In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.
And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
A brief history of how I saved the most beautiful game on Earth, with a new law called Follying.
God spoke to me when I was a child and we’ve been playing Chess ever since.
Many, many years ago, a very sad thing happened to me. I was playing Chess in the Frome Congress and I was losing two games down with three to go. This isn’t a terrible thing in itself, for a 3 point win now would make all the world of difference.
But it wasn’t the tournament that upset me. It was the game. I was playing a blind man as it happened and although we were even on the board, all of a sudden half way through the game, my mind just stopped.
I’ve seen this all before, I thought. I see this everyday.
Yet these familiar Openings and positions weren’t to be the cornerstone of any success on my part… instead they would prove to be the beginning of a twenty year long battlefield between myself and the stagnation of a stubborn game that refused to change its colours.
For that was precisely it. I had seen this game too many times before.
Invent a new game, I thought, or create another piece. Yes, of course and I suppose that would require a bigger board.
Try 9×9… 10×8… no, no… 10×10… hmm… I know 16×12… oh wait hang on…
You would think it quite easy just to invent a new piece and thence place it on the board. Well, if you think it is, go ahead and give it a try.
Of course, then you have to get most people to like and play it… else why invent it in the first place?
Yet believe me when I say… nobody ever has. For even as the centuries pass, humankind will not sacrifice the sixty four square board.
Twenty years passed and I had exhausted every single atom in my brain with new concepts and designs.
Every single game, every single piece… days upon days upon days upon days of algorithm after algorithm after algorithm after algorithm…. it just won’t die!
God damn you and your perfect square! What is the EQUATION to the Chess evolution?
I really loved the 8×8… no really… it was… a perfect… square. It always has been perfect, the proportions in sacred keeping with the geometries of the game.
Then one day, after launching Missionary Chess to my public blog, I was reminiscing over some beautiful Italian Chess boards. These of course were your standard sixty four squares, since nobody makes many others… only once in a blue moon.
And it struck me like a thunder bolt of lightning straight from the hand of Galileo.
Nirvana, a little seaside town at the top of my head, just near to that other little place called the brain… spoke.
“Chess”, spoke the waters unto the land, “isn’t missing a new piece… it is yearning for a new law”.
Of course, I thought… staring wide eyed at the board… the Follying, I thought… I can’t believe my eyes… that’s… a million new pieces… already… on… the… board!
The Law Of The Folly
Follying, or; to Folly, is a special move I invented for Missionary Chess, a 10×8 variant of the Classical game. Yet here the same principles have been adjusted and reworked to revolutionise the Classical sixty four square game.
Follying, as herewith administered into Classical Chess, remedies the deterioration of Opening Theses, provides numerous starting variations and furthermore, creates the placebo of a new seventh piece from the now greatly evolved manners of the existing pieces.
I will first explain its method and then provide an example of an Opening study utilising the technique.
Please note the diagram on the right, also shown earlier in this post. It may look vaguely familiar. Indeed it is the Giuoco Piano, but wait… there is a Knight on f8!
I will now explain how this position arose.
Follying, or; to Folly, is the practise of relocating any Knight or Bishop to the home square of its adjacent piece, during the first move of its adjacent piece vacating.
A Knight has one square option to Folly, which is the adjacent Bishop square.
A Bishop has two square options to Folly, one is the adjacent Knight square and the other is the adjacent King or Queen square.
The King and Queen may not Folly themselves, but their home square may be Follied into when they vacate.
The relative flankside Rook must still be at home in order to Folly on that side.
The Rooks may not Folly because they provide the framework or “right of way” through the Folly. Thus once the related flankside Rook has moved, one may not Folly to that side of the board.
For example, a King’s Rook must remain unmoved to Folly Kingside and a Queen’s Rook must remain unmoved to Folly Queenside.
Thus you may still Folly if you have Castled, providing the other Rook has not yet moved.
Follying works on a first move basis.
Neither pieces involved during the Follying may have yet moved. Both the piece vacating and the adjacent piece Follying must have been previously unmoved, awaiting their first turn ~ and the relative flankside Rook must likewise have remained unmoved.
Only the adjacent piece may Folly.
For example, since the Knight is adjacent to the Bishop, when we move our Bishop for the first time, we may also move the adjacent Knight to the Bishop’s home square, in the same turn of it vacating.
Similarly a Bishop to a Knight square. In fact the worry of creating identical square bound Bishops is only trivial, for a Bishop may thence relocate to the Queen’s square when she vacates, or even the King’s square.
These examples, providing neither of these pieces have yet moved, are all legal.
As mentioned earlier, the respective flankside Rook must not yet have moved, otherwise a Player may no longer Folly on that side.
The King’s Rook has domain of the King’s pieces and the Queen’s Rook has domain of the Queen’s pieces.
As long as the relative flankside Rook remains unmoved, and of course the pieces to Folly have not yet moved, then a player may still Folly.
This brings us to Castling operations. These are actually quite simple and do not break any existing rules.
Follying is the only legal moment a player may Castle Kingside when the King’s Bishop has not yet moved.
This is because each piece involved in the Folly is moving to a vacant square. The King assumes g8/1, the Bishop then assumes e8/1 and the Rook assumes f8/1.
Whilst a topic of discussion, this is nevertheless the official rule of Follying.
Each piece involved in a Folly must move to a vacant square.
Thus a Queen and Bishop may not “switch places”, since a vacant square is required to Folly. The Queen, just like the King, must move elsewhere for the Bishop to assume her vacated square.
When Castling Queenside, since the Queen’s Bishop may only Folly to the Queen’s square and not the King’s square, the rank’s way must be clear for the King as is the common law of Classical Chess.
Thus, only the King’s Bishop may Folly when Castling.
Here then, when Castling Queenside, you could Folly your King’s Bishop from f1 unto e1 in the same turn, providing the Queen’s Rook has not yet moved for the Castling and that the King’s Rook has not yet moved for the Follying.
To notate a Folly, we merely write the move as per usual, but putting the Follied piece in brackets afterwards. For example, as a very first move of a game, we could write, 1. Nf3(B).
Only one piece may Folly, per turn.
This is a very useful tool.
It enables several things which improve the dimensions of Chess strategy. Amongst these are uncountable new variations on historic Opening Theses, a vast scope of fortification designs, exceptionally interesting variations of piece development and also new reserve tactical manoeuvres should an Opening suddenly present unsavoury surprises.
We can already begin to imagine how exponentially historic Opening studies will now begin to grow when integrating this new practise of Follying into the algorithms.
So without further ado, let us look at one such Opening.
English 1. c4 e5
This is perhaps one of the most well known Openings and is employed regularly by many Grandmasters.
It is not only a sound Opening in itself, if used correctly, but can be transposed into many other Openings by tweaking the gears. As such, it is often employed by players who wish to surprise their opponent by transfiguring their style mid battle.
Let us look at the first six most common moves.
1. c4 e5 2. Nc3 Nf6 3. Nf3 Nc6 4. g3 Bb4 5. Bg2 O-O 6. O-O e4
Black can respond with a full arsenal of variations, but for a case of study we will assume this line.
Without delving too deeply, the main motivation behind Black’s responses in this variation, is to push his e5 Pawn deep into White’s defence. Thus onto e4 and so forth.
4… Bb4 is an irritating dig from Black, attempting to double up White’s Pawns through an exchange on c3.
Unfortunately, keeping a leash on Black and preventing an e4 advance is not always easy for White, especially whilst also juggling with Bb4.
Perhaps we can address this Opening from a different angle…
Now, let us look at this variation of the English again, only this time where White employs not one, but TWO Follies.
1. c4 e5 2. Nc3(B) Nf6 3. d3 Nc6 4. e3 Bb4 5. Ne2 O-O 6. O-O(B) d5
A subtle, but game changing position.
Not only does White now master control of e4, but by utilising 6. O-O(B) respectively, he has remedied the irritating issue of an exchange on c3.
How the game develops from here is entirely in the observer’s hands.
Yet what this demonstrates is that even if only one piece were Follied, an entire Opening becomes a chorus of other worldly flutes.
As mentioned earlier, Follying, or; to Folly, is a special move I invented for Missionary Chess, a 10×8 variant of the Classical game.
Yet since its creation, it dawned on me just recently how this special function of Missionary Chess could actually remedy the dying popularity of Classical Chess.
Dying? Yes, in fact the Classical sixty four square game has been anticipating an unsavoury fate since 1925, when World Champion José Capablanca first proclaimed, that in a hundred years time, due to stagnation and exhaustion of studies, the game will have been played out.
Hailing in the era of the Chess Variant space race.
So let’s cut to the chase and win the space race. You will find I have written extensively about it already in my blog.
As a man who has spent twenty years studying, writing and creating Chess Variants, I can testify, and from extensive personal observations to the letter, that the world will not sacrifice the sixty four square board.
And so I give you… The Law Of The Folly.
“Chess isn’t missing a new piece… it’s yearning for a new law.”
Chess Follying © Simon Jepps