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Gryphon Aanca Chess. Large Variant with Gryphons, Aancas, and a few other not-so-common pieces. (12x12, Cells: 144) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
George Duke wrote on Tue, Oct 4, 2016 08:53 PM UTC:Good ★★★★

Six or seven spellings of Gryphon can be counted. Here are Gryphon and Aanca of current topic.

Gifford's Falcon and Hunter are from the World War II era game matching abilities forward Rook and backward Bishop of Hunter, with reverse for Falcon. Other CVs using that Falcon and Hunter are rare, but Whale Shogi has Hunter: Grey_Whale.

💡📝Gary Gifford wrote on Sun, Oct 7, 2012 11:24 AM UTC:
Thanks Christine, for your information.  I have updated my piece notes for this game with this entry: "Noclaf [Update 10/07/2012] -
- from Christine Bagley-Jones' comment I see that, "Ralph Betza's army
'Forward Fide's' has 'Bishight', moves forward as Bishop or backward as
Knight, and 'Knishop', moves forward as Knight or backward as Bishop. So
the Noclaf is a Bishight... accredited to Ralph Betza."

Christine Bagley-Jones wrote on Sun, Oct 7, 2012 01:16 AM UTC:
Missed this lively convo about these interesting pieces a few years ago.
Yes it seems the first appearance of 'Hunter' (forward rook, backward bishop) was from 'Tenkiju Shogi', called 'Multi-General'.

I notice though, no mention is made about the first appearance of these pieces in the west.  In '100 SQUARES FOR CHESS+DAMANTE' by V.R.Parton, which is from this site too, link here (22 lines from top) ..

(Schulz Chess) The variant of Decimal Chess described in this section 
is derived from a very original idea due to the imagination of an 
Austrian player Karl Schulz who invented about 1943 two new kinds of 
chessmen. The common characteristic of these two pieces, which are 
named Falcon and Hunter, is that they move forward in a different way 
to that in which they move backward. The Falcon moves forward 
diagonally like the Bishop, but moves backward orthogonally like the 
Rook; it cannot move left or right along its rank.'

'The Hunter moves forward vertically like the Rook, but moves backward 
diagonally like the Bishop; it has no movement along its rank. These 
two pieces are complementary and together form a logical couple, being 
one another opposite or reverse in type of movement.'

The article goes on to say about the placement of the pieces, which is on a 10x10 board, with normal queen, rook, knight and bishop and pawns.  So this is way before 'ABC Chess'.  George Jelliss also mentions these pieces and game by Karl Schulz and the year 1943.

So, with these kind of pieces, we have 'hunter' (multi general) and 'falcon', with 'Firehorse' in 'jupiter' and 'typhoon' games of Adrian King, and this game by you Gary is first appearance of 'Noclaf' is it, the 'forward bishop, backward knight' piece?

Can we find 'forward knight, backward bishop' and 'forward knight, backward rook' pieces anywhere?

EDIT- oh i see Ralph Betza's army 'Forward Fide's' has ..

'Bishight', moves forward as Bishop or backward as Knight, and 
'Knishop', moves forward as Knight or backward as Bishop.

Can't see 'forward knight, backward rook' still.

Charles Gilman wrote on Wed, Jan 14, 2009 09:13 AM UTC:
At last I've rediscovered the variant that uses the Noclaf and Retnuh - you'd have been perfectly entitled to tell me earlier in a comment on Man and Beast 21. Anyway, I've now attributed those two pieces to you there. I've also replaced the name Archdeacon with Anchorite in all my variants using that piece.

💡📝Gary Gifford wrote on Tue, Jul 24, 2007 04:19 PM UTC:
Hello Charles: You mentioned that no one has copied your use of the 'Archdeacon' name. You now mention the 'ANCHORITE' meaning a kind of religious hermit. I like the sound of 'Anachoreta' (Anchorite's Latin source) even better.  There is even a play of transposed phonetics between Aanca and Anac.  You mention the possible use of an 'anchor' image... personally I would not like an anchor image for such a mobile piece.  Pawns are closer to anchors.

The piece image I settled upon looks like a Bishop on a plus-sign (see rules:  Images c1 / j1) That image helps illustrate the movement: orthogonally 1 space, then optionally moves as a Bishop.  One possibility is to use that image and replace the cross that is actually on the Bishop with a small anchor.

In summary - 'Anachoreta' sounds cool to me, and it is still an 'Anchorite.'  But 'Anchorite' also sounds very good.  Of course, I still think 'Archdeacon' is an excellent name because of the Bishop aspect.

Charles Gilman wrote on Sun, Jul 22, 2007 08:01 AM UTC:
Although you describe Archdeacon as a good name, I notice that no-one has copied my use for it. Your wondering about what kind of image to use has given me an idea for an even better name: ANCHORITE, meaning a kind of religious hermit. It shares with Archdeacon the religious connotation of a piece parallelling the Bishop, sounds rather like Aanca, starts with the An of Antelope (whose destinations it includes) and could be represented with the image of an anchor. I would value your thoughts on this name, as you have taken such a positive attitude to alternative piece names.

💡📝Gary Gifford wrote on Thu, Jul 5, 2007 03:29 PM UTC:
A few things here - the first two pertaining to Gryphon Aanca Chess, which I have just updated.  The third item pertains to my reduced level of involvement at CV.  

[I.] I have updated pawn movement after thinking of Jeremy Good's question to me as to why they could not move three spaces, after all, it is a 12 x 12 board.  And so, after much thought, now: (a) A pawn on a player's third rank can move 1, 2, or 3 spaces straight. (b) a pawn on a player's 4th rank can move 1 or 2 spaces straight. Pawn en passant is explained in the rules.
[II.] After discussing multiple movements with Sam Trenholme, though in the context of other games, I realized that the nature of the piece density and mobility of this game cried out for such movement.  Thus this rule has been added:
MOVEMENT - On each of the first five moves of the game, a player can
move as follows, providing a pawn or piece does not cross the player's 6th rank:
(a) move a combination of up to five different pawns and/or pieces [5 units total] (b) if he (or she) desires to move a pawn or piece beyond their 6th rank they can... however, they can move that pawn or piece only.

[III.] This comment only relates to CV indirectly.  I have received invites  for several games recently... but I unfortunately will not be taking on any more games... not even Catapults of Troy which I really love to play and which I received an invite for - note that I will honor my commitment to the tournament, should it get going again... but will not be able to spend much time on moves, as I did in 2005.]  The reason for declining invites and avoiding comments is that I have several writing commitments.  (a) I still edit the UON (Unorthodox Openings News electronic magazine; (b) I became 'Problem Master' for Chessville and create and send problems weekly, (c)I am editing a relatively large chess book-- hope to be done in three months) (d)I am writing science fiction short stories and a novel (you can read about this at: That is my website and I have some art work there too, including some wooden Desert Pub Chess pieces (that game appears in the novel).  Anyway, these activities take up a great deal of time and so I've not been too active in CV lately.  Best regards to all, sincerely Gary

💡📝Gary Gifford wrote on Wed, May 9, 2007 09:50 PM UTC:
David - Thank you very much for the additional naming convention information.  

Before I add a few comments I'd like to mention that on June 19, 2003, George Hodges wrote a message that relates, in part, directly to piece naming.  He was writing about pieces in the very large Tai Kyoku Shogi game.  That game includes many pieces that we find in our modern CVs.  And it seems that we our not copying these pieces on purpose, but are re-inventing them.  That we are discovering them on our own, unaware in many cases, that they already exist.  But even then, we find as Hodges wrote:
[Begin quote - George Hodges 6/19/2003]
'' Very many of the names of the pieces are now known to be quite wrong; likewise many of the moves of the pieces are also believed to be totally wrong. Consider, for example, that no fewer than 57 pieces, well known from other connected variants, are given with a quite different move! Three ancient sources are now known (as at November 2002), with numerous differences in names and moves; no two of them agree! '' [End Quote]

I found that the HUNTER, which moves forward like a Rook or backwards as a Bishop, is the same piece as the MULTI-GENERAL (Suisho) in Tenjiku Shogi.

My RETNUH, which moves forward like a Rook, but backward as a Knight, came to me while thinking about the HUNTER - I simply substituted the Bishop element with a Knight element - and so I spelled HUNTER in reverse to keep a name relation.  But, as you correctly point out, my RETNUH equals the Adrian King 1999 FIREHORSE from his Typhoon game.  

You also wrote, ''Jeff 'Cavebear' Stroud calls the Falcon a Y-Rider in his 2001 chess variant ABC Chess.'' and ''Army #2 has the [Rook+Alfil+Ferz] compound. This interesting piece cannot be found anywhere else. Eric Greenwood's variant Archabbott Chess has the[B+D+W] piece.''   

I would not be surprised to see these pieces surface in a large and ancient Shogi variant.  For example: Tai Kyoku Shogi uses a 36 X 36 board and has 11 ranks dedicated to each player's starting position. There are 402 pieces for each player (804 pieces!); and 300 different piece moves. 

You also mention,

''I like Jeff Stroud's piece name 'Y-Rider', used in Army #8. The name 'Falcon' is used in Gary K. Gifford's new variant Gryphon Aanca Chess.''

I used FALCON because that was the name Jean Louis Cazaux had used.  Since then I've also seen the FALCON referred to as a HAWKER.  As to the name Y-Rider. Yes, is fitting to the FALCON in Gryphon Aanca.  Because the FALCON gives as a true Y movement.  But there are other Y-movers (riders) and 'Rider' today, often implies repeat moves... like a Knight-Rider.

David Paulowich wrote on Wed, May 9, 2007 04:11 AM UTC:

'The Fire Horse moves and captures forwards like a Rook, or backwards like a Knight.' - writes Adrian King in Typhoon, his 1999 chess variant on a 12 by 12 board. That gives us the Retnuh.

Jeff 'Cavebear' Stroud calls the Falcon a Y-Rider in his 2001 chess variant ABC Chess.

EDIT: The Hiju (Soaring Eagle) is a promoted Dragon King in Dai Shogi. It has all the moves of a Rook, also retreats like a Bishop and advances like an Alfil or a Ferz. So this piece blends the Queen and [RAF] pieces. As Gary indicates in his reply to this comment, the ancient Japanese were quite capable of inventing the pieces we have been discussing.

💡📝Gary Gifford wrote on Tue, May 1, 2007 11:23 PM UTC:
Charles - Thank you very much for the informative comment.  I am currently learning Espanol, and Aanca does not appear in my Spanish dictionaries, but I do see that it appeared in 1283, in the book 'Libro del Acedrex.' I used the 'Aanca' name because of the Ralph Betza write up about it (referenced in his Tripunch rules).  Of course, in Tripunch Ralph increased the power of Gryphons and Aancas. But I thought they were pretty impressive pieces, left as they were... and I had a strong desire to get them both into a game at some point.

It is nice to know that the Spanish were using them back in the 1200's.  When I stumbled across comments about  Jean-Louis Cazaux graphics, some comments of which were far from flattering, I could not resist looking them up... and, to my surprise, I found a certain charm to them, sort of a modest medieval atmosphere lingering over most of them.... and after I read over the piece movements and looked at many of the Cazaux graphics I had the 'Gryphon Aanca' game forming in my mind, with a few new pieces joining.  At any rate, I am glad you seem to like the game.  I am hoping to have a pre-set for it later this month and am anxious to play it at CV.

P.S. Your name of 'Archdeacon' for the 'Aanca' piece is indeed a good one.

Charles Gilman wrote on Sun, Apr 29, 2007 05:17 AM UTC:Excellent ★★★★★
Aanca is, I fear, Spanish for gryphon - in fact, the piece name Gryphon is a translation of Aanca as a Spanish piece name in Grande Acedrex. That's why I use a more distinctive name for the piece that moves Wazir-then-Bishop when I use both pieces (Archdeacon, as it still starts with A and the piece's lines of movement flank the Bishop's).
	This does not however detract from the quality of your variant, and I may well include a hyperlink to it on a couple of my own pages. It has also generated some interesting comments.

💡📝Gary Gifford wrote on Fri, Apr 27, 2007 01:19 AM UTC:
Joe - Thanks for the typo info. David - thank you for the piece and typo information. I have added the piece name information to the rules as 'Note 3' with credit to you.

Joe Joyce wrote on Fri, Apr 27, 2007 12:14 AM UTC:
Hey Gary, looks really good. When's the preset coming out? Think you got a couple typos: you've got the black pawns starting on 12 instead of 10, and you've got one Aide starting on c2 instead of e2.

David Paulowich wrote on Thu, Apr 26, 2007 10:57 PM UTC:
The Grey Whale in Whale Shogi moves exactly like a Hunter. The Goose in Tori Shogi leaps two squares along a Falcon path. This game has several other 'Y-shape movers'. In DAI SHOGI the Dosho (Copper General) moves exactly like a Royal Aide. The Keigei (Whale) is a Hunter, plus full vertical Rook movement. The Hakku (White Horse) is a Falcon, plus full vertical Rook movement. [EDIT: Gryphon] (See Images A1 / L1).

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