Title:
Betting chess and methods of play
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention provides a chess game that integrates betting into the game and also introduces elements of chance into the game. In particular, the present invention provides a chess game which integrates betting into a pre-game portion of the game and/or during gameplay based on piece distribution among the players. The chess game also introduces 1) elements of chance into the game, 2) flexibility of piece distribution among players, 3) novel pieces not present in traditional chess, and 4) flexible and unorthodox board sizes. A method of playing a game of chess is also provided.



Inventors:
Esserman, Marc (Miami, FL, US)
Hrdy, Camilla (Winters, CA, US)
Application Number:
11/590059
Publication Date:
06/07/2007
Filing Date:
10/31/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A63F3/02
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
MENDIRATTA, VISHU K
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
GREENBERG TRAURIG, LLP (ONE INTERNATIONAL PLACE, 20th FL, ATTN: PATENT ADMINISTRATOR, BOSTON, MA, 02110, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A chess game comprising: a game board reconfigurable in its number of squares, rows and columns; at least one chess piece, for placement on a square of the board, provided with a movement pattern different from that of traditional chess pieces; and a set of rules for introducing wagering into a game between opposing players.

2. A chess game as set forth in claim 1, wherein the game board includes an equal number of squares along the rows and columns.

3. A chess game as set forth in claim 1, wherein the game board includes an unequal number of squares along the rows and columns.

4. A chess game as set forth in claim 1, wherein the game board includes an equal number of rows and columns.

5. A chess game as set forth in claim 1, wherein the game board includes an unequal number of rows and columns.

6. A chess game as set forth in claim 1, wherein adjacent squares can be altered to be of a similar color, so as to prevent a piece from moving thereacross.

7. A chess game as set forth in claim 1, wherein the chess piece is provided with a movement pattern arising from a combination of traditional chess pieces.

8. A chess game as set forth in claim 1, wherein the chess piece is provided with movement pattern that can change during gameplay.

9. A chess game as set forth in claim 1, further including a chess piece having a movement pattern, power or an ability different from that associated with traditional chess pieces.

10. A chess game as set forth in claim 1, wherein the set of rules allows for piece distribution between players to result in one of similar pieces, different pieces or a combination thereof.

11. A chess game as set forth in claim 10, wherein the set of rules allows for betting based on an outcome of piece distribution to the players.

12. A chess game as set forth in claim 1, wherein the set of rules allows for betting during gameplay, so as to project a position of actual or perceived strength by a player.

13. A chess game as set forth in claim 1, wherein the set of rules allows for squares on the board to be changed in one of color, ability, or availability for landing thereon.

14. A method of playing a game of chess, the method comprising: receiving a certain number of chess pieces for playing the game; wagering, based on the chess pieces received, so as to project a position of actual or perceived strength; and playing the game with the chess pieces received until a game ending occurrence results.

15. A method as set forth in claim 14, wherein the step of receiving includes receiving all the chess pieces for playing in one round of distribution.

16. A method as set forth in claim 14, wherein the step of receiving includes receiving the chess pieces for playing in multiple rounds of distribution.

17. A method as set forth in claim 14, wherein the step of receiving includes receiving the chess pieces on designated squares on a game board.

18. A method as set forth in claim 14, wherein the step of receiving includes receiving the chess pieces on random squares on a chess board.

19. A method as set forth in claim 14, wherein the step of receiving includes providing a predetermined set of chess pieces from which a certain number of chess pieces are received for playing the game.

20. A method as set forth in claim 14, wherein, in the step of receiving, the chess pieces received includes one of similar to that received by an opponent, different from that received by an opponent, or a combination thereof.

21. A method as set forth in claim 14, wherein, in the step of receiving, at least one of the chess pieces received is provided with a movement pattern arising from a combination of traditional chess pieces.

22. A method as set forth in claim 14, wherein, in the step of receiving, at least one of the chess pieces received is provided with movement pattern that can change during gameplay.

23. A method as set forth in claim 14, wherein, in the step of receiving, at least one of the chess pieces received includes a movement pattern, power or an ability different from that associated with traditional chess pieces.

24. A method as set forth in claim 14, wherein the step of wagering includes wagering for each round of chess piece distribution.

25. A method as set forth in claim 14, wherein the step of wagering includes wagering during gameplay.

26. A method as set forth in claim 14, wherein the step of wagering includes revealing the chess pieces received to an opponent.

27. A method as set forth in claim 14, wherein the step of wagering includes accumulating the wagers for subsequent taking or division when a game ending occurrence results.

28. A method as set forth in claim 14, wherein the step of playing includes providing a time period within which a player must play until a game ending occurrence results.

29. A method as set forth in claim 14, wherein, in the step of playing, the game ending occurrence includes one of a checkmate, a wager that an opposing player cannot match, expiration of a time period within which a player must play the game, or any other defined game ending occurrences.

30. A method as set forth in claim 29, further including taking or dividing the wagers after a game ending occurrence results.

31. A method as set forth in claim 14, further including providing a game board reconfigurable in its number of squares, rows and columns.

32. A method as set forth in claim 31, wherein the step of providing includes changing the number of squares on the board.

33. A method as set forth in claim 31, wherein the step of providing includes reconfiguring one of the number of rows or columns.

34. A method as set forth in claim 31, wherein the step of providing includes, for certain squares on the board, altering color or ability of those certain squares.

35. A method as set forth in claim 14, further including providing a set of rules upon which the game can be based.

36. A method as set forth in claim 35, further including allowing an agreement to be reached for certain changes in the rules.

37. A method as set forth in claim 14, further including providing an on-line environment within which the game can be played.

38. A method for carrying out a game of chess, the method comprising: distributing, to remotely situated opposing players, a certain number of chess pieces for playing the game; allowing each player to wager, based on the chess pieces received, so as to project a position of actual or perceived strength; projecting to the players a substantially similar image of the board and the distributed chess pieces; and permitting the game to be played with the distributed chess pieces until a game ending occurrence results.

Description:

RELATED U.S. APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Application Ser. Nos. 60/742,816, filed Dec. 6, 2005, and 60/801,013, filed May 17, 2006, both of which are hereby incorporated herein by reference.

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present invention relates to a game of chess, and more particularly, to a game of chess that allows betting to occur prior to playing and during gameplay, and one that includes variations in the chess pieces, board, and rules to introduce an element of chance.

BACKGROUND ART

Traditional chess and other previously existing variants of traditional chess are not specifically designed to effectively integrate betting (i.e., wagering) into the game. In order for betting to occur effectively in a chess game, chess piece distribution, in terms of piece type and piece placement, may sometimes need to be of unequal strength. In addition, elements of randomness may also need to exist, for instance, in the pre-game set-up and sometimes in the game play itself.

Traditional chess allows for an established and equal distribution, as well as placement of a predetermined number and type of pieces among the players. The popular chess variant “Fischer Random Chess” allows for more flexible distribution. “Fischer Random chess” begins with pieces for each player being randomly distributed along the back rank. However, both the piece distribution and piece placement are always equal for both players. “Fischer-Random Chess” is simply traditional chess with a random starting position for the traditional chess pieces. Moreover, wagering in “Fischer-Random Chess” is not integrated into either pre-game play or actual gameplay, and cannot be integrated because of the inherent equality of the game, which makes the game almost entirely skill-based.

Playing chess with cards or dice exists. In its most popular form, each card matches a particular piece (e.g., pawn, knight, bishop, rook, queen, or king). Each player draws from a deck of cards to determine which pieces he can move. For instance, if a player draws a bishop he can move a bishop. If he draws a rook, he can move a rook. However, these chess variants can present the opposite problem. They take a great degree of skill away from players, since the players have little control over which pieces they can move, and therefore cannot strategize.

Another problem with traditional chess and many current chess variants, when it comes to wagering, is that these games do not prevent computers from playing the chess game successfully, so as to prevent players from using a computer program to enhance their play. If aware that their opponent may be a computer, players may never feel comfortable betting on the outcome of a game which they think they will lose.

Thus, up until now, no chess variant has integrated a system of betting into the game by allowing both skill and chance to play roles in the game, so that certain elements of the game may be determined by chance, while allowing the players to have the freedom to choose which pieces to move. At the same time no chess variant has been designed to prevent computers from playing it effectively.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a chess game that involves the basic rules of traditional chess and, in an embodiment, integrates betting and introduces elements of chance into the game. In particular, the present invention provides a chess game which integrates betting into a pre-game portion of the game and/or during gameplay. The chess game can also introduce 1) the elements of chance into the game, 2) the flexibility of piece distribution among players, 3) novel pieces not present in traditional chess, and 4) flexible and unorthodox board sizes.

In one embodiment, there is provided a chess game having a game board reconfigurable in its number of squares, rows and columns. The number of squares along the rows and columns, as well as the number of rows and columns, in an embodiment, can be altered on the game board to be equal or unequal. The chess game can also include at least one chess piece provided with a movement pattern different from that of traditional chess pieces. In particular, this chess piece may be provided with a movement pattern arising from a combination of traditional chess pieces or a movement pattern that can change during gameplay. In one embodiment, other chess pieces may be provided with a specific power or ability not associated with traditional chess pieces. The chess game can further include a set of rules for introducing betting into a game between opposing players. Such rules can allow, among other things, for betting based on an outcome of piece distribution to the players, for betting during gameplay, so as to project a position of actual or perceived strength by a player, for squares on the board to be changed in its color, ability or availability.

In another embodiment, there is provided a method of playing a game of chess. The method includes initially receiving a certain number of chess pieces for playing the game. In an embodiment, the pieces may be received in one round of distribution or in multiple rounds of distribution. The pieces received can be similar to that received by an opponent, different from that received by an opponent, or a combination thereof. Additionally, the pieces may be received on designated squares on the game board or on random squares on the game board. Next, based on the pieces have been received, the method permits wagering, so as to project a position of actual or perceived strength. In an embodiment, the wagering can be done for each round of chess piece distribution and/or during gameplay. The wagers can be accumulated for subsequent taking or division when a game ending occurrence results. The method can include, after wagering, playing the game with the chess pieces received until a game ending occurrence results. A game ending occurrence, in one embodiment, can be one of a checkmate, a wager that an opposing player cannot match, expiration of a time period within which a player must play the game, or any other defined game ending occurrences. The method can further include providing a game board reconfigurable in its number of squares, rows and columns, and a set of rules upon which the game can be based.

In a further embodiment, there is provided a method for carrying out a game of chess. The method includes initially distributing to remotely situated opposing players a certain number of chess pieces for playing the game. Next, each player may be allowed to wager, based on the chess pieces received, so as to project a position of actual or perceived strength. Thereafter, a similar image of a game board and the distributed chess pieces on the game board may be transmitted to each player. The game may then be played with the distributed chess pieces until a game ending occurrence results.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 illustrates a set up on a 9×9 board where the hands are relatively equal, with both players possessing a queen, two rooks, and four minor pieces (either a bishop or a knight).

FIG. 2 illustrates a 10×10 board with piece distribution for both players being shown.

FIG. 3 illustrates a bishop-knight, combining the movement of both pieces, for use in the chess game of the present invention.

FIG. 4 illustrates a rook-knight, combining the movement of both pieces, for use in the chess game of the present invention.

FIG. 5 illustrates a queen-knight, combining the movement of both pieces, for use in the chess game of the present invention.

FIG. 6 illustrates a super-bishop, combining the movement of a bishop and a king, for use in the chess game of the present invention. The super-bishop is not treated as an additional king, but rather as a more powerful bishop.

FIG. 7 illustrates a super-knight for use in the chess game of the present invention.

FIG. 8 illustrates a cannon for use in the chess game of the present invention.

FIG. 9 illustrates captures by a cannon whereby the cannon leaps over a screen in its path to capture the piece directly behind the screen.

FIG. 10 illustrates a mimic for use in the chess game of the present invention.

FIG. 11 illustrates the mimic power of this piece whereby now defended by a friendly white rook, the mimic “mimics” the power of the rook, and therefore can capture the black pawn.

FIG. 12 illustrates a knight-rider which can move like a knight in any direction and keeps moving until obstructed by another piece or the edge of the board.

FIG. 13 illustrates a force-field which moves like a traditional rook, but only one square at a time.

FIG. 14 illustrates a force-field piece shielding a rook, queen, and king from attack.

FIG. 15 illustrates board size not defined by particular dimensions in accordance with one embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 16 illustrates a board with an altered set up of adjacent squares.

DESCRIPTION OF SPECIFIC EMBODIMENTS

I. Basic Game

In one embodiment of the present invention, there is provided a version of a game that allows at least two players to participate. The game permits, among other things, differential piece distribution at the start of the game, betting during the pre-game setup and during gameplay, and chance elements that may favor or harm one player to be introduced during gameplay. It should be noted that although the following describes a typical enactment of this chess betting game, it is by no means the only way the game may proceed.

A. Object of the Game

In accordance with one embodiment, an object of the game of the present invention includes 1) checkmating a king of an opponent, 2) making a wager that the opponent cannot match, 3) running the opponent out of time, or 4) achieving any other defined game ending occurrences. When one of these occurs, the game ends and the victorious player wins the value of the betting pot that has accumulated during the game. In case of a draw, the players split the value of the pot equally.

B. Piece Distribution

In one embodiment, each player pays an initial entry fee (e.g., an ante) of some designated amount using either real money or items having a representative monetary value (e.g., chips). Each player may then be delivered or dealt a certain number of pieces, which can be of various types and can have relative strengths (e.g., pawn, rook, knight, bishop, queen and king). These pieces can be distributed along the back rank of the board either all at once or in segments. In an embodiment, the number of pieces distributed may be dependent on the size of the board. As will be provided in further detail below, the board size can change from game to game, with a probability of appearance of certain potential board sizes dependent on, for example, player or game host preferences or on tournament rules. In one embodiment, the pieces distributed along the back rank may contain a number of “blanks,” that is, no piece may be dealt to that particular square and the square may be left vacant. The types of pieces distributed, the probability of receiving each type, and the number of “blanks” one may get can also be dependent on player or game host preferences or on tournament rules. In an embodiment, each player may receive at least one king to be placed on the back rank, and an equal number of pawns on the second row of the board just as in traditional chess.

It should be noted that piece distribution can be done to minimize either players from seeing the chess pieces of the opponent, or can be done to allow each player to see some or all of the chess pieces possessed by his opponent.

C. Pre-Game Betting

Once the players have received either some or all of their pieces, and have seen the pieces owned by the opposing player (or not depending on what is permitted), the players may now have an opportunity to bet (i.e., wager) based on the actual or perceived strength of their piece distributions (e.g., type, placement and strategic potential). It should be appreciated that because the piece distribution process can be random, both players at times can have a relatively equal hand.

EXAMPLE 1

In this example, there is illustrated in FIG. 1, a 9×9 board 10. As shown, White has from right to left, a knight 11, a knight 12, a knight 13, a queen 14, a bishop 15, a rook 16, a blank 17, a rook 18, a king 19 on a back rank 101 of board 10, and nine pawns 102 on a second rank 103 of board 10. Black, on the other hand, has from right to left, a bishop 111, a bishop 112, a bishop 113, a rook 114, a king 115, a queen 116, a rook 117, a blank 118, a bishop 119 on back rank 104, and nine pawns 105 on second rank 106 of board 10.

Although illustrated as such, it should be noted that sometimes one player may have a significantly stronger hand than the opposing player.

EXAMPLE 2

In this example, there is illustrated in FIG. 2, a 10×10 board 20. As shown, White has from right to left, a queen 21, a bishop 22, a king 23, a blank 24, a blank 25, a “queen-knight” 26, a knight 27, a blank 28, a rook 29, a “rook-knight” 201 and ten pawns 202 on a second rank 203 of board 20. Black, as shown, has from right to left, a blank 211, a blank 212, a bishop 213, a knight 214, a bishop 215, a “super-bishop” 216, a rook 217, a king 218, a blank 219, a knight 220, and ten pawns 221 on a second rank 222 of board 20. Based on how strong each player perceives his hand to be in relation to that of the opposing player, or on how strong each player wishes the opponent to perceive his hand to be, each player can participate in one or more pre-game betting rounds. In one embodiment, the player assigned to play White may bet first. Of course, the rules can be set to permit Black to may first. Players may fold at any time, forfeiting the match and the entry fee and any money bet so far.

EXAMPLE 3

The following example uses arbitrary monetary units, assumes an entry fee of $1, a single betting round, and that all the pieces have been distributed at once instead of in segments. Alternatively, the pieces may be distributed in segments to permit multiple betting rounds. In other words, if the pieces were distributed, for instance, in three segments, there would be three betting rounds. Likewise, if the pieces were distributed in two segments, there would be two betting rounds.

On the 10×10 board 20 shown in FIG. 2, after White and Black have each put in the entry fee, White may note that he has a “queen-knight” 26 (a piece combining the powers of the queen and the knight), and a “rook-knight” 201 (a piece that combines the powers of the rook and the knight), bets $10 in the first betting round. Black, who does not see any of the pieces possessed by White in this particular game, may note that his hand contains no particularly powerful pieces. Black decides not to pay the $10 to continue. Black folds. White wins the pot, taking away the entry fee (e.g., the ante) put in by Black as winnings.

EXAMPLE 4

Again, assuming an entry fee of $1, but this time there may be three betting rounds. On the 10×10 board illustrated in FIG. 2, White receives a queen 21, a bishop 22, and king 23 (and one blank 24) for his first three pieces. White does not bet boldly, placing a bet of only 50 cents. Black receives two blanks 211 and 212, and a bishop 213 for the first three pieces, and does not have a good hand. But Black decides to call the bet of 50 cents and wait to see what happens next. The pot is now $3.

In a second round of betting, white receives two blanks 24 and 25, a queen-knight 26, and a knight 27, while Black gets a knight 214, bishop 215, super-bishop 216 (a piece which moves as both a bishop and a king), and a rook 217. White, gaining confidence from receiving the queen-knight, bets $2. Black calls and puts in $2. The pot is now $7.

In a last betting round, White receives a blank 28, a rook 29, and rook-knight 201, while Black receives a king 218, a blank 219, and knight 220. This may be a powerful distribution, but White decides to check (pass), seemingly to goad Black into betting. Black has received a worse distribution, but does not know this and decides to put in $10, perhaps hoping to bluff White out. White, happy to see the bet, calls the $10 and raises $20, which Black subsequently calls. The pot has jumped from $7 after the second round of betting to $67 after the third round.

As both players have a full complement of pieces to fit on the 10×10 board, and both players have bet and called the correct amounts, pre-game piece distribution is now complete.

D. Gameplay

Once all pieces have been distributed and revealed to both players, and the betting rounds have been completed (i.e., all bets have been placed and met with neither player folding), the players begin the chess game.

White may move first, just as in traditional chess. Once the first move is made, the game is now in the “gameplay” stage. At any point during gameplay, a player can bet more money if he thinks his position is better, or if he wants to imply to his opponent that his position is better.

In one embodiment, a “no-limit” variation may be provided for betting purposes. Under this variation, betting can continue until a player runs out of money, and any sum in the possession of a player can be wagered. If the opposing player wishes to continue playing, he must match, if he has the money. If a player wants to continue playing but does not have enough money to match the wager by his opponent, that player can put in all of his remaining money, and the wager then consists of the lower of the two wagers.

In a “limit” variation, the number of times raising can occur during the game depends on player or host preferences, or on tournament rules. A player can fold at any time.

For either of these variations, the winner can be determined when a) one player checkmates his opponent, b) one player runs out of time, c) one player folds, or d) any other defined game ending occurrences result. For instance, if White has surrounded his opponent and the game is near its end, White may sense a weakness in Black and may decide to bet $60 after completing a move. Black, knowing the game may be lost, may not call the wager, and folds the game. White wins the game and the pot of $67.

It should be appreciated that the amount of times a player can raise during a pre-game or gameplay betting round can be dependent on player or host preferences. For example, in one embodiment, re-raising a player during game play may not allowed, while in another embodiment, players can re-raise each other up to three times during game play. In another embodiment, re-raises can may be permitted for an unlimited number of times.

It should be understood that the chess betting game of the present invention can accommodate any betting structures, for example, from limit, spread limit, pot limit, to no limit during both pre-game and gameplay betting rounds. Moreover, similar to poker, if players or hosts wanted the game to be played with “blinds” instead of antes, White may initially ante a “big blind,” and Black may ante a “small blind,” which may equal to one-half of the big blind.

In this case, assuming a big blind of $1, White would ante $1 and Black $0.50. In the first betting round, Black would then go first, either calling $0.50, raising, or folding. In all subsequent betting rounds, White would act first, just as in poker, where the small blind acts first in the first betting round and the big blind acts first in all subsequent betting rounds.

In a “limit” game, players may be allowed to bet in fixed increments during pre-game and gameplay betting rounds. In a spread limit game, players can bet between a range of fixed increments during pre-game and gameplay betting rounds. During a pot limit game, players can bet the size of the pot during pre-game and gameplay betting rounds. During a “no-limit” game, there may be no limit to what players can bet during pre-game and gameplay betting rounds.

In an embodiment, one type of betting structure may be used during pre-game betting rounds and another type during gameplay betting rounds, or vice versa. The chess betting game of the present invention can also be played in tournament format incorporating any of the above betting structures. In tournament play, multiple players may be paired off against one another and continuously repaired with one another until a player runs out of money or the tournament time limit expires. Tournament placement may be determined by the order in which players are eliminated and/or by the amount of money each player has accumulated at the end of the tournament.

II. Variations

In another embodiment, the chess betting game of the present invention may be provided with novel elements that may not be present in traditional chess, or any other chess variation, as well as elements that may be used individually or in combination with one another.

A. New Pieces

In accordance with one embodiment of the present invention, there may be provided an assortment of new pieces in addition to the traditional chess pieces. The use of these novel pieces, in an embodiment, can minimize input from a computer chess program. In particular, it should be appreciated that the values of traditional chess pieces are well known in most chess positions. From these values, computer chess programs may be provided with the necessary information to compute moves that will result in a good outcome for the computer program. The traditional piece values have been fine-tuned for over hundreds of years, and have now been given to the computer, depriving chess of much of its former mystery.

However, with the new pieces provided herein, it may be difficult to associate an accurate value to any of the new additional pieces of the present invention, as players have no experience using them. Moreover, the novel pieces chosen for the present invention can be far more dynamic in value than the original chess pieces, that is, their value can change significantly during a game that it may not be worthwhile to assign a fixed number or value to them. As such, a player may rather think of these pieces as floating values and be ready to make adjustments, an act that humans can be more naturally inclined to do than computers.

Focusing now on the new pieces, in addition to the king, queen, rook, bishop, knight, and pawn, the chess game of the present invention may contain a number of other pieces having non-traditional and/or combinational movement patterns. For example, as shown in FIG. 3, the game may include a combination piece that can move as a bishop and a knight, called a “bishop-knight” 30. The bishop-knight 30, in an embodiment, can move to any square in diagonal rows 31 and 32 (i.e., traditional movement of a bishop), or any square 33 (i.e., traditional movement of a knight).

In FIG. 4, there is shown a combination piece that can move as a rook and a knight, called a “rook-knight” 40, for use in connection with the game of the present invention. The rook-knight 40, as shown in FIG. 4, can move to any square along rows 41 and 42 (i.e., traditional movement of a rook) or any square 43 (i.e., traditional movement of a knight).

In FIG. 5, the game of the present invention may further include a combination piece that can move as a queen and a knight, called a “queen-knight” 50. Such a piece, as illustrated in FIG. 5, can move to any square along rows 51 and 52, and diagonal rows 53 and 54 (i.e., traditional movement of a queen), or any square 55 (i.e., traditional movement of a knight).

Other combination pieces for use in connection with the present invention can include, for instance, a bishop king combination, called a “super-bishop” 60 (FIG. 6), which combine the movements of a bishop (i.e., along diagonal rows 61 and 62) and a king (i.e., along rows 61-64). In an embodiment, the super-bishop 60 can move like a king, but does not act as a king in any other way.

A “super-knight” 70 (FIG. 7) may also be provided. The super-knight 70, in an embodiment, can move like a regular knight (i.e., to any square 71), and can also move one additional square (i.e., square 72) in any direction along the original knight path. In another embodiment, the super-knight 70 may move like a traditional knight to any square 71, then additional square 72, but cannot capture at square 72.

It should be appreciated that other combination pieces may be provided and they may not be limited to those illustrated or described above.

The chess game of the present invention may also include pieces having movements, as well as abilities or powers not associated with traditional chess pieces. As illustrated in FIG. 8, a cannon 80, similar to a piece from Chinese chess, may be provided. In particular, the cannon 80 may move like a traditional rook, but it does not capture like a traditional rook. A potential capture by cannon 80 exists when the cannon 80 can leap over a screen in its path to capture a piece directly behind the screen. To illustrate this, reference is now made to FIG. 9. As shown, cannon 80 is screened by three pawns 90, so it now threatens and can capture all three black pieces 91, 92 and 93. In addition, the cannon 80 may be permitted to move like a king, along with its previously mentioned powers. Even though the cannon 80 can move like a king in such an embodiment, it does not act like a king in any other way. Moreover, it should be appreciated that the cannon 80, in this embodiment, differs from the traditional cannon in Chinese chess in that, in addition to the traditional powers associated with a cannon, it can move like a king.

A “tank” (not shown) may also be provided as a non-traditional chess piece for use with the game of the present invention. The tank, in an embodiment, may move like a queen, except that it may move only one, two, three or any other designated number of squares at a time. In addition, the tank may approach the power of the queen power, but only at a short range.

There may also be provided fantasy pieces provided for play in connection with the game of the present invention. For instance, extra kings may be distributed at random to players at the start of the game, so that they have more than one king to be checkmated by their opponent.

Another fantasy piece may be a mimic 100, as illustrated in FIG. 10. A mimic 100, in an embodiment, may be permitted to assume the power of all friendly pieces defending it, but may have no power when not defended by other friendly pieces. For instance, as shown in FIG. 11, when defended by a white rook 110, the mimic 100 “mimics” the power of the rook 110, and can capture a black pawn 111. In accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, the mimic 100 may not mimic the movement of a king. Alternatively, the mimic 100 may be permitted to mimic the movement of a king but cannot act like a king in any other way. However, in an embodiment, the mimic 100 may not mimic the movement of a blockade (see below for details), while it can or may not be permitted to mimic the movement of the force-field (see below for details). The mimic 100 may also mimic each other. In such a situation, the mimic 100 can absorb the full powers of each other. Of course, any of these abilities can be altered or changed should the players agree to such or the rules set up to allow for such.

FIG. 12 illustrates another fantasy piece, a knight-rider 120. Knight-rider 120, in an embodiment, can move like a knight in a distinct direction illustrated by squares with a chip thereon, and can keep going as long as nothing stands in its path.

FIG. 13 illustrates a force field 130, another fantasy piece. The force-field 130 can move like a traditional rook, but only one square at a time. In addition, unlike a rook, the force-field 130 may purely be a defensive piece and cannot capture. When it enters play, the force-field 130, in one embodiment, may be inactive, meaning that it can move, but has no effect on the pieces around it. In order to activate the force-field 130, a player must declare the force-field 130 active immediately after completing a move. Once the force-field 130 is activated, it can no longer move. Wherever it is stationed, the force-field 130 “shields” any friendly pieces which occupies squares the force-field 130 can reach (i.e., square to its immediate right, left, top, or bottom), thus defending them from capture by opposing pieces. For instance, as illustrated in FIG. 14, although the white king 141 looks like it is under attack, the force-field 130 is shielding it, as well as queen 142 and rook 143. Because it is shielded by force-field 130, the king 141 is not in check.

In another embodiment, the force-field 130 may be automatically activated at the beginning of a game. However, once a force-field 130 shields a king, it can no longer move for the rest of the game. Of course, the ability of the force-field 130 to move during shielding can be provided in the rules should that be desired. In one embodiment, the power of the force-field 130 can only be eliminated if it is destroyed through an enemy sacrifice. However, any enemy piece that captures the force-field 130 may also be destroyed.

In accordance with another embodiment of the present invention, when the force-field 130 is activated, the mimic 100 can gain the defensive power of the shield 130. However, if a player decides to mimic the shield 130, the mimic 100 may need to be activated as a shield 130 after the player makes a move. In an embodiment, once the mimic 100 is activated as a shield 130, it may no longer move for the rest of the game. It should be appreciated that the concept of a force-field exists in other chess games. However, such known versions of the force-field moves like a king and can protect up to eight adjacent squares. In contrast, the force-field 130 of the present invention may move like a rook, one square at a time, and may shield only up to four adjacent squares. This difference retains the power of a force-field, but does not make the force-field 130 so powerful that it can be near impossible to remove. In addition, the concept that the enemy must sacrifice itself to destroy the force-field is unique to the chess game of the present invention.

Another fantasy piece that may be provided for use with the game of the present invention includes a blockade (not shown). The blockade, in an embodiment, can move like a queen, except only one or two, or any designated number of squares at a time. The blockade, however, may not capture, and it may not be captured. The presence and use of a blockade provides a novel, human friendly piece that can favor abstract thought.

It should be appreciated that although similar pieces to those disclosed above may exist in regular chess, previously existing chess variants, or other chess games, nevertheless, those similar pieces have never been used in combination in one game. Moreover, the variety and complexity of the present betting chess game with its unique variety of pieces far exceeds traditional chess. The fact that players may receive varied, randomly-generated distributions, for instance, four kings, two force-fields, a mimic, and three queen-knights vs. one king, six rooks, and three knights can be unique to the chess game of the present invention.

B. New Board Sizes

In accordance with another embodiment of the invention, the present chess game may be played on a game board larger than that in standard chess (i.e., standard chess is always played on an 8×8 size board). However, the game can be played on a variety of board sizes, both smaller and larger than 8×8, or equal to 8×8. In one embodiment, the exact size of the board may not be known to the competitors until the start of each game. Examples of board sizes include 10×10 and 12×12 as they may be symmetrical for larger boards. Alternatively, other board sizes including, for instance, 8×9, 8×10, 8×11, 8×12, 9×8, 9×9, 9×10, 9×11, 9×12, 10×11, 10×12, 10×13, 10×14, 11×8, 11×9, 11×10, 11×11, 11×12, 11×13, 11×14, 12×8, 12×9, 12×10, 12×11, 12×12, 12×13, 12×14, or any other variations or combinations can be utilized. Board sizes can also potentially be made smaller than the traditional size, depending on player, host or tournament preferences. In addition, board sizes may not be restricted to defined dimensions like 10×10, 9×8 or 12×12. For example, in FIG. 15, board 150 appears to be 10×10. However, upon closer inspection, it should be noted that board 150 is missing two squares 151, 152 in row 153, and one square 154 in row 155.

By varying the size, (i.e., the number of rows and/or columns) of the game board 140 and/or the number of squares, variety and excitement can be infused into the game, as well as combating computer cheating. In particular, as computer chess programs have been successful employing a brute-force search method, these programs may attempt to search through all possible paths during a game and then play their solution. However, by providing a larger board, it can make it more difficult for the brute-force method to succeed. In addition to varying the size of the game board, the present invention may also be designed whereby the board size may not be fixed in every game, but can be one of many sizes for each new game or during the game being played.

C. Skill Combined with Chance

The chess game of the present invention can also include, in accordance with one embodiment, randomness in the initial pre-game set-up as players may be given differential piece distributions prior to starting the game. Again, the piece types and the probabilities of receiving each piece type can be determined by player, host or tournament preferences. In addition, during the gameplay, players may experience differential playing conditions. For example, during some games, a player may be presented with a board design where some of the squares may have been blocked off (i.e., their availability or ability has been altered). In such an embodiment, any piece which is moved to one of the “blocked-off” squares can be made to disappear and be removed permanently from the game. The concept of blocking off any randomly-generated number of squares in any given region of the board before the start of a game can increase and add to the excitement of the game combining chance with skills that may be needed to achieve a favorable outcome.

Furthermore, during game play, players can be informed that in a certain number of moves a “black hole” can appear on one or more squares. Any piece left on a square once it turns into a black hole may fall into the hole. Players can also be informed at any time that a square which was previously a black hole may turn back into a regular square in a certain number of moves. In one embodiment, blocked-off squares and black holes can generate even greater influence across the board topology, such that no piece can pass through the blocked-off square or black hole. However, in another embodiment, a pawn may be permitted to land on and pass through the blocked-off squares and black holes. Alternatively, a pawn may not land on a black hole, but may pass through a black hole. The embodiments illustrated above can infuse novel concepts into the game and can minimize the ability of a computer to evaluate a board position.

Another chance element that can arise before or during a game includes changing adjacent squares or a strip of squares 160 that may normally be colored “white, black, white, black,” to “black, white, black, white,” as illustrated in FIG. 16. Pieces which only move on a certain color complex (e.g., traditional bishop or the diagonal component of the queen) cannot pass over this region on board 161. This variable can change the value of a piece, and can make it difficult for a computer to adapt. If, for example, a diagonal moving bishop is caught on the wrong side of strip 160, it will lose the great majority of its value, because it cannot pass over the discolored strip, and so is limited to two moves. The strip 160 can affect other pieces which move strictly along the diagonals. The bishop, super-bishop, and bishop-knight cannot make diagonal moves across the strip 160, nor can the tank, queen, or queen-knight move diagonally across such a strip.

D. Advantages

By integrating elements of skill and chance into the game of the present invention, such can affect the betting strategies during the pre-game as well as during gameplay. In addition, such integration can minimize or prevent computers from being used to assist a player with his moves. Specifically, the integration can introduce 1) the elements of chance, 2) the flexibility of piece distribution among players, 3) the availability of novel pieces not present in traditional chess, and 4) the flexible and unorthodox board sizes, including larger and uneven board sizes.

E. Unequal Piece Distribution

In one embodiment of the present chess game, piece distributions for each player can be made to be unequal. Players typically bet based on the strength of the differential distribution and placement of the pieces that they received during the pre-game period, and the overall strategic position during the course of the game play. The following provides an example of gameplay in the presence of unequal piece distribution.

EXAMPLE

To begin a game, players may be assigned to play, for example, on a 12×12 board, with black holes located on certain squares. The board may also contain a vertical strip of discolored squares. In this particular example, there may be three pre-game betting rounds, with players receiving four pieces each round.

Initially, both players can place a $0.50 ante. Before the first round of betting, the pot is, therefore, $1. The pre-betting rounds will now be described from the White player's perspective to better simulate how players experience the game.

White receives a bishop, queen, knight, and rook and decides to bet $2 in the first pre-betting round. Black calls the $2 bet. The pot is now $5.

White then receives a rook-knight, blank, queen-knight, and king in the second pre-betting round. White decides to bet $20. Black calls again. The pot is now $45.

In the third pre-betting round, White receives a bishop, a second king, a force-field, and a blank. White, extremely confident, now bets $40. Black again calls. The pot is now $125. Pre-game betting is now over.

Both players can now see the pieces dealt to the other player. White learns that Black has a rook, king, super-bishop, queen, blank, knight, queen-knight, blank, cannon, bishop, a second king, and a rook. Players get ready to play chess.

The game begins. White begins to think about how to make the first move. Both players have 20 minutes each to complete all of their moves. If a player runs out of time, the game is over.

The game enters the middle stages. Both players have taken over ten minutes. Both players get into time pressure. White begins to play badly, losing some very powerful pieces.

White's hopes may be fading. White is about to lose a king, and has only one minute left. Black, sensing White's desperation, decides to bet $70 after making a move.

White, with a hopeless position and almost no time, wisely folds. Black takes the $125 pot, winning the game.

F. Revealing Pieces to Opponent.

It is important to understand that the chess game of the present invention allows for a wide range of possibility when it comes to how large a role chance may play in the pre-game set-up and the gameplay. Specifically, chance can play a potentially large role, or it can play no role at all.

To minimize one aspect of chance, the present invention employs, in one embodiment, a concept of revealing one or more of the pieces to an opponent after each betting round.

EXAMPLE

In this particular example, one piece may be revealed to the players after each betting round. For instance, in a game where there is a $1 ante, and players are playing on a 12×9 board, there may be three betting rounds.

In a first betting round, White receives 1 rook, 1 bishop, 1 super-knight, and one queen, whereas black receives 1 blank, 1 queen, 1 king, and one force-field. White initially bets $2. Black calls. The players then both reveal the first of their pieces. White reveals a rook. Black reveals a blank. The same process repeats for the 2nd and 3rd betting rounds.

In an alternative embodiment, one or more of the pieces dealt to each player may be revealed to the opponent before each betting round. Using the same example as above, both White and Black would disclose the first piece they received: a rook and a blank, respectively. Only then would the first round of betting proceed. These two embodiments can also be combined, such that players reveal one or more of their pieces before they bet and one or more of their pieces after they bet.

G. “Skill Gaming”—Equal Piece Distribution

In another embodiment of the invention, piece distributions can be of equal strength in any given game. That is, the game can provide to both players similar variants as described previously, with new piece types, larger (or smaller) boards that change from game to game. In addition, the piece distribution and piece placement each player receives at the start of the game can also be the same.

EXAMPLE

In this example, the game may, for instance, be played on a 10×10 board. White receives 3 bishops, 1 force-field, 2 kings, 1 queen, 1 rook-knight, 2 blanks, 1 mimic in that order. Black also receives 3 bishops, 1 force-field, 2 kings, 1 queen, 1 rook-knight, 2 blanks, and 1 mimic in that order. In this particular embodiment, no pre-game betting rounds may be required, as both players already know the distribution and location of their pieces. Game play then begins.

In this embodiment, chance essentially plays no role in the pre-game set-up and the gameplay. Consequently, skills at traditional chess and at this variant of chess may be what counts. In this case, players pay an “entry fee” instead of an initial betting “ante,” or they may play for no real or fake money. Players then compete until 1) checkmate occurs, 2) time elapses for one player, or 3) the game is drawn. In case of a draw, the pot may be split equally.

In another embodiment of “skill gaming,” players can bet during game play. Often, the logical result of a chess game where players receive the same distribution and location of their pieces may be a draw. Many times, a player with an advantage in board position, may be in no real danger of losing, and can only draw or win. Because the player knows that in case of a draw, the pot will be split equally, he can make any sized bet with impunity without fear of loss. On the other hand, his opponent, who can only realistically draw or lose, has little incentive to call the bet with nothing to gain. As a result, many games which may lead to a draw may not end as a draw because the player on the defensive may fold rather than risk fighting for a draw. The game, therefore, may not reach a natural conclusion. In one embodiment, in case of a draw, the player who has raised a greater amount of money during the game (the aggressor) will receive only 45% of the pot, and the player who has raised a lesser amount of money (the defender) during the game will receive 55% of the pot. In order to help the defender even more, in case of a draw the “defender” can receive 60% of the pot and the “aggressor” 40%. Of course, division of the pot between the players in any other way can be permitted. These splits of the pot will give the defender an incentive to now fight for a draw, and make the aggressor think twice before trying to bet the defender out. As a result, many more games may take their natural course.

H. Hybrid Distribution

In accordance with one embodiment, the pieces can be distributed so that only some of the pieces may be equal in both distribution and location.

EXAMPLE

In such a situation, a game may be played on, for instance, a 12×13 board. The first few pieces distributed to each player may be the same for both players in both distribution and placement. For instance, both White and Black receive two kings, a queen, a super-knight, a bishop, and a cannon in that order. The remaining pieces may be distributed to each player in random and placed at random locations, with one or more possible betting rounds. It should be noted that the distribution of similar pieces at similar locations can be done after the random distribution or between random distributions. To that end, the hybrid distribution approach can provide that at least some of the pieces may be the same in both distribution and placement.

I. Changing Rules

In accordance with one embodiment, so long as the basic set-up of a chess game with the possibility for unequal piece distribution and the opportunity for betting before or during the game is adhered, the rules of the game can be changed, depending on the preferences of the players of the game, on specific tournament rules, or on the basis of the decision of those hosting the game at a particular time. For instance, piece distributions, types and placements can be more or less equalized, chance can play a lesser or greater role, chance elements like squares being removed or strips of squares changing color can be excluded or included, certain piece types can be included or not included, the probability of certain pieces occurring can be changed, the probability of certain pieces occurring in certain locations can be changed, the sizes of the boards and the probability of certain board sizes occurring can be changed, pawns may be distributed differently in placement and numbers, so that the players can receive the pawns unequally along with the rest of the pieces, two or even more kings may be included as starting pieces, more or fewer squares can be blocked off at the start of the game, and betting rounds before and during game play can be reduced or increased or abolished altogether, among others. There can also be variations in set-up and gameplay, all of which may minimally alter the fundamental structure of the game, as long as the initial set-up of potential for unequal distribution and betting opportunity in chess can be maintained.

J. Sample Deck of Piece

The following provides an illustration of a list of pieces and “blanks” from which a player may receive his set of pieces prior to or during play. It is by no means a requirement for the present chess game to use this list of pieces, though this list has been specially designed to limit pieces which computers would have more ease handling than humans, including those pieces available only for occasional variety and balance. For example, from a deck of 100 pieces, there may exist only one “knight-rider,” a terror for the human player. In addition, there may only be three queen-knight, also a difficulty for humans, in the deck. As receiving a blank may be the worst possible outcome, in one embodiment, if a player receives a certain number of blanks, some or all of those blanks turn into more powerful pieces. For example, if a player receives 4 blanks, the four blanks may be turned into two queen-knights and two kings, in that order. Alternatively, if a player receives 5 blanks, the first three blanks may be turned into queens. Blanks may also be provided as a “wild-card” with power of their own that they would not otherwise have.

22 Blanks

7 Knights

7 Bishops

7 Super-knights

6 Rooks

6 Bishop-knights

6 Rook-knights

6 Cannons

5 Super-Bishops

5 Queens

5 Tanks

5 Blockades

4 Mimics

3 Queen-knights

3 Kings

2 Force-fields

1 Knight-rider

100 Total

III. Alterations to Traditional Chess Rules

In accordance with one embodiment of the present invention, certain rules of traditional chess may be modified or added, so that the players can maintain the feel of playing a traditional game of chess, even though the games may be played, for instance, on larger boards and with new pieces. Examples of some of the changes are provided below.

A. Rule for Two or More Kings

If a player begins with two or more kings, the kings may be captured until there remains only one king. If a player has two or more kings, all kings may be allowed to castle. If a player has two or more kings, a king can castle through check, into check, or while in check. Once one king remains, when it is put under attack and it is in check, as in traditional chess, it must be checkmated for a match to end.

B. Rule for Pawn Promotion

In an embodiment, pawns can be promoted to any piece in the deck, including a king.

C. Rule for Expanding the Power of the Pawn on Larger Boards

In traditional chess, when a White pawn starts the game by moving two squares forward and a Black pawn in the same column moves two squares forward, they are immediately in contact with one another. On a 10×10 board, if the pawns could only move two squares forward on the first move, they would not be in immediate contact with one another. Additional moves would be required for the pawns to come into contact.

Therefore, on a board size of ten horizontal rows, pawns, for example, may be permitted to move 1, 2, or 3 squares forward to start and then one more move forward thereafter. This solution allows the pawn the opportunity to move 1, 2, or 3 squares on the first move, so that they can subsequently come into quicker contact with the enemy on a board of ten horizontal rows. Likewise, on boards of 11 or 12 horizontal rows, pawns can move 1, 2, 3, or 4 squares forward to start. For board sizes of 13 or 14 horizontal rows, pawns can move 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 squares forward to start. Accordingly, the ability for the pawns to move a certain number of squares on the first move, as provided, can be adapted for different size boards.

As the board size increases, the pawn's power subsequently weakens in strength. Other large board chess variants do not increase the power of the pawns enough to create the feel of an 8×8 chess game, and therefore many of these games turn into affairs that are dominated by heavy pieces (bishops, queens, rooks, bishop-knight's, rook-knight's), leaving the pawns little say in the progress of the game. The pawns in traditional chess give chess its structure. Abstract thought and basic chess strategy, maneuvering to find the optimal squares to place pieces, centers around the placement of the pawns. But on larger chess board variants, pawn structure breaks down rapidly due to the weakening of the pawns in contrast to the strengthening of the heavy pieces.

Therefore, in one embodiment on boards larger than traditional chess, once a pawn moves forward two squares, it may be provided with the power to capture the enemy sideways one square. However, the pawn may be prevented from capturing sideways to start the game or else it may be difficult for a player to breach an inner defensive line of his opponent. In one embodiment, rules may provided so that a pawn may not capture sideways a pawn, knight, super-knight, bishop-knight, or king. This is because if a pawn could take a pawn sideways, the pawns could never become locked and the game would quickly lose all structure. Similarly, the bishop, bishop-knight, and super-knight can be exempt because they, more so than the other pieces, rely on out posting directly to the side of a pawn. The king may be exempt because in the end-game it often outposts to the side of an enemy pawn.

Once the pawn is able to capture sideways in addition to its traditional chess diagonal capturing power, it is able to defend itself on larger boards far more successfully, and much needed pawn structure once again returns. A classical problem in traditional chess may be whether a bishop or a knight is stronger in a specific position. However, on larger boards, the bishop becomes noticeably stronger than the knight. It should be appreciated that allowing a pawn to capture sideways, along with these exceptions (which allows pawns to capture a bishop sideways but not knights) can once again make it difficult to determine whether the bishop or the knight is stronger on larger boards. No other large board variant has allowed for the knight to rival the strength of the bishop as in classical chess.

Furthermore, on larger boards, it may take a significant number of moves for a pawn to reach the end of a board and get promoted. To speed up its march on larger boards, in one embodiment, the pawn can move one or two squares forward on any move. However, for example, once a pawn stands four squares from the end of the board (e.g., four squares counting the square the pawn stands on), it can again only move one square forward. This rule greatly speeds up the march of the pawn forward on larger boards to more closely resemble traditional chess.

D. Rule for Expanding the Power of the Knight on Larger Boards

In traditional chess, when a pawn makes its first move two squares forward, the knight can leap so that it lands directly behind. This scenario may be very common in traditional chess. However, if the pawn can move three squares on its first step, then the knight cannot follow suit. One of the main problems of giving balance to chess on a larger board may be that the knights are greatly weakened in comparison to the knights in traditional chess. To compensate for this, the knights in the game of the present invention may be given greater power. For example, on boards of 10 horizontal rows, knights can move like a super-knight on the first move in all directions to keep the normal feel of chess on a larger board. Which embodiment of super-knight the knight can move like depends on player or host preferences. On boards of 12-13 squares of horizontal rows, knights and super-knights, for instance, may be permitted to move as they do on boards of 10 squares of horizontal rows and they can move one square further (4,1) to retain the normal feel of chess. In another embodiment they can move, but not capture, one square further. On boards of 11 horizontal rows, knights can move as they do on boards of 10 horizontal rows in one embodiment and like knights on boards of 12-13 horizontal rows in another embodiment.

E. Rule for Adapting En-Passant on Larger Boards

In connection with the present invention, en-passant, in one embodiment, may remain as in normal chess. If a pawn ever passes by an adjacent enemy pawn (e.g., by moving, two, three, or four squares) the enemy pawn can capture it.

F. Rule for Expanding a King's Castling Privileges on Larger Boards

In traditional chess, because the king and rooks may be situated in the same locations at the start of a game, castling can occur in two ways from the initial starting position. However, castling powers of the king may need to be expanded in the chess game of the present invention to take into account larger chessboards and the ever-changing distribution and location of the king and rook, for instance, at the beginning of different games.

Accordingly, as in regular chess, the king may be prevented from castling when it is in check. In addition, as in regular chess, as long as the king does not pass through check along the path of castling, castling can occur. Moreover, as in regular chess, when the king and rook are in contact on the back rank and have not moved before during the game, castling can occur.

Furthermore, the king can be permitted to move any number of squares towards the rook, including the square the rook inhabits, and the rook may then switch sides with the king, landing one square next to the king. The king can also be permitted to jump any number of squares past the rook, as long as these squares are not occupied, with the rook then taking its place by at the side of the king. The rook can also be permitted to jump over the king to take its place on the opposite side of the king, while the king stays in place. In addition, kings can now castle with either a rook or a rook-knight. These new castling rules may also be more difficult for mechanized computers to deal with as a player now has far more choices where to castle than in traditional chess.

While the invention has been described in connection with the specific embodiments thereof, it will be understood that it is capable of further modification. For example, the game may be designed to be played as a board game, or may be designed to be played on-line, for instance, via the Internet, a wireless network, interactive television, or private networks, by remotely situated players who are able to view a substantially similar image of the chess board and chess pieces distributed to each player. In addition, other variation of pre-game or in-game betting, board size and design, as well as additional pieces may be incorporated into the game. Furthermore, this application is intended to cover any variations, uses, or adaptations of the invention, including such departures from the present disclosure as come within known or customary practice in the art to which the invention pertains.





 
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