# Consulchess42k

## The "Chess960-Version" of Consulchess

Consulchess 42k is a sub-variant of Consulchess. It is to Consulchess as *Chess960* is to traditional chess. Or to put it another way: Consulchess 42k is the Chess960 variant of Consulchess.

### What does the name "42k" means ?

Quite simply: at Chess960 there are 960 different possible initial positions. At Consulchess 42k there are - exactly 42,000 (to say: forty-two thousand)! For the sake of simplicity, this is abbreviated to the English "42k" (k for kilo, i.e. x 1000).

Perhaps some readers will recognize the special meaning of the number 42. According to the English science fiction author *Douglas Adams* in his novel *"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"* the number 42 is nothing more and nothing less than the answer to * "The Ultimate Question of Life, The Universe, and Everything"*.

Who can say whether - at some point and in analogy - Consulchess 42k will be the answer to the theory-heavy and high-drawish tendency of the conventional game of chess due to its extremely high flexibility?!

### How does the rules change compared to *"normal"* Consulchess?

Chessboard and moves of the consul doesn't change at all. There are only changes regarding initial positions and castling possibilities.

#### Initial Positions @ 42k

As with Chess960, the starting position is drawn at "42k". As with Chess960, there are two restrictions here: the two bishops must be on different colored squares (i.e. one on a white square, the other on a black square), and the king must be placed * in between* his rooks. White and black pieces has to be placed exactly opposite each other.

Here are a few short examples of possible initial positions of kings and rooks:

a) Rb1, Kd1, Rf1

b) Rc1, Ke1, Rg1

c) Ra1, Kb1, Rc1

But an initial position like Kb1, Rd1, Rg1 wouldn't be possible, because in that case the king would no longer be in between, but * outside* of his rooks at the beginning.

#### Castling Possibilities @ 42k

The castling options are already very high in Consulchess - there are a total of 47 different castling options. In the 42k version it can be even more - or less, depending on the drawn starting position. For example, if "Ra1, K(e1 or f1), Rj1" is drawn, the number of possible castlings increases by nine to 56. The already "free" castling is liberalized again at 42k. This is because in *"normal"* Consulchess, a king can also move to corner squares during 42k castlings. Unlike Chess960, castling options in which the king or the corresponding rook does not move or jump over are not permitted in 42k. The king and the corresponding rook always move towards each other and change their position so that they jump over each other.

(Examples concerning castling possibilities with some initial positions to follow)

### Derivating the number of initial positions @ 42k

The large number of possible starting positions may be confusing for some chess fans. It may even be assumed that we only estimated or invented this number in order to make the analogy to *the answer 42*. However, this is not the case; the significant increase compared to Chess960 results from the wider board (10 instead of 8 files) and the two consul pieces. Hence the *"proof"* that there are actually exactly 42,000 different starting positions:

- Let's start with the bishops:
- First, we place one of the bishops (let's call him "bishop1") on one of the five white squares on the player's first rank
- Then the other bishop (“bishop2”) comes to one of the five black squares on player's first rank

- Then we continue with the knights:
- There are still 8 possible squares for "knight1".
- For "knight2" there are still 7 possible squares left

- Now it is the turn of the two consuls:
- There are still 6 possible squares for "consul1".
- After that, there are 5 possible squares left for “consul2”.

- As the last piece for the moment, there are still 4 possible squares left for the queen
- Now there are only three squares left on the player's first rank for the king and two rooks. There is only
possible position left for these 3 pieces, since the king must always be in between of the two rooks in the starting position.**one**

From a combinatorial perspective, 5 (Bishop1) x 5 (Bishop2) x 8 (Knight1) x 7 (Knight2) x 6 (Consul1) x5 (Consul2) x 4 (Queen) x 1 (Rook/King/Rook) different positions are possible. With any calculator you get the result 168,000 by multiplying 5x5x8x7x6x5x4x1.

Since it makes no difference if Knight 1 and Knight 2 swap their drawn fields, the number of genuinely different starting lineups can be halved. Therefore, 168,000 become 84,000 starting positions. The same applies to both consuls, which halves the number of starting positions again to 42,000. Complete!

In comparison, Chess960 with its 4x4x6x5x4x1 = 1920 starting positions, the number of which is reduced to the eponymous 960 really different positions due to the equality of both knights, has a significantly lower complexity.

### Drawing a Consulchess 42k - starting position with dice

It's possible to draw an arbitrary but valid starting position with two dice. One of the two dice should have eight sides with the numbers 1 to 8, the other one should be a standard die with six sides and the numbers 1 to 6 (or the corresponding number of pips). Eight-sided dice are available for little money in well-stocked toy stores or online from retailers (such as eBay, Amazon, etc.).

Then proceed in the order mentioned above. With the 6-die, a number between 1 and 5 is rolled to position bishop1; if you get a 6, the roll is repeated until the die shows a smaller number. For example, if the die falls on 2 for bishop1, the white-spaced bishop is on the 2nd white square from the left, which would be d1. For bishop2, one of the five black squares on the player's first rank is then rolled, e.g. with a 4 this would be the square g1. For the two knights, the eight-sided die is now used to determine one of the eight or seven squares that are still free. For the consuls and the queen, the six-sided die is sufficient again. When all positions except for the king and both rooks have been determined, three free squares remain on back rank. The king goes on the middle of these three fields, the rooks go on the last two fields - and one of the 42,000 starting positions from 42k is completed!

If the 42,000 starting positions of the 42k variant of Consulchess are still not enough for you, you could come up with the idea of drawing the white and black starting positions separately. Then there would be (42,000 x 42,000 = 1,764,000,000 = 1.764 billion) different starting positions. It could then possibly happen that certain starting positions are significantly more advantageous for one of the two parties than others. But then again that's another story...