Long YangAfter applying my Nearlydouble principle to FIDE Chess, to an established large variant, and in modified form to a 3d variant, I wondered about applying it to East Asian variants - and ultimately decided against it. They simply did not have enough long-range pieces, and I could not find the extrapolations of short-range ones to solve that. Indeed the Xiang Qi camp could itself accommodate its own army enlarged (see notes).
That might have been the end of the story, but I then recalled a variant replacing Xiang Qi's short-range pieces with long-range ones on its own board. I refer of course to Fergus Duniho's excellent Yang Qi. Well if the original pieces made a satisfactory game on the original board, I deduced that the replacements would still hold good - along with my usual Nearlydouble Knight enhancement - on a board nearly twice the size.
The next question was the exact size of said board and the related question of its shape. 13x14 was too large, being just over instead of just under twice the XQ/YQ board's size. I considered 13Â², but could not initially find a satisfactory array Pawn structure using fewer than 19 Pawns - again the wrong side of twice the original. I have now solved that problem with Strong Yang, which due to its different board shape has its own page. Eventually I settled on 11 files by 16 ranks, which at 176 squares is nearer twice the original 9x10. To compensate for the effect of this on Pawns I lengthen zones for both double-step moves and promotion.
That just left the matter of a name. Firstly there would be no Qi because:
(1) it really has little connection to Xiang Qi (I have not even ticked the XQ box), and
(2) as I have no connection with the U.S.A. the pun would be inappropriate.
As there was now the potential for two versions, Yang Nearlydouble was not distinctive enough. For this version I therefore settled on Long Yang which has three things to be said for it. Firstly it's (paradoxically) a nice short name. Secondly its end-of-word alliteration echoes such major Chinese conurbations as Chongqing and Hongkong, and the latter's Hang Seng financial index. Thirdly it accurately describes the drawn-out nature of the board, with players sitting at opposite ends. I am not aware of Long meaning anything in Chinese, but I would not be the least surprised if it did.
A related group of Nearlydouble variants added since are those based on the Shogi set.
PiecesAs enlargement weakens the Knight compared to other pieces, I enhance it to the CATAPULT of other Nearlydouble variants by adding the 3:0 leap, as unblockable as the 2:1 one. Other pieces are the same as in Yang Qi.
RulesPawns have progressively weaker optional double-step moves from the fourth to seventh ranks.
Pawns on the fourth and fifth have the Trident option, of two noncapturing steps orthogonally forward or two captures diagonally forward but not a mixture.
Pawns on the sixth have the European option, of two noncapturing steps orthogonally forward only.
Pawns on the seventh have the Warhead option, of two captures diagonally forward only.
An enemy Pawn can capture En Passant a Pawn making any double-step move, although if the second step was capturing the captured piece is not recovered. By the time a Pawn can capture En Passant its own double-step moves have run out, so it cannot do so as part of a double-step move of its own.
There is no Castling but there is the Yang Qi King swap extended, if both pieces are in their camp, to pieces a (FIDE) Knight or Alibaba move away from the King as well as adjacent. Pawns can never participate in such a swap, in or out of camp.
Pawns ending a move within the enemy camp can be promoted to any piece captured by the enemy. If there are no such pieces, Pawns cannot be promoted and cannot move to the far rank, although they can still put the enemy King on that rank in Check by being diagonally adjacent.
Check, Checkmate, and Stalemate are as usual.
NotesJust as Yang Qi can be played with a Shogi set (a Xiang Qi set has too sparse a front rank), matching piece for piece (except with Shogi's Rook and Bishop representing a single piece type, and a sparser front rank), so Long Yang can be played with most of two Shogi sets. It can also be played with two identical FIDE sets, with each piece as itself, plus one Pawn and the non-Pawns of a smaller FIDE set, with for example its King/Queen/Rooks as Cannons and Bishops/Knights as Arrows.
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By Charles Gilman.
Web page created: 2007-05-17. Web page last updated: 2016-04-01