There's been some discussion about various pieces, how they'd fare on different boards, the likelyhood of draws. In a spirit of fun, I'd like to offer a competitive way to evaluate the various pieces and positions taken. In a spirit of humility, I'm admitting I'm only doing presets because I can't do Zillions. And I have trouble with presets. So I'm going to cheat a lot with the initial presentation, since part of it's done and I'm merely going to put it all on this page, or put links on this page.
Here's the proposal:
- - pick interesting non-FIDE pieces;
- - evaluate the pieces using available methods;
- - play games to verify the theoretical numbers.
Zillions would be nice. So would some email games. So would other pieces and games from other people. I encourage additions and comments.
Obviously the ground-rules have to be a little tighter or there's a thousand games that will have a few people saying: "I want this army against the FIDEs!" That's great, but who's going to do the work? The rather harsh expression "Put up or shut up!" is tempting to use here… but I think I'll go with "Put up and shut up", as long as everyone realizes I only mean to "put up" a minimalist game with rules and preset, rather than argue in words or just numbers. Able to be understood would be nice. Pretty and well-written would be awesome. I'm shooting for decent, myself. I think pictures of the pieces should be in here, too, since you can pull them right off the preset, for "decent". Civil would be very nice, and also respectful [which isn't all that easy sometimes, I know], but enough of how I should write my stuff here, on with the show.
Well, here we go:
Put up the name of the game, list the non-FIDE pieces with rules, and link to a preset. Have a discussion of what you feel the game makes obvious, or at least shines some light on, and why.
Along with Abdul-Rahman Sibahi, I just posted a CwDA game at CV, so I'll start there and finish with Grand Chess vs Grand Shatranj. Abdul-Rahman had suggested a CwDA using the Grand Shatranj pieces, so we tested it, and worked our way down, because we found modern shatranj-type pieces that move up to 4 squares are too powerful in a FIDE setting. We never quite settled on a final army. So there's a main game posted, and a variant along with a GCwDA variant in the notes. This Grand CwDA army, the [Grand] Shatranjian Shooters, is probably a little weaker overall than the Grand Shatranj army. There also are stronger shatranj armies that can be created. My points are:
- that shortrange pieces do not mean slow games;
- that shortrange games can be less drawish than FIDE.
Instead of arguing about how well or poorly this or that does, here are some games to demonstrate:
Chess with Different Armies: the Shatranjian Shooters
GCwDA: the Shatranjian Shooters
Grand Chess vs Grand Shatranj
FIDEs vs Lems - Lemurian Shatranj
Now I get really unfair. Note that none of the Lems moves more than 3 squares, and they are very colorbound. How fair is this? Answer: very unfair. The FIDEs are totally outclassed.
Here's the preset for the Fabulous FIDEs vs the Lemurians:
Grand Chess vs Grand Lemurian Shatranj
This is just a simple addition of the shortrange Minister and High Priestess from "Two Large Shatranj Variants" to Lemurian Shatranj, and use of the Grand Chess setup. It will probably turn out to be a more fair game than the CwDA version, FIDEs vs Lems.
Grand Chess vs Atlantean Barroom Shatranj
This has to be a highly unfair game, as several of the Shatranj pieces can move up to 4 spaces in a single turn and they are all very twisty pieces. In fact, this game would be so unfair, I haven't provided a preset for it. Should anybody be curious, the preset for ABS is here:
Once you see how the pieces move, it should be obvious that the FIDEs, even with the Chancellor and Archbishop, do not have a chance.
To compare the draw potential of short vs longrange pieces, I suggest playing Modern Shatranj D vs Modern Shatranj R - the difference is that one uses the rook [MS-R] and the other uses the augmented Dabbabah, the warmachine [dabbabah plus wazir]. My argument here is that you will get fewer draws with the modern dabbabahs than you will using rooks in the game.
Rules and presets: [http://www.chessvariants.org/index/msdisplay.php?itemid=MSmodernshatranj]
I admit this is partly a rant in game form. Putting the Lemurians or the Atlantean Barroom armies against their FIDE counterparts is my in-your-face and foaming at the mouth moment. Unless you are a die-hard believer in unlimited sliders being better than any possible shortrange pieces, I would advise against playing Different Armies with them against FIDEs. And if you are that die-hard believer, this will shake your faith. However…
I do think that playing the other games provided will demonstrate my 2 points: first, that shortrange pieces are both interesting and quite able to hold their own against the traditional "power" pieces; and second, that draws are not necessarily associated with a preponderance of shortrange pieces.