Thursday 5 July 2018

Combined Arms

Normally I do not collect chess sets, or take chess variants too seriously, so of course my wife brought me a present that combined the two. ChessPlus is a new game* developed in Australia, which allows you to combine the power of pieces.
The rules are the same as normal chess with a couple of exceptions. A piece can move onto a square occupied by a piece from the same side, and the two pieces can be joined together, with the power of both pieces. A piece that has been combined can similarly be split by moving one half of the piece away. And finally, a pawn that gets to the end of the board is promoted to a queen, even if it is part of a combined piece.
While I haven't really play tested the game as yet, a couple of things spring to mind. 1.Rja2 (where j stands for 'joins with') might be a useful first move, as would 1.Rjg1 or 1.Rjb1. Secondly, Rook and Pawn endings would be pretty straight forward, although the game may not last that long. And finally, as every piece (except the King) can be combined with another, I'm wondering what the deadliest combination actually is (Q+N is obvious, but is it powerful enough against other combined pieces). If I have the time, a computer simulation may be in order.

(* veterans of the ACT junior chess scene may realise that this came is similar to Cusak chess, invented by Ben Cusak)

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