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Nachtmahr. Game with seven different kinds of Nightriders. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Bob Greenwade wrote on Sun, Feb 11 05:35 PM UTC in reply to HaruN Y from 05:31 PM:

Ah, I see it now -- the last paragraph under Notes.

Thanks! :)

HaruN Y wrote on Sun, Feb 11 05:31 PM UTC in reply to Bob Greenwade from 05:16 PM:

It's not in this game but is mentioned on this page. I included it as a piece that can only be obtained through promotions in my interactive diagram because it just felt right. Also pressing restart will shuffle the pieces since I'm not a fan of the starting position on this page.

Bob Greenwade wrote on Sun, Feb 11 05:16 PM UTC in reply to HaruN Y from 05:08 PM:

Nice! Also logical. It's not in this game, of course (unless I'm missing something); do you have a link to where it is?

HaruN Y wrote on Sun, Feb 11 05:08 PM UTC in reply to Bob Greenwade from 04:17 PM:

It's Jörg Knappen's.

Bob Greenwade wrote on Sun, Feb 11 04:17 PM UTC in reply to HaruN Y from 04:01 PM:

I actually was thinking about the move.

HaruN Y wrote on Sun, Feb 11 04:01 PM UTC in reply to Bob Greenwade from 03:54 PM:

If you're talking about the piece name.

Bob Greenwade wrote on Sun, Feb 11 03:54 PM UTC in reply to HaruN Y from 02:22 PM:

The "worsen" is interesting. Did you come up with it yourself?

HaruN Y wrote on Sun, Feb 11 02:22 PM UTC:
files=8 ranks=8 promoZone=1 promoChoice=NWGQRFDL graphicsDir= squareSize=50 graphicsType= symmetry=mirror darkShade=#322b2b lightShade=#474545 oddShade=#6b6565 coordColor=#949494 rimColor=#000000 firstRank=1 borders=0 shuffle=KNR,DFW pawn:P:fmWfcF:pawn:a3,b3,c3,d3,e3,f3,g3,h3,,a6,b6,c6,d6,e6,f6,g6,h6 nightrider:N:NN:nightrider:d1,,d8 (4,0)-zigzag nightrider:W:hsr(afz)N:knightwazir--nightrider:h1,,h8 (3,3)-zigzag nightrider:G:hsl(afz)N:knightferz--nightrider:c1,,c8 quintessence:Q:zN:wildebeest--nightrider:g1,,g8 rose:R:qN:rose:b1,,b8 (1,1)-zigzag nightrider:F:hsr(abz)11N:zebraferz--nightrider:f1,,f8 (2,0)-zigzag nightrider:D:hsl(abz)N:zebrawazir--nightrider:a1,,a8 worsen:L:(abq)5N:lion--rose: king:K:KisO2:king:e1,,e8

Greg Strong wrote on Thu, May 20, 2021 04:11 PM UTC in reply to H. G. Muller from 11:55 AM:

There is no SVG image for the Rose, so I used a butterfly. SVG images for nighriderwazir and nightriderferz do exist, but there are no PNG renderings of those.

I will take care of these this weekend.

H. G. Muller wrote on Thu, May 20, 2021 11:55 AM UTC:

There is no SVG image for the Rose, so I used a butterfly. SVG images for nighriderwazir and nightriderferz do exist, but there are no PNG renderings of those.

satellite=night files=8 ranks=8 graphicsDir=/graphics.dir/alfaeriePNG35/ promoZone=1 maxPromote=1 squareSize=35 graphicsType=png lightShade=#FFFFCC darkShade=#FFCC00 borders=0 useMarkers=1 promoChoice=W,W',N,N',Q,H,R symmetry=rotate pawn::fmWfcF::a3-h3 straight wide crooked:W:hq(abz)6N:zebrawazir:a1 rose::qN:butterfly:b1 diagonal narrow crooked:N':hq(afz)6N:knightferz:c1 nightrider:H:NN::d1 diagonal wide crooked:W':hs(abz)11N:zebraferz:f1 quintessence:Q:(az)5N:unicorn:g1 straight narrow crooked:N:hs(afz)2N:knightwazir:h1 king::::e1


KelvinFox wrote on Tue, Feb 11, 2020 11:45 PM UTC:

wouldn't a 8th nightrider be possible which goes left-right for both vertical and horizontal moves?

George Duke wrote on Thu, Mar 8, 2018 06:19 PM UTC:Excellent ★★★★★

There are reams more nightriders mostly unutilized than the ordinary hack one developed by Dawson a century ago. So far they remain in problems and thought experiments.  Classic essay here proposes Straight Wide Crooked, Diagonal Narrow Crooked, Diagonal Wide Crooked, and Straight Narrow Crooked.  Best of all, the essential nightrider Quintessence.  Each one makes better more interesting play than Betzan-tagged 'NN'.  Play of that ordinary Dawson nightrider is inferior because it just duplicates successive Knight moves same direction.  It is no more interesting than "limited" pieces like an up-to-three-step Bishop or Chess Different Armies Short Rook.

Quintessence itself gets play in odd-shaped 84-square Quintessential Chess, adding also  Leeloo compound R + Quintessence.  

Quinquereme takes it up to 12x12 with the same Quintessence.  Each of the various nightriders in combinations, one and two of each together with some of the other 6 or 8 piece-types in the set, on different board sizes can create thousands, well millions easily, of individualized CVs.  Worth exploring in the abstract are the standard boards 9x9, 9x10, 10x10, 10x12, 12x12, 10x16.  All the large sizes should have a variant nightrider species for improved implementations. Even rudimentary Dawson NN of such wide appearance is superior to also-overused Carreran BN and RN, four hundred years beat to death.

Carlos Cetina wrote on Fri, Sep 19, 2014 04:32 AM UTC:Excellent ★★★★★
Thank you, Jörg. I did not know the Jelliss' writing "Theory of Journeys". I will study it carefully.

We can get a first approach to the relative strength of these nightriders by placing them on the central square (g7) of a 13x13 board and counting the number of squares affected/checked from there.

Doing it, we would find these results:

NN11 Diagonal Wide Crooked Nightrider 56
NN02 Straight Wide Crooked Nightrider 36
NN31 Quintessence 36
NN00 Rose 32
NN33 Diagonal Narrow Crooked Nightrider 24
NN21 Standard Nightrider 24
NN04 Straight Narrow Crooked Nightrider 20

Hence, the following equivalences should be near to be true:

NN11 = NN00 + NN33 = NN00 + NN21 = NN31 + NN04 = NN02 + NN04

💡📝Jörg Knappen wrote on Thu, Sep 18, 2014 02:07 PM UTC:
An excellent to Carlos Cetina for the really nice diagram.

All Knight moves in the first step are "equal" (in the sense of symmetry), but the continuations fall in two classes that Jelliss terms "3D" (crossing the diagonal, the pure trajectories in Carlos' diagram) and "3L" (crossing the lateral, the "impure" trajectories in Carlos' diagram). Here's a reference on the terminology:

Splitting the Quintessence into a diagonal and lateral piece is surely feasible and the pieces should both be very playable.


The German and French term (Spiralspringer and Cavalier spirale) are generic (like crooked Nightrider), for further precision they are qualified (German: enger Diagonalspiralspringer = wide [sic!] diagonal crooked Nightrider etc.)


Yes, the Nachtmahr army put a lot more of strength on the board than the FIDEs: Just exchange whatever Nightrider against Queen, the Rooks, and one Bishop and you are left with a stronger rest of the army. And because of the huge forking power of the Nahctmahrs, I don't see a chance for the FIDEs to avoid this.


On relative piece strength: The here termed "wide" pieces are clearly the strongest: They have an enormous "capturing density" and the can-mate property. The classical Nightrider is the weakest, the others are in-between.


I'd like to see your design of Nachtmahr II (allthough I cannot promise to have time for discussion)

Jeremy Good wrote on Thu, Sep 18, 2014 12:34 PM UTC:Excellent ★★★★★
Jörg, I very much enjoy the game and exploring these pieces. You are a very good variant designer and thinker about chess variant fairy pieces.

I also like Quinquereme and I'm very excited one day to try experimenting with your CwDA army, Sai Squad (as well as your other CwDA armies). 

I am trying to get an idea for an estimate of the strength of these Nachtmahr pieces - I believe the Rose is strongest, maybe followed (in order of strength) by straight wide crooked nightrider, quintessence, regular nightrider, diagonal wide crooked nightrider and diagonal narrow crooked nightrider. Any thoughts? Maybe after more experience, I will have a better theory - these are just vague guesses.

How might the Nachtmahr army fare against FIDE? It's commonly thought that a normal nightrider is worth as much as a rook on an 8 x 8 board. I suppose the Nachtmahr army would handily defeat the FIDE army...


If you please, what are the names for pieces other than rose, nightrider (qua nightrider) and quintessence? In your notes, you mention a French and German name but you don't say which piece specifically these names apply to...

Also, Carlos and I are having a bit of discussion about the Quinquereme - he created a nice diagram which you can see here:

I have ideas about some other nightriders one might develop for fun and a sort of game design for a Nachtmahr 2 (which I might call something more akin to "a dream") introducing some of these other nightriders.

Please email me if you're interested in discussing or as a courtesy, I shall email you when I've come up with an actual variant. It too will be a "study game" but maybe playable as well...certainly I am having fun playing Nachtmahr right now and it's, at the very least, helping me to become more familiar with how these pieces move.

💡📝Jörg Knappen wrote on Mon, Jan 21, 2013 10:51 AM UTC:
I finally designed an army for the Sai named the Sai squad. Try it out and enjoy!

💡📝Jörg Knappen wrote on Wed, Sep 26, 2012 08:25 AM UTC:
Over the time, I have named some compounds of the Quintessence with other pieces, and here I also add the missing compound with the Bishop.

The compound of Quintessence and Rook is namend Leeloo in Quintessential Chess after the Fifth Element in Luc Bresson's film.

The compound of Quintessence and Queen is namen Pentere (with synonym Quinquereme) in Quinqereme Chess

The missing compound of Quintessence and Bishop I name Sai after Fujiwara no Sai, the ghost in the Go board in the manga Hikaru no go. Go is in japanese homophonous to the number 5. The ghosty connection is suggested by the analogous pieces Banshee (Nightrider-Bishop compound) and Dullahan (Knight-Ferz compound). Speckmann also reports that the Janus/Paladin (Knight-Bishop compound) was called "die reinste Geisterwaffe" (a pure ghost-weapon) by a problem solver.

The Sai is even stronger than the Banshee (having more directions and attacking more fields on the same board), but seems to be less tactical on 8 times 8. Because of its strength I wasn't yet able to design a CwDA army for the Sai. A simple modification of the Fearful Fairies is not possible.

💡📝Jörg Knappen wrote on Mon, May 10, 2010 10:25 AM UTC:
The Quintessence lacks the can-mate property on regular rectangular boards. The necessary piece of analysis goes as follows:

There is only one mating position with King and Quintessence vs. King, namely Black: King a1, White: King a3, Quintessence d2. Note that the position with a white King on b3 is a stalemate because the white King now blocks the check against the black King.

To force the the black King to a1, the position prior to the mate must look like Black King b1; White King a3, Quintessence controls squares c1 and c2. This can be done with Quintessence on b4 or d4. However, there is no quintessential move from b4 or d4 to d2. Therefore no mate can be forced.

💡📝Jörg Knappen wrote on Thu, Oct 22, 2009 10:25 AM UTC:
Can mate property: The following two crooked nightriders can mate a single king with the help of their own king: Straight, Wide Crooked Nightrider (Enger Spiralspringer) and Diagonal Wide Crooked Nightrider (Enger Diagonalspiralspringer). I don't succeed in mating with the quintessence, but I am not sure if mating is really impossible, since it can get close to a checkmate. An endgame analysis with the help of the computer can provide a definitive answer here.

💡📝Jörg Knappen wrote on Fri, Oct 16, 2009 10:09 AM UTC:
Wow, I never expected people to play such a mind-boggling game as Nachtmahr. I fully approve the point-mirror symmetric opening array and I am keen to look at the game logs.

Jeremy Good wrote on Thu, Jul 30, 2009 01:58 AM UTC:

Carlos Cetina proposed an even more elegant solution to this minor problem:

'My suggestion is to place the armies under the reversed symmetry principle. That is the true simplest and elegant solution. Then both the king and the rose would protect the [before] undefended piece.'

I agree completely and shall accordingly implement his idea for my preset.

Jeremy Good wrote on Mon, Jul 27, 2009 10:23 AM UTC:Good ★★★★
In the opening set up I believe the piece on c is en prise from the piece on g, no? To remedy this: I suggest inserting two regular knights - on d2/d7 and e2/e7 - into this game. A simpler and perhaps more elegant solution would be to move the pawns on f one step forward. Unless I'm wrong and / or there are objections, I shall do that for the preset (one or the other or both).

George Duke wrote on Fri, Nov 21, 2008 06:56 PM UTC:
Notice Knappen does not burden reader with actual embodiments, but instead these are study games. Joerg Knappen's Nachtmahr is one of the best articles in all CVPage history, as article in the top-ten with several of Betza's. It describes all possible different Nightrider varieties. I considered adding Knappen's Quintessential to NextChess3 already, but decided it is more Track Two. I saw initials of ''JKn'' for comments being discussed, but honestly have not sorted out who said what at some new CV this week, for prioritizing time. This comment just tags the information, wanting to cite Knappen's work occasionally regardless. CVPage hall of fame of couple dozen creators would include Knappen with such stars as Betza and Peter Aronson. The early years quality was routinely high. (Except Rococo, Aronson's CVs are all too ignored, mentioned before as on my to-do.) Now importantly here six of the seven are multi-path pieces. Which one is not? What one Nightrider is one-path only?

💡📝Jörg Knappen wrote on Mon, Nov 10, 2008 01:26 PM UTC:
During the course of time, some of the referenced Web links became invalid. Christian Poisson's list can now be found here. The list of Oliver Sacks is completely gone (as far as I can tell), but the following is a good replacement 1000 Väter (in german).

The latter list features the Spiralspringer very well. Note the difference between german terminology and the terminology used here; what in german is called eng is called wide here, and what in german is called weit is called narrow here.

Note also, that Ralph Betza's Crooked Nightrider (combined narrow straight and diagonal crooked nightrider) is called Boa by problemists with the following reference given: R. Bedoni, Phé­nix (45) X 1996 S. 3344

George Duke wrote on Thu, Jul 17, 2008 07:49 PM UTC:
Gilman's 2004 Comment delineates the 37-degree, 53-, 90-, 127-, and 143-degree turns, or changes of direction, all the possible Crooked Nightriders from Fairy Chess problems can make. Seven different Nightriders and King fill the eight back-rank spaces in the ''study game.'' Well-explained by Knappen, who invents the last ones in 2002, there is also inventoried by Knappen 135-degree-turning Rose, standard Rose (circular Nightrider) 45-degree-bent, frequented by Betza but known before. Quintessence, or essential Nightrider, can be thought of as along successive Camel steps.

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