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Sosarian Chess. 12x8 Game with Capablanca-type pieces plus two lions.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Greg Strong wrote on 2019-11-03 UTC

Hi Kevin.  Thanks for your interest in Sosarian Chess.  Yes, this is one of my many unfinished projects.  I still need to determine the optimum starting array.  I think the array is incredibly important and very hard to get right.  Ideally you want there to be lots of different opening options that are still balanced.  Orthodox Chess clearly has this, but it si not a given, it si because the starting array is perfect.  Sosarian is trickier both because there are more pieces, and thus more options, but also because the Lions, with their (3, 0) leap, can potentially harass enemy pieces almost immediately.  Imageine a Lion starting on the b file.  It could leap to b4 on the first move and on the next move go to a5 where it traps and kills the archishop.

I do want to revisit this soon and do some analysis to determine the best layout.  Fortunately I now have tools that do that pretty well.  Sneak preview - I am about to change the starting array for Opulent Chess.  I had determined that array with computer assistance, but that was about 15 years ago and now with better software and hardware I have determined that it is definitely inferior.  So I will post an update soon swapping the knight and bishop.

If one wanted to play Sosarian right now, I would agree that the current best array is the one you mention with the archbishop beside the king and the queen and chancellor in the corners.  Flexible castling rule - king slides two or more squares towards the rook, which jumps over to the first square on the other side, subject to the usual restrictions.  Pawns promote on the last rank to Queen, Chancellor, or Archbishop, but not to any lesser piece.

I posted an invite if you would like to play