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  1.  Atomic Chess Theoreticians
  2. Forum
  3. Let's Switch to a Different Starting Position

Hey, that decremental underpromotion rule killed the qf5=n type threats !

@FischyVishy Yes, we should choose one of the 960 positions. Not all positions.

Shame, the rules were just on the end of the page, so people clicking on the link will not see it. I worked on the formatting so much so I repeat them in the start of the page:

In promotion atomic pawns promote normally, but non pawn pieces you can promote on every move incrementally: B -> N -> R -> Q or underpromote decrementally: Q -> R -> N -> B or leave the piece unchanged. Promotion to king is not allowed and of course the king cannot be underpromoted to an other piece either.

All legal moves of atomic are also legal in promo.

1. Nf3=N is ok ( normal move )
1. Nf3=R is ok ( incremental promotion )
1. Nf3=B is ok ( decremental underpromotion )
1. Nf3=Q is NOT ok ( promotion, but not incremental: leaves out the R step )

On castling you can promote the rook:

O-O=R is ok ( normal move )
O-O=Q is ok ( incremental promotion )
O-O=N is ok ( decremental underpromotion )
O-O=B is NOT ok ( underpromotion, but not decremental: leaves out the N step )

I have played atomic 960 and for my surprise it was more balanced than what I initially though. But at the same time I think that changing the original chess set up would be very bad in terms of promoting atomic chess (even if the position is initially balanced).

I honestly think that it's possible to implement the rule that the kings can explode when connected being draw will save the game and solve all the problems (even when i know that one interesting part in atomic are the endgames, but the current problem atomic chess had is the opening).

Anyway I would introduce some changes in the rating system to give black more weight.

Personally I would have both variants separate, atomic and atomic 960.

Yes. Those 1800-1900 s spamming nf3 e3 are killing the game.

Is the only argument against picking a 960 starting position that the new position would seem alien to people and make them discard it? It's already a variant; if people don't want to play a variant because of the starting position, that seems quite weird to me.

So you want to make it so that the two kings cannot touch? Would that really solve all of the problems?

Introducing a Black advantage in the rating system is a) incredibly hard to code b) still admits to not having solved the problem and c) more alien than starting with a different starting position.

In fact, more philosophically, it makes zero sense to start with the orthodox chess starting position for different variants. It is claimed that the orthodox chess starting position is the best of all 960 starting positions (a claim that is quite contentious, I have to say, even though I find that there is some harmony in the orthodox chess starting position), but why would that be the case for other variants, such as atomic, 3+, etc.? It's not, and, TBH, I don't think the historical connection makes sense when we're talking about variants whose play suffers due to the starting position.

Take 3+ for example. I can't consider it a serious variant until we pick a new starting position, and that is exactly what I do in my upcoming book. I wanted the starting position to be playable, but the deeper I delved, the more unplayable it became. Run a quick comp analysis on some 50 3+ starting positions - I can almost assure you that none of them will have a higher White advantage than the orthodox chess one.

@jatekos Very interesting variant - I encourage you to pursue it further, but it's off-topic and you should create another thread for it.

One of my biggest concerns is precise that the starting position being different would be harder to promote even in other servers apart from lichess just because what you said Fischy.

Maybe I didn't explain myself well, the kings can be connected but then is possible the move king takes king and the game ends in a draw, I think this solves black's problems because even when he gets a worst position the drawing chances are high. The bad side of this is that it will be harder to win with both colours and maybe will make the game drawish.

@FischyVishy
We should immediately switch to one of those 960 positions.
Can we make a series of studies to analyze all 960 positions and take the most balanced one ?

@onubense
So Kings can take each other or one king can explode both kings at the same time.

@jatekos
You have made a Promo Atomic Server and implemented ratings and stuff.
Why don't you create another server for that specific starting position ? (idk if this is hard)

Thank you

It's a difficult topic. There are so many different solutions that players end up arguing about it and none of them get the required momentum! My thoughts and a rough order from the most to least desirable in my opinion:

1) Black has the option to switch sides after white's first move.
I like this option. It discourages players from going for a critical first move and allows us to keep the starting position the same.

2) A new (balanced) starting position.
I think players would get used to the position eventually, by which time it would be good. But how to determine what it is? Cue more arguing and disagreements :)

3) Players place their back rank themselves (first 8 moves).
I think this is an interesting option when talking about random type positions. At least this way players have some kind of control and black can react to white's placements.

4) Atomic 960.
Lots of the positions are very good for white, although they'll be very difficult to play critically due to unexpected tactical resources specific to each case. Anyway, the fact a lot of position will be objectively +- bothers me.

5) Allow kings to be exploded together for a draw.
This would help black, but it does that by increasing the draw margin rather than increase black's winning chances. Much weaker white players can still go 1.Nf3 2.e3 (or other critical lines) and black is no more likely to win the game than he is now.

6) Change rating system
It's both difficult to implement and encourages white players to play the most critical lines possible.

2,3,5 can be good imo. 6 would be great but hard to implement so nevermind.
2 would be especially great because of the great amount of theory that will probably be crafted after the implementation.

I don't know if this was suggested at other places... but I really like the idea of players setting their backrank! like, for all variants that would be interesting

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