Multi-level Chess.

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by Urge, Jun 25, 2009.

  1. Urge

    Urge Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    In startrek, they enjoy a sort of chess that has four or five different levels. Innfact Spock and Kirk plays it in one of the first episodes of the show, where Kirk blocks Spocks Check with a check-mate, something that cant be done in a normal game of chess (If your king is check you must move him, or put something inn the way) but perhaps in multi-level chess its okay?

    Annyway: Have annyone here tryed it? It seems to have four or five levels, and the bricks can be moved up or down.
     
  2. Pindar

    Pindar Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Bricks?
     
  3. Urge

    Urge Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    The chess-things that you move. (Queen, King, al the others) English is not my first language, so I run out of words sometimes.
     
  4. JustKate

    JustKate Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Back in the day - that is, when TOS first came out - you could readily buy those 3-D chess sets. I remember my older brother had one. (I wonder if it's still tucked away in my mother's house somewhere?) I fiddled around with it some, mostly because it looked so cool and Trekkish, but I was not good at conventional chess (and I am no better at it now), so my main recollection of the 3-D version is, "Gee, this is hard! And I am not willing to take the time to get better at it."

    But anyway, my rather fuzzy recollection is that the rules were the same, it was just more complicated because every piece could move so many different ways. In that scene, I guess I just assumed that Kirk somehow used one piece to both checkmate Spock and block Spock's check. As I said, I am not all that knowledgeable about chess, but I think this is theoretically possible in conventional chess, so I guess it's theoretically possible, though much more unlikely, in 3-D chess.

    But it does sound to me as though TOS should have had a technical advisor on chess. They could have had Kirk win in a less contrived way, I'd say.
     
  5. SilentP

    SilentP Commodore Commodore

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    Pieces
     
  6. Kaziarl

    Kaziarl Commodore Commodore

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    I found a fairly lightweight 3d chess program, and I have to say it is rather difficult. For example in your opening move you can move your pawn two spaces forward just like normal chess, but you can also choose to move it up one level, and two spaces forward. I didn't play it much, but I think where ever the levels overlap, they can move as though the squares were on the same level.
     
  7. GSchnitzer

    GSchnitzer Co-Executive Producer Moderator

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    Here's a bit of information about the three dimensional chess board.

    It’s composed of three 4 x 4 boards held suspended by a couple of semicircular arms, with a large metal base. There are some 2 x 2 smaller boards that have different positions every time we see the three dimensional chess set on Star Trek. So evidently, these smaller boards (called “attack boards” in Franz Joseph Schnaubelt’s Star Fleet Technical Manual) are moveable as a part of gameplay. We generally see four of these “attack boards” being used, (which, when you add up all the squares on the board collectively would come to 64 squares—like a regular chess board). But occasionally the chess set is seen with five such “attack boards.” Here’s a shot with five attack boards:

    [​IMG]

    The three large boards were simply cannibalized from a Checkline: The Space Tic-Tac-Toe Game game set . Alternating squares were painted red for the three dimensional chess set customization.

    Also, the smaller boards were cannibalized from a Space Checkers game set.

    Since these are two different game sets, the chess squares are not exactly the same size—a subtlety that is often missed (just as Franz Joseph did). The slightly smaller squares of the attack boards give the chess set a slightly delicate, elegant look.

    Here are some shots of my three dimensional chess set. (I have the Ganine Classic-style chess pieces on it. I also have five attack boards on my set.)

    [​IMG]

    You can see the alternating red and clear squares on the large boards (and alternating white and clear squares on the smaller attack boards).

    [​IMG]

    (You can also make out that the small attack boards cannibalized from the "Space Checkers" game set have a small little nub in one of the corners of the board. I'm not sure why the boards were molded with these little nubs, but they seem intentional.)

    You can see that the attack boards are removable and can be moved to a different location on the board. (Some rules for three dimensional chess permit such relocation as a player’s “move.”)

    [​IMG]

    As a byproduct of how the larger boards get assembled when they are part of the original "Checkline" game, the larger boards have little posts in all four corners. (All three of the larger boards have them.) The posts are slightly rounded/pointy where they protrude above the surface of the board and they are cut off perpendicularly where the pins extend down below the surface of the boards. Since all three boards have pins in all four corners, the samall movable attack boards appear in a variety of positions in various Star Trek episodes.

    Having the pins extend down means, I suppose, that an attack board could be relocated to a “hanging” location instead of just to the upright locations. (We never actually see a hanging board in any of the chess sets appearances in Star Trek, but the overview of the rules for three dimensional chess in the Star Fleet Technical Manual actually makes reference to such an “inverted” position, and declares it to be a legal board position.) Here's a possible hanging position being demonstrated.

    [​IMG]

    Lastly, here's a close-up of one of the chess pieces. You can make out "Peter Ganine" and "1961 USA" on either side of the copyright symbol.

    [​IMG]

    So, that’s the prop. I welcome any questions or comments.

    Pictures of all the appearances of the three dimensional chess set are here (so I don’t have to clog up this post with so many screen grabs):

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/10901121@N06/sets/72157602298653167/show/
     
  8. Kaziarl

    Kaziarl Commodore Commodore

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    From what I could gather of the rules that came with the program I mentioned (Known as Parmen 3d Chess, if anyone is interested.) the attack boards could be moved during your turn, and only if you had only one peice on the attack board. But to be honest, the rules are somewhat confusing, so I could be wrong.
     
  9. Thelin

    Thelin Lieutenant Red Shirt

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    Ehhh, no need to quote that massive thing again, Kaziarl. However, total thanks to GSchnitzer for the incredibly informative post.

    Though you didn't mention...did they actually play the game by the legitimate rules? I recall reading something, somewhere, that said that they weren't, but since I can't recall the source I have to call it into question.
     
  10. GSchnitzer

    GSchnitzer Co-Executive Producer Moderator

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    The rules, were sketched out in I guess about 1974 (and even "sketched out" does them more justice than they probably deserve) in the Starfleet Technical Manual. Andrew Bartmess contacted Franz Jospeh Schnaubelt a few years later and secured permission to expand on Schnaubelt's rules. So, the rules really do work. On his website somewhere, Bartmess sells these rules that he worked hard to develop.

    There was a big dust-up years ago when the Franklin Mint made a chess set and included Bartmess' rules--without getting his permission or compensating him in any way. (He ultimately lost the lawsuit, I believe.)

    The rules were put together long after the series. So, the moves you see on the show are just crazy random moving of the chess pieces. Also, the rules call four four "attack boards" for a total orf 64 squares--like a regular chess board. But we saw five attack boards from time to time on the show.
     
  11. Urge

    Urge Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    ---------------------------

    I have been meditating on this problem (But only in twodimensional check, I wont say annything certain about the Multi-layer check) and have come to the conlusion that its not possible. If a king is check, there is possible for a piece to block the attack and end the check while at the same time putting the opposing king in check, but since the piece that does this have put itself in harms way by blocking the way to the threathened king, it will be removed from the bord by the opponent, and that way remove the threat from its king as well, but perhaps a chech-mate is possible in this way? If so, the situation will be:
    Kirk: Check
    Spock: Check
    Kirk: Check-mate

    But im not sure of that, perhaps a check-check situation is the only theoretical possibility. Check-Check-mate is not, at least not in two-dimensjonal check.
     
  12. Kaziarl

    Kaziarl Commodore Commodore

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    I don't remember what it showed on screen, but I suppose it's possible that Kirk took the piece that had him in check, while simultaneously putting him in check-mate position of Spocks piece. Although how Spock would have made such an obvious mistake is beyond me.
     
  13. Romulan_spy

    Romulan_spy Commodore Commodore

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    I disagree. I think Check-Check Mate is theoretically possible in 2D chess. Say your queen, your king and the other king are on the same row or column with your king in between. So, moving your king would allow your queen to attack the other king. Therefore, if your king moves to get out of a check, it would simultaneously cause a check on the other king. Now, if the other player were already 1 move away from being checkmate then it would work. Obviously, no good player would deliberately allow himself to be checkmated this way but it is possible.
     
  14. GSchnitzer

    GSchnitzer Co-Executive Producer Moderator

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    Of course, I don't think the chess moves bear such close scrutiny. But Mister Spock places Captain Kirk's king in in check by moving his knight. It's hard to interpose another piece (impossible, actually) to avoid a threat from a knight. But Kirk gets out of check by moving his bishop. (He doesn't take one of Spock's pieces.) Perhaps, what Spock actually did was move his own knight out of the way to allow one of his other own pieces to threaten Kirk's king and place it in check.)

    After Kirk interposes his bishop somehow, Spock moves his same knight again--but this time to a new spot--and again threatening Kirk's king with check. Kirk counters with his same bishop and again, he doesn't take one of Spock's pieces. But not only does interposing his bishop again get him out of check, it mates Spock's king.

    It's a little tricky to work out a scenario where Kirk can get out of check and then mate Spock's king in the same move. But I'm confident it can be done. The tricky part is figuring out a scenario where Spock's checks are coming not from the knight but from some piece that the knight seems to have been blocking.
     
  15. Urge

    Urge Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    And then, after loosing - Spock says that Kirks unlogical approach to chess has its benefits - or something like that. Spock was a bad loser - but he won in a later episode of the same season (first season of TOS) where he played against a rather mentaly unstable kid they picked up from some planet. After loosing the kid used his mental (tele-kenetik?) powers to melt the pieces.

    But chess is all about logic and planning, so I think Vulcans in general will do very well in the federation championship of chess:-)
     
  16. GSchnitzer

    GSchnitzer Co-Executive Producer Moderator

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    Well, you're right: the piece that is put into harm's way by Kirk to block the "check" could itself be taken by whatever piece was threatening Kirk's king in the firt place. Unless the piece that was threatening Kirk's king was also preventing Spock's own king from being threatened. It's possible that if Spock were to move his piece away from its current position to take the piece that Kirk interposed to block the way, Spock would be leaving his king in check from some other of Kirk's pieces--so Spock couldn't take Kirk's piece because he would be moving into check himself.
     
  17. dougkeenan

    dougkeenan Commander Red Shirt

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    You're close. An attack board may move with no more than one piece aboard (i.e., empty boards can be moved also).
     
  18. jamestyler

    jamestyler Commodore Commodore

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    I miss my board :( I remember it coming with a variation of the traditional rules, but could be played with normal rules and was just the same as any other chess board. All you had to do was look at it from the top and you'd 'get it'. Well... thats how I got my father to adapt ;)
     
  19. barnaclelapse

    barnaclelapse Commodore Commodore

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    Great pictures.

    I remember wanting one of those so badly when I was a little kid, was first getting into Star Trek and found out that the chess sets actually existed and that you could get them for a ton of money.

    Well, it seemed like a ton of money, anyway.

    I'd still like to get one, even though I barely play chess anymore and have somehow gotten even worse than I was when I played regularly.