Comments/Ratings for a Single Item
It seems to me that Seirawan Chess is just one special case of Pioneer Chess invented by Mats Winther in 2009
Musketeer Chess is a version of Pioneer Chess. Except that it allows introduction of two pieces, rather than just a single one, through the Pioneer-Chess gating mechanism.
Actually I like the Seirawan gating mechanism better. It doesn't require a game prelude governed by additional rules, and offers an interesting dilemma for when to gate the pieces: a piece that still might appear anywhere could be worth more than a piece in a known location that you currently do not need yet, but as the number of gating opportunities decreases during development of the other pieces such an advantage decreases, and turns into the risk that you might not be able to gate at all.
It seems to me that Seirawan Chess is just one special case of Pioneer Chess invented by Mats Winther in 2009.
No, there is a difference between the rules. In Pioneer Chess, you must place each additional piece behind the piece whose space it may occupy after the piece moves away before play begins. So, each additional piece has only one space it may be dropped on. But in Seirawan Chess, each additional piece has eight possible spaces it may be dropped on, and where it will be dropped is determined during the course of play, not before play begins.
It seems to me that Seirawan Chess is just one special case of Pioneer Chess invented by Mats Winther in 2009.
Here's wikipedia's entry on Seirawan Chess, which includes the rules that it gives for the game, in case some of the finer points are ever difficult to find out otherwise:
Regarding my last post on Seirawan Chess, pertaining to Mr. Winther's presets: I had tried to find them through the credits section of the logs of fininished games, and discovered the links to said Winther presets appeared broken when clicking on them. However, it seems the Winther presets can be accessed via the 'All Games Played' page on Game Courier, by using either of said presets as given beside 'Seirawan Chess'. My apologies for any confusion.
I've played over a couple of old Game Courier logs of Seirawan chess that apparently relied on at least 2 presets available through Mr. Winther, but now the links to them are broken, it seems. Not sure if they were rules enforcing, but at least they showed the extra two pieces each side has at the start of a game. There is a non-rules enforcing preset on Game Courier currently, at least, but it shows nothing but a chessboard & pieces, and the players need to be wary that they ought to each drop their non-visible Hawk & Elephant on their own first rank in good time. Not sure if all this has caused the popularity of Seirawan Chess to drop in Game Courier play for some time now.
I have set up a web page to act as a turn-based server for a group of people that wanted to play S-Chess over the internet. For those interested, the page is at: http://hgm.nubati.net/schess/play.html
Novelty classic Pocket Mutation, http://www.chessvariants.org/large.dir/pocketmutation.html, has the wide Shogi drop mechanism practically anywhere on board. In contrast, S-chesses are cautiously restricted to one specific square when at all. Broadening the S-chess drop could allow placement of the one Hawk or the one Elephant, two pieces per player, anytime to a vacant a1, b1...h1. Beyond that liberalization would no longer be serial S-chess family of subvariants, let's suppose. The essence of S-Chesses in their entirety would seem to be in the drop to vacant back-rank square. Cousins still S-chess family could work, in other words, on larger boards than 8x8, or with different better-received off-board pieces, or by allowing more than one near-rank square. Probably core-essence of an S-chess should also include starting OrthoChess R,N,B,K, and Q, but the solid innovation to note is straightforward back-rank drop. Full-range drop rather is appealing Pocket Mutation, having so many kinds of pieces, following prototype of regional Shogi. However, restricting the drop is promising Track-One Mutator for one, two, or three cv pieces. Which other better mechanisms keeping piece-drop to only one or several squares can be devised? Outside the S-Chess school are other possibilities of restricted post-array placement from reserve, among them: http://www.chessvariants.org/index/msdisplay.php?itemid=MLaccessorychess, and http://www.chessvariants.org/index/msdisplay.php?itemid=MLalternativeche, to contrast and compare.
(V) Is there then something implied really special all the centuries about Carrera year 1617 Centaur(bn) and Champion(rn), so not subject to time-honoured design considerations? How could that be so if the types, unlike R-N-B-K-Q-P, figure in less than 0.5% the space of Chess tracts, histories and monographs? Even mediaeval Alfil and Ferz get mentioned more in passing reference. It appears the literature has plenty of catching up to start doing on nuance of B+N and R+N, a real gaping momentary lapse. For instant starter, how to get maximum potential advantage if opening '1 Knight g1-f3... 2 Elephant drop -g1...'? Will this '2 Elephant -g1' become standard? Think thump trunk-derivation instead, and Castle/00 (!) may become the favoured modern move to open Elephant(rn) line of attack. That scenario would lead up to '5 Elephant-h1...' where the vacated rook sat before the Castle. There are superficially 8 possibilities in the back rank, but really 10 or 12 when Castling is considered. 'Ten' possibilities because King and Rook must themselves go to an otherwise impossible square with subsequent immediate plant of the off-board Hawk or of the Elephant, upon the Rook overstep, at either vacated King's 'e1' or Rook's 'a1/h1' next turn. All the contingencies cry for complete analysation where none exists. How and when to vacate and to drop them, the Hawk and Elephant, are virgin territory. Besides, S-Chesses in their cautious original serial drop technique open the door to other related, interesting but different from each other piece-types to be used and introduced just by designing what cvers call 'subvariants'. The same conservative near-rank same-side drop can be used for other pairs than those ancient upstart, awkward rn-bn. If Centaur and Champion turn out again not to be the cat's mieow, there are many other related pairs to try in their place: Cannon and Canon, Duke and Cavalier(Renaissance Chess), Falcon and Hunter (Schultz's year 1943 Hunter-Falcon), Left Schizzy and Right Schizzy(Schizophrenic), Bent Hero and Shaman. Examples only all of the foregoing, because the list since year 2000 has to reach 100 or even 200 of intriguing, connected pairs of p-ts clearly delineated from each other. Extending the S-Chess concept to warrantable subvariants brings them on board in familiar environment for trial one by one as two only each new CV under S-Chesses 8x8 -- rather than the usual paired fixed pre-placement approach 8- or 10- or 12-wide.
(III) More general fault in S-Chess is carryover lack of symmetry. That is, RN and BN since conceived around year 1617 are two distinct types. What is the compulsion that they occur together always? Actually in Janus Chess are two Carrera Centaurs(BN) on 8x10. In CVs obviously Rooks get paired R+R, Bishop B+B, Knights N+N in all sub-genres even Carreras. Most in the Carrera/Capablanca camp rather tend to add only one each of Marshall(RN) and Cardinal(BN). All sub-genres tolerate even emphasize several interchangeable names too, as here, understanding Centaur/Archbishop/Cardinal/Janus/Hawk are one and the same compound of Bishop plus Knight, according to cv-context and chosen definition. The CV-field is that way at once peculiarly fluid and precise. Now, that there are 8 piece-types not 6 counting Pawn is more disruptive 8x8 than 8x10 and 10x10 when adding one only Hawk and Elephant -- to the detriment of these thinkable S-Chesses. Usual aesthetics dictates paired same-types: Bifurcators, Sissa, Unicorn, Centennial's Murray Lion, Betzan C.D.A. Half-Duck, Falcon, Mastodon, Shako Elephant, Bent Hero and Shaman. Note that some of the above are embedded Track Two novelty CVs, notional artwork, and others intended Track I Next Chess replacements of f.i.d.e.-incomplete 8x8 and that one's random chess subvariants. Anyway the ideal of all the others is to keep pairing same-types across the board, excepting those self-designated special-case Carreras with late incarnation S-chesses suffering same affliction.
> and an incidental programmer can never keep up since it takes him an > hour minimum to alter/add the right code to fit Not really. In Fairy-Max, for instance, the only thing you would have to do is permute the Queen, Hawk and Elephant definitions in the ini file: // Seirawan Chess (with Archbishop and Chancellor gated in during game) Game: seirawan 8x8 5 3 4 7 6 4 3 5 5 3 4 7 6 4 3 5 p:74 -16,24 -16,6 -15,5 -17,5 p:74 16,24 16,6 15,5 17,5 n:259 14,7 31,7 33,7 18,7 -14,7 -31,7 -33,7 -18,7 b:296 15,3 17,3 -15,3 -17,3 R:444 1,3 16,3 -1,3 -16,3 Q:851 1,3 16,3 15,3 17,3 -1,3 -16,3 -15,3 -17,3 k:-1 1,34 -1,34 1,7 16,7 15,7 17,7 -1,7 -16,7 -15,7 -17,7 h:780 15,3 17,3 -15,3 -17,3 14,7 31,7 33,7 18,7 -14,7 -31,7 -33,7 -18,7 E:814 1,3 16,3 -1,3 -16,3 14,7 31,7 33,7 18,7 -14,7 -31,7 -33,7 -18,7 The last two pieces mentioned (those after King) are those that start off-board, and you could move the definition of any of the pieces there. Of course you would have to start from a set-up position to tell which array you wanted on the board. But it would not take more than a minute...
What would Capa say about S-Chess? Not bad, but the extra mechanism in the drop is unnecessary by enlarging the board. Beyond Capa's thought, are Hawk(bn) and Elephant(rn) second fiddle? If not, why not rather pre-situate Hawk and Elephant and then serial-drop the Queen and later some one other piece, to keep the desparate 8x8 size? Start these things and there are hundreds of S-Chess subvariants at large. A designer can think of one subvariant a minute or more, and an incidental programmer can never keep up since it takes him an hour minimum to alter/add the right code to fit. So let's stay with the gm S-Chess design specifics, not to embarrass programming-savvy designers. S-Chess is intended anyway not as some Next Chess, but as a diversion and decoy, obviously intended to be picked apart. Seirawan knows it is not going anywhere but fun to analyze between rounds. Http://www.chessbase.com/newsdetail.asp?newsid=7638. Ergo two exhibits: (I) Specifically here, for example, Knight exits b1-c3 and the next turn or two Elephant dropped (bulkily) to b1 guards that very Horse. The 'b-1' White Elephant -- pun intended -- out of nowhere cannot figure in a castling maneuvre of course. To castle Queenside, White Elephant in fact now has to clear out pronto. Thus Elephant can exit the same way original Knight did, or Elephant just wait until the b-file Pawn two-steps. Then Elephant can go Rook-style like b1-b3. Scads of fun but does it feel really justifiably Chess-like-deep, natural and inspiring? (II) In S-Chess, on little 64 squares player, without having promoted a Pawn, can have four Knight-steps attacking a given square from behind at once, for instance, 'd4' well-guarded by all of conforming Knight on c2, Knight on f3, Knight-leg Elephant e2, Knight-leg Hawk b3. Demonstrating over-the-hill soon-400-year-old 'RN' and 'BN' ex Carrera overkill to the spry space 'd4' nigh. Unaesthetic.
Yes, but this is my point. The pieces are too heavy and most likely give white a huge advantage. Anyway, I saw the video of Seirawan introducing the game. From what I gather he seemed like a nice guy and quite honest though there is still a possibility that this variant was invented purely for profit which by itself is not bad but not with the flaws it has. Anyway, he seemed quite interested in the new pieces but i get the feeling he has not explored the game in depth and not too interested if the game is balanced. For example he showed a mate in 4 which went something like e4 e5 d4 d3 pxp pxp qxq drop elephant mate. He seemed quite excited by that - and yes these things fascinated me when i started out with chess variants. But i have come to realize that very powerful pieces on a board while interesting have their drawbacks esp on a 8x8 board. Also you are basically saying it is an advantage to be able to drop the heavy pieces anytime so there should only be a few chances at the beginning. I am saying though that the move followed by a drop is actually 2 moves. Why not simply keep the same restriction of introducing early but make the drop a separate turn? IN that case that mate in 4 could not have happened and white may not get such a huge advantage. Seirawan also mentioned that their first idea was to have the pieces exist on the board right from the beginning in a fianchetto and they rejected that idea. It seems to me that they did not playtest before and play around with the different parameters enough before releasing. Anyway this whole discussion gives me an idea for a new variant on an 8x8 very similar and in my opinion better. I really wish I could stop making variants -- and leave it to you to just make every conceivable one possible :) i guess the next 2 or 3 will be my encore and i am done for good ... hopefully :)
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. /Mats
I see no reason the dropped piece is 'FORCED' to make an entry soon. That makes the game more contrived and less flexible. If anything it is preferable to leave that up to the players. A good player will be smart enough to know that the opponent will eventually introduce the new piece. If a player is good enough to play without the piece he/she can dos so knowing that the option to introduce it still remains.The game Wreckage uses this drop mechanism.
By the way your description for Pioneer Chess is faulty. IF White turns down the piece and Black overrules - no game can be played - both players disagree on what game to play.
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. http://hem.passagen.se/melki9/pioneerchess.htm /Mats
I am not sure why this method of dropping into the back rank was chosen. Its quite possible that white will have an even greater advantage because of this. Better to make the drop as a separate turn. This seems more logical and slows it down a tad. Also I just realized I had commented on this item before. Looks to me that the ability to drop ninja pawns in addition to the rook-knight and bishop -knight might actually be more interesting perhaps 2 or 4, not sure. The Rook-knight and bishop knight drop into empty space in backrank in separate turn. The ninja pawns can drop into vacant space in second rank and optionally push forward to center. The ninja pawns will move like pawns except for enpassant and ability to move 1 space sideways and also capture sideways in enemy half of board. At this point this variant has failed miserably even more so than gothic which i believe is far superior (and actually in retrospect quite a good variant). Perhaps the version I suggest above might be interesting - I wouldn't mind trying it. I may create a preset and send out a challenge. As to why does regular Chess have on the order of 10^4 to 10^6 times more followers than variant chess .. Chess variants are parallel universes - completely unexplored with weird rules /laws and strange configuration. The regular chess universe is still unexplored and overwhelming for most despite the oversaturation of opening theory at top GM level. Chess variants are for those with moderate to little interest in regular chess and with no desire to compete with regular chess players. I doubt if there are currently is any 2100+ rated (at present) chess player interested in variants. Seirawan himself must have lost interest in his own variant just like Bobby Fischer lost interest in FRC. 2100 chess rating is approximately the elo at which opening theory becomes tedious since many lines do have to be memorized. Some may say its even higher than that. Below 2100 and memorizing opening theory is not terribly important - understanding openings is of course a different matter. It is important that the chess variant community understand that nothing is to be gained by proposing to 'fix' chess or to 'convert' chess followers. Chess variants instead must attract the type of person who does not want to dedicate to one game and likes a chess-like family of games. Of course high rated players disillusioned with the game will be welcome but they must come on their own. Rather than harp on the nonexistent 'flaws' of chess, it is better to show how interesting it is to play a game of chess in which a few properties are changed. Board size, pieces etc making in many cases a radically different but still vaguely familiar game of chess. This is the appeal of chess variants. Think HORSE in poker - tournament of a family of poker games. A chess tournament like this can take place here too. The recent Cv Potluck was a good start, and SHOULD BE DONE AGAIN. Maybe one day the parallel universes of chess might appeal to a totally new audience. From that certainly a few chess variants will immediately spring to mind in the general populace just as orthodox chess does now.
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You are right thank you. Indeed I was confused.