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# o You choose the goal...

Chessence
by Stephen Sniderman


Chessence is intended to simulate the essential features of chess (including its complexity) but to eliminate some of its annoyances, such as memorized openings, one-sided contests, esoteric rules (like en passant, castling, and pawn promotion), and four-hour, 70-move battles ending in a draw.

Each round of Chessence starts from a position that neither player has ever seen before and which offers the first player over two dozen viable options. Regardless of the opening, it is rarely obvious until the very end which player has the advantage. In addition, the rules are extremely simple (even for someone unfamiliar with chess). But most important, each round moves inexorably toward a resolution, is completed in no more than 15 moves, cannot founder in repetitive positions, and will never, ever end in a tie, a draw, a stalemate, or any other indeterminate finale.


EQUIPMENT:.     To play, you will need the 16 non-pawn pieces in a chess set — two kings, two queens, four rooks, four bishops, and four knights — and one quadrant (4 x 4 section) of a checkerboard.

POWER OF THE PIECES:.    The pieces move and capture as in chess. To capture a piece means moving a piece onto a square occupied by a piece of the opposing color and removing that piece from the board.

  • The BISHOP moves and captures along the diagonal but not over an intervening piece.

  • The ROOK moves and captures along the row or column but not over an intervening piece.

  • The QUEEN moves and captures along the row, column, or diagonal but not over an intervening piece.

  • The KING moves and captures the distance of only one square in any direction.

  • The KNIGHT moves and captures two squares horizontally and one vertically (or vice-versa) over any intervening pieces.

  • Note:    Unlike standard chess, in Chessence you may capture a King or move it into position to be captured.


TO START:    Randomly place all 16 pieces on the board (without worrying about bishops on same-colored squares) and decide the (odd) number of rounds you will play. In the first round, either player names one of the objects listed below (or any other appropriate object). In subsequent rounds, the loser of the previous round chooses one of the remaining objects (or makes one up). The other player decides to play ODD or EVEN (taking the odd-numbered moves — 1, 3, 5, 7..., or even-numbered moves — 2, 4, 6, 8, etc.). ODD takes the first turn, and play alternates.

TO PLAY:     On each turn, a player must move one piece of either color to capture a piece of the opposing color. When no capturing move is available, that round of Chessence is over, and the winner is determined by the object chosen.
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POSSIBLE OBJECTS:

  1. ODD wins if the last piece captured is White. Otherwise, EVEN Wins.

  2. ODD wins if the last piece is captured from a red square. Otherwise, EVEN wins.

  3. ODD wins if the last piece is captured from a square in the top or bottom row. Otherwise, EVEN wins.

  4. ODD wins if either King is captured on EVEN'S turn. Otherwise, EVEN wins.

  5. ODD wins if, at the end of the round, there are an odd number of pieces on the board. Otherwise, EVEN wins.

  6. ODD wins if, at the end of the round, there are an odd number of White pieces on the board. Otherwise, EVEN wins.

  7. ODD wins if, at the end of the game, all the pieces left on the board are the same color. Otherwise, EVEN wins.

  8. ODD wins if the last two squares landed on are the same color. Otherwise, EVEN wins.

  9. ODD wins if the last two pieces captured are the same color. Otherwise, EVEN wins.

  10. ODD wins if the last piece captured is a higher rank than the second-to-last piece captured. (The King is the highest ranked piece, followed by the Queen, the Rook, the Bishop, and the Knight.) Otherwise, EVEN wins.


WINNING:    The first player to win more than half of the predetermined number of rounds is the winner of Chessence.




Chessence PUZZLES


Chessence puzzle set-up

WR = White Rook, BN= Black Knight, BQ = Black Queen,
BB= Black Bishop, WK = White King, WB = White Bishop,
WN = White Knight

Can you find the only move, from the start position shown above, that guarantees a win in each of the following cases?

PUZZLE #1.   EVEN wins if the last piece captured is White. EVEN to play and win.

PUZZLE #2.   EVEN wins if, at the end of the round, there are an odd number of Black pieces on the board. EVEN to play and win.

PUZZLE #3.   EVEN wins if the last piece moved in the round captures on a red square. EVEN to play and win.

PUZZLE #4.   EVEN wins if either King is captured on ODD's turn. EVEN to play and win.


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Shortcut to gamepuzzles homepage # The Life of Games
No. 2 (April 2000)
©2000 Kadon Enterprises, Inc.
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