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Chess II. Two extra files with two additional pieces (princes) on each side. (10x8, Cells: 80) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Argon Teuhai wrote on 2023-02-02 UTCGood ★★★★

Here is a Fairy-Stockfish variant file that I made for the variant. Despite the E and Elephant symbol, these pieces are still princes (princE). It might not be 100% accurate, but this should be incredibly similar to the actual variant, as there are essentially no differences between promoting the princes to kings to win (by getting them directly to the last rank) or merely getting the princes to the end of the board (the last rank) to win. This variant also has defined castling rules.


startFen = rnbeqkebnr/pppppppppp/10/10/10/10/PPPPPPPPPP/RNBEQKEBNR w KQkq - 0 1

customPiece1 = e:WF

pieceToCharTable = PNBRQ............E...Kpnbrq............e...k

castlingKingsideFile = i

castlingQueensideFile = c

whiteFlag = *8

blackFlag = *1

flagPiece = e

maxFile = 10

archbishop = -

promotionPieceTypes = rnbq

This is meant to be used with, and should be pasted into a file called variants.ini, before loading the variants.ini file into the website.

Alibaba. Jumps two orthogonally or diagonally.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Kevin Pacey wrote on 2023-02-01 UTC

I edited my previous comment, in case any missed that.

David Paulowich wrote on 2023-02-01 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

Kevin, I am adding the Dragon Horse or Crowned Bishop, worth six Pawns. Multiplying my previous list by 0.36 makes my combined value of Rook and Knight equal to yours, as follows:

Pawn = 1.08, Elephant = 1.44, Ferz = 1.80, Knight = 3.60, Rook = 5.40,

plus Alibaba (A+D) = 2.52, Commoner (F+W) = 4.32 and Dragon Horse (B+W) = 6.48.

Kevin Pacey wrote on 2023-02-01 UTC

Hi H.G.

For the Alibaba if I recall right I gave a considerable (x2) leaper bonus to both the A and D components, before primitively concluding AD (aka Spider)=A+D+P=2.25

Where A=D (roughly) = (N-P)/[2 times 2] (roughly) each (Why the N? - I treated an A or D leap as kind of similar enough to a N leap, except they each only go to half as many cells). Why the 'N-P'? Well, if Q=R+B+P then my imprecise way of guessing a piece half a Q's power would be (Q-P)/2, for example. Why '/[2 times 2]'? Well that's the final penalty factor, where one of the 2's means that an A (or D) only has half as many moves as a N.

If I also recall right, it's

Where A is binded 3 ways, and D is bound just 2 ways, but is often slower than an A (thus a penalty factor of /[2*8] should perhaps be used for each [rather than /4] I feel, but the leaper bonus I gave for the A and D each is a factor of x2, and I [perhaps generously] gave A and D each a x2 bonus for distance often covered faster by a series of leaps compared to a series of N leaps, so thus the final /4 penalty factor).

So, A+D+P (for AD, aka Spider) = (N-P)/4+(N-P)/4+P = 0.625+0.625+1 = 2.25

H. G. Muller wrote on 2023-02-01 UTC


... though I still don't fully trust computer analysis to give reliable piece values for a given board size (e.g. may well depend at least to some extent on what else is on the board, and where exactly it's placed, in the setup used by a given computer study).

This is why serious computer studies always use a number of different mixes of opponent pieces, and average over many shuffles of those as initial setup. E.g. if you want to compare the value of Queen, Archbishop and Chancellor, you don't just play these against each other (e.g. in a FIDE setup whetre one player starts with A or C instead of a Q), but also against, say, R+B, R+N, R+N+P, 2B+N, B+2N (deleting these for the player that has Q, C or A, and deleting Q of the other player), to see which of the super-pieces does better, and by how much.

To test an Alibaba (which I apparently did once), you would replace 2N, N+B, 2B or R for two Alibabas (and give the opponent Pawn odds to get closer to equality), and just a single N or B for one Alibaba.

How does your estimate take account of the severe color binding of the Alibaba? Because of that it seems a very weak piece to me. It can for instance not act against half the Pawns.

Ancient Shatranj theory indeed values different Pawns differently. In Shatranj an Alfil is considered slightly better than an average Pawn. But you should keep in mind that a FIDE Pawn is worth significantly more than a Shatranj Pawn, because it has a game-deciding promotion, while in Shatranj an extra Ferz is often not helpful at all. And I suspect a lot of the value of the Alfil is that, even if tactically worthless, it acts as insurance against loss by baring when only weak pieces are left.

Diagram testing thread[Subject Thread] [Add Response]
H. G. Muller wrote on 2023-02-01 UTC

Bah, I was (sadly) fearing to get such an answer. I take your last sentence straight in my face, thank you. Are you especially angry today?

Not angry at all. But if you suspected this answer could come, there must be some truth in it, right? And don't get me wrong, Shako and Pemba are great games. I count them in the top 10%-tier of all chess variants, because of the good spectrum of piece values and interesting pieces. But that doesn't mean one should make infinite numbers of variations on them, using the same set of pieces over and over again, with minimal variation. Especially since there are already many other variants that use Elephant, Cannon and Vao. At some point that gets boring, and a clone of a great original is still just a clone.

Alibaba. Jumps two orthogonally or diagonally.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Kevin Pacey wrote on 2023-02-01 UTC

For 8x8 FIDE Chess I use P=1;N=3.49(micro-less than B - normally I say 3.5);single B=3.5;R=5.5;Q=R+B+P=10 and K's fighting value=4(the same as a guard's value, to keep it simple).

With N=3.5, using my own crude, flawed ways of estimating fairy piece values, I get AD (aka Spider)=2.25 on 8x8. Makes sense to me that it would be less than FA (aka Modern Elephant)=3.125 on 8x8 (by my estimate), though H.G. Muller values FA about same as a N on 8x8 if I recall correctly.

I've often slipped in H.G. Muller's rules of thumb for values when all else fails, though I still don't fully trust computer analysis to give reliable piece values for a given board size (e.g. may well depend at least to some extent on what else is on the board, and where exactly it's placed, in the setup used by a given computer study).

Diagram testing thread[Subject Thread] [Add Response]
Greg Strong wrote on 2023-02-01 UTC

You expressed an opinion. H.G. expressed a different opinion, complete with the logic behind it. I don't see anything objectionable here, except possibly the last sentence, and even there I think you are being too sensitive.

You often express strong opinions - sometimes quite forcefully, especially regarding the names of pieces. You also sometimes respond poorly to alternate opinions.

Jean-Louis Cazaux wrote on 2023-02-01 UTC

@Kevin: no, not yours.

Alibaba. Jumps two orthogonally or diagonally.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
David Paulowich wrote on 2023-02-01 UTC

"It seems that an AD is almost exactly worth 1 Pawn less than a Knight..." wrote H. R. Muller on [2012-09-20]. I offer this simple point value system for Shatranj, using the tempo as an abstract unit of value.

Tempo = 1, Pawn = 3, Elephant = 4, Ferz = 5, Knight = 10, Rook = 15.

Did players calculate the advantage of having first move (one tempo) a thousand years ago?. They probably valued different pawns individually: something like two points for a pawn on the a-file and four points for pawn on the d-file. I am inclined to value Alibaba (A+D) = 7 and Commoner (F+W) =12.

Chess 1010. Game played with 40 pieces. (10x10, Cells: 100) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
David Paulowich wrote on 2023-02-01 UTC
While I was born in Halifax (Nova Scotia), I have lived in PEI for the last thirty years.  Played in a bunch of tournaments from 1997 to 2012.  Fred and I were playing at the chess club every week for much of that time.
The more I stare at my diagram, the more I want to play a variant with eight Rooks on the board!  But I am restricting myself to simpler games nowadays, like Shatranj. Currently working on (yet another) Shatranj variant.  About to post a Comment on the ALIBABA page in Piececlopedia.

Diagram testing thread[Subject Thread] [Add Response]
Kevin Pacey wrote on 2023-02-01 UTC

Hi J-L: If you mean my answer, no, not angry at all - though I did just get up from a nap and may not yet be as tactful as I should be.

Jean-Louis Cazaux wrote on 2023-02-01 UTC

Bah, I was (sadly) fearing to get such an answer. I take your last sentence straight in my face, thank you. Are you especially angry today?

Kevin Pacey wrote on 2023-02-01 UTC

With 16x8 Officer-Spiel (or 8x10 Officer Chess), I used every traditional compound piece (but only once per army) plus the other 8 pieces from FIDE chess, much as e.g. 12x10 Very Heavy Chess uses them.

While my first instinct is to reject Officer-Spiel as having too many powerful pieces (I've since added an alternative setup I prefer, with an edit to that post), maybe I'm being too fussy. That's since 14x8 Alekhine Chess uses quite similar great piece power, without even the ability for a player to castle quickly - yet that CV proved popular as far as I know, at least initially (pandering mainly to many lower rated players, perhaps - though you do what you've got to do ;)).

With 16x8 Constable-Spiel (or 8x10 Constable Chess), it was a similar story - I used 2 of each of 4 piece types (that are the logical compounds of A,D,F and W, in ways that make them all approximately worth a Kt; they also each only move within a radius of 2 cells). Then I combined those 8 pieces with the 8 pieces of the FIDE chess army. I liked sticking to the theme, and still don't much mind the FA type at all (much as I don't dismiss Amazons automatically as invention idea setup choices - another thing each variantist has his own personal preference about, it seems).

H. G. Muller wrote on 2023-02-01 UTC

Capablanca Chess and Carrera Chess have BN and RN singletons in the wings. For a board this wide I think it can even be nice to spread out the 'power-pieces' a bit. I don't have any clear preference myself; I just put RF and BW where I did because that was where Kevin had put the Elephants that I replaced. But I don't see why this would beg for 'improvement'. If symmetry would be the holy grail, I would sooner take two BW in the wings than move singleton BW and RF to the center. (BW on 16x8 could be significantly stronger than Rook anyway, because it will in general attack the opponent in two places, rather than one.)

One point to consider is that there are already so many variants using Elephants, Cannons, and Vaos (to not even mention Archbishops and Chancellors). I experience it as very refreshing to also see some other pieces now and then. The WA, FD, BW and RF are only rarely encountered, outside shogi variants.

And as to 'unnatural moves': if a chessplayer would consider anything unnatural, it will be the Cannon and the Vao. The presence of those divergent hoppers really upsets everything you thought to know about tactics. And I don't think the FD is unnatural at all: it is just the conjugate of a King (i.e. the 45-degree rotated version moving on the sub-grid of one shade). And King moves are very natural. The WA is indeed a different matter; you will have to learn how to manouevre with it, just like novice chess players have to learn to manouevre with a Knight. But that seems a small matter compared to mastering the use of Cannons and such.

I don't see much fun in reducing every chess variant to a version of Shako or Pemba on a differently shaped board.

Jean-Louis Cazaux wrote on 2023-02-01 UTC

If I may join and play with you on this interesting discussion, to my taste:

  • I agree with HG that it was too much strong pieces in the array (Amazon, RFN, BWN).

  • I don't like too much compound pieces like FD and WA, nice pattern but not natural (yes, this is subjective, but I feel it like this). I do prefer much FA (Elephant) and WD (War Machine) because I see a consistency in their move.

  • I don't like that singleton pieces (here Crowned R and Crowned B) are on sides where as some duo pieces are more in the center (on f,g,j,k). (Another subjective opinion).

  • I would suggest to use a pair of FA, a pair of WD. 4 spaces would remain. Have you considered to use a pair of Cannons and a pair of Vao? (Instead of the 2xFD, 1 RK, 1 BK).

H. G. Muller wrote on 2023-02-01 UTC

Ah yes, sorry. That is what I meant. I now corrected that.

Of course one can argue that the WD is similar to a Rook in the same way the FA is similar to the Bishop, but in the WD case there is a quite large value difference. And the WD is a very interesting piece in itself because of the combination of low value and mating potential.

Jean-Louis Cazaux wrote on 2023-02-01 UTC

"And you already have the WD, which is also color bound"

You probably meant the FD, not the WD.

Duck Chess. A Duck that must be moved by both players can block your moves. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
H. G. Muller wrote on 2023-02-01 UTC

Thanks for the info. I added the link in the notes section.

Tamás Bajusz wrote on 2023-02-01 UTC

Anyone can play Duck chess online on as well.

Diagram testing thread[Subject Thread] [Add Response]
Kevin Pacey wrote on 2023-02-01 UTC

Thanks for the effort, H.G.! I'm glad Fast Castling is now supported by the I.D. (though I as a dinosaur personally have a ways to go before ever learning how to use that, especially authoring/inventing something with it).

Your modification to Constable-Spiel is interesting, and may deserve a name of its own (would we be co-inventors, if it takes root?!), even if I still prefer to keep the original around under the Constable-Spiel name.

I have 22 CV invention ideas (that I at the least haven't totally rejected yet), on scrap paper and scattered in comments on this CVP site since 2019 - a start would be for me to make settings files files for them at my leisure, before thinking about the long daunting process of submitting the ideas (Fergus once capped the number of submissions at a time by a member at 9 maximum; I have 9 published presets that also might use rules pages some day). With settings files done, people could locate the ideas a bit more easily, and also play them if they wish.

H. G. Muller wrote on 2023-02-01 UTC

For my taste the pieces in Officer Spiel are way too strong, while those in Constable Spiel (although I like that more) are a bit on the weak side. If you would replace the Elephants by a Crowned Rook and a Crowned Bishop you would have an interpolation of the two that has pretty much an ideal piece mix; it would add one rook-class piece, and one halfway Rook and Queen, next to three pairs of light pieces (of which the War Machine has mating power).

I suggest to replace the Elephant, because it seems the 'most redundant piece': its footprint is a subset of that of the Bishop, and although it can jump, you already have the WA that has that move. And you already have the WD, which is also color bound.

files=16 ranks=8 whitePrefix=w blackPrefix=b graphicsType=png graphicsDir=/graphics.dir/alfaeriePNG/ squareSize=50 lightShade=#cccc11 darkShade=#339933 rimColor=#111199 coordColor=#cccc11 firstRank=1 useMarkers=1 borders=0 newClick=1 pawn::::a2-p2 knight:N:::b1,o1 kirin::FD:warmachineferz:c1,n1 phoenix:X:WA:elephantwazir:f1,k1 war machine::WD:warmachinewazir:g1,j1 bishop::::d1,m1 rook::::a1,p1 crowned bishop:H:BW:promotedbishop:e1 crowned rook:D:RF:promotedrook:l1 queen::::h1 king::KispO8::i1

P.S. The Diagram now also supports 'fast castling'. (Flush browser cache!) The XBetza notation ispOn. It seemed fitting to use the p modifier to distinguish it from normal castling, as it is a castling that can hop over other pieces. For now the n is ignored; perhaps this can be interpreted as the maximum range over which the King is allowed to jump.

Elven Chess. 10x10 variant with 4 new pieces, of which one can double-capture. (10x10, Cells: 100) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
H. G. Muller wrote on 2023-02-01 UTC

Ah, thanks for reporting this. The Interactive Diagram for Elven Chess was one of the first I ever posted, and it was still using off-side piece images, even though the corresponding images have long since all been uploaded to this site. I would never notice such things myself, because my browser settings have this madness of http blocking disabled; I consider it a browser bug that this exists in the first place.

Anyway, I have now made the Diagram use the on-site images, and also tweeked its appearance a bit.

Edward Webb wrote on 2023-02-01 UTC

The interactive diagram works, however the images for the pieces don't load for me.

I checked the browser console and it says that the images will not load if a website uses HTTPS and the images are hosted on a third party website that uses HTTP-only:

No More Mixed Messages About HTTPS

Diagram testing thread[Subject Thread] [Add Response]
Kevin Pacey wrote on 2023-01-31 UTC

Below is a diagram for a (16x8) CV invention idea of mine, which might be called Officer-Spiel, that I can study at my leisure (Fast Castling rules like in Wide Chess, and FIDE pawn rules). It was inspired by my much earlier (8x10) CV invention idea Officer Chess (see 2019-02-16 post[s] in this thread), as well as by Michael Wortley Nolan's (14x8) Alekhine Chess (I thought, if that 8-rank CV with all its piece power, and no quick way to castle, has some popularity, maybe Officer-Spiel shouldn't be ruled out):


edit: Alternative setup for Officer-Spiel (currently prefer):


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