JepKnt ~ The Jepps Knight ~ A Chess Piece


JepKnt LogoFollowing a good but somewhat concise educational introduction into the history of Chess Variantism, I will herewith present unto you my “Crown Jewel” in the library of Jepps Chess Variants.

There is a rumour about the world. That rumour is of Chess. It has been said that Chess is both living and dying, evolving and yet devolving. It has been said, Chess is approaching an event horizon, of its next generational fate.

Aye, it is known, Grandmasters of the world agree, Chess will either change for the better of us all, or become merely an old fashion of the intellectual.

The first official promotion of an evolution of Chess was proposed in 1925 by the World Champion Jose Capablanca. He explained how exhaustive studies of Classical Chess will eventually lead to the stagnation of a played out game, prompting a need for it to evolve.

He was and still is, absolutely right.

However in the last century since those words were spoken, Grandmasters and Chessicians alike have been beginning to realise how actually making this “one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”, truly is on par with landing on the Moon.

As I have written previously, the evolution of Chess is bound by its very own nature of peace and must therefore already harbour the answer to our prayers within its very own natural design.

See ~ : An Understanding Of Mission Design

In my continuing efforts, I hope to shed some light on a universal paradox, which every famous historic master such as Capablanca, Fischer and Seirawan, have tried to address and remedy in their own fantastically creative ways.

You see, the remaining puzzle is why Chess remains a 64 square game, when it is a world wide acknowledged fact that the Classical game needs to evolve. Not only for grandmasters, but for novices alike.

If we know the game must evolve… and we know why… then how can it be that we still can’t evolve it?

Chessician: noun; an enlightened or master Chess player, yet who’s expertise field of study is more focussed on related subjects such as alternative Chess variants, the inner mechanics of Chess games in general and the ludology of other related board game histories.

I consider myself to be a Chessician. In fact it was myself who invented the term to give some kind of definition to a player who, amidst the disposition of existence which denies him the fruition of competition he so desires, is actually a masterfully creative player with the ability to demonstrate profound discoveries in variational Chess mechanics.

For in truth I tell you, after decades of attempting to solve the paradox of Chess’ next evolution and of so many years’ pain from its emotional challenges, it is an irrefutable premise to proclaim:

Whence thou challenges the evolution of Chess, thou challenges the eternal soul of Chess itself.

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About The JepKnt

JepKnt LogoThe JepKnt, or “Jepps Knight”, is a fantastic new creation which overwhelmingly increases the strategical possibilities and enjoyment of Chess ~ and yet which does not even alter the existing function, appearance or inventory of the game.

The JepKnt is a dynamic modification of the Classical Knight.

As I have explained many times in my Chess Variant writings, it is practically impossible to evolve Chess in a way which increases the size of the board, includes additional pieces or alters the standard Classical rules.

Oh of course, there are many popular Chess Variants which do this… thousands in fact!

Yet as is the predominant occuring theme of my blog, the next evolution of Chess, as an accepted and worldly embraced eventuality, continues to elude even the greatest of Grandmasters.

That is to say, we still continue to play a 64 square game under the classical historic conditions.

Here today whence describing unto the reader my creation, the “JepKnt”, it must be understood I am doing so with the personal conviction that my invention harbours the solution to this ancient paradox.

Whilst I do not expect every player in the world to drop their lifelong pursuit of Classical Chess after reading this article, I do on a personally devotional level, feel this piece to be the solution to my own lifelong pursuit of Chess Variantism.

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Remedying The Board

Here then let us look at the Chess board. It is a Classical board, with all the regular pieces, standard competition rules and continuum of historic applaud.

Yet we also have a Chess library. It is a Classical library, with all the regular pieces, standard competition rules and continuum of historic discord.

That’s right, I wrote “discord”.

First Remedy

Throughout history in fact, new rules were continuously invented, some in fact which at the time of suggestion sounded somewhat akin to sorcery and were strictly disputed by master players.

Yet such rules included many of those we play today, such as En Passant, two square advancing Pawns, King Side Castling and even timed play.

These rules have eventually been embraced by our modern world because it is felt they improve the gameplay in many ways, particularly so during the Opening.

It is the Opening which has continued to cause “discord” amongst Chess players and those who thence desire an evolution of the game.

You will often hear people exclaim how there are uncountable Opening strategies and defences, right from the very first move of the game.

This in reality is not only an overstatement, but irritatingly far from the truth.

Granted there are a total of 20 possible first moves alone… and well, you can do the maths. But in reality only a handful of these are actually worth one’s time and sanity to pursue.

Whilst it is expected for a novice to learn the atomic structure of these 4 or 5 text book Openings, if we really consider the beneficial appeal to this, we will find a cascading drop of interest. For in truth, the diverse “creativity” of the Chess Opening can only be wholeheartedly embraced if one art of exceptional intellectual ability.

Yet, if we were to simply increase the number of playable Openings by even one or two, to 6 or 7, thence the increased creative diversity available would reach the eyes and ears of many more players, particularly those of the lesser intellectual group who are yearning for more directly identifiable routes of creative Opening choices.

Whilst the average club player will never reach international stardom, that is not the wholehearted reason he or she plays. One plays Chess to enjoy the adventure of a recreationally creative pursuit.

The additional movement characteristics of the JepKnt bring to Chess an exponentially greater diversity of creativity in Opening routes, tactics and strategies. As will be described, simply the purest of modifications herewith made to the Classical Knight’s beloved footstep opens up a whole new world of Chess Opening, Middlegame and Endgame dynamics.

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Second Remedy

Perhaps the most significant problem discovered whence modern scholars interpreted all the historic accounts of Chess studies and competition play, is how the Knight piece is unequally designed in relation to its comrades.

Oh beautiful yes, naturally perfect in its movement, yes, but whence the game draws to a finale and itself must command the game’s fate, it suddenly feels agoraphobic, small and weak amidst an intimidating open arena, surrounded by an enemy of pieces that were once upon a time on an equal footing.

In concise terms, the standard Knight becomes weaker as the game progresses, due to the increased space which must be covered, whilst pieces such as the Bishop, remain undisturbed by the change in terrain.

As will be explained, the JepKnt, whilst remaining a standard Knight, does harbour an increased range or “footprint” and whilst this range does not permit a transit of the entire board, it certainly increases the creativity of routes available for it to do so.

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Third Remedy & More…

Aside from the limited selection of creative Opening strategies, there are other issues with the Classical sixty four square game.

  • Lack of flank Openings.
  • Berlin Defence Queen exchange.
  • Blocked in or “bad” Bishops.
  • Opposing fianchettos.
  • Frequency of draws amongst masters.

All of these are discussed in more detail in An Understanding Of Mission Design.

The JepKnt brings varying remedial opportunity to all these problems, most significantly regarding Flank Openings and the mitigation of Bad Bishops. Regarding the Berlin defence, whilst its standard line remains the same, there are now other kinds of routes to explore. Similarly the Opposing Fianchetto is also remedied, although somewhat controversially, through the possibility of a Fianchetto’d Knight.

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The Way Of The JepKnt

JepKnt LogoWhence looking at a Classical Chess Knight we can immediately see how it is the only figurine with a prominently described face, direction of orientation and aesthetic personality about the board.

The creation of the JepKnt was passionately founded on these beautiful characteristics.

Many times I gazed upon a Knight and wondered what secrets it was hiding. It knew I was intrigued and throughout my life it has, in a way, been teaching me of a magic it was keeping, guarded safely by its hooves.

Indeed that secret is found deep within the horse’s gaze and yet guarded powerfully by its feet.

Here then, I will describe the way of the “Jepps Knight”.

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How The JepKnt Moves

JepKnt Movement Diagram
Here are two JepKnts orientated in different directions. White is orientated North, whilst Black is orientated South West. Both these Knights move as per usual but White may also move to f7 and Black may also move to b2. Only the square to which a JepKnt faces is granted optionally to its regular movement.
Whence employing the Knight about the board, by pure natural being, it will “face” in a certain direction. This unique “positioning” by a player is sometimes psychological, or purely by chance, yet nevertheless it is a striking aesthetical feature of the game.

The JepKnt is likewise, a Classical Knight who’s orientation can be independently determined as it is employed about the board.

This unique “orientation” is the key to how a JepKnt moves.

Thus, a JepKnt is a standard Knight, yet which may also move to the nearest square it faces.

For example, a Knight on a central square facing straight towards the Opponent’s side may also move one square directly forwards.

These “orientations” for discussion purposes, are hereby referred to as “North, East, South & West”, whereby the diagonal orientations are referred to as “North East, South East, South West & North West”.

Inevitably they are all abbreviated as “N, NE, E, SE, S, SW, W & NW”.

“North” is always identified as facing towards the Opponent from the observer’s perspective.

However, actual notation is much easier to digest.

Whenever a player moves his Knight, he or she must orientate its facing to be beneficial to their position, and then notate the square it faces in brackets, along after its move, if recording the game.

For example, if White’s first move was to move his King’s Knight to f3 and orientate it towards the square e4, this move would be notated as “Nf3 (e4)“.

Immediately then, the standard Opening lines of every Opening study ever undertaken become a completely new cosmological wonder. If the square e4 is now protected by a Knight on f3… thence now only God could intervene!

The range of the JepKnt is then only very marginally increased, by one square.

Yet it is irrevocable how even this very small adjustment to the piece in question, immeasurably increases the number of mathematical algorithms to be found in the Opening and indeed, throughout the whole game.

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First Choices

At the beginning of every game the Knight’s orientation has not yet been declared. Indeed, we could say that all Knights face forwards, or we could say that all Knights face towards the King, etc, etc.

However since this would require imposing unnecessary additional pre-game annotations and since we are all individual, at the beginning of the game a players’ JepKnts may face in any direction the player desires.

Here then, the JepKnt’s Opening movement is decided by one wholly encompassing rule for both players when the game starts.

That rule is as follows:

Before a Knight has made its first move, it has the choice of moving to any of the three Pawn squares directly forwards from its standing.

We assume the orientation of a “forwards march”, making the squares a2, b2, c2a7, b7, c7f2, g2, h2…. and f7, g7, h7… the three said Pawn squares.

Providing one of these squares is vacant, a JepKnt may move into it whence making its first move, regardless of its physical orientation.

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It is of course very important to write down your Knight’s orientation whence recording its move.

Whence making a JepKnt move, if no orientation is notated down, thence we assume the Knight to be facing naturally Northwards. This is because if no conscious effort was made to notate its orientation, then we can assume the player moving was not consciously asserting any orientation upon his Knight. In this instance the Knight would most likely be facing due North.

Thus to recap, JepKnt “orientations” for discussion purposes, are hereby referred to as “North, East, South & West”, whereby the diagonal orientations are referred to as “North East, South East, South West & North West”.

Inevitably they are all abbreviated as “N, NE, E, SE, S, SW, W & NW”.

“North” is always identified as facing towards the Opponent from the observer’s perspective.

However, actual notation is much easier to digest.

Whenever a player moves his Knight, he or she must orientate its facing to be beneficial to their position, and then notate the square it faces in brackets, along after its move, if recording the game.

For example, if White’s first move was to move his King’s Knight to f3 and orientate it towards the square e4, this move would be notated as “Nf3 (e4)“.

In summary:

A JepKnt’s orientation is always notated unto the square it faces.

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Whence studying the diagrams found in this article, one will find Knights to feature small arrows by their square to identify their orientation.

I have used arrows in this article only as an educational aid to make JepKnt orientation easier to understand.

Yet if this were an internationally recognised Chess Variant, which of course I hope one day it will be, the actual pictographical representation for this would more likely be a small line, or dot, about the Knight’s standing.

Thus in future JepKnt articles, readers of this blog will see diagrams more in keeping with this simplification of pictographical language.

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JepKnt English Opening
In this English Opening example we can see that White’s JepKnt faces NE and Black’s JepKnt faces SE. Whilst the c4 Pawn could benefit from a North facing, White’s NE face here provides defence to the d4 square allowing more freedom of movement to his center Pawns. Similarly whilst Black’s e5 Pawn could benefit from extra support, Black’s tactic is to fend off any Bg5 pin.
As mentioned, the primary differential about tactics is found in the Knight’s enhanced relationship with Pawns.

Players now have the opportunity to provide additional defensive measures to Pawns in ways that completely reshape the progression and theme of the Opening.

Yet other benefits include things like fending off an early pin against your King or Queen. By orientating your Knight NE or NW, diagonally forwards towards the edge of the board, you prevent a Bishop landing diagonally adjacent to it and thus pinning your Knight against the crown jewels.

Yes, this common Knight pin is regarded as an almost sacred thesis in Chess Opening mechanics. But let’s face it, they aren’t always welcome.

Besides, this bread and butter Bishop strategy is almost always supportable with a Knight of its own, using the regular method. For example, in the diagram shown above, White could still pin Black’s Knight with Bg5 as per usual, providing he also plays Nf3 to support it.

Furthermore, those die hards amongst my readers who would wish I leave this pin to be, will be pleased to hear of course that, since a JepKnt is only enhanced by a single square, that this defensive orientation may be a lesser worthy choice than say, providing support to a central, doubled or even backward Pawn.

Here then, and speaking of backward Pawns, any good fan of Bird’s Opening will know, the King’s Pawns are extremely vulnerable to a professional opponent and must then be guarded firmly. A JepKnt on f3 however, if orientated SE to defend g2, or even just S to cover the vacated f2, remedies a weakness in this otherwise much cherished Opening.

Finally of course, when it comes to delivering the final ultimatum, we have some wondrous remedies for that also.

Whilst a JepKnt could not be said to deliver Check all by itself, that is in fact only purposefully in sacred keeping with Classical Chess ~ for no piece ever can.

Hence behold its mighty prowess and yet reserved majesty, for if its friendship and companionship is earned well by a righteous master… you would believe its hooves to be immortal.

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An Eternal Soul

JepKnt LogoIn the end, as they say, all good things come to those who wait.

I waited for what must be decades, pondering and wondering, gazing over and over again into those horse’s eyes, clenching my fists with rage and yet – each time pausing – remembering that the answers to my prayers, however distant they may seem, are kept tightly in that firm grasp.

To bash my fists in anger may only damage that which they are meant to protect.

And so I walked my homeland and spoke personally with the horses. I fed them apples and groomed their manes.

I always knew the answer would be found amongst the horses. Yet their spiritual mystery always played the joker. For what possible magic could there be or need there be to make Chess a better sport?

Aye, whilst I knew the horse could reveal what its hooves were hiding, I couldn’t yet speak the same language. For its gaze, yet beautiful and dazzling, poetic and mysterious, was only a teasing charm to distract me from its sacred foothold ~ and the treasure beneath its feet.

Some say horses are telepathic.

I wouldn’t be surprised.

Blogroll : JepKnt

JepKnt Chess © Simon Jepps

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