- Series: Batsford Chess Books
- Paperback: 144 pages
- Publisher: Batsford (June 30, 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0713485787
- ISBN-13: 978-0713485783
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.7 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 6 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,319,275 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Popular Chess Variants (Batsford Chess Books) Paperback – June 30, 2003
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
About the Author
David Pritchard is an acknowledged authority on chess variants.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Pritchard's book deals with 18 variations on the theme of European chess. Games of this type--which can be played on a regular chessboard with regular pleces--are usually referred to as "Fairy chess." The differences between Fairy chess variants and orthodox chess can be minimal, as in Displacement chess and Randomized chess, or profound, as in Dynamo chess and Ultima. Pritchard gives the rules for each variant, describes some simple strategy, and gives a few illustrative games. He tries to arrange the games from simplest (Extinction chess in chapter 1) to most complex (Dynamo and Ultima in chapters 17 & 18).
He then finishes off the book with chapters on Shogi and Xiang qi, and an afterword describing certain chess variant sources.
Pritchard reviews the following games: 1. Extinction chess aka Survival of the Species; 2. Racing Kings; 3. Displacement chess; 4. Randomized chess; 5. Marsellais chess; 6. Doublemove chess; 7. Losing chess aka Suicide chess; 8. Progressive chess; 9. Kriegspiel; 10. Alice chess; 11. Triplets; 12. Avalanche chess; 13. Hostage chess; 14. Co-ordinate chess; 15. Knight relay chess; 16. Magnetic chess; 17. Dynamo chess; 18. Ultima. 19. Chinese chess; 20. Japanese chess.
Most of the games will be familiar to chess variant enthusiasts, but Triplets, Hostage chess, and Magnetic chess are relatively new and unknown. Chess variant enthusiasts will inevitably be disappointed that Pritchard left out their favorites. I wish he had included Chessgi, but given the logistical problems with playing Chessgi, I can understand why he included the similar game of Hostage chess instead.
Almost all these games are included in Pritchard's earlier work, "The Encyclopedia of Chess Variants," which describes myriads of chess variants. If you're only going to buy one book on chess variants, get "The Encyclopedia of Chess Variants." It may cost a little more, but the few extra dollars brings descriptions of hundreds of extra games. If you're like me, and try to gather up everything you can find on chess variants, you'll have to have both books.
I would have liked to see more on ultima gameplay/strategy other than the "play usually takes place on the wings" and 2 annotated games. I found that odd, especaily because it talked about the fans liking it for its "subtle strategy". But, you could attibute this to the fact that there is not much material out there at all for this variant, and the fact that a work like this can't have alot of overall depth.
Unfortunately, the book is paperback (glue binding) which doesn't bode well if the book is to be used heavily. I wish it had been offered in hard-cover. Other than this minor quibble, I heartily recommend this book to anyone interested in chess variants.
Most variants are playable by two players with a usual chess set; in addition, shogi and xiangqi (Japanese and Chinese chess) are given. Overall, a book that I liked a lot, although The Encyclopedia of Chess Variants contains much more information.