As discussed often regarding one hundred square board variants, Opening play about this much larger arena is often observed to weaken the collective strength of Pawns, since vast spaces will grow between them reducing their ability to form defensive communities.
Yet perhaps what is more often overlooked, is the remedy within the individual player’s ability to adjust and adapt to a different style of play.
In actual fact, whence playing a 100sq variant such as Siomega, the most experienced players of such an arena will tell you, the secrets of defensive agility reside in the ability to play offensively yet at arms reach ~ recumbently so to speak, yet with a long distance catapult.
Indeed scholars of “Hedgehog” systems may find this article of particular interest.
The position described here on the right is one such example of recumbently advancing play.
The first thing you’ll notice when looking at this position is how few of the Pawns actually meet at the center.
Experience within the 100sq arena will teach you how advancing Pawns early actually weakens your defenses. This is because in the larger arena the distances between Pawns is much greater whence they begin to advance.
Whilst of course your opponent may choose to strike out as you choose to unfold your pieces slowly, in doing so he would only be opening up his own position and allowing holes to develop about his own defenses.
As such players begin to adopt a more defensive, or “passive” progression, developing one’s pieces closer to home at first, into a firmly structured and wisely kept timepiece, before only towards the middlegame striking out with fire and fury.
This is not to say there are not 100sq games featuring early attacks and long distance Pawn advances, no, for there are many of those. Yet it is important to acknowledge the wisdom found in keeping your army “close to thine ear”, whilst utilising your time to prepare a more fruitful encounter.
In the example position then, we see both players have played recumbently, arranging their men into a communal stance of opportunity and preparedness, keeping their Pawns closely knitted and communicating with each other whilst preventing the creation of vast open spaces about their defenses.
In this respect, the game is just as soundly in motion as a 64sq game, it is just that the moment of active exchange has not yet become the prominent characteristic.
Comparing the Black pieces with the White pieces, we notice White is moreso defensive than Black, who has a much more open position and is now beginning to engage his opponent.
The beauty beheld in games like these is found within the graceful language of the board itself.
Siomega Chess is not a game of kick and punch, it is a game of push and throw. Only whence one learns the language of the board will one defeat his opponent.
Pawns of course are the soul of any Chess game and so it should be noted that their conversation with the one hundred square arena is inevitably of a different character.
One such conversation is the early hand to hand combat found moreso in the 64sq game and less so in the 100sq game. This is not to say 100sq games are “boring” in fact far from it, for they present a completely different kind of conversation.
Yet whence playing Siomega, it is important to understand that “hand to hand combat” is somewhat more of a gradual crescendo, whereby the build up to “war” takes a more sensibly restrained path of progression.
Players instead prepare their defenses closer to home, only gradually striking out at the center, until eventually, after they have incrementally advanced their armies to a mutual point, do sporadic exchanges of battle take place.
Indeed one could say the 100sq game to be more “abstract”, but at its heart, the games are exceptionally rich in variation and whereby many, many different conversations take place during a single game.
A sixty four square game often takes the observer along a fairly ritually constructed path, the progression of play more or less anticipatory, with expected mating scenarios fulfilled in one way or another.
Yet whence games like Siomega, we find the audience within the very pieces with which we play, summoning a great festivity of variety and wonder all about the board, from beginning unto end.
Furthermore of course, the Pawn in Siomega may actually move sideways a maximum of one square, but only if the file moved to is vacant of other friendly Pawns and providing the Pawn itself has not yet passed the center of the board.
The reason for this unique rule is because it serves as remedy to the fact that 100 square boards weaken the collective strength of Pawns, since vast spaces will grow between them reducing their ability to form defensive communities.
Enabling a Pawn to move sideways one square, provides a counter balance to the impediment of the 100sq arena, in that it enables Pawns to re-establish a realm of control over the newly found vacant spaces about their community infrastructure.
Siomega hopes to have replenished this diminishment of early engagement with these newfound rules of the sideways Pawn. Allowing the Pawn to move this way not only enables the solid occupation of vast open spaces and increased interconnected defenses, but it considerably improves the active engagement of hand to hand combat during the Opening and Middlegame.
Thus in summary, we will have learned how Chess on a one hundred square board is actually exceptionally more fascinating than first meets the eye and especially so whence the rules of the particular variant itself substantially improve the fundamental mechanics of the game.
Welcome to Siomega.
Siomega Chess © Simon Jepps