and puts White 1580 points ahead after 1. d2-d4. The average of 2588 and 1580 is 2084 (1.13 pawns), which would seem to be the value of having 4 Bishops versus 4 Knights, according to Zillions. As to how well the White pieces would score in 'Zillions versus Zillions' games, that is an entirely different matter.

Joshua Morris wrote on Tue, Jul 12, 2005 10:14 AM UTC:Excellent ★★★★★
I have played this game many times; it remains one of my favorite Chess variants.

David Paulowich wrote on Fri, Feb 18, 2005 05:00 PM UTC:
My previous comment attempts to copy the format of Dave McCooey's very informative pawnless endgame tables. These are actually 5-piece endgames, counting the Kings. The headers should read: Three Piece Endgame, Half Moves, Number of Positions, Type of Win, Example Position, and Side to Move. <p>P=100, N=300, B=300, R=500, C=850, U=875, Q=900 are endgame values I devised several years back (8x8 board). I was mostly thinking about how each piece performs against a Rook, or a pair of Rooks. But these quarter-pawn differences can mostly be ignored in the heat of combat. Victory will go to the player who best understands the unique properties of each piece.

David Paulowich wrote on Fri, Feb 18, 2005 04:22 PM UTC:Good ★★★★
Dave McCooey - Fairy endgames with 3 pieces (8x8 board)

Amazon(R+B+N), Queen(R+B), Chancellor(R+N),

Unicorn(B+NN): a Bishop-Nightrider combination.

||||| Longest Wins for the Strong Side (WHITE) |||||

||||| (strong side has 2 pieces, weak side has 1 piece) |||||

Three-------------Number---Type-----------------------------------Side Piece-----Half------Of------Of-------------------------------------To

Endgame---Moves--Positions-Win------Example Position--------------Move

KRRvKQ-----30-------14 f-captr WK(c8) WR(h2) WR(g8) BK(a1) BQ(d1) WHITE

KRRvKU----202--------4 capture WK(b8) WR(d5) WR(h8) BK(d7) BU(e1) BLACK

KRRvKC-----87--------9 capture WK(d6) WR(a6) WR(a7) BK(g6) BC(d3) WHITE

Queens and Chancellors have good chances of drawing by

perpetual check. If they fail, then the game ends fairly quickly.

The Unicorn has little chance of drawing, but it can drag

the loss out to an incredible 101 moves.

Andrew Schoonmaker wrote on Sat, Aug 31, 2002 12:57 PM UTC:
I finally understood that castling comment. Who was it that said 'never move a pawn in the opening and you will never make a mistake'?

Peter Hatch wrote on Fri, Apr 12, 2002 05:59 AM UTC:Excellent ★★★★★
For what it's worth, on Christian Freeling's Grand Chess site, under About Grand Chess, it says: <blockquote>Finally, although the Queen may have the edge in the endgame, the Marshall is arguably the strongest piece, so it flanks the King in the center as does the Queen in Chess.</blockquote> I'd think being on a 10x10 board would benefit the Queen more than the Chancellor/Marshall.

gnohmon wrote on Thu, Apr 11, 2002 03:33 PM UTC:
Okay, but I don't believe that the Chancellor is worth less than the Q. The
midgame forking power of a piece that moves in 12 directions is quite
amazing, the Chancellor has exceptional ability to save an inferior game by
giving perpetual check, and finally,

the drawn cases of K+Q versus K+P are wins in the endgame K+NR vs K+P.

Of course there are positions that favor the Q, but all in all, my
experience says they are equal.

Tony Paletta wrote on Wed, Apr 10, 2002 02:21 PM UTC:
My comment that Black was ahead was based on R+B vs R+N multiplied by pawn promotion. The B vs N is probably just a wash -- maybe giving White some early play but moving towards Black in mid-end play.

gnohmon wrote on Wed, Apr 10, 2002 04:18 AM UTC:
'Favors Black, you think? Then perhaps you will be willing to offer me
substantial odds as we play a game for some enormous stake of money, 
perhaps a penny on a1 doubled on each successive square?'

I had almost put the above statement into the story of getting a regular
chessplayer to play Chigorin Chess, somewhere after the part where 'variant
rhymes with deviant and that starts with d and rhymes with t and stands for
trouble.', and way after the part where the regular chessplayer says with a
sneer is that some kind of fairy chess.... (I'm not suggesting that
the offensive non-PC 'regular chessplayer'; the misinformation
about relative values of N and B is part of general unwisdom, that's

Read any monograph on the Chigorin Defense. You'll find that many 
players now believe the N to be superior in the early stages of the game,
which agrees with my findings on the theory of chess values so I think
it must be right.

Given the advantage of the first move to go with the advantage of fast
development, the *white* side in Chigorin Chess probably has a large
advantage. In order to Castle K-side, Black needs to move two Pawns and two
Bishops; and one of those P moves looks suspiciously like a weakening
White can go 5.O-O at the earliest, but Black can choose to go 3...O-O;
think about it!

And, of course, this is the whole point of Chigorin Chess! You can get a
'regular chessplayer' to play, because he will want to prove that the
Bishops are so much superior...

Tony Paletta wrote on Tue, Apr 9, 2002 06:48 PM UTC:
This variant seems to favor Black materially by at least a pawn.

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