Tips :: Playing "Wild" Chess VariantsICC offers a number of chess variants. All of them are grouped under the rating category of wild, except for bughouse, which has its own rating category. Some of the variants have their own rules, such as losers chess, bughouse, and kriegspiel. Others are material odds-games. The rest are played under normal chess rules, but with a different starting position.
To send out a seek request for a wild games, use
seek time inc w#. For example,
for a 5 minute w17 game, use seek 5 0 w17.
There are best lists and rankings maintained for wild ratings. To see the top wild players, use: best w. To see your wild rank among active players, use wildrank. Also, you can use wildrank player to show the wild rank of player.
Channel 89 is a channel devoted to the ICC Wild Bunch. To join it, use +ch 89.
Losers Chess -- Wild 17
Currently, the most popular chess variant on ICC is "losers
chess" where the object is to lose all your pieces, or get
mated. Captures are compulsory--if it is possible for you
to make a capture, you must. If you have more than one
capture available, you can choose which to make. The king
retains its function--it can't be captured, and checks must
be honored. If you try to make a non-capture when you have
a capture possible, ICC will indicate that you made an illegal
move, even though the move appears to be legal. Read the ICC help file
for more information.
Giveaway Chess -- Wild 26
Giveaway is similar Loser's: you must capture if you can, and the object is to lose all your pieces or to have no moves left. But in Giveaway, the king is just like any other piece; it can move into check and be captured, and you can even promote pawns to kings. See help Giveaway.
Bughouse -- Wild 24
Bughouse is a four player chess variant. It is also known as "siamese chess," "partners chess," or "double speed chess." Teams of two play against each other, on two boards. When a player captures a piece on one board, it is "passed" to his partner on the other board. On any given move, you can either make a normal move, or "drop" a piece. You can only drop pieces that you have in hand, from your partner's captures.
To play bughouse, you need to first find a partner. The command to use is partner player. There is a special bughouse channel, channel 24. Use +ch 24 to join the channel. This is the best place to try to find a partner, or potential opponents. Also, the bugwho command lists all current bughouse teams, and players seeking partners. To place your name on the list seeking partners, use the command set wild 24. To remove yourself from that list, use set wild 0. Bughouse games have their own rating category; rating changes are based on the ratings of all four players involved.
When you are playing, it is advisable to also observe your partner's board. Use set unobserve 0 and follow partner. Pieces that a player has available to drop will be shown on the side of the board. Simply drag the piece from the side of the board to the square where you want to drop it.
For more information about bughouse, read the ICC help files "help bughouse" and "help bug-pointers". The latter gives some useful information about bughouse strategy. King safety becomes paramount. Dropped pieces can lead to long, sacrificial attacks, almost out of nowhere. Also, communication between partners is key. The team that can control the timing of exchanges will often win the game. The team that is ahead on the clock also has a strong advantage. To facilitate communcation, the ICC command ptell message will send message to your partner.
Crazyhouse -- Wild 23Crazyhouse (wild 23) is like two-player Bughouse. When you capture a piece, it becomes a piece of your color that you can place later. On your turn, you can either make an ordinary chess move, or place one of the pieces in your holding (e.g. "N@g5"). You can't put pawns on the first or eighth rank. Promoted pawns revert to pawns upon being captured. You can drop in check or checkmate. See help Giveaway.
Kriegspiel -- Wild 16
Kriegspiel is a chess variant where you cannot see your opponent's
pieces or moves, and he/she cannot see yours. Therefore, you have to
guess where your opponent's pieces are, to plan your
strategy. The server will tell if you if a move is illegal,
and you will have to try a different move. Also, the server
will inform you if you are in check, and what type of check
it is. Also, if it is possible for you to make a pawn capture,
the server will inform you. You can type px to make
it, if you only have one. To play kriegspiel well, it's
important to keep track of how many pieces you have captured,
and try to find the location of your opponent's pieces,
especially the king! Be aware of early mate possibilities, too.
Note -- kriegspiel should be played with a long time control, with increment, because timestamp will not compensate for moves where you need to wait for the server to tell you your move was an illegal one.
Atomic Chess -- Wild 27
In this variant, whenever there's a capture, all pieces (but not pawns) in a one-square radius are also destroyed. You may not make a move that would destroy your own king. Check and checkmate are not recognized; just capture or destroy your opponent's king. See help atomic.
Shatranj -- Wild 28
Shatranj is an ancient precursor to chess. There are 'Elephants' instead of bishops. An Elephant (also called Alfil) only can move exactly two squares on a diagonal, but can do so whether or not there is a piece in the way. Instead of the mighty queen, there is a 'Fers' (also called Counselor or General). A Fers can only move one square diagonally. Castling is not possible, and pawns are not allowed to make a double-step on their first move. When a pawn reaches the last rank, it promotes, but only to a Fers. The King is on the d-file and not the e-file in the initial position. The game is won if you (a) checkmate your opponent, (b) stalemate your opponent or (c) take the last non-king piece of your opponent. In this last case (bare king), however, your opponent is allowed to make one more move and if he can take your last non-king piece as well, the game is a draw. See help Shatranj.
Three Checks and You Win -- Wild 25
A simple game...just check your opponent three times, and you win! A double-check only counts as one.
Shuffle Chess -- Wild 1 to Wild 4
Wild variants 1 through four are shuffle chess -- the initial arrangement of the pieces is determined by the server. The "randomness" of the position varies, depending on the wild type:
Fischer Random Chess -- Wild 22
This is also a type of shuffle chess, and was invented by Bobby Fischer. The usual set of pieces is arranged randomly on the first and eighth ranks, with bishops on opposite colors, and the king between the two rooks, and Black's arrangement a mirror of White's. Castling O-O puts the king at g1 (g8 for Black), the rook at f1 (f8). Castling O-O-O puts the king at c1 (c8), rook at d1 (d8). See help Fischer-random.
Odds Chess -- w10 to w14
ICC offers several wild variants for practicing "odds" chess.
The RestAll the other wilds follow the same rules of normal chess, but have a different starting position.
Loadgame & Thematics -- Wild 20 & 21
ICC offers two special types of wild, for playing from a specified position. Wild 20 allows you to use the loadgame command to specify the starting position. Or, you can specify the position with the loadfen command, which uses FEN notation. See the help file "help loadfen" and "help loadgame" for more information.
There are several computers run by ICC that take advantage of the loadgame command to allow you to practice special positions. There are 4 endgame computers, KQkr(C), KQkn(C), KRkn(C), and KBNk(C) that allow you to practice some tricky endgames. They use endgame tablebases, so they will put up perfect defense! Also, they will let you know how close you are to succeeding, via the kibitz command. They will also allow takebacks and give hints. See their finger notes on ICC for more information. Use the ICC command play kqkr to play KQkr, for example.
Wild 20 can be played rated, but it's not recommended. Your opponent could conceivably load any position on move 1, including completely unfair ones. You can use abort on move 1 to abort a game immediately.
Wild 21 is a special variant of wild 20. It is used for the Thematic tournaments. These are tournaments where the opening is pre-arranged. The opening that will be used is the one that is currently stored in thematic %0. To see this position, use spos thematic %0. This will generally be changed from week to week by the Thematic tournament managers.
Random Wild -- Wild 29Selects another wild variant at random, but not one of the odds games. It weights the more interesting games somewhat more. The game will be rated in the category of the wild selected (if the game is a rated game).