What is wrong with Classical Chess?

Nothing is wrong with classical chess. Not really. Although if I put that question to 1000 chess players, perhaps I'd get 100 or more different answers, many of which would point to weaknesses in the game that have emerged over the years. Now certainly classical chess will continue to be enjoyed for years to come, and I don't want to make a case otherwise. It will forever remain a great and classic game. But it can't be denied that there is a growing number of people - some professional chess players among them - who are finding something distinctly unsatisfying about it. For them, I am pleased to review and introduce: Double Reversal Chess.

Our story begins with one of those life-changing anonymous quotations, that will forever stain the pages of history with its greatness:

"I never thought classical chess would have an equal, until I discovered Double Reversal Chess."

When I first stumbled across those words, my curiosity was aroused. Could there really be a more perfect form of chess than, well, classical chess? It is indisputable that some people have become "tired" of classical chess. Even the great Bobby Fischer was one of them. Disillusioned with the fact that classical chess was becoming a matter of memorizing openings and standard plays, he wanted to see a form of chess that would allow for creativity right from the beginning of the game, and so he developed Chess 960, more popularly known as Fischer Random Chess.



Could it be that Double Reversal Chess is another solution, and would inject new life into the world of chess? I had to find out. And along with me, you are about to enjoy the fruits of my research into this delightful game, or what could even be billed as "the NEW chess", Double Reversal Chess.

How does Double Reversal Chess work?

I set about to do some more research. The first encounter with Double Reversal Chess seems to have been in the mind of a certain John Kipling Lewis. In its rudimentary form, he describes the "new" chess as follows:

Rules

1. On the first move, Black tells White a move, which White must accept. On Black's first move White announces a move that Black must accept.

2. This continues each turn, until one side is checkmated.

3. Here's the twist. If Black is checkmated, Black wins. If White is checkmated, White wins.

I feel this is likely to be the best Variant ever invented and it is without equal. Well, almost without equal.
I call it: Double Reversal Chess.


Sublimely simple

The apparent beautiful simplicity of this "new" form of chess defies its complexity and potential. In fact, when Mr. John Kipling Lewis first announced this exciting new form of chess, the world was simply not ready for its astounding brilliance. Questions would arise, such as: "Why not just play chess?" And: "How exactly is this different from standard chess?" Clearly, not everyone was ready to appreciate the beauty of this novel form of the game, and more explanation was needed. John Kipling Lewis was happy to oblige. In his words:

Black wins in a similar manner as in Loser's Chess where by being Checkmated he wins, and instead of being forced to capture a piece, you force your opponent to make any possible legal move, not just limiting him to choosing for himself from a subset of capturing moves. It opens up the game well past the limitations of Loser's Chess. To put it more simply: Yes, it's very important that you understand that while you're playing Black, you are commanding the White player to make his pieces move; thus the obvious resolution must be a reversal: that you win if Black is checkmated. Otherwise what would be the point?

Yes, what would be the point? Clearly, this was a revolutionary form of the game that could very quickly become equally as important as classical chess. "But," you ask, "how exactly is this different from playing on the other side of the board?" Ah, my friend, you are wise. But not so fast, not so fast! Please suspend your judgment, because some examples will serve well to illustrate the fine nuances and beauty that results from the miniscule differences.

Can you give an example of Double Reversal Chess?

Fortunately Mr. John Kipling Lewis quickly realized that not everyone would be as quick to catch on to his brilliant idea, and he has done the world an immense favour by graciously providing some explanatory diagrams of elementary play, to illustrate the nature of the game.

Openings

I'm pleased to share with you, the following from his personal note book, as an illustration of an opening:



This position looks terribly awkward to the classical chess player, but one must remember that one wins by being checkmated, so naturally the moves must be creative and out of character. It all becomes clear as Mr. Lewis continues:



By now I hope you are starting to appreciate something of the sublime beauty and simplicity of Double Reversal Chess. As has well been said by other chess experts: "It's not backwards, it's not suicide, it's not upside-down - it's sort of inside-out. At any rate, it is most intriguing."

End Games

Mr. Lewis also provides an end game example in his personal notebook:



Perhaps by this point, your jaw has dropped at the excitement of how obvious this really is, and at the same time how exceedingly wonderful! I had the same experience when I began understanding the intricacies of the game! We all begin wondering to ourselves: why didn't someone think of this earlier?

But I still don't get Double Reversal Chess?

But perhaps you still don't quite comprehend it? In the Elementary Primer for Young Adults, one finds the rules worded in a more "dumbed down" fashion, to ensure that even the simpletons of chess can follow how the game works. So now there really is no excuse not to understand:

Simplified Rules

1. On the first turn, the Black player tells the White player what to move. White then gets to tell Black what move to make.

2. On the
Second turn White gets told what move to make by Black and then Black gets told what move to make by White!

3. This alternation continues until Checkmate!!!

4. Once a player is Checkmated, (for example Black is Checkmated), the winner isn't the player playing the pieces of the winning color but instead the colour of the winner who is the opposite colour!

That's it. It's so simple anyone who's played chess can play and I think it can become the new standard. It even uses Orthodox Castling.


The good news is that for the most part, the rules are taken over from traditional chess, so there are no real complicated rules to learn. The beauty lies in the simplicity of the rules, and the potential for fresh new strategies, openings and gameplay, that classical chess cannot offer as a result of its long history.

What does a game of Double Reversal Chess look like?

A sample position

I have been fortunate enough to stumble across a professional level game, annotated by two experts, GM Archr and GM Topov, both highly respected for their contemporary contribution to Double Reversal Chess. At a later date I hope to share a more complete session report recounting some of their play and their annotations. But just to give you a small sample of what some advanced play and annotations would look like, let me share just an example of a position from a real game, along with some selected commentary.

GM Archr (white) vs GM Topov (black)

In this particular game, GM Archr is playing White, and GM Topov is playing Black. GM Topov (Black) began the game with the deGaul Wing, requesting White to play 1.h4. Obviously this is a very poor move in standard chess, but with Double Reversal Chess we need to think backwards, and want to immediately get the opponent out of the opening book, and develop a completely unorthodox position from the outset. In double reversed mode, weakening the position immediately is in fact a good move.

The game progressed as follows:
Archr (white) - Topov (black), DRC Fall Forum Invitational, September 2007
1. White to move h4
2. Black to move Nh6 White to move g3
3. Black to move Ng4


This creates the following novel position:



GM Archr with White has called Black to move Ng4, and White is looking quite strong - how should GM Topov response. It is easy to overlook the obvious, because in response to White's last move (g3), with Ng4 Black has an opportunity to play something that is actually quite strong. What is the best move to request here from White?

Annotations from GM Topov

Here is GM Topov's personal annotated commentary on the position in question:



GM Archr (white) would counter by requesting "Black to move c6" to prevent black's knight from helping his other advanced knight!

More could be said about the game in question, but perhaps this example suffices to illustrate the potential for fresh strategizing and creative play. As you can see, the game-play here also leads to some fascinating positions and interesting commentary!

What do I think of Double Reversal Chess?

Quite frankly, I think it is brilliant! Admittedly, when first training in the "new" chess, I found that instructing my opponent to play 1.a4 was not the optimal move, as in the example provided by Mr. Lewis. Oddly enough, my best results were when (as black) I instructed my opponent (as white) to play 1.e4! Technically, it wouldn't be correct to call this the King's Indian, because it is my opponent that is playing this move, and clearly new terminology is required for the opening theory here. Perhaps something like the New King's Indian might be appropriate, or if that is not sufficiently distinct, perhaps the King's American.

But overall, Double Reversal Chess allows for a certain creativity that is not usually found in the traditional form of the game. As such, it is an ingenious form of chess that in my estimation could arguably equal traditional chess in its importance, and has the potential to become as popular as classical chess. Apparently it is already so in some circles, even if some of the players themselves who have been introduced to it (under a different name) aren't aware that they are essentially playing it.

Of all the chess variants that have ever existed, it can truly be said that this is the most perfect of them all. Highly recommended.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The complete list of Ender's pictorial reviews: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/37596
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Sam Lindsay-Levine
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I, too, would agree that this variant is the equal of classical chess.
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Ian Cyr
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I.... still don't understand how this is any different than playing the opposite color.

In regular chess:
X "commands" White to move. X wins if Black is checkmated.
In this case, X = White.

In double reversal chess:
X "commands" White to move. X wins if Black is checkmated.
Only now, X = Black.

How is this different than switching sides?

Now, if you played the other color, and won if THEY were checkmated, then you might have something interesting. I.e.:
X "commands" White to move. X wins if White is checkmated.
Again, it wouldn't matter which color you were, the result is the same. But in this case you'd be trying to checkmate yourself, while the opponent would be trying to prevent it, while forcing you to checkmate them.
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Doug Buel
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EndersGame wrote:
Simplified Rules

1. On the first turn, the Black player tells the White player what to move. White then gets to tell Black what move to make.

2. On the
Second turn White gets told what move to make by Black and then Black gets told what move to make by White!

I see what you did there
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khader abdel-Hafez
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INCyr wrote:
I.... still don't understand how this is any different than playing the opposite color.

In regular chess:
X "commands" White to move. X wins if Black is checkmated.
In this case, X = White.

In double reversal chess:
X "commands" White to move. X wins if Black is checkmated.
Only now, X = Black.

How is this different than switching sides?

Now, if you played the other color, and won if THEY were checkmated, then you might have something interesting. I.e.:
X "commands" White to move. X wins if White is checkmated.
Again, it wouldn't matter which color you were, the result is the same. But in this case you'd be trying to checkmate yourself, while the opponent would be trying to prevent it, while forcing you to checkmate them.

Same here. I still don't understand how this is any different from regular chess. All I see is that each player is playing while looking at the board from the opposite direction.


I believe the variation proposed here, which is that White wins if white is checkmated turns the game into losers chess, again being played while looking at the board from the opposite direction.
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Tim Deagan
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Brilliant!

This really allows each player to take over the mind of the other.

If we could only combine it with the recent research in Body Swapping the world could change forever.
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Philip Hwang
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i feel like i'm looking at one of those autostereograms that allegedly has a 3d image that i can never see.
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Michael Wohlwend
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really nice variant :-)

the difference to normal chess is (in my understanding) that you try to find the worst move, not the best move :-)


Another variant I like is progressive chess, fast but not simple.

see www.chessvariants.com


Michael

 
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Billy McBoatface
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OK, so this is cute and all.

But what makes it a review?
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James Hutchings
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Folks, I think the joke is that this is identical to standard chess.
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Ryan Gatti
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Double Reversal Chess is truly the equal of classical chess. Not since learning classical chess has the concept of another game moved me in quite the same way as classical chess.

Thank you for sharing this revolutionary vision of chess. This is definitely a 360 degree move forward from classical chess.
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Billy McBoatface
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rgatti wrote:
Double Reversal Chess is truly the equal of classical chess. Not since learning classical chess has the concept of another game moved me in quite the same way as classical chess.

Thank you for sharing this revolutionary vision of chess. This is definitely a 360 degree move forward from classical chess.
I think it's actually a 180 degree move if you look carefully.
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Robert Manning
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wmshub wrote:
rgatti wrote:
Double Reversal Chess is truly the equal of classical chess. Not since learning classical chess has the concept of another game moved me in quite the same way as classical chess.

Thank you for sharing this revolutionary vision of chess. This is definitely a 360 degree move forward from classical chess.
I think it's actually a 180 degree move if you look carefully.

I'd say a 180 degree turn, followed by moving backwards, then turning another 180 degrees.

John Cleese should do a tutorial on this!
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John Lewis
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As the inventor I think I must point out the, perhaps innocuous, differences.
Hello, I am John Kipling Lewis, inventor of this variant. In an effort to obfuscate any similarities with other variants that appear to be dissimilar to standard chess...

1. Note that Black moves first.
2. You need not sit in front of your own pieces... although this is highly recommended.
3. No computer has yet beaten a human player.

There are more, should doubter and skeptics not see that this variant is the equal to standard chess.
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Chris Ferejohn
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Pitying fools as hard as I can...
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I can't tell if this is really dumb, brilliant satire, or brilliant game design that I am too dumb to understand...
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ɹǝsɐɹɟ
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Back in the days when there were less maps we played every map back to back
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Ooh a little higher, now a bit to the left, a little more, a little more, just a bit more. Oooh yes, that's the spot!
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But has it solved the age old problem of four player chess? Hmmm?
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Ryan Gatti
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Karlsen wrote:
But has it solved the age old problem of four player chess? Hmmm?
Yes. Four players (black, cyan, white, and magenta) (sometimes referred to as the CGA Double Reversal Chess variant). Setup the board with white and black pieces (like standard chess).

Following Double Reversal Chess rules:
A) Black tells white what to move, and white moves it.
B) Next, Cyan comments about magenta's position (but no kibitzing about black or white's position).
C) Then, White tells black what to move, and black moves it.
D) Finally, Magenta makes suggestions to cyan (but again, not about white or black0, and cyan is allowed to follow or ignore those suggestions.

This repeats until either White or Black lose (in which case, they win). Cyan and Magenta both win if they're still at the table when the game finishes.
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Mark Hubbard
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Quote:
But has it solved the age old problem of four player chess? Hmmm?
A problem with 4-player chess? WHAT problem does 4-player chess have? True, it is no longer the classic, razor-sharp execise of logic of 2-player, (kinda more like battle royal, just with nonvariable moves) but 4-player chess has a quality of it's own! Just make sure you don't invite the guy with AP to join you!


Edit: to add: BTW, nice thread. What an interesting twist!
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Calvin Daniels
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I have a number of variants, the international ones like makruk, shogi etc, as well as dragon, omega, opulent, neo, and plunder

can't say I'm very intrigued by this offering at all.

an oddity maybe, a classic to be ? doubt it very much
 
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Matt Albritton
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This is a bit like "Master Chess". Only the really great players play it:

1. White moves first. White tells Black what to suggest for White to move. White must move there.

2. Black then tells White what to suggest for Black's move. Black must make that move.

The only similarity to classic chess (other than the normal rules), is that you win if you checkmate your opponent.
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Jon
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I like that the "Rules" take three bullet points to explain, yet the "Simplified Rules" take four.
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howl hollow howl
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wmshub wrote:
OK, so this is cute and all.

But what makes it a review?

I think it's noise in any of the Chess forums, but doubly so in the reviews.
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Wim van Gruisen
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This is an idea whose time has not yet come.

That time would be somewhere in the very beginning of April next year.
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Jared Miller
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I just have to quote a Dominion review that I read a long time ago:

Quote:
It's so simple its stupid. It's so simple its brilliant

I think that statement nicely sums up this amazing chess variant.
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richard glanzer
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OK Phil. Let's pick a time and a place. Richard
 
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