Academia Imoto

Chess for me is an excellent Contemplative Synesthetic Art as well as martial arts.

I have been playing chess since I was 10 years old and have participated in some youth tournaments. I also read and reread some classics like Bobby Fischer’s book and also the work of Fritz Igel, a little known Austrian chess player who lived in Brazil.
In chess there is a huge number of draws and the growing need to study and memorize openings.
For the first problem, I play modern variants like the excelent BEYOND CHESS created by David Crockett and also the Revolution Chess by Jesse Shaw. Just as these two inventors did, in order not to mischaracterize the exquisite game of Chess, I idealized a new variant that I’ll present below.
As for the second problem, since Kasparov lost to Deep Blue I confess that my interest in regular chess has started to wane… Supercomputers currently beat even the best champions in their peak (including in the complex game Go). And for this limitation of human memory in relation to the gigantic number of openings of the machines I found only one way: to slightly change the position of the pieces in their initial arrangement on the board (which I also intend to show this alternative soon).
As for the new variant I created, I called it “GreyChess” (in English), “XaGriz” (in Portuguese) and “AjeGriz” (in Spanish).
Here are some images, the FIVE SUBRULES and more explanations about this new variant.

PS: This is a work in progress, so I’m looking for weaknesses in the approach or any potential issues you might encounter.


GREYCHESS — Chess with Undercover Spies



— Sun Tzu, The Art of War



— Prof. Luciano Imoto, creator of GREYCHESS (XAGRIZ in Portuguese, AJEGRIZ in Spanish).


In GREYCHESS, all pawns in the starting position on the board are “sleeping spies”. Upon reaching the fifth row (on the opponent’s field), the pawn is “awakened” and become a GREY. To differentiate it from other pawns, a small plastic, fabric or metal ring is placed on top of the piece. The GREY will be written in algebraic notation with the initial “G”. The GREYS are not a new piece, but a type of pawn sub-promotion: a GREY can only be captured by the Kings, and as it has become a double agent it will also be a neutral piece and can be moved by BOTH players. The rules of classical chess continue to apply in GREYCHESS, plus FIVE SUBRULES.



At the start of the game, all White and Black pawns are “sleepers” and only become “awakened” GREYs if they reach the fifth line. An “awakened” GREYS can be moved by BOTH players, but not one player after another (Sub-Rule 3).



A “sleeper” pawn can be captured normally (including en passant). But an “awakened” GREY can ONLY be captured by Kings. When GREYS are captured or promoted (Sub-Rule 4), the game continues normally without them.



“Sleeper” pawns move one or two squares on the first move and capture as pawns. And the “awakened” GREYS also keep moving one square at a time and still capturing as pawns. THEREFORE, A GREY MOVES UP THE BOARD WHEN PLAYED BY WHITE AND DOWN WHEN PLAYED BY BLACK. A GREY can ONLY be moved again after the opponent has played the next move with one of their own pieces or with another GREY, but a player can move forward or capture again with the same GREY. That is, each player may, on turn, move one “awakened” GREY; however, a player may not reverse the GREY move just made by the opponent.

EXAMPLE: Black plays with an “awakened” GREY threatening or not to capture any of White’s pieces or to give them Check. White, on the next move, CANNOT move or capture with this same GREY, but can capture it with the King (if this is a possible move) or move another GREY or another White piece. White can ONLY move that GREY after Black’s next move with another piece or another GREY.



The GREYS will be promoted if they reach the last rank, according to the official rule for promoting pawns, thus losing the quality of double agents. From then on, they can be captured by any other opponent’s piece besides the King.



White or Black CANNOT put the own King in Check by playing with one of the GREYS or moving their King to a square dominated by an “awakened” GREY.


Why did GREYCHESS add more action to chess with these spy pawns called “GREYS”?

Classical chess emphasizes control of the center. Now, with potential DOUBLE AGENTS on each side we add a new emphasis (and variables) to the center and to the flanks:

  1. It is possible to control the flanks and threaten the powerful pieces by advancing and awakening the GREY pawns.
  2. You can force your opponent to move the King to capture the GREY.
  3. The GREYS can protect your pieces and block your opponent’s pieces as an immovable barrier, but sometimes they can also be used to attack you when it’s your opponent’s turn. This adds extra power to the pawns and greater complexity to the game. The lateral pawns must be moved (or not) to protect the pieces against the advance of the GREYS by the opponent.

GREYCHESS preserved the characteristics and rules of the original game and just added FIVE SUBRULES to increase the level of difficulty and concentration.

GREYCHESS can be played with a standard chess set. All you need to do is distinguishing the GREY pawns that reached the fifth row putting a little washer or mark on its top.

In GREYCHESS the draw chances were reduced and the opportunities of promoting more pawns increased. This makes the game more dynamic and requires greater care in move predictions: it will be crucial to estimate when a sleepy or wakened GREY can be used by the opponent in his/her turn. It’s like that in wars, it’s like that in GREYCHESS.

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