I would like to begin this article by explaining that what I am about to describe is not a “Chess Variant” in the conventional understanding. Of course, the following is indeed a “variation” of classical Chess, yet its function and purpose is one of “evolution”.
As such I regard Open_Sppej as a “system”, that is to say, an algorithm through which classical Chess may evolve.
Anyone who has been following my blog will know I have invented many Chess Variants and even conducted in depth studies into not only their own individual merits, but also into the wider field of Chess Variant design in general.
Amongst these essays are investigations into why the next evolution of Chess, as a world wide embraced phenomena, continues to elude even the greatest of players, whence still, even today, the international community merely continues to snail through an ancient played out game of sixty four squares.
Yet perhaps, as my own studies have finally led me to personally conclude, the next evolution of Chess is not a different game at all. Perhaps, one way or another, all the squares and pieces remain just as they always have been, all the ancient rules in tact and yet everything continues… in another yet more majestic reality.
Aye, recently in fact I proclaimed my Chess Variant, JepKnt, to be the “crown jewel” of all my good games. And indeed it still is.
But in truth, Chess itself is not looking for new pieces, or even more squares. We know this now. For after a century of pursuit we have to surrender to the continuing prevalence of evidence, that mankind and womankind, will not sacrifice the classical game.
And this is not least because, at the end of the day, we love all our Knights and all our other pieces of the board, just as they are and just as they always have been.
For herewith, what all Chess players and Chess itself both agree on, is that amidst all the seemingly impossible odds of an almost defeated challenge, the game itself must harbour the solution to this absolutely paradoxical conundrum… within its own biology.
Following 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.
Chess is like an Opera, The board a theatre, The pieces the performers, Yet the game has only just begun. Phantom to f4.
The centuries long search for the next evolution of Chess by Grandmasters and Chessicians alike has indeed proved itself a worthy adversary to even the greatest minds.
Yet perhaps this little wonder which has boggled so many for such a long time is and always has been staring us in the face. Laughing at us. Dancing around us unawares. Teasing us with possibilities but then never materialising to grant us its existence.
Indeed the “holy grail” that is the evolution of Chess may very well have driven many a player insane with torment.
Today however, I do believe that someone, who has lurked amongst the shadows of the Chess board for so many centuries, seems to have forgotten their cape.
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.
Siomega is played on a larger 100 square checkered board featuring two Wizard pieces and two extra Pawns. A traditional Chess set features a board of only 64 squares and there are no Wizard pieces or extra Pawns.
Thus in order to play Siomega one will have to acquire suitable equipment.
Luckily for us, a Wizard figurine does not have to actually feature a “Crescent Moon” in its physical design, for a Wizard may appear however a Wizard desires.
There are many Chess manufacturers selling “fairy” Chess pieces or sets, such as House Of Staunton, any of these can be used as a Wizard.
A good search of House Of Staunton website, for terms such as “variant” or “musketeer” often returns interesting results.
However, if you are looking for something more exquisitely crafted, you can’t afford not to browse Masters Games website, to see their beautiful Jester Chess sets.
These beautiful burnt wood Jester pieces are my all time favourite Wizard set and will always remain so.
With regards to checkered playing boards, of course 100 square checkered boards are not easy to find, but a good dedicated search of the interweb will often return at least some fruitful results.
Once again, our friends at Masters Games often have something suitable in that respect, such as this good selection and also various independent online artisans sometimes have such items for sale.
If you feel up to the challenge, design and make a Chess set yourself… even painted potatoes would serve their duty!
Of course a Chess board is much easier to make than actual Chess pieces, so why not make one to match? You do not need to be a carpenter to apply a bit of die to some marked out squares… so give it a try!
Good luck with your Chess hunting and if you know of a good source yourself, then feel free to post a link or two in the comments below.
The name “Siomega” gets its origins from the two words “Si” and “Omega”, in that the game is a blending of Omega Chess and the chessgnastics of “Si” Jepps.
The game of Siomega is played very similarly to Classical Chess, in fact it borrows all of the same pieces, only in Siomega we also play a little magic and borrow one more piece, the Omega Wizard.
I have always loved the Wizard, ever since I first heard of its invention by the great Daniel MacDonald. Indeed MacDonald’s Omega Chess, whilst a recipient of some criticism, is a fairly well designed game.
However, the “Champion” piece has never settled well with me and also I never could quite surrender to an extended 104 square board.
Yet the Wizard… what a marvelous piece.
Honestly, in the last twenty years of designing and constructing Chess variants, I have never witnessed such a beautiful piece. Its grace and wisdom the pure artistry of its creator.
In fact what may have never been mentioned before is a very magical trait I believe to have discovered about the Wizard.
I will describe its movement shortly, but when I do, be sure to observe its pattern. For if you look closely you will see, a crescent moon within its reach and a pointed star within its stride.
Here then is my final contribution to the Omega Chess conceptual variantism. Yet regard my game not as a final embracing of Omega Chess, but instead behold it as a toast unto the future.
For what I believe to have created here, is the answer to the Wizard’s dilemma. He knows he is meant to exist and he knows he was created to bring great joy unto the world.
Yet he doesn’t quite know his worthiness, for he exists only in a foreign land, born into an artificial world where his comrades and friends are likewise misplaced.
Siomega Chess is then, I believe, where the Wizard belongs.
This, my final salute to the ever turning, ever swirling chaotic pool of Chess Variant fanatiscism, is what I truly believe to be the Final Frontier Of Checkered Warfare.
Siomega Chess then, presents to you many wondrous yet easy to embrace, magical twists to the laws of the game, yet which whence applied rationally and logically, ignite with thunder the ultimate strategical conundrums of this ancient art.