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By Charles Gilman
This variant combines the Bird's (sic) and the beasts. As its name suggests, it
builds on Sergey Sirotkin's variant Herd in
which all pieces are short-range and all but King and Pawn oblique. Great means
that the board is larger than in that of the original variant or indeed than the
FIDE one. Its 10 files and 8 ranks are consistent with two variants enhancing
the FIDE armies, Bird's Chess and the
original form of Capablanca's Chess
In the above variants and FIDE Chess itself the Rook is the corner piece, with
its colourbound dual the Bishop two files in. Great Herd inherits the KNIGHT as corner piece
from Herd, and has the Knight's dual, the 3:1 CAMEL
two files in. The use of an even number of files binds the two Camels to
different colours. There is no castling. In the FIDE-based games the Knight,
which has the next shortest coprime leap after the two radial leaps (the
SHORTEST moves of the Rook and Bishop), is between the radial pieces. In great
Herd the piece between Knight and Camel is the next shortest-range leaper after
them, the 3:2 ZEBRA.
FIDE Chess has just the King and Queen between the elemental pieces, but the
variants have four, the King and the three compounds of the elementals. Great
Herd therefore has, at each end of files d to g respectively: BISON
(Camel+Zebra), GNU (Knight+Camel),
KING (which for the record is Xiang Qi General+Ferz!),
GAZELLE (Knight+Zebra). At the time of writing there is no page for the Gazelle.
In front of the these pieces the 2nd ranks filled with PAWNS. These inherit the
FIDE features of initial double move, en-passant capture, and 10th-rank
promotion to any other capturable array piece (in this case Knight, Camel,
Zebra, Gnu, Gazelle, Bison).
A further variation is to have 10 ranks. This might involve inserting empty
files between the camps, or just behind the Pawns, or have a duplicate Pawn rank
or an almost-duplicate back rank, or even both duplicates and only two empty
ranks in the middle. By almost-duplicate I mean replacing the second King with a
Knight+Camel+Zebra compound, which I seem to remember seeing called a BUFFALO
but cannot recall where. The terms Bison and Buffalo mean the same New-World
ungulate, but two distinct Old-World ones, and so are not exact synonyms such as
Count=Earl and Gnu=Wildebeest.