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The Seeping Switchers. An army for Chess with Different Armies based on pieces that change color when they move.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
💡📝Jörg Knappen wrote on Tue, May 18, 2021 01:23 PM UTC:

Was this from game results or just the values that Zillions reports for the pieces?

This is now about 2 decades ago, but as I remember that estimate was based on played-out games (don't know how many). Already at that time I knew that Zillion's piece evaluations weren't very accurate, e.g., most combination pieces were just evaluated as the sum of their components.

H. G. Muller wrote on Tue, May 18, 2021 08:58 AM UTC in reply to Jörg Knappen from Mon May 17 10:01 PM:

With Zillions of Games as an Oracle the original draft was considered too weak...

Was this from game results or just the values that Zillions reports for the pieces? The latter are usually not very good. I don't want to claim the piece values assigned by the Interactive Diagram are reliable, but at least they cannot be fooled by defining moves in duplicat. The values it gives below (in the piece legend after clicking on the header of the 'move' column) correspond reasonably well with the game results in Fairy-Max:

satellite=hadean files=8 ranks=8 graphicsDir= promoZone=1 maxPromote=1 squareSize=35 graphicsType=png lightShade=#FFFFD5 darkShade=#527362 useMarkers=1 symmetry=none promoChoice=Q,F,F',D,E,W,W',R,B pawn::fmW*fceF::a2-h2,,a7-h7 panda::WafmpafWafmpafafmpafWafmpafafmpafafmpafW:warmachineriderwazir:,,a8,h8 marquis::WN:knightwazir:,,b8 lame marquis::WafsW:knightwazir:,,g8 unicorn::yafsWN::,,c8 lame unicorn::yafsW:unicorn:,,f8 erl queen::KafmpafKafmpafafmpafKafmpafafmpafafmpafK:falcon:,,d8 knight:N:::b1,g1 bishop::::c1,f1 rook::::a1,h1 queen::::d1 king::::e1,,e8

The game results with Fairy-Max were a bit ambiguous. As black the Switchers scored 58%, which should correspond to about half a Pawn, and is in line with what the typical unorthodox army does. With white, however, it scored 67%. I don't understand why it does somuch better with white. It is not that the initial position is non-quiet, and white immediately gains something. In most games the score only starts to rise in favor of white somewhat later in the game.

It is true that ths lip pieces are tactically extremely dangerous, because their attack can penetrate deep behind enemy lines, and they can attack pieces from behind cover. Perhaps it has somethint to do with the way Fairy-Max leaves the opening phase (where its move choice is heavily perturbed by randomization): white is always the first to do a non-randomized move, and thus in the best position to exploit a sub-optimal move forced by randomization. I will have to further investiate this.

💡📝Jörg Knappen wrote on Mon, May 17, 2021 10:43 PM UTC:

An army consisting almost completely of slip-pieces could be named "Sloppy Slippers".

Greg Strong wrote on Mon, May 17, 2021 10:18 PM UTC in reply to Jörg Knappen from 10:01 PM:

For the theme of the army, a colourbound piece is completely unsuitable although one can argue that a slip-Bishop still switches some bindings. But when it is too weak, what would be a good augmentation for it?

It's colorbound, but it still swaps between both even and odd ranks and even and odd files with every move.  I suggest augmenting it with a dabbabah move.  With that move, it will swap between either even and odd ranks or even and odd files.

I think switching between a different type of binding would add some flavor.  It's bound on the binding the other pieces switch on and switches on a different one.

💡📝Jörg Knappen wrote on Mon, May 17, 2021 10:01 PM UTC:

Interestingly, my first draft from November 2001 had the fully lame Unicorns, and I am very interested how they fare in FairyMax. With Zillions of Games as an Oracle the original draft was considered too weak, and the the Unicorns were powered up with unconditional Knight's moves.

For the theme of the army, a colourbound piece is completely unsuitable although one can argue that a slip-Bishop still switches some bindings. But when it is too weak, what would be a good augmentation for it?

H. G. Muller wrote on Mon, May 17, 2021 05:21 PM UTC in reply to Greg Strong from 04:20 PM:

Well, a less drastic change would be to make the Unicorn fully lame. I will try that out first.

Greg Strong wrote on Mon, May 17, 2021 04:20 PM UTC in reply to H. G. Muller from 04:03 PM:

So the Unicorns could be replaced by slip-bishops, but then the army would probably be a little too weak. Maybe slip-bishop + dabbabah?

H. G. Muller wrote on Mon, May 17, 2021 04:03 PM UTC:

This is another army that gives FIDE a very bad beating (in Fairy-Max self play). The Unicorns are roughly a full Pawn stronger than a Rook. And since there are already two Rook-class pieces in the form of the Marquis, that give the Switchers an advantage of 5.5-6 Pawns. (Slip-Rook is indeed worth about a Knight.) Now the Slip Queen is of course worth less than a regular Queen, but it isn't worth that much less. (It beats a Unicorn by sinificantly more than a Pawn-odds score, which sugests its value is >= 7.5.) So the Switchers seem to have an advantage of about 3 Pawns on FIDE.

Charles Gilman wrote on Mon, Feb 8, 2010 07:54 AM UTC:
Well that's a considerable critque of Man and Beast. Many of the names do indeed date from before I knew as many existing usages as I do now, and I try to bear stability in mind over so comprehensive a list. Thus I shelved the Bolyar extrapolations with Ajax ones becausde teh latter looked a lot more accessible, but I would not want to that too frequently or with too large a group of pieces. I am currently considering how replacing Kinbaba with the pre-existing Pasha of which I recently read might be reflected in replacing similarly abstract names. Its distinguishing feature seems to be that it has one-step and two-steps moves in exactly the same the direction. On this basis I could clear out Kinchick, Dudbuck, Dimp, Barlock, Battler, Arcbuck, and Aimplala if I can find enough Pasha-themed names.
	Regarding reuse of names, many names have been used in multiple ways quite outside any ideas of mine, I have to decide which is the most useful. For eample the Raumschach usage for Unicorn us quoted far more widely than the same uses for any square-board piece. Therefore it makes sense to ignore the usages that has not gained popularity - in games rather than problems - and I see no problem of doing the same even where there is no popular usage at all. Thus no piece is widely known as a Pegasus so I suggest it for a Bent piece. Where a name is in wide use for a piece but does not inspire me - Centaur, Lance - I avoid reusing it for another piece.
	Regarding obscure and untranslateable names, this is true of some of the less widely-used pieces. However all the names in the first page are straightforward names. Likewise most of the Divergent ones, ebven if some are inspired by compound words like Pawnbroker which are unlikely to work in other languages. Many of my puns are merely extrapolations from pre-existing puns such as Sexton, Waffle, and Alibaba and I have tried to make a many as possible meaningful words even if the pun is lost in translation. It was as for reasons of translation that I dropped using Dame for a hex-prism-specific piece, but when names translate so patchily even among the FIDE pieces this can only be so big a factor. Some prefixed words will survive translation - Silverbishop could certainly translate into German as Silberlaufer.

💡📝Jörg Knappen wrote on Fri, Feb 5, 2010 12:48 PM UTC:
So when I have to name a piece, I always look for an established name first. Often I find one I like and use it, sometimes I want to differ and choose another name.

I use the lists of Derzhanski, Jelliss, Grimbert and Poisson (in approximately this order of preference) along with notes I have taken from several chess variants. A new list is published by the problemist's journal Die Schwalbe, compiled by Gruber and can be found here:

Truelove's list only gives names and games, unfortunately, and I have never done the task of annotating it with move patterns.

I do not use the names made up by Gilman for several reasons:

1. They are not based on exhaustive research, in particular they do not incorporate the four lists I have cited above. So he does not give the relevant names to known pieces and he sometimes assigns a new movement pattern to an already used name.

2. I need translatable names, i.e., names that work in languages other than english. Gilman's names rely heavily on untranslatable puns and anagrams.

3. For use in game notation, the initial letters should be different for the pieces drafted. Gilman's names tend to start in the same letter for many pieces.

George Duke wrote on Thu, Feb 4, 2010 06:20 PM UTC:
The comment here at Seeping Switchers two years ago,,
followed my comment the same day about Betza's Augmented Different Knights:
Betza had developed, or re-developed many of, the natural compoundings of Knight there. More and more CVs, such as those of Joyce, whose certain particular ones like Great Shatranj have risen in esteem and remarks, were re-using some of them without referencing and often not knowing that Betza had at least pooled them for us in the article above, back to A.D.K.  A.D.K. itself generates 1000s of CVs able only to be admired and not realistically played. So, the simple sentence has the allowable context of proliferation. Now Charles Gilman appears to call Knight + Wazir ''Marshlander'' in Man & Beasts 08 Diverse Directions, in the paragraph beginning ''So far'', -- suggesting the name for the piece-type is not very well established despite long application in Pritchard CVs. As a guess, we could find 20-40 examples there and about all having different names. That is the way it is in misguided field of ''CVs'' in necessary transition to determining standards. I base that number of couple dozen plus, on knowing the actual frequency of some few other bi-compounds in 'ECV', including(Knight + Camel) and (Knight + Zebra). Seeping Switchers, like the Pizza Kings of John Lawson,,
 is one of very few armies of another Betza effort, Chess Different Armies, not authored by the giant Betza; and Seeping Switchers is good one as if by the master himself. The name give the piece-type is always up to the current inventor, but the movement's earlier examples are subject to recall by others in free societies.

💡📝Jörg Knappen wrote on Thu, Feb 4, 2010 09:49 AM UTC:
This is an answer to the old comment by George Duke: when I had to name the knighted wazir piece, I looked it up in Derzhanski's list and found that the name Marquis was a good one. I don't know what names Duke had in mind when he wrote the comment, but there is the name Thoat from the game Jetan dating from 1922 and the is the name Emperor (given, e.g., by Jelliss) which was once known among problemists.

Correction: NW is emperor, prince is the NF in problemist's tradition.

Yu Ren Dong wrote on Tue, Sep 29, 2009 05:57 PM UTC:

I think this set having four kinghted pieces is somewhat stronger than other sets and repetition. Marquis may be replaced by a Rhino: moves as Wazir, continues as Ferz.

A Rhino moves 1 square orthogonally and may then continue steping 1 square diagonally outward.

George Duke wrote on Sat, May 3, 2008 04:59 PM UTC:
In 2002 Knappen calls NW ''Marquis,'' but in reality NW has earlier names.

George Duke wrote on Fri, Sep 21, 2007 04:31 PM UTC:Excellent ★★★★★
About Comments lately at Falcon Hexagonal Chess, here on squares JKnappen uses colour-changing and coulour-switching synonymously, whereas at hexes we recommend preserving a distinction for whether such change is compulsory or not(See Comments there where the key difference is 3 bindings). RBetza has an earlier couple paragraphs on colour-switching, but as Knappen says at end: 'Colour-switching seems to be rare, much more rare than colour-bound ones. Besides the Knight, there is the Wazir of course.' When CGilman brought it up, we thought of Zebra and Knight right away. This Seeping Switchers develops some more such pieces colour-switching. There could be countless number of them in the imagination, but really only Knight is important other than in 'ChessVariantese' lingo. This lineup is for Betza's Chess Unequal Armies. JKnappen's is always high quality work and does not over-advertise itself, as is ever the temptation when technically falling near the 'Prolificist' category. Having 10 and approaching 15+ CVs tend to put one too in the Entitlement category ever to self-promote(Actually it may be possible to make 20 bad games, verdad?). Not so Knappen who lets the work speak for itself all the best quality. Article 'Nachmahr' is excellent summary of the major elements in probably his best concept of all, multiple Knight continuations.

Peter Aronson wrote on Fri, Mar 9, 2007 05:32 PM UTC:
Is there a castling rule in Seeping Switchers?
You use the standard castling rules for Chess with Different Armies

Jeremy Good wrote on Wed, Mar 7, 2007 09:20 PM UTC:
Is there a castling rule in Seeping Switchers?

Jeremy Good wrote on Sat, Feb 10, 2007 08:55 AM UTC:
Yes, Andy, but the pieces in this game aren't a one for one match. In seeping switchers, a weaker rook and weaker queen are compensated by a more powerful knight and bishop.

Andy Maxson wrote on Sat, Feb 10, 2007 02:37 AM UTC:Average ★★★
isn't the your bishop a little powerful? how about making the unicorn completely lame and making it unable to make a knight move

JorgKnappen wrote on Mon, Mar 29, 2004 05:53 PM UTC:
I don't know any better name for the slip bishop, nor do I know any game
or problem that uses this particular piece.

I have different sources to Grande Acedrex, suggesting that the Unicorn
of Grande Acedrex is really a bent rider and not the piece described in
the webpage on 


Charles Gilman wrote on Sat, Mar 27, 2004 08:06 AM UTC:
Is there a short name for the (colourbound) Slip Bishop (referred to here
as a component of the Slip Queen) corresponding to Panda for the Slip
Rook? If not, Bear might be suitable as bears are a similar shape to
pandas but of uniform colour (including some uniformly black and some
uniformly white).
	You appear to have misunderstood the move of the Unicorn in Grande
Acedrex. As described on the page linked to, it leaves its array cell by a
Knight's move and no other, and all subsequent moves are exactly like
Bishop moves, binding it to the opposite cell colour to that on which it

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