Ring Chess Theory and Practice
© reg. no. TXu000471600, 1991
When classic chess was invented, most people thought the earth to be a flat disc over the edges of which the seas dropped and disappeared into some oblivion or another. Later, in the new world, old chess wasn’t adapted to resemble the closed surface (without limiting edges) of the world sphere. As a result, the edges of the classical chess board ever remained veritable precipices to oblivion.
But now that has all changed with the advent of ring chess, created to provide the traditional playing field new, added dimension by integrating the board. To do this, for reasons which will become more evident as we proceed, the field is doubled to sixteen ranks. This is a longboard. Further, to close the field into a continuous surface without limiting edges, the longboard parallel edges are joined so as to form an imaginary torus.
A torus shape is preferable to a spherical one because the first (royal) rank of each side must incorporate eight 225 degree double right spherical triangles in spherical chess. Then, the movement through poles of a spherical chessboard is random or arbitrarily defined. Unnecessary complications such as these are avoided simply by retaining some of the quadrilateral form of classic chess squares. The torus most simply and efficiently accomplishes this.
The imaginary torus may be kept in mind as play proceeds on the flat longboard, but players need only to remember that a move across one longboard edge simply continues in the same direction through its complimentary parallel edge. It is interesting to note that the four longboard vertices are topological abstractions of only one and the same toric point.
The length of the field is doubled to a longboard of eight files and sixteen ranks, in order to prevent opposing sides on a classic chess board trying to start play back-to-back, essentially checkmating each other before play can even begin. Two more armies are added to defend rear guards of black and light (usually represented by white). The two additional armies are silver (or grey, or blue) and clear (or red, or gold). Light and silver are the bright allies which battle the dark allies, clear and black.
Allies begin play back-to-back so that four ranks of unoccupied squares separate ranks of enemy pawns. Queens can begin on any color, as long as they are initially all arranged on the same common file, as in classic chess. Initial positions of the armies may be reversed in two ways between games. One way is to reverse positions of allies of one or both sides, and the other way is to reverse positions of both sides. One or both ways may occur as players agree.
Two, three, or four can play with one or both colors of either a bright side or a dark side. Light moves first, clear moves next, then silver, and, finally, black. This order is repeated throughout the game until the game ends. The object of the game is to checkmate and capture an enemy king, and then checkmate his remaining ally king. When a king is captured, all chessmen of his color remaining on the board, if any, are captured and removed from the board. Play then proceeds until a dis-allied, lone king is checkmated, stalemate, draw, or resignation.
Otherwise, movement rules governing classic chessmen also govern ring chessmen. A pawn is queened when it arrives upon a royal rank. En passant and castling rules apply to ring chess although the need for castling for the sake of rook connection is eliminated since the four rooks of each side begin the game quite adequately connected.
Ring chess is designed to resemble classic chess as much as can be possible, so as to preserve the essence of the old game. As an abstract expansion of classic chess, ring chess differs from it only in minor details while widely broadening the horizons of the game of chess. If anything is lost as a result of this evolutionary process of chess, may it be but oblivion, and may much more than that be gained.