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Omega ChessA link to an external site
. Commercial chess variant on board with 104 squares.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Cavebear wrote on 2007-08-09 UTC
I'm afraid I'll have to take issue with several of the things that George
Duke has stated.  I'll also agree with him on one of the other claims that
he makes.

 'Omega Chess is absolutely one of the Poorest of the 600 Large Chesses
in CVPage.'

I've played several dozen face-to-face games of Omega Chess.  It's
fairly enjoyable and easy to teach to standard chessplayers.  Many of my
opponents have also enjoyed playing Omega Chess.  It's not even close to
the bottom of the list of large chess variants.  To my mind, it is one of
the better efforts.  

 'Its short-moving Wizard and Champion would worsen an 8x8 adaptation if
either were substituted for Bishops or for Knights.'

I'm in agreement with regards to the Wizard; I've tried the minor piece
substitution on an 8x8 board and it created problems.  The Champion

 'To put both of them on 10x10 (plus four corner squares) makes for
long-playing Pawn-heavy-like game reminiscent of Shogi, whose variants
unappealing most Western-style players.'

I've played hundreds of games of Shogi, and I have to say that Omega
Chess bears no resemblance, not in flavour and not in pawn structure.  And
I daresay that there are plenty of chess players in Europe who find Shogi
quite appealing.  It seems to me, from the perspective of one who has
helped organise Shogi events in Canada, that it is an aversion to learning
a few oriental calligraphy characters that North Americans find
unappealing.  Those that actually get beyond that to actually play Shogi
often have good experiences with the game. 

 'All they are imaginatively, Wizard being Camel plus Ferz, Champion
being Wazir plus Dabbabah plus Alfil, are compound re-makes, each leg up
to a thousand years old, although they never explain it straightforwardly
that way in Omega Chess write-ups, as if making something from scratch.'

It is quite possible that Mr. Macdonald had never heard of a Camel or an
Alfil when he designed the game.  It seems that as a young man the creator
had a graveyard shift job babysitting corporate computers, and came up with
his chess variant to pass the time with a co-worker.  Apparently the
original board was sketched out on the back of a pizza box.  So it was a
bit of a craft project after all.  It was only after receiving quite a bit
of positive feedback that he decided to market Omega Chess. 

One great reason to pick up an Omega Chess set if you can find one, even
if like Mr. Duke you dislike the actual rules, is that the regular pieces
are standard plastic tournament Staunton, while the extra pieces are
attractive, and can be used for Chancellors and Cardinals and such.  

Now, if only someone came out with a nice vinyl 10x10 board...or maybe
someone has and I'm just unaware...

In summary, while it would be a bold claim indeed (and one I am not
making) to say that Omega Chess is the ultimate 10x10 variant, and it is
true that the new piece moves are composites of older historical pieces, I
personally would give it an A for effort, and the physical incarnations of
the new pieces an A+.