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11.07.2008 //
Based on player 's experience
from March to July 2008


What should you do? You are at the Battle Chess site for the first time and you lost the first game right away adopting the classic stance, or you try hard to win and instead constantly get into an uncomfortable position in the game. Sometimes it seems your enemies are protected by a spell. They have the first move. They are always in an advantageous position. Somebody tells them about all your mistakes in the initial setup and the unlucky series only gets longer no matter how you want to be a little stronger then your counterpart next time. This is very familiar to many people. How to overcome this unlucky series, what to begin with? As we are discussing this issue in Battle Chess, I will call all pieces their real battle names:

ROOKES — PAWNS or juniors;
VETERANS — LIGHT PIECES or knights and bishops;
GUARDS — HEAVY PIECES or rooks and queen aka HEROES;
FORMATION — A DEPLOYMENT OF THE PIECES, with no spaces between them vertically, horizontally and diagonally;
CONNECTING THE FORMATION — placing the pieces in a way that they could cover (keep the formation in case of loss of the piece), with both identical pieces (e.g. a rook would cover a rook, and a knight would cover a knight), and different pieces (e.g. a knight or a bishop could cover a rook), and, first and foremost, could cover the pawns (when a knight or a bishop could take the place of the lost pawn);
HEDGEHOG — two PAWNS, detached from the formation and placed diagonally, like soldiers standing with their backs to each other after their formation (phalanx, cohort, maniple etc);
BATTLEFIELD — colloquially called THE BIG SQUARE (c3-c6-f6-f3), if you dont know what to get yourself busy with (no ways of attacking directly), try to control as much place as possible in this square;
TRAILS — FLANKS, FRONT AND REAR LINE, the field outside the big square;

SETUP (How to Place Them)

ROOKIES — a lone junior is a big problem. While saving private Ryan you will either become a legend or move your rescue team into a skillfully prepared ambush. Bear in mind that if a HEDGEHOG falls apart, both will die. If necessary, strengthen the HEDGEHOG with additional troops (connections) to block the most dangerous TRAILS with checkpoints, bunkers, pillboxes, etc. Bear in mind that in each group each piece protects itself and its neighbors (rookies must stand diagonally from each other). By putting FOUR rookies into a square- or a diamond-shaped formation in one or more rows (2–3 rows are the best) you get a BATTLE UNIT which can fulfill both defensive and offensive tasks.

VETERANS and GUARDS — they should stay in two- or three-piece combinations along ranks and files, knights cover each other and CONNECT THE FORMATION, while controlling the key points of a TRAIL on their half. Every piece can be open for an attack along the file or diagonally only by equal or stronger pieces of the opposing side (rook can be attacked only by rook, bishop can attack only bishop or knight). And must have 2–3 lives. The square must be able to withstand 2–3 attacks by the opponent, when his/her pieces would be put out by your pieces providing cover for the first one.

VETERANS and GUARDS are put to reserve in the beginning of the game, they cannot be in the first line of battle (where the opposing pawns can attack them during the first move).

GENERAL should be covered from the opponents attacks and protected by the connection between rookies and veterans.

Look at the deployment schemes by the leaders — [Askar77772006], [6759], [Chess_man4262], [mirazh656378]. What conclusions can you make?

The ROOKIES are put forward to the BATTLEFIELD.
GUARDS often search for their fate on the TRAIL, and VETERANS provide cover to EVERYBODY.
Your RESOURCES are limited, so dont create more than 2 battle groups.

ATTACK (Your First Move, or 'The Opponent Has Slipped')

The ROOKIES' tactics is to engage the main body of the opposing forces (similar 'students and farmers') to bring chaos, anarchy and shock to the opponent's battle FORMATION, not to break their own FORMATION, even when 'dying' and try to seize most of the BATTLEFIELD. If there is only one piece between your rookie and the opponent's GENERAL, take this piece out - by doing this you deprive your opponent of his/her will (the most precious resource).

The VETERANS take on the opponent instead of the lost pieces (theorists will say 'development of the attack', but we know that nothing raises the survivors' morale more than coming of the fresh reserves to this HELL on Earth). Control the BATTLEFIELD, threaten, pursue, take out and destroy the last lonely targets while encircling the demoralized enemy GENERAL looking for his way out.

The GUARDS' tactics did not change since the Xerxes'??? Immortals destroyed the 'insane' (this is a praise!) Spartans of Leonidas. Look and wait for the free TRAILS and passages. Strike the opponents' flanks, crushing the last exhausted and battle-bled defenses. Remember, Napoleon did not put his GUARDS into battle at Waterloo and this ended bad for him.

DEFENSE ('Unlucky' or 'You are Confident in Your Strength')

ROOKIES' tactics is to preserve the FORMATION, contain enemy attacks, intimidate the opponent by their numbers, defend the TRAILS from mechanized blitzkriegs from the opponent (the enemy guards can be met there frequently) and 'die' inflicting as heavy casualties to the enemy as possible. If a rookie has put out an enemy veteran or a guard, you can forget about him - he already fulfilled his mission and probability of his survival has been calculated, it's almost negative.

VETERANS and GUARDS cement and bind the defensive FORMATION, enter the battle in place of the lost rookies, control the corner passes through the TRAILS and 'die' after showing a good example by defeating 2-3 enemy soldiers. If your counterpart is exhausted and puts out the white flag (offers a draw), put out the Jolly Roger (reject the proposition). KILL THEM ALL, afterwards the Lord (or whoever else they believe in) will distinguish the GOOD guys from the BAD guys.

The GENERAL always has only one tactics - to WAIT and put the new reserves into the rage of the battle. When you see that all HEROES have 'fallen' and the casualties from both sides are way higher than 50%, it's time to think about joining the 'survivors', moving to the center, making a new FORMATION out of them and bringing the things in order.

CONCLUSIONS (Is It That Simple?)

Unfortunately, this advice will just raise the percentage of your victories, but nothing more, as your enemy never sleeps. Try your setup scheme in a training game against CPU and then test-drive it with weaker opponents. It's CRUCIAL to find approaches to CONNECTING FORMATIONS and PUTTING RESERVES into BATTLE. Before playing with an opponent, don't hesitate to watch 2-3 games by him/her to realize what awaits you, how he/she develops. Vary your setup putting it to the left and to the right randomly. Always have several options. Always remember that there's a limit on the number of setup schemes in the database. Delete the ones you don't need and don't be in a hurry to click Start button. You should be ready psychologically. While playing imagine that you are a sniper targeting your enemies, make a move slowly (shoot when you exhaled fully and caught the enemy in the aim). If you think that there is a brilliant different move (changing the target?) put the game on hold and analyze everything from the beginning. Now you are ready and the most interesting part begins: readiness vs. experience, stamina vs. force, wickedness vs. cunning. I just wish you LUCK and SUCCESS.

Sincerely yours,

PS: Thanks to players Unbound [1], Chess man [2] and  Mirazh65 [3], who helped me realize my desire to HELP YOU and create a written text.

[1] — «Initial deployment in Battle Chess: Is There a Philosophers' Piece?»
05.02.2008//A. Lukov//Unbound//Russia//Krasnodar

[2] — «The classification of deployment schemes in Battle Chess»
10.04.2008//S .Kurov// Chess man//Russia//Moscow

[3] — «The Art of Battle Chess»
25.04.2008//O. Palamarchuk//Mirazh65//Ukraine//Crimea//Kerch

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