The Chess Variant Pages

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featured variant for October, 2023.

This page is written by the game's inventor, Ralph Betza.

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Sam Trenholme wrote on 2003-01-09 UTC
OK, now that I have fixed all of the bugs in the .zrf, I have had a chance to extensively playtest the game. <p> One of the first things I have noticed is that it does not have as much clarity as normal chess. In other words, it is more difficult to visualize the tactics, because the pieces change as they are capturing pieces in a capturing sequence. <p> Another thing I have noticed is that an improvment is not necessarily better. For example, I really do not feel that the Bishop + Knight-rider ('Paladin') is better than a queen. And a rook is probably not better than the improved knight or bishop. <p> Endgames are more difficult to play because pawns promote to far weaker pieces. This will make endgames even longer and dryer than they are in ordinary chess. I also think they will make the game more drawish, since WOTN does not have Chess's ability to quickly stop any of the opponent's pawns which are about to promote once someone gets a queen. Then again, pawns promote more quickly, promoting on the sixth instead of the eight rank. <p> One variant I have created in the .zrf file is one where a piece does not improve by capturing another piece. Instead, all improvments are done by entering the enemey camp on the board. A pawn which gets to the fifth rank or higher improves; a Squire (Wfd) or Deacon (AN) which gets to the sixth rank or higher improves; a Knight or Bishop which gets to the seventh rank or higher improves; and, finally, a Jarl (NW) or Vicar (DB) which gets to the eight rank improves to a rook. This minimizes the clarity problems which WOTN has, simplifies the rules, while preserving the idea of experience gaining which WOTN has. <p> This variant of WOTN has the 1. h4 2. h5=Squire(Wfd) 3. Sxh7=N 4. Nxf8/Jarl (NW)+ 5. Rxh8 opening trap; 1.h4 has to be replied to with 1... h5. This weakens the kingside, which results in more tactical games. <p> - Sam

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