# Thread: Introduce a random element to chess..?

1. Order of Kilopi
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## Introduce a random element to chess..?

Chess is like a game of war, with the players being the kings who command all their armies, but in a real war there are random events; the soldiers, battalions, generals etc don't always do what they are told, or have to make decisions for themselves. So I wondered whether anyone had ever introduced a random element to chess..? Say if it was on a computer, the player selects two move proposals, and the computer chooses at random which one to execute..

2. Some of the early forms of chess -- we're talking about a thousand years ago -- used dice to determine which piece could be moved.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaturaji

3. I used to play chess for keeps with a roommate. The ground rules were, 10 push ups for each taken piece. The first peice los was ten push ups, the second was 20, and so on.

It was very silly and after awhile it was more expedient to yield to the better player than have suffer a ridiculous number of push ups. I won a game in two moves, with a checkmate that was not Fool's Mate. It bothered both of us so much that we didn't play again until we figured out how such an obviously tactic could be possible.

It isn't. Somehow one of us set the board with the knights and bishops reversed on one side of the board and convinced the other player that it was correct. Obviously, doing lots of push ups can tire you to the extent that your brain doesn't work. I am not entirely certain, but I think for this to be possible, you need to set white incorrectly while setting up black in the proper fashion. Each side of the board has to be different.

It kind of looks like Fool's Mate.

4. Originally Posted by DonM435
Some of the early forms of chess -- we're talking about a thousand years ago -- used dice to determine which piece could be moved.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaturaji
The wiki on "fairy chess"
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairy_chess

5. Pretty much any wargame with dice is a (more complex) variant of chess with a level of randomness introduced.

I always liked that there was a category of games with absolutely no element of luck in it, so never felt the need to randomize chess.

6. when I play chess I do sometimes play a legal but strange move, I thought everybody did that when they were kind of outplayed by their grandchildren?

7. Order of Kilopi
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Originally Posted by profloater
when I play chess I do sometimes play a legal but strange move, I thought everybody did that when they were kind of outplayed by their grandchildren?
when playing kids you have to let them win around 50%* of the time..

Sort of match their level.

*well maybe 60% of the time.

8. Originally Posted by WaxRubiks
when playing kids you have to let them win around 50%* of the time..

Sort of match their level.

*well maybe 60% of the time.
yes well I taught all my grandchildren and encouraged them into chess club at school and then my experience is they get to beat me after a year or so. I like that. My level is not high, in recent years I only play them! on winter evenings I sometimes go through famous games from a book, like Napoleon vs Saramanca or the Turk automaton.

9. Order of Kilopi
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Originally Posted by profloater
yes well I taught all my grandchildren and encouraged them into chess club at school and then my experience is they get to beat me after a year or so. I like that. My level is not high, in recent years I only play them! on winter evenings I sometimes go through famous games from a book, like Napoleon vs Saramanca or the Turk automaton.
my level isn't that great, but my kid brother seemed quite good, at the time; only played him a few times.

I noticed that my ability rose hugely when I was learning the piano, just down to ability to concentrate.

10. very interesting observation, I also learned the piano but did not notice any effect on chess but back then I played my father who was rather good. However he had a very irritating method, he would remove key pieces from his side and then proceed to beat me, I think his father who was a grand master taught him that way. I hated it. It really put me off and when it comes to my children I used your method, not even mentioning their weak moves because of my experience of humiliation.

11. There are longstanding chess variants that rearrange the pieces (i.e., the back-rank chessmen, disregarding the pawns), perhaps in a new standard pattern, via player choice, or randomly.

If you locate each players randomly, but differently from those of the other player, you will likely grant an advantage for one or the other. Chance plays a part here.

In another variant, each player sets up his pieces independently of the other (there's a screen between them), and play commences from there. No chance, just some opportunity for guessing and mind-reading.

Still another variation begins with the back row empty, and for the first eight moves. the players alternate in placing the pieces. When they're all in place, play begins at move nine. This version extends strategy, and each player gets what he deserves.

Bobby Fischer tried to popularize a variant that would array the pieces randomly via a computer application, though identically for both players and eliminating a subset of possible positions (his rules require that a player's bishops be on opposite colors and that the king be somewhere between the two rooks).

The idea here is to deal with centuries of analysis in the chess openings. To be competitive, a player has to learn (and keep up with new theory) on openings frequently played, some of which have been analyzed through 20 or more moves. With random starting positions, players have to go tactical almost from move one. In theory, this approach should award creativity and improvisation rather than memorization.

Even though both players begin with identical positions, there are some arrays that would grant the player (“white”) who moves first an opportunity to force things above and beyond the white advantage in the standard game. (And there are probably some arrays that would allow black to play symmetrically long enough to limit white's options.)

It turns out that there are relatively few starting positions that have all of a player's pawns defended at least once, with the center pawns defended multiply, as does standard chess. Try swapping the bishops and knights starting squares and see what happens. Weak pawns would be a target for the opponent, and would tend to force the game into predictable channels. So, it transpires that there is some logic to the standard rules regarding the starting position.

12. For a time I experimented with each player having two moves. I forget now the minor rules that prevent some early moves but the idea was to prevent standard openings, which it does. It is not the same as random placing, which could be interesting. It is well known that to defeat computers (ordinary ones not supercomputer alas) you must avoid standard openings or introduce unexpected moves. The two squares pawn move was added to speed up the game and deleting that improves your chances too.

13. My, what a timely subject.

For some reason, after over a decade of never even pushing a pawn, I started playing again about two weeks ago.

So far on my comeback trail I'm 2-8. But I play really good players.

And we were just talking about variants of chess. I pulled a couple of very long at sea periods while in the service. Three that stuck were two simple single rule changes and the all glorious four-way chess.

One rule change that was intriguing when actually played was allowing pawns to attack straight forward.

Even more subtle, allowing the queen to also move like a knight. It's almost impossible in mid-game to keep her out of your backfield.

And four-way chess, where do I begin?

It's played on a modified flat board. All sides of a standard board are extended out two rows. It then looks like a stubby X. The extra two rows are where the pieces are set up. The pieces are white, black, red, and green. Play goes clockwise with red to white's right.

The pieces of a mated player remain on the board frozen but can be taken normally and still count for things like check, so you couldn't expose your king to a mated player's bishop, let's say.

We cut up two cheap cardboard checker boards and attached the ends to a third one. (We cut up two checker boards instead of just one so all four starting places would have a "finished" outer edge.)

This gets incredibly absorbing, so be warned.

14. A version we did a lot at my old chess club was called "double blitz" chess, in which the "double" and "blitz" components were two separate things that just conventionally went together. The "blitz" part just meant that everybody's clock was set to a short time like 4 or 5 minutes (maybe even 3?) and we didn't say "check", so pieces would often fly just about as fast as hands could move them, and there were real risks of sudden unforeseen loss if either your flag fell or your king got nailed without warning. We did occasionally play blitz chess without the "double" part, but we never played double chess without the "blitz" part, even though it was possible.

For double (blitz) chess, four players play on two standard boards with standard starting positions. On one side of the table, two people side by side are one team, with their opponents on the other side of the table, side by side, facing them. If one player at one board wins, that team wins, regardless of the state of the other board. Your teammate, next to you at the other board, uses the opposite color from yours, thus the same as your opponent's. Each time you take one of your opponent's pieces, you give it to your teammate, and all three of the others do the same, so each player can end up in possession of pieces of his/her own color from the other board. Each player can use any turn in the game to either move a piece that's already on the board as usual, or "drop" one of their stolen pieces onto it in any empty spot that isn't in the front or back row. Also, you can see each other's boards and are free to talk about both of them, including giving each other recommendations and requesting specific pieces to drop.

So there's a bit of quasi-randomness in the fact that the current state of either board doesn't entirely define what can happen on that board next. But there's also predictability to the randomness, because the players are deciding how to put that element of the game to the best use and predicting how their opponents will do the same.

15. I've looked at a few four-player chess variants, but the only ones that I think can work are those wherein two teams of two players compete, with one army subordinate to the partner's.

In classic chess, I ("white") can pin your ("black") knight with my bishop, and capture your knight next move. It's a roughly even trade, though most experts figure the bishop is usually more valuable. But I might saddle you with doubled pawns, which is some compensation.

Now, if we do the same thing in Four-Person Chess, as we whiteman and blackman bask in delight of our brilliant exchange, the red player and the green player can chuckle, as they're each a piece ahead of us so far as armaments go. And if we keep swapping off forces, they continue to gain strength. I don't know who's going to win, but I will predict white and black fighting for the bronze medal (i.e., third place) as red or green carry the day.

Ergo, it seems to me that in Four-Person, Every-Person-For-HisOrHer-Self Chess, a smart player would avoid exchanges as if these were plague-carriers. The board would remain clogged of chessmen and progress would be slow, at least until one player goofed and suffered a crippling loss of resources. The three-person follow-up would be similarly slow.

It occurs to me that One side could covertly sell out to one Other, playing badly when necessary and assuring Other's win for some cash compensation for One. Thus we're closer to actual wartime politics, but it's no longer a friendly game.

So, how can the four-way game be a reasonable alternative?"

16. Originally Posted by Swift
It's going to get messy when a king resigns. But maybe the plan is to drink every piece you take? I remenber half of a game like that!

17. Originally Posted by BigDon
And four-way chess, where do I begin?
Chess.com has Four-Player Chess available.

Watching a game is almost surreal for me.

Robert Zubrin apparently either invented or promotes Martian Chess, using a standard chess board, a deck of cards, and a six-sided die.

18. Thanks James!

DonM435, We didn't play cross ways but clockwise from white. Most of the time people would push out their center pieces as a start. And lasting a long time was a feature, not a bug. Everyone would be bent over focused and LOOKING for that oops move that would lead to a cascade of exchanges.

Let me give you an analogy to help you understand the tedium of a long at-sea period. Some disaster happens and you are now stuck in the building you work in every day and are surrounded by sea water.

They throw up some bunks in a closet and your only food comes from the cafeteria. Oh, and all members of the opposite sex are in another building.

Do that for 50 days and then a few weeks after, 110 days.

Absolutely amazing what turns up as entertainment among 4000 or so 20 year olds in such circumstance.

19. Originally Posted by BigDon

...

Let me give you an analogy to help you understand the tedium of a long at-sea period. Some disaster happens and you are now stuck in the building you work in every day and are surrounded by sea water.

...

Absolutely amazing what turns up as entertainment among 4000 or so 20 year olds in such circumstance.
I'll take your word for it!

You may appreciate the version suggested by this pic.

20. Originally Posted by DonM435
I'll take your word for it!

You may appreciate the version suggested by this pic.

LOL! Thanks Don!

Assuming a distressing amount of free time and a secure room so the board isn't disturbed in the off hours, would you play that aggressively, sending the long range pieces down range quickly, or move the whole army as a unit as much as possible, predicated on the speed of the pawns?

21. Oh, a small add here.

Four way chess became popular AFTER we beat all the fun out of;

Risk, aside from spontaneous games, that cruise we held three full tournaments, 58 players. \$20 dollar buy in. Winner got half the cash, 2nd and 3rd divided the rest.

One house rule was if you dropped the dice on the board and disrupted the position of the pieces, everybody sitting at the table got to punch you on the deltoid, (upper arm). Later refined to only if a piece gets knocked from its original country. AQ1 Owens was 6' 7" and *hated* it when people disrupted the pieces. If you were one of the people he didn't like anyway and you did that, he would lean across the table and put some oomph in it.

Traditional gambling card games could be problematic and was too depended on the tolerance of passing officers and senior enlisted, or not. Usually poker was played in-port.

So we played Uno for a penny a point at first, kept track of on paper. We then worked up to tournaments for a dollar a point. Two man teams worked best for general entertainment.

It was too humid and the people too sweaty for board games relying square cardboard pieces. They kept sticking to you, the other players, passersby, it soon becomes unworkable.

22. When I was in high school, some of my nerd friends made their own Risk board sized to fit a dinette table, with about four times as many countries and pieces from several sets. They had to keep a written log of where the armies were because of interruptions for mealtimes. Regular Risk takes a while. This took weeks.

23. Order of Kilopi
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I've played double Risk with two boards connected at the Bering Strait crossing. It just took longer but wasn't more fun. Also figure 8 Monopoly with the GO spaces overlapping.

For randomization in chess, whenever a king is placed in check, a six sided die is rolled. If a 6 is rolled, the players change sides, each then playing the other's position. This would also help to even up the game favoring the player who's materially behind. He can use his king more offensively since his opponent won't want to put it in check too often. The player who's ahead would have to protect his own king better since even being placed in check could suddenly give him the weaker side. Only 1 chance in 6, but the stronger side will want to avoid repeated checking of either king. This would limit his options, giving his opponent an advantage.

24. Originally Posted by BigDon
LOL! Thanks Don!

Assuming a distressing amount of free time and a secure room so the board isn't disturbed in the off hours, would you play that aggressively, sending the long range pieces down range quickly, or move the whole army as a unit as much as possible, predicated on the speed of the pawns?
Hah! It never occurred to me to actually devise a strategy for such a board! (Once again, I bow to your inquiring mind.) Yes, the rook could still go from one edge to the other, no matter how far away, but the bishop would have to zig and zag, taking many moves to do so. And the knights might as well stay home to defend.

As for downtime, you could just keep score, and reset the board when resuming play ... but (assuming that there the board is about 8 x 400 squares) it would be a little strange writing Nf133 (i.e., knight to king bishop 133 or e400=Q (i.e., pawn to king 400 promoting to queen).

Maybe they allow the pawns to move up to 198 squares on their first move. That ought to get things rolling!

1. e200, e202; 2. d200, d201. "Oh no! The hyper-French Defense!"

25. Originally Posted by profloater
It's going to get messy when a king resigns. But maybe the plan is to drink every piece you take? I remenber half of a game like that!

The only potions that are properly elements would be bromine and mercury (maybe gallium on a hot day). You wouldn't want to quaff any of those!

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Originally Posted by WaxRubiks
when playing kids you have to let them win around 50%* of the time..

Sort of match their level.

*well maybe 60% of the time.
In my case I prefer if my 9 year old grandkids let me win once in a while. I love chess; absolutely adore the game. I have for over half a century.

I just bloody suck at it.

27. Order of Kilopi
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Originally Posted by WaxRubiks

I wondered whether anyone had ever introduced a random element to chess..?
Go the William Castle route and have electroshock chairs?

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