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Jianying Ji wrote on Thu, Apr 17, 2008 11:42 PM UTC:
Good case studies in comparisons are Makruk, Shatar, and SitTuYin. Studying these variants closely one realizes they all probably started as 'fixes' to ur-chess, such as Chaturanga. For example Makruk and SitTuYin moved pawn up. Which is the most direct way to get to the middle game faster. SitTuYin is more radical of the two, with pawn moving up to practically the middle and deployment of pieces behind pawn line before game. In this way SitTuYin is like Fisher Random but far more radical. Makruk is more moderate, only moving the pawns forward one. Both Makruk and Shatar modifies winning conditions, which alters mating balance of pieces. SitTuYin outlaws stalemate, decreasing draws. 

Perhaps comparing draws in these games and chess, at highest levels of course, would be instructive in seeing whether their prescriptions work. This of course goes to an important point: without a diverse ecosystem of variants with sufficient number of high class players there is no way to determine empirically whether various proposals for such things as eliminating draws and instilling 'fighting spirit' really work.

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