In Valiant Chess (also V-chess) the
knight pawn, having advanced to the fifth rank, can jump like a knight to an
empty square, east-north-east or west-north-west. Only knight pawns on the fifth
rank have this capability. The pawn loses this capability when it advances to
the 6th rank. Compared with standard chess, this means that an advanced knight
pawn is endowed with an extra jump move. Valiant Chess is specially designed for
rapid chess, since it makes the game more aggressive and less monotonous.
Aggressive play on the flanks is facilitated as the Valiant pawn makes it
possible to pry open the pawn chain, something which greatly enhances attacking
play. In this way one can open the file in order to attack the king, or disrupt
the position for attacking purposes. This new rule favours the advance of the
knight pawn, which leads to a more aggressive game.
In an alternative
variant both the knight- and rook pawn, having advanced to the fifth rank, can
make this knight jump to empty square. This could lead to wild play. The most
conservative variant is to allow the jump only when the pawn is blocked (see
diagram below). These variants have been implemented in my Zillions program.
The knight pawn, if placed on the fifth rank, can
make the oblique jump move to an empty square. There are no other requirements
to make this move. In an alternative variant, also the rook pawn (or any pawn)
has this capability. Curiously, the fifth rank is already special in that it is
the 'en passant' rank.
In an alternative variant, the knight pawn can
only make the jump move if blocked by an enemy pawn on the 6th rank. Since its
way is blocked, it can take another route. Alternatively, this rule is valid
also for the rook pawn.
In the general case, it is easy to control these extra
destination squares, or to occupy them, thus preventing the pawn from going
there. In many cases it is simply bad to go there. However, it opens up many new
attacking possibilities. This pawn move isn't illogical. It moves forward one
rank, which is natural to the pawn. Keep in mind that the pawn is already
different from all other pieces in that it can only advance to an empty square,
different from the capture square. In this variant, yet another pawn advance to
empty square is added, provided that the pawn is positioned at the knight file
and the fifth rank. It is a natural move that already belongs in chess in the
form of the knight jump. Interestingly, there is a corresponding rule in Xiangqi
(Chinese Chess). When the pawn passes the middle line it acquires the capacity
to move sideways. See also Dynamic Chess
and Improved Chess.
The extra pawn move is natural. In chess, there
are three types of moves: (1) diagonal, (2)
orthogonal, (3) oblique (knight jump).
Comparatively, in Xiangqi the horse-move is orthogonal and then diagonal, why
the horse can be blocked. So Xiangqi has only the diagonal and orthogonal moves.
The chess pawn already has the orthogonal and diagonal movement, to which I am
adding the oblique movement. The pawn can still only advance to the next rank,
by way of a diagonal, orthogonal, or oblique move. So the Valiant pawn can now
perform all types of chess moves, one step forwards.
An interesting question is whether it's possible
to allow the extra jump move with all pawns at the fifth rank? This is
the Petrosian system in the King's Indian, which is regarded as equal. Would the
immediate pawn push to d5 render a small advantage for White if it is a Valiant
pawn? It would make this variant theoretically fashionable again. This variant
is also implemented.
Rapid chess on
Internet servers isn't very engaging in the long run, because chess isn't
designed to be played at this rapid pace. With Xiangqi it works very fine,
however. One is always presented with tactical problems, from the first to the
last move. There is no monotonous wood-chopping, so it's suitable for rapid
play. Rapid chess would be much more fun if the tactical vistas were to be
opened up, although slow standard chess at amateur level is a different matter.
In this Chessbase article series "Give up the sissy version play
Chinese chess!" prof. David H. Li expounds on his love of Xiangqi (here).
Don't let yourself be fooled, chess is the superior game. The
difference is that Xiangqi is never boring, because there are always clever
little tactics, sometimes involving the cannon. Cannon tactics, unknown to
Western chess players, is very peculiar. The conclusion is that Xiangqi is more
rewarding when played over the Internet, with the exception of blitz and bullet
games, which involve a race against the clock. Chess in this form is exciting
but not very sophisticated.
Chess involves many standard methods, like realizing a passed pawn on
a wing, thereby forcing the enemy king to hunt it down, whereupon you can enter
his position, capture his pawns, advance your own pawn and promote to queen.
Such methods don't exist in Xiangqi. You always have to figure out how to mate
the other party before he mates you, with whatever little material there is
left. Pawns don't promote.
Chess, when played rapidly, always boils down to standard methods of
tactics, standard piece exchanges, standard mating methods, standard positional
plans (taking control of an open file with the heavy pieces is a theme repeated
over and over again). It is a matter of technique and opening knowledge. I admit
that rapid chess is slightly fun, but Xiangqi is much more exciting when played
over the Internet, because one cannot apply monotonous standard techniques. A
player who tries, will lose immediately. You always have to be on your guard.
Chess is deep and must be played deeply. However, since chess is so
extremely methodical, it also lends itself to blitz and bullet games. It
occupies the extremes, that is. Xiangqi is not suited for blitz and bullet
games, unless you are extremely skilled. There are too many exacting moves to be
done. Too a high-degree chess can be played with the auto-pilot switched on.
This is not possible with Xiangqi. But when chess is played with the auto-pilot
you soon get tired of the wood-chopping, although there is a nice combination
now and then.
Compared with chess, Xiangqi and Shogi overflow with tactics, which
is why these games are never boring and monotonous. I am arguing that we are
doing chess a disservice when we refuse to provide chess players with an
alternative variant in which they can get an outlet for their creativity and
tactical imagination. It would function as a complement to Fide-chess, and would
serve to enrich chess, in order for it to remain popular.
can download my free Valiant Chess program
here (updated 2012-05-24),
but you must own the software
Zillions of Games to be able to
run it (I recommend the download version).|
You can play Valiant Chess
online and by e-mail
Don't miss my other
Springerbauer (b, g) bekommt einen extra Springer zug nach leeren Feld, was löst
das Blockade Problem! Mit dieser Regel wird das Spiel weniger strategisch, noch
taktischer. Die Blockade der Flankebauern ist ein sehr feines Thema, aber nicht
im Schnellschach. Wir verändern die Regel ein bisschen, und Schnellschach
ist wieder intellektuell anregend. Dieses Bauernsprung ist gut. Der Gegner kann
es verhindern, weil Er kann das Feld Bezetsen. So es ist nicht immer einfach zu
erreichen. Die Spieler haben immer noch die Kontrolle. In einer alternativen
Variante, auch der Turmbauer kann diesen Schritt machen. Beachten Sie, dass Mein
Vorschlag behält den blockierten Bauernkette, sonst wäre es nicht mehr
Schach genannt werden.
Dieser Schritt ist natürlich. Im Schach
gibt es drei Arten von Bewegungen: (1) diagonal, (2)
orthogonal, (3) 'oblique'. Letzteres ist der
Springerzug. Zum Vergleich: In Xiangqi das Pferd-Zug ist orthogonal und dann
diagonal, warum das Pferd-Bewegung blockiert werden kann. So Xiangqi hat nur die
diagonale und orthogonale Bewegungen. Der Schachbauer hat bereits die
orthogonale und diagonale Bewegungen. Ich füge die oblique Bewegung. Der
Bauer kann nur auf die nächste Reihe vorrücken. Dies wird durch eine
diagonale, orthogonale oder oblique Zug durchgeführt. Also der Bauer kann
nun alle Arten von Bewegungen machen, ein Schritt nach vorn.
© M. Winther, 2012 April