Not everything can be improved

My personality type has a worldview that “everything can be improved”. While testing the Douglas Modern layout, I noticed a lack of variation in opening moves, so in an attempt to offer the engines more variety, I tried two variants.

As a reminder, the current layout looks like this:

My first change was an attempt to provide the rooks with better protection. At the moment the knights can be pinned, and there are frequent rook swaps.

So I tried this:

But that, and the further refinement like this:

typically resulted in various engines immediately opting to move the king’s rook for white, and the queen’s rook for black, one square sideways, which rather negated my desire to provide more opening options.

Also by watching the engines play, it looks like the original design provides the best games, with fewer draws and a plenty of blood-letting. So I’ll stick with the original plan for now.

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