The Phantom Of The Chess Board

The Phantom Chess Piece By Simon Jepps
Phantom

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.

Elusive, aren’t they, Phantoms?

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Siomega’n Openings & Pawnspace

Siomega Chess by Simon Jepps
Black plays 14… h6.
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.

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10×10 Checkered Boards & Pieces

Siomega Chess by Simon Jepps
Siomega Chess by Simon Jepps featuring Masters Games Jester Chess pieces
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.

» Blogroll : Siomega

Siomega ~ The Crescendo Of Modern Chess

Introduction

Siomega Chess by Simon Jepps
Siomega Chess by Simon Jepps
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.

Please… enjoy.

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Jeppscotch Chalkboards

Jeppscotch ChalkboardsI personally find the portable chalkboard to be the perfect accompaniment to Jeppscotch.

Whilst one may always have their dice and chalk to hand, there is not always an ideal location or environment in which to play matches.

Besides there is so much more one can create with a chalkboard than say for example, a Chess board, and it is for this reason I will always favour Jeppscotch over any other game.

There are numerous companies manufacturing and selling chalkboards of various sizes and these can be found all over the world wide web.

Most of these companies have a storefront within the Amazon network, so get over there and grab one today!

Wizardry & Follying ~ AI, Droidfish & Other Apps

Droidfish Analysis Screenshot
A screenshot of Droidfish Chess engine for Android
In time to come we hope a Chess computer of sorts will be available which is capable of processing Wizardry and Follying algorithms.

Whilst at this time there is none such computer, YllwChlk does have at least a solution of a kind.

Personally, I employ Droidfish for recreational, analytical and publishing use. It is a very good Chess engine with numerous features and even a selection of interface themes.

When playing Chess against Droidfish, it is possible to incorporate Wizardry and Follying by a method of intervention in its computational processes.

It is not exactly a solution, since Droidfish does not actually compute these new rules, but it does allow the player to compute them on behalf and thus assert a continuum of play.

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