Daniel Lepage on 28 Jul 2003 04:37:24 -0000

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Re: [spoon-discuss] Nomic Chess

On Saturday, July 26, 2003, at 09:59  PM, Baron von Skippy wrote:

I've been thinking about this Chess subgame thing, and I had an idea
for how to make it into a more multiplayer game:

There's a chess variant whose name I can't remember where two separate
games happen at once; the white player in the first game is partners
with the black one in the other, and vice versa. Whenever you capture a
piece, it will be the same color as your partner's pieces. So when you
take a piece, you give it to your partner (and you get the pieces he
captures). A turn consists either of making a legal chess move, or of
placing any piece you've been given by your partner on the board under
your control, anywhere in the first two rows of the board.

-Bughouse. That's the name I've heard attached to it, anyway.-

Yeah, that's the name I was trying to remember.

I was thinking we could set up something sort of like that, with
societies as the teams. Each society would have a pool of pieces; a
society could 'sponsor' one of its members in a game against someone
from another society with the pieces captured by the society's champion
becoming property of the society.

Each piece could be identified by four characters, the first two
defining the player, the second two defining the piece (so a Bishop of
mine might be WoBi, a knight of Glotmorf's could be GmKn, and an
Elephant of the Baron could be BrEt, etc.)


The Elephant is a piece used in Xiangqi (Chinese chess). It is also called Prime Minister, as the words for Elephant and Prime Minister in Chinese (Xiang) sound the same. This piece quite likely evolved from the Alfil of Chaturanga. The Elephant steps two spaces diagonally. It may not move only one space, and if the first step of its move is occupied, it may not complete its move. It may capture or move to an empty space with its move. It may not cross the river.


It is thought to have been developed from the Alfil:


The Alfil is the predecessor of the modern Bishop. This piece very probably came from India, where its original name was one of the Sanskrit words for elephant: hasty or gaja. It was alternately known by both names. It is found in the earliest known forms of Chess, such as Chaturanga and Shatranj, and it is very probably one of the original Chess pieces. But there is a bit of uncertainty and even disagreement on this matter.

The uncertainty is not over the piece's name. An elephant was, as far as anyone knows, one of the original pieces. The uncertainty is over how it moved. In both Shatranj and Chaturanga, it made a two-space diagonal leap, but Chaturanga was an Indian Contempory of Shatranj, and it is Shatranj, the Muslim form of Chess, that we actually have the earliest documentation for. As Murray reports in his History of Chess, there were two other moves for this piece that were current in India. One was the Dabbabah move, and the other was the Silver General move. While the former died out, the latter was the move for this piece in the form of Chess that spread to Burma and Siam. This is the move for the piece in both Burmese Chess and Thai Chess.

The Alfil has been used in such modern variants as Scirocco and Typhoon by Adrian King, and Al-Ces by Köksal Karakus.


The two passages above are from the chessvariants.com piececlopedia. See http://www.chessvariants.com/piececlopedia.dir/alfil.html and http://www.chessvariants.com/piececlopedia.dir/elephant.html for more information.

When pieces are taken, they
become 'owned' by whoever captured them (and go into the possession of
the soc. e represents); players can't take pieces they own from a
society (so you can't use the pieces you capture; only those taken by
other members in your society).

Perhaps also, each society could destroy pieces it controlled to gain
'power points' (more pps for better units); these could be spent to
cause a variety of nifty effects. I'm not sure what effects... the
creation of new pieces on the piecelist? Curious effects within
sponsored games ("My queen has an uzi in her purse...")?

Anyway, I figured I'd get some input wrt whether or not people would be interested in such a game before I spent a lot of time writing it up ->the game's completely pointless if I'm the only one who wants to play,
and mostly pointless if there are fewer than four willing players...
Anyone have any comments?

-I guess I could see doing this. I'm no good at chess, or I'd be more enthused, I'm sure. Now, tell me more about these "better units...?"-

Well, the piececlopedia lists a number of curious pieces, such as the Amazon, which moves like a Queen or a Knight, the Zelig, which moves as whatever piece starts in its row in FIDE chess, and the Windmill, which moves around other pieces. We could also establish our own list of piece definitions, and get things like Fourplay's Scoop, which moves either by rotating 90 degrees or by moving three spaces forwards, capturing everything it passes through. And of course, anything else we come up with - this is, after all, Nomic.


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