display | more...
Omega Chess

Omega Chess is chess variation developed in the last two decades or so as a result of the growing feeling that traditional chess was growing stale, and becoming bound by rote memorization of hundreds upon hundreds of openings. This is, in large part, true; look to any chess section in your local bookstore and you’ll find shelf after shelf of books describing in exacting detail every nuance of every variation of each type of opening.. all of which world-class players have memorized. People began to believe, in an age when the average computer could handily beat the average player, that creativity was beginning to lose its place in the game, and that something had to be done.

The end result of these efforts was Omega Chess, played on a 104 square board, as opposed to the 64 square board of traditional chess. Two extra rows and files were added, as well as four ‘Wizard Squares’ at each corner. The board looks like this, with the dashes indicating unplayable area.

X   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   O 

- X O X O X O X O X O -

- O X O X O X O X O X -

- X O X O X O X O X O -

- O X O X O X O X O X -

- X O X O X O X O X O -

- O X O X O X O X O X -

- X O X O X O X O X O -

- O X O X O X O X O X -

- X O X O X O X O X O -

- O X O X O X O X O X -

O - - - - - - - - - - X

The sheer size of the new board adds a whole new dimension to the game. The opening moves become much less important, as the two armies both have much more time to deploy their forces. The threat of a quick initial strike is greatly decreased. With the new size of the board, a rule had to be adjusted. Firstly, on their initial move, pawns can move one, two, or three squares forward – but only on their first move.

The pieces of an Omega Chess game are set up like so.

W   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   -   W 

- C R N B Q K B N R C -

- P P P P P P P P P P -

- X O X O X O X O X O -

- O X O X O X O X O X -

- X O X O X O X O X O -

- O X O X O X O X O X -

- X O X O X O X O X O -

- O X O X O X O X O X -

- P P P P P P P P P P -

- C R N B Q K B N R C -

W - - - - - - - - - - W

K = King
Q = Queen
B = Bishop
N = Knight
R = Rook
C = Champion
W = Wizard
P = Pawn

In particular the ‘Wizard Squares’ in the very corners of the board provide interesting possibilites. A king with a broken castle could retreat to one for safety.. or become an easy checkmate for an opposing bishop. The addition of these squares drasticly raised the complexity of the game.

Much of the game of Omega Chess is exactly like traditional chess (in goal and in alternating play), but the most obvious difference between the games is in the two new pieces, the Champion and the Wizard . They are so-called hybrid pieces, with the Champion drawing abilites from the Knight and Rook, while the Wizard resembles a cross between the Knight and the Bishop. These two pieces were intended to round out the chessplayer’s arsenal, as now he has three basic pieces (Rook, Bishop, Knight) and combinations of all their abilities (Queen, Champion, Wizard). The moves of these pieces are oulined below.

The Champion

O   O   O   O   O   O   O

O X O X O X O

O O O X O O O

O X X C X X O

O O O X O O O

O X O X O X O

O O O O O O O

A short range piece, the Champion can move to any of the X'd squares and preserves the jumping power of the knight in its ability to leap to specific squares located diagonally from it. It can move two spaces in the horizontal or vertical, or move two squares (but only two squares!) diagonally.

The Wizard

O   O   X   O   X   O   O

O O O O O O O

X O X O X O X

O O O W O O O

X O X O X O X

O O O O O O O

O O X O X O O

Another jumping piece, the Wizard can move to any of the X'd squares and has a greater range than the Champion, but controls a smaller area. It can make a super-knight jump (that is, three squares horizontal and one vertical, or vice-versa), or can move one square along any diagonal.

To accommodate the new size of the board, two additional pawns were added to each side, but these are exactly identical to all other pawns, and remain unchanged save for the first-move rule.

Omega Chess remains widely uncharted territory. General chess theory carries over well from the parent game, but only the theory; none of the specifics. This was the goal, because the creators of Omega Chess sought to undermine the terminal categorization and organization of chess games into specific openings and their variants.

The Omega Chess adjusted piece values, taken from the Omega Chess site (www.omegachess.com), are as follows.

King = Infinite; His loss means defeat.
Queen = 12
Rook = 6
Bishop = 4
Wizard = 4
Champion = 4
Knight = 2
Pawn = 1

Important things to note here is the increased values of the Queen (valued at 9 in traditional chess), the Rook (valued 5), and the Bishop (valued 3) and the decreased value of the Knight (valued 3). These adjustments are justified in light of the sheer size of the board – the Knight has a very limited move (two rows or files in any direction at a time) and as such cannot move as fast, comparatively, as it used to. This greatly diminishes the usefulness of the piece, reflected in its new ranking. The same reasoning applies to the increase awarded to the Queen, Rook, and Bishop. Their moves remain unrestricted by distance (only direction), and as such increasing the board size only increases their range, and thusly their usefulness.

The Wizard and the Champion are both rated low because of their strange patterns of movement, as well as no one really knows their true strengths yet. As the game develops, these values may be adjusted.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.