JEPPSQUARE / Simon Jepps
JEPPSQUARE
The Micro Blog Of Simon E. Jepps

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Jepps Random Chess

A variation on GM Fischer's popular game.
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World champion Bobby Fischer is famous for many things, not least his Chess mastery, but one of these wonderful things is his Chess Variant, Fischer Random Chess.
Jepps Random Chess / Simon Jepps
I have been inventing Chess Variants for most of my life and the reasons are many, but especially because I find the only rational opening Knight move of Kt-K/QB3 to be a never ending vicious circle of the same old opening scenarios and boring vulnerabilities.

I need more variation in my creative development and, as many grandmasters have stated, the game in general has become played out to the point that regardless of your ability, there are always lurking irritations.

Hence the game of Fischer Random Chess has become a standard Variant upon the world stage.

Fischer Random Chess, also called Chess960 due to the number of possible Opening setup scenarios, involves randomising the starting positions of all home rank pieces before play.

Initializing this randomization of setup infinitely increases the total possible number of different games playable on the 8x8 board.

So... why and where does Jepps Random Chess come into play?

The only problem with Fischer's game is that it requires an immense database of starting positions available on hand and an independent umpire to select the starting positions for the players.

The aim of Jepps Random Chess is to enable players to create a randomized starting position from their own hands, without the need for a database, nor an umpire and without disagreements as to the balance of advantage between the two coloured sides.

This aim is gracefully achieved by the simple implementation of two 6-sided dice and a couple of rules regarding Bishops, Castling and Contest.

How To Play

Two 6-sided dice are required for play.

Each value on the die represents a Chess piece, except for the value 6 which grants a free choice.

White will begin the randomization setup, thence a mediator roll will intervene, before Black finally sets up his/her pieces.
  1. = King
  2. = Knight
  3. = Bishop
  4. = Rook
  5. = Queen
  6. = Free piece
Whichever two values are shown, they present the player with a choice of two pieces. The player must choose which of these two pieces he/she will place on the board.

If a DOUBLE or there is NO available piece offered, the player may roll again until an available piece is offered.

We begin from the a-file and work towards the h-file, each new roll offering the choice of two pieces to be placed onto the next square.

Bishops must be placed on opposite coloured squares, as like in Classical Chess.

A maximum of 7 rolls are required, since the eighth square is obviously occupied by the last remaining piece, but sometimes only 6 rolls are required if a remaining piece is a Bishop and it obviously must occupy the only opposite coloured vacant square.

Mediator Roll

Once the White pieces have been entered to their squares a "mediator roll" takes place to determine one of three things.

1: Whether Black Mirrors White's position.
2: Whether Black Reverses White's position.
3: Whether Black Randomizes his own pieces.
4: Whether Black Re-rolls the Mediation.

If the dice show:

⋟ Both even = Black Mirrors White's position.
⋟ Both odd = Black Reverses White's position.
⋟ 1 odd 1 even = Black Randomizes his own pieces.
⋟ A double = Black may Re-roll the Mediation.

  • Mirror = to directly reflect White's setup identical file by file.
  • Reverse = to abstractly reflect White's setup opposite file by file.
  • Randomize = to roll and take instruction from the dice square by square.
  • Re-roll = to roll again in hope of a different or preferred Mediation.
Following the mediator roll, Black thence sets up his pieces accordingly. If the dice have instructed Black to Randomize his/her pieces, the setup commences as like White's, beginning from the a-file and working towards the h-file, thus in Black's case, from right to left.

Free Play

The rules thus far are designed to ensure a balanced game. For example, the reason Black may only respond with one of three options dictated by the dice is to ensure Black does not arrange his pieces unfairly.

Allowing Black to pick and choose his setup square by square in direct response to White's fully completed array would grant Black an overwhelming advantage, even though he must nevertheless still choose between one of two pieces (or a lucky 6) dictated by the dice.

Thus the rules so far are designed partly to prevent this imbalance, but also to ensure as fast and rapid a setup for both sides as possible, by minimizing the number of dice rolls.

However, there is of course the alternative option of Free Play for those of you who would prefer a more "classical" hand-to-hand combative approach to the initial setup.

With Free Play, we abolish the Mediator Roll and instead players assign their pieces square by square, turn by turn, as the very first moves of the actual game.

Free Play utilizes a reversed setup process, whereby White enters pieces from a-file to h-file, while Black enters pieces from h-file to a-file. This reversal process is designed to prevent Black responding directly to White in the first instances and thus ensuring the most fairly balanced setup possible.

Here each player rolls both dice as a first move entry, White rolling and entering to a1, then Black rolling and entering to h8, then White rolling and entering to b1, then Black rolling and entering to g8, etc, etc.

This presumably will prove a more evenly balanced way to guarantee randomization for both sides, however remember it also means at least twice as many dice rolls are required before the game properly starts!

Castling

Unlike Fischer's game, there is no Castling in Jepps Random Chess, since the requirement by Fischer to position the King in a specific way not only makes the practise a mouthful to digest, but reduces the possible number of starting positions.

Instead Jepps Random Chess features a manoeuvre to substitute Castling, in effect serving the same purpose, to protect or evade the King to safety.
  • The King may relocate to any like-colour-bound vacant home rank square, once in the game, providing the King has not yet already moved.
    • A colour-bound move, the King may not relocate to a square of a different colour to that upon which it stands.
    • This manoeuvre is simply a task of taking the King from its origin square and placing it on the destination square. The path does not have to be clear of other pieces, the King meanders.
    • However, just as like in Classical Chess, the King may not relocate into, through or out of Check. Thus, if any vacant square along the Home Rank (1/8), through which the King would meander enroute to its destination, is likewise under Check, the King may not relocate.
A little more skill is required to utilize this method in the same way as classical Castling. Primarily this requires clearing space for the Rook to move somewhere more useful, before relocating the King nearby to it.

Notation

The setup position is recorded simply as part of standard game notation, only the pieces' entrances are isolated as a preliminary setup phase.

This is recorded as a string of moves, each separated by a comma.

Each time White enters a piece, it is recorded. For example if the first piece to enter is a Knight to a1, the first part of the setup string is written Na1.

If White then enters a Bishop to b1 and a King to c1, the string will be recorded as Na1, Bb1, Kc1... etc.

Black is usually simpler to record, since there are better odds of either a Mirror or Reverse, in which case the Black string will merely state Mirror or Reverse, unto the next line beneath White.

If however the dice command Black to Randomize his pieces, a new string is recorded in the same way as White's, unto the next line beneath.

The game will thence commence as usual, with standard notation.
  • If entering pieces via the Free Play method, each entry is simply recorded as a regular first move. For example, 1. Na1 Kh8 2. Bb1 Rg8 3. Qc1 Nf8. Regular play would then commence from move 9, after all pieces have been entered onto the board.
    • Optionally these first eight setup moves can be labelled in Roman Numerals, i, ii, iii, iv, v, vi, vii, viii, distinguishing them from the game proper, whereby move 9 is labelled move 1.

Summary

Jepps Random Chess improves on Fischer's game by granting players a hands on integrated medium to determine through a preliminary battle of divination, each their own starting positions, without the need for databases or umpires.

Furthermore, Jepps Random Chess increases the total number of starting positions possible by simplifying Castling with a more adaptable substitute, allowing the King to enter unto any square without restrictions.

This variant truly opens a whole new universe of board gaming. The nostalgic touch of two 6-sided dice brings a grandeur of depth long desired to a once rather mundane beginning to battle.

Thousands of years ago, somewhere in India, the game of Chess was being born... but here, in the ancient past, Chess was played with dice.

We all like dice and since the game of Chess was indeed originally played with dice, it only seems absolutely right to bring dice back into the game.

Of course, in the modern world we wouldn't dream of suggesting dice to determine the movement of pieces ~ that would defeat the whole objective of International Competition Chess.

Yet for sure, as Jepps Random Chess has proven, they do nevertheless harbour an ancient enchanting power to persuade us of their rightful place at the Chess board.

Thus it is with great honour that I publish Jepps Random Chess and reveal unto the world a fantastical method of bringing dice back into the game.

Thank you for reading.

Open Vault / Alt Pages ⧎

Games Vault

Chess Variants

Many of these PDFs are from an archive created over the years whence originally hosted on previous personal blogs, as such they may show cosmetic detailing of a particular website theme, which is different to that of jeppsquare.me.

Scacchronos ~ PDF
8x8 variant featuring dice as time-keepers & empowerers of special movement.
The Jeppsquare favourite. ♞
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Jepps Random Chess ~ PDF
8x8 variant of GM Fischer's game, employing dice as divinators, thus granting player tactical choice, increasing opening setups & simplifying Castling.
Jeppscha'nga ~ PDF
8x8 variant of Chaturanga employing Classical western pieces and also Conkers.
Conqueror ~ PDF
10x10 variant featuring Wizards & Conkers.
Conqueror 64 ~ PDF
8x8 transposition of Conqueror.
Genie Of The Lamp ~ PDF
8x8 variant featuring counter pieces.
Chec Toe ~ PDF
4x4 variant featuring dice, infinite movement & wizardry.
Jepster Chess ~ PDF
10x10 variant featuring an evolved Jester piece.
Siceirawan ~ PDF
8x8 variant featuring a modified Seirawan ruleset.
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Ckess ~ PDF ↷
The JEPPSQUARE featured game, whilst not officially a Chess Variant, is played with a Chess-like philosophy and strategical mindset. A two player Checkers variant, featuring a touch of Chess and Indian Chaturanga.

Other Games

SKEIGHT / Simon JeppsSkeight ~ PDF
Quite possibly the best dice game ever conceived! Played like boules/bowls, Skeight is a two-player tactical dice game utilizing eight D20s (twenty sided dice) of different colours, as rolling ballistics. A Jeppsquare favourite.

Wxyzaerds ~ PDF
A majestic, multi intuitive diceword strategy game, for two or more players. The objective of the game is to create highest scoring words through the rolling of letter dice, whilst juggling your strategical providence with the Cobra Paw die. Yet the true magic of this game resides in the creativity of the players, who can create their own Wizard Words and Wizard's Dictionary, opening a whole new universe of magic, chance, chaos and ultimately the wonder of spells.

Krikkit ~ PDF
Download Score Sheet
A strategic dice game for two or more players, based on The Hitch Hiker's Guide To The Galaxy novels. It is played similar to Yahtzee, but also features a challenging quiz, risky space faring obstacles, extra abilities to outsmart your opponent, and the opportunity to trade in cosmic real estate!

Hippo ~ PDF
A humbling variation of Conkers, played by rolling them across the ground and attempting to maintain a continuum of points accumulation, before all your Conkers are eliminated. This is a simple yet very warming game for all the family and can be played with as many people as you like. I invented this game once upon a time, whence meditating under a Horse Chestnut tree.

Alt Pages

JEPPSHARP / Simon JeppsThe Jepps'harp
A diatonic Blues Harmonica featuring a modified tuning setup, which as a result, grants the player more fundamental chords, more useful root keys and more diverse melodic phrasing possibilities.


CKESS / Simon JeppsThe Game Of Ckess
A two player strategy board game, played with and like Checkers, only featuring much more indepth tactical challenges. A modest blending of Checkers, Chess and Indian Chaturanga.


JEPPSAX / Simon JeppsThe Jeppsax
A wearable hybrid musical instrument with saxophonic traits, made by marrying a custom styled Hohner Melodica with a custom configured Seydel Big Six harmonica.


LWTF / Simon Jepps
Living With The French
The short novel, or "diary story", of myself a foreign exchange student,
whilst living with a French family during my childhood in the 1990's.

JEPPSQUARE / Simon Jepps

Blitzwatch
Via Lichess live.