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Chec Toe by Simon Jepps

🌒 Sorchess

Sorchess by Simon JeppsWelcome to the Sorchess page, here at Chec-Toe.Org. Sorchess is another of my Chess Variants, yet unlike Chec Toe, is specifically intended for a much greater intellectual audience.

Sorchess is where Classical Chess becomes its own sage.


How To Play

Sorchess is exquisitely simple to understand, if you are already familiar with Classical Chess.

Sorchess is itself an evolution of Classical Chess whereby the only difference is the implementation of a new piece, known as the Wizard.

Yet what strikes this game apart from other variants that include "extra" pieces, is that Sorchess only includes ONE extra piece, or Wizard, per player.

I have spent decades studying different methods and mechanisms for evolving Chess and, to shorten an eternal story, I unwaveringly agreed with myself in the end that a larger board does not fulfill the game's evolution and likewise any further "pairs" of pieces only contribute to its unfulfillment.

However it was absolutely obvious to me that Classical Chess was missing a new piece and was also in need of a new methodology.

Sorchess: WizardMy decision:

Each player has one Wizard, absent from the board at the start, but which may be dropped into play at any moment.

The Wizard piece was originally invented in 1992 by Daniel MacDonald, for his game Omega Chess, another popular Chess variant.

Yet whilst this piece has become immortal in my mind, I have always felt its colour boundness to be, not only a weakness of its footprint, but therefore an illogical trait of character.

Herein, the Sorchess Wizard is itself an evolution of the Omega Wizard, by allowing it to change the square colour by which it is bound.

There are inevitably some rules regarding the Wizard and they are as follows.
  • The Wizard moves like an elongated Knight, 3,1 as opposed to 2,1, and ONE square diagonally, in any direction.
    • However, the Sorchess Wizard MAY ALSO move ONE square orthogonally WITHOUT CAPTURE, but only ONCE in the game.
  • The Wizard enters play by exiting a friendly Rook, as if it were the Wizard standing there instead. For example, the first move of any game could be 1. Wg4, moving into play from the Rook on h1.
    • Unless the Rook has ONLY MOVED to Castle with the King, the Wizard MAY NOT enter the game from a Rook which has MOVED. For example a White Wizard MAY enter from a Castled Rook on f1 (O-O) or d1 (O-O-O), but MAY NOT enter from that Rook once it moves again.

Promotion
  • Pawns MAY promote to a Wizard, but ONLY if the player promoting does not currently have a Wizard on the board. Only ONE Wizard in play, per player, is permitted throughout the game.
  • If a player has LOST his Wizard AND also a Knight, then IF the ONE remaining Knight successfully OCCUPIES the opponent King SQUARE (e1/e8), that Knight MAY promote to and thus RESURRECT the captured Wizard.
    • Yet should a player forget or choose NOT to promote his last remaining Knight upon FIRST occupying the King square, the player forfeits his right to do so at any later opportunity. Once promoted to a Wizard, the piece MAY NOT revert back to a Knight.
  • A piece MAY promote TWICE. This very rare scenario can happen under the ONE condition that, a Pawn promotes to a Knight, then this Knight promotes to a Wizard.

Making Of A Wizard

Sorchess of course employs a standard Chess inventory and so the only additional equipment required is that of the Sorchess Wizard.

The photos included here show a most beautiful and complete Sorchess set. What you are seeing is actually a combination of Jester Chess Pieces by Masters Traditional Games upon a leather board.

Jester Chess includes two additional Jester pieces, two additional Pawns and is played on a 10x10 board. Yet as you can see, these "Jester" pieces also make very good for Wizards.

I have spent many years acquiring my equipment and so absolutely understand how difficult it might be for someone to spend money on unusual and sometimes expensive products.

If you want a home-made Wizard to best match your existing set, it is best to either acquire a set with TWO Queens, adjusting the appearance of the second Queen, OR, acquire TWO identical sets and remove the Crown from the second King.

You can mix and match pieces, sand them down and glue them together in all kinds of different ways. This was a hobby of mine during the early years of my investigations.

However you decide, I wish you a great game!

Summary

I truly believe that the Sorchess Wizard, being an integration and ammendment of the Omega Wizard, is divinely, the final nail in a very deeply buried coffin.

Many years ago I began playing Seirawan Chess, an 8x8 variant which includes TWO extra pieces, the Elephant and the Hawk. It is basically an adaptation of Capablanca Chess onto the 64 square board.

Yet what I discovered is that the presence of these two almighty strong pieces terribly overweights the board. They are like two dinosaurs at a teddy bears' picnic.

The other regular pieces cannot compete amidst the clouds of dust kicked up by the Elephant and the continous airborne attacks from the Hawk.

Sorchess by Simon JeppsAs an investigation, I developed an adjustment to Yasser Seirawan and Bruce Harper's game, as such only allowing ONE piece, per player, onto the board at any time.

A further adjustment brought about the rule to say, each player must choose which ONE of his two pieces he will ONLY play for the entire game.

Herewith it was felt deep in my heart, Classical Chess might evolve this way and stand a chance of becoming a new species. But the question still remained... what piece?

I adore the Classic and have always tried to preserve its continuum within my variants. Yet at the same time I have always felt there to be absent a certain "pinch" of magic which, in all truth, should exist to remedy played-out weaknesses in the Classical method.

Whilst say a Trompowsky or similar Opening does not necessarily result unfairly in doubled Pawns, it is a commonplace scenario. For reasons such as these I feel there should exist an extra dimension to the game.

Aye, as Sorchess doth now proclaim, it was to be... the Wizard.

©2021 S.E. Jepps.

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