Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Chess scenarios (1) - Cat's Away

This was inspired by the discussion with Dave yesterday at the adaptive action post. It's an alternative setup for chess, more or less a scenario. The story should be fairly clear.

For a more classical feel to the title, in French I'd offer Quelle Surprise, or even a risqué La Pénétration Sublime, reflecting the knight's bold breach of defences, in Latin maybe Coitus Interruptus. It is a union, an earthshaking one; two big symbols coming together.

But is it too coarse? For a game of murderous kingdoms, probably not, however elegant the system itself may be. We mostly accept it's better to make love than war, and there are big moral decisions to take in the first couple of moves, if not right the way through.

Any and all comments are welcome, especially on the balance of the forces, but also on what other games could be adapted along the lines of that discussion, and how exactly.


Dave G _ Nplusplus said...

Not knowing enough about the heavy theorycraft in chess.. I couldn't tell you who that scenerio helps.. I'm sure if it were analyzed, both sides would end up with similar amount of "good" moves, but maybe I'm wrong.

G said...

I used to like Chess until I started playing online and getting owned by russian teenagers

Porky said...

I don't play chess too often these days either, and I'm never as good a player as I am a student of the possibilities, and I'm not even an especially good student. Luckily chess is enough of a fixture that there's almost always later, and probably for most of us at least room for improvement.

So theorycraft is something I need help with too, but thinking wishfully it looks to me like it would take some hefty calculation or heavy play to prove the balance.

The basics we can see. The lone white knight can't move without removing a black piece, and will then likely be removed in turn, but white does at least get the choice of piece and where the chaos is sown. In return black's positioning can help put the pressure on early, but the player's hand is forced to some extent. This means the setup is likely to benefit or hinder a player who prefers particular tactics depending on the side of the board he or she takes.

Re balance again, in the absence of software or a supercomputer, playing often and switching sides should tease things out faster.

All that said, those basics do assume the queen will strike against the knight, and the loyalties of the bishop are not torn, and even that the white knight will choose to cause harm when attempting to escape. It assumes the players will play the way they're generally expected to, or rather the way they've likely been accustomed to playing.

The point of the scenario is less to offer an alternative setup that players are actually likely to use, and more to follow up that discussion under the adaptive action post, to see how far it's possible to bring out a narrative and move the game away from a logical mental exercise, towards something that draws on more of the players.