Further thoughts on Douglas Modern chess

The name may be a bit “look at me” but other people tag their names onto things they do so why not? 🙂

I did consider names like “Atast” (Advanced Tactics and Strategy) or Etast (Enhanced Tactics and Strategy), because from watching the games, the level of difficulty seems higher than normal chess.

My basic thinking was to create a scenario that more closely resembled what chess is supposed to be… a simulation of old-style warfare as practised by the Persians and others in that area.

The layout lends itself to murderous combat to the death amongst the disposable (from the king’s point of view) peasants (pawns), while the flanks are free for the calvary (knights) and elephants (rooks) to storm down and attack.

If the engines resist filling the middle killing fields with blood, then things get complicated, with the centre largely blocked, and the more valuable pieces having to skirt around the outside. In some cases, the bishops might find themselves restricted to their own side (left or right) of the board, which knocks the trickiness level up a bit.

A further complication is the rook-knight arrangement. Do you move your knight first and pin the opposing knight-rook, or simply wait and then move your rook sideways. The setup tends to encourage the rooks onto separate files.

There is no castling, and as a consequence of that, we tend to avoid situations where the king barricades himself in a corner and is hard to get at. The plus side of that is more open games leading to mate. I also notice the strong engines get pawns to the other side a lot.

The engines seem to handle the pawn moves okay, moving the front row pieces only one step, and the second row two steps when required. En passant works okay as well for the second-row pawns.

I have since acquired a few more engines, just having problems getting the Windows-only ones to run. Will have to try via Wine and maybe cutechess.

Here’s a recent game, Andscacs vs Ethereal:

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