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Bird's Chess. Chess variant on 10 by 8 board from 19th century England. (10x8, Cells: 80) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Jason L. wrote on 2011-07-28 UTCGood ★★★★
After some play testing of Bird's chess, I have found that the weak pawn
can be defended properly if Black knows how to. While there is a potential
fork with the Chancellor on the 2nd turn, black just defends against it by
bringing its Knight out to the same file to block and has better
development. In real games, White would not try that move anymore. If White
brings its knight out on the queen side to attack the weak pawn, black can
just advance its Chancellor pawn up 2 spaces and White's threat against
the weak pawn has also ended because the pawn cannot be captured with the
Chancellor guarding it and if it moves to the other square, it will be
captured by the Black queen.

Unfortunately, I don't believe the chess playing public every played this
game enough to see that it does in fact work despite the weak pawn.

I think that if the King-side was reversed with the Queen-side with the
King and Archbishop moving to the other side and the Queen and Chancellor
also moving to the other side, the Queen would be on its own color and the
game looks like a pretty standard chess game.

I believe that in order for 10x8 with RN and BN to be popular, the King and
Queen need to be centralized and that players just have to be aware of the
weaknesses in the game.

Speaking of weak pawns, Janus Chess has 2 of them and that game has proven
successful. Of course the Janus pawn is not as critical, but there are
still weak pawns in that game also. It also has its King and Queen
centralized so perhaps we should take note of this.

John Smith wrote on 2009-10-19 UTC
This was also called The Emperor's Game. I think that the original name registered for the page was that, and the comments file has a separate database that doesn't update with the main one.

John Ayer wrote on 2009-10-19 UTC
Why is it that this game, Bird's Chess, has a page by that title, with 'bird' in the URL, but the comments file calls it 'The Emperor's Game'? In all other games that I have checked, the game and its comments go by the same name.

Years ago I read that Bird called his R+N the Prince, and put it beside the king, and his B+N the Princess, and put it beside the queen. He may have experimented somewhat.


Jeremy Good wrote on 2009-10-18 UTC
'Bird published his ideas in the City of London Chess Magazine.' Anyone have a copy of this that can be posted? And: Can anyone find any games that Bird may have actually played with his own variant?

Charles Gilman wrote on 2005-02-07 UTC
George Duke's comment is puzzling. As worded it suggests that I have used the name Equerry for a piece, which I am fairly sure I haven't. The modern variant using the names Guard and Equerry as here is Fergus Duniho's Grotesque Chess.

George Duke wrote on 2005-01-27 UTC
Charles Gilman is one interested in names and has used Bird's 'Equerry'. From David Pritchard's ECV: To fight 'book knowledge', in 1874 Bird's version went to 10x8, d1 and g1 representing generic pieces. Quickly he recommended (R+N) at d1 and (B+N) at g1. He had 9x8 alternately but that one's piece was (R+P)! There were other 9x8 forms trying Camel(1,3 leaper). Since Ben Foster's Chancellor Chess(9x9) toward 1900 picked up on (R+N) and Capablanca after 1920 (R+N) and (B+N), we tend to highlight Bird's RNB(R+N)QK(B+N)BNR.

George Duke wrote on 2005-01-26 UTCGood ★★★★
Bird's Chess deserves its first comment. After 250 years Carrera's natural compounds (R+N) and (B+N) are moved toward center in initial position for first time by Henry Bird, a chess master. Is the further centralization of Bird's 'Guard'(R,N) in Gothic Chess a slight improvement? I think so. Is Knight centralized to d,e,f,or g also playable? Yes. It's better to cover all Pawns in array when there are so many long-range pieces. Bird fails to do this since c-pawn is not protected, but credit him with playtesting his own inventions. This family of chess has four Knight-capable pieces out of ten in the array.

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