Omega Chess

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w4 wd Chess Omega ht440 44.png w3 wd
Chess Omega vl44 440.png a9 zd b9 rd c9 nd d9 bd e9 qd f9 kd g9 bd h9 nd i9 rd j9 zd Chess Omega vr44 440.png
a8 pd b8 pd c8 pd d8 pd e8 pd f8 pd g8 pd h8 pd i8 pd j8 pd
a7 b7 c7 d7 e7 f7 g7 h7 i7 j7
a6 b6 c6 d6 e6 f6 g6 h6 i6 j6
a5 b5 c5 d5 e5 f5 g5 h5 i5 j5
a4 b4 c4 d4 e4 f4 g4 h4 i4 j4
a3 b3 c3 d3 e3 f3 g3 h3 i3 j3
a2 b2 c2 d2 e2 f2 g2 h2 i2 j2
a1 pl b1 pl c1 pl d1 pl e1 pl f1 pl g1 pl h1 pl i1 pl j1 pl
a0 zl b0 rl c0 nl d0 bl e0 ql f0 kl g0 bl h0 nl i0 rl j0 zl
w1 wl Chess Omega hb440 44.png w2 wl
Omega Chess starting position

Omega Chess is a commercial chess variant designed by Daniel MacDonald in Toronto. The game is played on a 10x10 board with an extra square in each of the extreme corners where the wizards are placed at the start of the game.[1] The game is laid out like standard chess with the addition of a "champion" in each corner and a "wizard" diagonally behind each champion.

Part of the reason for adding the new pieces was to equalize the number of jumping pieces with sliding pieces. The wizard was created specially to be a color-bound piece, a parallel to the bishop. Because of the symmetry and four additional corners, Omega Chess creates new tactical possibilities, including the possibility of checkmate with two knights.

Omega Chess has garnered endorsements by grandmasters Michael Rohde[2] and Alex Sherzer.


Differences from standard chess[edit]

New pieces[edit]

w4 Chess Omega ht440 44.png w3
Chess Omega vl44 440.png a9 xx b9 c9 xx d9 e9 xx f9 g9 h9 i9 j9 Chess Omega vr44 440.png
a8 b8 c8 xx d8 nl e8 f8 xo g8 h8 xo i8 j8 xo
a7 xx b7 xx c7 zd d7 xx e7 xx f7 g7 wd h7 i7 j7
a6 b6 c6 xx d6 xo e6 f6 xo g6 h6 xo i6 j6 xo
a5 xx b5 c5 xx d5 e5 xx f5 g5 h5 i5 j5
a4 b4 c4 pd d4 pl e4 f4 xo g4 h4 xo i4 j4
a3 b3 pl c3 pd d3 oo e3 f3 g3 h3 i3 j3
a2 pl b2 oo c2 d2 oo e2 f2 g2 h2 i2 j2
a1 oo b1 oo c1 d1 oo e1 f1 g1 h1 i1 j1
a0 b0 c0 d0 kl e0 rl f0 g0 rl h0 kl i0 j0
w1 Chess Omega hb440 44.png w2
Wizard, champion, pawn's first move, en passant and castling
  • Chess zld45.svgChess zdl45.svg Champions: are, like knights, classed as leapers. A champion can jump two squares orthogonally or diagonally, or slide one square orthogonally. White's king champion can start the game by Ch2 or Cj2. In the position shown at the right, the black champion's movement is indicated by an X, and it cannot capture the white knight.
  • Chess wld45.svgChess wdl45.svg Wizards: are also classed as leapers, but like a bishop, is a color-bound piece and jumps {1,3} or {3,1} squares in any direction, or slides one square diagonally. White's king wizard can start the game by Wj2. In the position shown at the left, the black wizard's movement is indicated by a black dot, and it can capture the white knight.

Pawns[edit]

  • The pawn may slide one, two or three squares in the forward direction, on its first move only. This is shown on files (a),(b) and (d) respectively.
  • Capture, promotion and movement (following the first move) are otherwise identical to the pawn in standard chess.
  • The en passant rule also applies. The d pawn may be captured en passant by either black pawn. The b pawn may be captured normally by the pawn at c4, and en passant by the pawn at c3

Castling[edit]

The normal rules of castling apply. Also, it is done exactly as in chess, with the king moving two squares to either side: to h0 for White or h9 for Black to castle kingside, and to d0 or d9 to castle queenside. (See diagram.)

Sample games[edit]

w4 Chess Omega ht440 44.png w3
Chess Omega vl44 440.png a9 b9 rd c9 d9 e9 f9 g9 h9 i9 j9 Chess Omega vr44 440.png
a8 pd b8 c8 d8 e8 rl f8 g8 pd h8 rd i8 kd j8
a7 b7 bd c7 pd d7 e7 f7 pd g7 qd h7 i7 zd j7 pd
a6 b6 c6 d6 e6 f6 g6 pd h6 i6 pd j6
a5 b5 pd c5 pl d5 e5 f5 pd g5 h5 i5 pl j5
a4 b4 c4 d4 pl e4 f4 pl g4 h4 i4 j4 pl
a3 b3 c3 pl d3 e3 rl f3 g3 h3 i3 ql j3
a2 b2 c2 d2 e2 f2 g2 h2 zl i2 j2
a1 pl b1 bl c1 d1 e1 f1 g1 pl h1 pl i1 j1
a0 b0 c0 d0 e0 f0 g0 kl h0 i0 j0
w1 Chess Omega hb440 44.png w2
Position before 42...b4!

As seen in the diagrams, the ranks are numbered 0–9, and the corner squares behind a0, j0, j9 and a9 are notated w1, w2, w3 and w4 respectively. It should be noted that these squares are part of the board, and all pieces (except rooks and pawns) can enter them. (See the problem at the end of the page.)

GM Alex Sherzer v. GM Judit Polgár[edit]

1.f4 d5 2.Nd2 Ng7 3.Wa2 Cc7 4.Ng2 f7 5.Wj2 Wa7 6.e4 de4 7.Ne4 Bb4+ 8.Be1 Nd7 9.c3 Be7 10.Wi5 0-0 11.d4 Cc6 12.Bd3 b5 13.b4 Wd6 14.Cc2 Wj7 15.Ch2 Wi4 16.Nh4 Wh5 17.Wd1 We3+ 18.Kg0 c7 19.i4 Wg4 20.Be2 Wd5 21.Rc0 Bb7 22.Nc5 Black is aiming a lot of artillery at the white king. Perhaps White should follow suit and play this knight to g5 instead of c5. 22...Nc5 23.bc5 Qd8 24.Qh3 Wh4 25.Bh4 Either on this move or the next, recapturing with the champion looks more promising. 25... Bh4 26.Wh4 Ch7 27.Wg2 Ce4 28.Ce4 We4 29.Qj3 j7 30.i5 i6 31.Wg7 hg7 32.Ri3 Ki8 33.Qj4 Rh9 34.Rj3 Ci7 35.Re0 Qf6 36.Bc0 e6 37.Bb1 Wf5 38.Wf5 ef5 39.Re8 Rh8 40.Rje3 g6 41.Qi3 Qg7 42.j4 (see diagram) 42...b4! Black seizes the initiative. 43.R8e5 bc3 44.Rc3 Bh1 45.Kh1 Rb1 46.Ra3 Ch7 47.Ra8 Ch5 48.Ra9 Qh7 49.Ree9?? Cj3! 50.Qj3 Qh2+ 0–1[3]

Scholar's Mate and Fool's Mate[edit]

1.f4 f5, 2.Bc4 Bc5, 3.Qj5 Ng7?? (defending the pawn on f5) 4.Qxg8#

1.Wa2 Ng7, 2.Wb5 Ni6?? 3 We6#

Endgames[edit]

w4 Chess Omega ht440 44.png w3
Chess Omega vl44 440.png a9 b9 c9 d9 e9 f9 g9 h9 i9 j9 Chess Omega vr44 440.png
a8 b8 c8 d8 e8 f8 kd g8 h8 i8 j8
a7 b7 c7 d7 e7 f7 g7 h7 i7 j7
a6 b6 c6 d6 e6 f6 kl g6 h6 i6 j6
a5 b5 c5 d5 e5 f5 g5 h5 i5 j5
a4 b4 c4 d4 e4 f4 g4 h4 i4 j4
a3 b3 c3 d3 e3 f3 g3 h3 i3 j3
a2 b2 c2 d2 e2 f2 g2 h2 i2 j2
a1 b1 c1 d1 rl e1 f1 g1 h1 i1 j1
a0 b0 c0 d0 e0 f0 g0 h0 i0 j0
w1 Chess Omega hb440 44.png w2
King & rook vs. king

The four corner squares in Omega Chess offer many endgame possibilities and peculiarities. For example, if you have two rooks, a bishop and a wizard against a lone king, you cannot win if the bishop and wizard attack one color, with the enemy king being on a corner square of the other color. This leads to the inevitable question of what combinations of reduced material can deliver mate.

Unlike in standard chess, a lone queen (without the king's assistance) can force mate. As well, two rooks find it easy to mate provided the enemy king is not in a wizard or champion starting square.

In the position on the left, White is obliged to check the enemy king back to the edge of the board, since Black isn't going to go there voluntarily. 1.Rd8+ Ke9 2.Ke7 Kf9 3.Kf7 (The white king must pursue the enemy king because when Black gets to i9, the white king wants to be on h7, controlling i8 so the rook can check on d9, forcing the king to j8, followed by Re8 – Kj7, Rj8#) 3...Kg9 (Not 3...Ke8 because of 4.Rd6 Kf8 5.Rd8#) 4.Kg7 Kf9 it is safe for the black king to double back. If the rook was on e8, then it could just retreat along the file and deliver mate next move. Or if it was on any other rank, it could now move to the e-file, but as it is the rook would be vulnerable to capture.

Two bishops can deliver mate fairly easily, as can two knights, although in the latter case the task of herding the enemy king into a corner requires a lot of patience.[4]

Two champions mate easily and so do a champion and a knight. A bishop with a wizard on the opposite color squares can also force mate although technique is involved since the enemy king has to be driven into the same colored corner as the bishop.[5] However two wizards can't force mate. A rook in combination with either a knight or a champion can force mate easily and, provided the enemy king is not on the wrong colored wizard's square, (or corresponding champion's square) then both rook and bishop, and rook and wizard are also easy wins.

In the remaining combinations of material, bishop and champion, champion and wizard, bishop and knight, and knight and wizard, the requirement for winning is that the enemy king should be kept out of the wrong colored corner since the knight alone, or the champion alone cannot oust the king. Having met this requirement, the mating technique for bishop and champion, and wizard and champion are fairly straightforward, while the technique for bishop and knight is somewhat trickier.[6] As for knight and wizard, it is possible to set up positions in which the enemy king is corralled, leading to checkmate, but there doesn't seem to be a way of forcing these positions.

Omega Chess Advanced[edit]

w4 Chess Omega ht440 44.png w3
Chess Omega vl44 440.png a9 b9 c9 d9 e9 f9 g9 h9 i9 j9 Chess Omega vr44 440.png
a8 b8 c8 d8 e8 oo f8 g8 kd h8 i8 oo j8
a7 b7 c7 tl d7 oo e7 f7 xx g7 h7 xx i7 j7 oo
a6 b6 xo c6 qd d6 xo e6 xx f6 g6 h6 i6 xx j6
a5 b5 c5 xo d5 e5 f5 g5 nl h5 i5 j5
a4 b4 c4 d4 e4 xx f4 g4 h4 i4 xx j4
a3 b3 c3 d3 oo e3 f3 xx g3 h3 xx i3 j3 oo
a2 b2 c2 d2 e2 oo f2 g2 h2 i2 oo j2
a1 b1 c1 td d1 rl e1 f1 g1 h1 i1 j1
a0 b0 c0 d0 e0 f0 g0 h0 i0 j0 kl
w1 Chess Omega hb440 44.png w2
Omega Chess Advanced: The white fool immobilizes black queen, The black fool – white rook. Black dots show squares where the black fool may move to for freeing own queen from immobilizing. Crosses show knight moves; white dots show extra moves of white Templar Knight if unoccupied.

In 2008, the authors of Omega Chess developed an extension to the game called Omega Chess Advanced.[7]

  • A special move was introduced called Guarding. This move is equal to castling but it is executed by queen and rook. For Guarding to be legal, both the queen and rook must never have made any previous moves, and there may not be any pieces between them. Attacks are irrelevant. Notation is "S-S" or "S-S-S" for queenside or kingside.[8]
  • Chess tld45.svgChess tdl45.svg A new piece is introduced called the fool.[9] Each player starts with exactly one.
    • The fool has no starting position on the board. Instead, it can be "introduced" in the first 20 moves of the game, when its player's piece makes its first move, or makes a capture, by placing the Fool at that piece's vacated location. When castling or guarding, the fool can be placed on either of the two available squares.
      • Notation is "F". "*F" after a move indicates its "appearance", except when castling or guarding, where "F" replaces the relevant end-symbol (looking from White's side).
    • The fool threatens, moves and captures like the piece that the opponent last used. For example, if White moves a queen, then Black's fool is effectively a queen.
      • If the fool emulates a pawn, then only a single 1st move is allowed, and no promotion.
      • If a king, it cannot be checked, and cannot castle.
      • If a queen, it cannot be guarded.
      • If a fool, it copies the opponent's fool.
      • A pawn can be promoted to a fool.
      • A fool immediately copies a pawn's promotion (unless that is a fool, then it acts as a pawn).
      • A fool can jump from a wizard square to another empty wizard square.
    • "Check threat": after making one's move, an opponent's fool becomes the same piece for one move; if the fool would thus give immediate check, the move would have been illegal, thereby preventing the piece moving ("neutralizing" it) unless it moves to block the check or take the fool.
    • Reciprocal threat: Any piece moving to a position that attacks the opponent's fool is thus immediately threatened by the fool, and so could be taken; a "discovered" attack on the fool may prevent this ("indirect capture"), by moving a different type of piece out of the way instead.
    • If there are extra opponent's fools from promotions, much care is needed.
  • The following two rules are optional parts of Omega Chess Advanced:
    • The fool may immobilize an opponent's piece on an orthogonally adjacent square, thus preventing it from moving. In the figure to the right, the white fool has immobilized the black queen, and the black fool has immobilized the white rook. An immobilized piece can move again if the fool moves away or is captured. In addition, an immobilized piece can move if it is also orthogonally adjacent to a friendly fool.[10]
    • A new piece can replace the ordinary knight, called the Templar Knight. The Templar Knight moves like an ordinary knight, but it may choose to make a non-capturing 2,3-leap rather than the usual 1,2-leap. In the diagram to the right, the white Templar Knight may move or capture to any of the squares marked with an X, or move to any of the squares marked with a white dot if they are unoccupied.[11]

References[edit]

Puzzle by Benjamin Good
w4 Chess Omega ht440 44.png w3
Chess Omega vl44 440.png a9 b9 c9 d9 e9 f9 bl g9 h9 wl i9 j9 kd Chess Omega vr44 440.png
a8 b8 c8 d8 e8 f8 g8 h8 i8 j8 pd
a7 b7 c7 d7 e7 f7 g7 kl h7 pd i7 j7
a6 b6 c6 d6 e6 f6 g6 h6 pl i6 j6
a5 b5 c5 d5 e5 f5 g5 h5 i5 nl j5
a4 b4 c4 d4 e4 f4 g4 h4 i4 j4
a3 b3 c3 d3 e3 f3 g3 h3 i3 j3
a2 b2 c2 d2 e2 f2 g2 h2 i2 j2
a1 b1 c1 d1 e1 f1 g1 h1 i1 j1
a0 b0 c0 d0 e0 f0 g0 h0 i0 j0
w1 Chess Omega hb440 44.png w2


External links[edit]