Round Table Chess 84Round Table Chess 84 is a variant of Round Table Chess, which was an entry in the 1999 Large Variant contest and has since been revised for enhanced play.
Game invented by Rich VanDeventer in January of 2002.
Round Table Chess 84 was developed especially for the 84 Spaces Contest. However, it may have turned out to be better than the 76 space board that I originally developed for playing Round Table Chess with only a traditional chess set plus two extra Pawns per player. The Round Table Chess 84 board (CirSquare 84) was derived from the original Round Table Chess board (CirSquare I, which has 96 spaces), by removing the rear six spaces from each castle area (the starting area for the pieces for each player).
Round Table Chess 84 incorporates the enhancements that have been made to the original Round Table Chess game since its entry in the 1999 Large Variant Contest. The main enhancement was making the 4 triangular spaces playable.
Board and Setup
The board has 84 spaces, consisting of two castle areas (the original starting positions for the pieces) and 4 horizontal rows of spaces between the castles. Each player has a traditional chess set plus two extra Pawns.
The pieces are started in the castle areas behind the castle walls,
which are the purple lines. The castle walls are used to help trap the
King when he is in check (this rule does not work yet in the Zillions of
Games version). The four red diamonds are used to limit the power of the
Rooks and Queens when moving along the two outer circular bands of spaces.
The setup of the pieces can have the Knights behind the King and Queen or
the reverse--the Knights in front of the King and Queen (the King and
Queen between the Rooks). With the Knights in the back, all the Pawns are
covered at the beginning of the game, but it takes an extra move to get a
Knight onto the battlefield between the castle areas. If the Knights are
in front of the King and Queen, two Pawns are not covered at the beginning
of the game, but a Knight can get onto the battlefield in one
Pieces and Moves
Except for Pawn promotion and castling moves, all the chess pieces in Round Table Chess move the same as they do in traditional (Orthodox) chess.
Can move 1 space in any direction across corners or sides. When in check, the King cannot cross a castle wall (this helps corner the King on a circular board; this does not work yet in the Zillions of Games version). The King cannot perform a castle move when in check.
The Queen can move any number of spaces across opposite corners or opposite sides. She cannot jump.
BishopA Bishop can move any number of spaces across opposite corners. Bishops cannot jump.
KnightA Knight moves in the traditional "L" move--either one space across a side and then two spaces across sides starting with an adjacent side, or two spaces across opposite sides and then one space across an adjacent side. Knights can jump over other pieces.
RookA Rook can move any number of spaces across opposite sides. Rooks cannot jump.<
PawnThe Pawn can move 1 or 2 spaces forward across opposite sides from the starting position. After the first move, it can move 1 space forward across sides. It captures by moving one space forward across corners. Pawns cannot jump. When a Pawn crosses the opponent's castle wall, it can be promoted to any captured piece. En Passant applies the same way as it does in traditional chess (this does not work yet in the Zillions of Games version).
Pawn PromotionWhen a Pawn crosses the opponent's castle wall into the opponent's Pawn row, the Pawn can be promoted to any captured piece (currently, in the Zillions of Games version promotion is to any desired piece).
CastlingThere are 4 possible castling moves. On the King side, the King can move either move to the Bishop's starting position and the Rook to the King's starting position, or the King can move to the Rook's starting position and the Rook to the Bishop's starting position. The same moves can be made on the Queen side. When castling on the King side, the King-side Bishop's starting position must be vacant; when castling on the Queen side, the Queen-side Bishop's starting position and the Queen's starting position must be vacant. Castling cannot be performed while the King is in check. (Castling does not work yet in the Zillions of Games version.)
ObjectThe object of the game is the same as for traditional chess--place the opponent's King in a "check mate" condition. Stalemate is achieved the same way as in traditional chess--when a King that is not in check cannot move without placing itself in check and the King is the only piece that can be moved, or when the players are making the same repetitive moves without advancing play.
RulesThe rules for playing Round Table Chess 84 are basically the same as those for traditional chess. Besides those noted above for a King in check, Pawn moves, Pawn promotion, and Castling, the rules exceptions to traditional chess are as follows:
Queen and Rook movesWhen moving across opposite sides along the outer two circular paths, the Queens and Rooks can only pass one red diamond on a given move. Thus a Queen or Rook can only cover 75% of the spaces (from a given a position) across sides along either of the outer bands of spaces.
Moving through triangular spacesThere are no opposite sides or opposite corners for triangles. So when a major piece (Queen or Rook) moves into a triangle across a side, it can exit the triangular space across either of the other two sides. Likewise, when a major piece (Queen or Bishop) enters a triangular space across a corner, it can exit the triangular space across either of the other two corners. A major piece (Queen, Rook, or Bishop) can only pass through or into one triangular space on any given move. If a major piece (Queen, Rook, or Bishop) starts its move from a triangular space, it cannot move into or through another triangular space.
Playing TipsYou can attack the opponent's castle area from three directions--from the right or left side along the circular bands of spaces or from the front along the columns of spaces. Some good tips are:
The King is more vulnerable when he is located on a space that borders a castle wall because he cannot cross a castle wall when in check (except in Zillions of Games currently);
Remember that a Rook or Queen can only pass one red diamond on any given move when moving along one of the two circular bands of spaces;
Pay particular attention to pieces that are lined up to move through a triangular space, because that piece can exit the triangular space in either of two directions;
And, remember that Pawns can be promoted to any captured piece simply by crossing the opponent's castle wall into the Pawn row (in Zillions of Games, promotion is currently to any desired piece).
Computer Play and Equipment
The Zillions of Games ZRF file works very well, but I have not been able to make it conform to a few of the rules that I have for the board game. Currently, the Zillions of Games version does not yet:
Prevent the King from the crossing the castle walls when in check;
Provide for castling moves;
Enforce the En Pasant rule;
Allow Pawn promotion to only captured pieces.
The following zip file contains the Zillions of Games ZRF rules file and the associated graphics. The graphics should unzip to a separate directory (folder) called: RTC84images, which needs to be placed on the same level as the zrf file.
Hopefully, the Chess Variants Web site staff will be able to create a Zillions of Games version before the contest begins on July 1st. I have not been able to find any resources for code examples and tips for programming in Zillions of Games. My attempts to upgrade my version 1 to version 3 Zillions of Games results in error messages. I would appreciate it greatly if anyone could either direct me to good resources for Zillions of Games development or assist me with the development. I have done some programming in Visual Basic, but I think that would not be the way to go for this game.