lichess.org

Board Size Variants... What are They, and Can We Bring Them Online?

Hey y'all,

I've recently become very interested in playing chess variants where the board size is altered to either 10x8, 10x9, 10x10, or even 12x8... etc. I've played a few games like this with a makeshift board (which I printed) at home. Most interesting, I think, are the variants that do not use new kinds of pieces (like Capablanca chess), but instead either use the same starting position, or add extra knights/bishops/rooks/pawns, done in such a way as to maintain as much of a "normal" chess feel, except with some extra space and pieces.

What is so interesting about these kinds of variants is that they don't feel to crazy or different - all the same tactical and strategic motifs still apply, and there doesn't seem to be much new tactical/strategic motifs to learn. This I think is a major plus (as with 960) - the way the game plays is extremely similar to ordinary chess. There are two major differences:

1. The game is WAY more complicated. More squares and more pieces = way more opportunities for calculation and tactical brilliance. Instead of just playing on the kingside/queenside/center, there are so many places on the chessboard where individual little battles can break out. There is so much more unpredictability and so much more excitement.

2. Openings aren't as important, but still can follow a lot of the same patterns as ordinary chess. Since the pieces are often still in the same order on the backrank as in ordinary chess, the opening doesn't feel so foreign (contrast with 960). However, precision isn't as important in the opening, because the games always become insanely tactical, given the extra pieces and squares.

I, however, and just an amateur, and don't know if these changes would be reproduced at the highest level. One can hope, though!


And finally, here's why I'm sharing this with you (besides the fact that I think it is interesting): I desperately want to be able to play this on a computer. Does anybody know of any sites that support this EXACT kind of variant that I described above? If not, is anybody interested in trying to create one? Maybe using open-source lichess code (similar to lidraughts.org)? Obviously this is more likely to remain a dream than to become a reality, but I thought I would ask to see if anyone else is interested in the idea, or has to expertise to help out with the project. Perhaps also lichess admins and coders would be interested in deploying to lichess.org, but I know they are already super super busy and hesitant to add new features because of all the maintenance/support they require.

Thanks for Reading!
Shark

Well, I don't know how to make a 10x10 or 12x8 boards but I know the game of ''chess'' in them will be very interesting!

@FiLoX Thanks - That is super helpful actually. I don't know if that app lets you play with other people online though - will have to check it out. It definitely looks promising!

@CreativeThinking I've watched a few videos on Quantum Chess - the thing I don't like about it is that it is basically impossible to play in real life, unless you have a third party using a random-number generator or something. And even then, its nearly impossible to keep track of the piece probabilities. Btu it definitely is interesting.

@FiLoX Yeah I might have to do that. Thanks again!

@CreativeThinking Ok, fair enough. I guess Part of my motivation for pursuing board-size variants is because I'm fed up with 8x8 chess at the highest level (because of how, in the age of computers, safe, solid play is rewarded and many games end in draws), but also don't think 960 is necessarily the way forward. Board size variants seem like an interesting solution. Quantum chess, though fun and interesting as a variant, I don't think has any real chance of supplementing or overtaking 8x8 chess on the highest level. That's not to say it isn't worth having on a site like lichess, but its not my top priority.

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