RECORDED GAMES OF GRAND CAMELOT
Anyone who wishes to submit a Grand Camelot game score for listing consideration should forward it, in algebraic format, preferably dated, to Michael Nolan firstname.lastname@example.org. The website owner reserves the right to make all inclusion decisions. Please remember that game scores cannot be copyrighted, but annotations here are copyrighted, and may not be used without permission. I hope you enjoy these games!
The following games were played before the formulation of the World Camelot Federation Official Rules of Grand Camelot, and therefore use the 1932 Parker Brothers piece setup and colors. (For a brief discussion of Grand Camelot piece setup differences, go here.)
Michael Nolan & John Lawson vs. Kerry Handscomb & Dan Troyka 2002
(Annotations by the players)
Michael: Red Kerry: White John: Blue Dan: Yellow
H5-G6 H12-H11 D9-E10 L9-K10
(MN) If John moves his D9 piece, I'll have some connectivity going.
(JL) I'm trying, in a straightforward way, to extend Michael's future cantering possibilities through my men, e.g. J3-H5-F7-D9-(F11 or D11).
(DT) The Michael-John partnership is setting up a cantering line that could take the Knight on F3 on a charge H5-F7-D9-Fll, from which it threatens Kerry. It seems that threats of this nature, i.e., going through your partner's pieces to attack the far enemy, are better than attacking the near enemy. If Michael follows this sequence he will be closer to his goal, whether or not he makes any captures, than he would be he attacked me or tried to go through the center. More importantly, the partners could then jointly attack a single opponent. If John attacks first, then Michael will get a turn before Kerry has had a chance to respond. If I am unable to help, then the effect is that the Michael-John partnership gets two unopposed moves against Kerry, which creates a great attack opportunity. An interesting point about the board: From a given square a piece can potentially canter to only one quarter of the squares on the board. Let's call a set of such squares a circuit. The other three circuits are in principle unreachable unless the piece makes a plain move first. In Camelot, each of a player's four Knights starts in a different circuit. In Grand Camelot, however, a player's Knights start in two circuits. The Knights on the light squares are in the same circuit, as are the Knights on the dark squares. This makes initial attack opportunities less diverse.
(MN) I see Dan has the same idea, to connect his forces with his partner.
2. I5-J6 J14-H12 D8-F8 L8-K7
(JL) Again giving Michael opportunities, while not getting too close to Kerry, because any path that Michael can use to canter, Kerry could use to jump. I'm already not happy with the way I have limited the canter threats of my Knights. Dan's too far away to pay attention to yet. I don't want to drive up the middle and compromise Michael's position.
(DT) I am increasingly convinced that controlling the center is not good strategy. Rather, the focal points of this game should be the fronts between John and Kerry, and Michael and me, and the strategy should be to ferry your pieces through your partner's ranks towards these fronts. I will call this a flanking strategy, as opposed to a center strategy. It puts your pieces closer to their goals and sets up the combination attacks described above. I am considering two moves. N11-L9-J11 fits the flanking strategy. If Kerry is not thinking as I am, the move could signal my intentions. On the other hand, it might just strike him as a bad move. In addition, the move stops early at J11 because Kerry's pieces are not positioned to permit cantering through. I decide to make a more conservative move, L8-K7. This forces Michael's next move. I am more concerned about Michael than John at the moment because Michael is in position to attack Kerry. This move also gives Kerry an opportunity to open up his ranks to permit my pieces to canter through. It will force my next move, which I expect to be M7xK9. This move, though forced, should leave my pieces better developed than Michael's, and should ideally situate me to pursue a flanking strategy. The chief risk I see at this point is that Kerry will be subject to a combination attack before I can get over to help.
(MN) I think Dan's second move was a good one; after the forced exchange, his position is better than before, mine is worse.
3. J6xL8 I13-G11 C10-D9 M7xK9
(JL) Now that Dan and Michael have exchanged their men, Kerry and I are most developed. I'm concerned that Kerry's last move has set up a forced move threat that I can't see. I feel C10-D9 doubles up my pieces, and gives me plenty of defensive alternatives, between the Knights on D9 and C7. I plan to canter my Knight on C6 to C8 or C10, depending on Kerry's next move. My general plan is to move pieces from right to left.
(MN) I don't understand John's third move. It allows a huge capture sequence. However, luckily, after H12-F10xD8xB6xD6xD8xB10xD12, as long as John plays something innocuous like C8-C9 (rather than something like D9-D11xD13), Dan can play anything and I can play G3-G5-G7-F9-C11xE13xG15xI13xK13xK15, and we'll only be down one Man. I'll send an email asking John for a powwow before he moves, just to make sure. My real worry is that Kerry will play H12-F10xD8xB6xD6xD8xB8. I think we could probably resign, then.
(DT) Kerry has set up a serious threat H12-F10xD8xB6xD6xD8xB10xD12. John's response does not prevent the attack. Unless Michael does something ingenious, Kerry will clean up on his next turn. My move is forced. M7xK9 should give me the opportunity to move pieces through Kerry's forces toward John's castle.
(DT) Now that Kerry makes the capture series described above, Michael points out in an e-mail that he has the response G3-G5-G7-E9-C11xE13xG15xH14xK13xK15, so long as John and I do nothing to prevent it. Michael thinks I cannot block it. In hindsight, Kerry could have avoided this trap by moving D8xB8 at the end of his charge instead of D8xB10xD12. However, I admit that I did not see Michael's charge either. It is remarkable how hard it is to think one ply ahead. I wonder if Michael would do better ending his charge I13xI15, which is better positioned for occupying the castle. I play around with this and conclude it would not be better. Michael's threatened attack is an example of the flanking strategy. I have concluded that the best response for Kerry and me would be to capture Michael's charging Knight. It appears that we can do this cooperatively if Kerry moves H13-I13. I decide that my likely next move will be M9-O7-M5, setting up an attack N6-L4xJ2 on Michael's Knight. If Kerry's move after that is H13-I13, however, it would probably be better to charge N11-L9-J11-H13-J15xL15, getting rid of Michael's Knight threatening to occupy Kerry's castle. All this depends on what Michael and John actually do.
4. I3-I5 H12-F10xD8xB6xD6xD8xB10xD12 C8-C9 N8-M7
(JL) Yikes! When I made move two on my board, I accidentally took the Man from c8 instead of d8. So I look like a dope, but Michael has found a response which is nearly as bad for Kerry, so my plan of opening a path through my men for him bore fruit, albeit not as I had intended.
(DT) After more thought than is healthy I move N8-M7. I decide against M9-O7-M5 because that move would force me to choose between two attacks, an attack on K3 or K15. K15 is a better target because that Knight is close to its goal and I can capture it without risk of reciprocal capture. Given that, I decide to keep open the possibility of a sneak attack on K3 in the form of M7-O7-M5. If at a later point Kerry can sacrifice to Michael, I can make this move and carry out the attack, while Michael's intervening move is forced.
5. K3-I3-G5-G7-E9-C11xE13xG15xI13xI15 H13-H14 C9-E9 N11-L9-J11-H13-H15xJ15
(MN) At the last moment, I decided on the played move, instead of the one I had calculated previously. I must admit, though, it's the type of move I would make in a tournament chess game if I were down in material, and I needed a tricky move (in chess, a swindle) to change the course of events. It's the type of move that usually gets a "??!" after it (or probably just "???"). I probably should have taken the safe course and been happy to be only one Man down.
(JL) I see Michael is trying a swindle here. If Kerry captures Michael's Knight on I15 by G14-I14xI16, Kerry MUST move the Knight from I16 next turn. That means I could move E10-F10, followed by F10xH12xJ12xJ14xL14. I think he should have stuck with his original plan of capturing on J13 and K14. Dan and Kerry avoid the trap, however. I'll just consolidate my men. Kerry is kind of spread out, but Dan now has a cantering path that can threaten me, so I have to be aware of what he is doing.
(DT) Just before Kerry's six-piece sweep of John, Michael sent a group email announcing that he wants to talk strategy with John after Kerry's move. My interpretation was Michael wanted to berate John for making such a crummy move. As a result, I did not think carefully about whether Michael had a good response move, which as it turns out he did. Kerry may not have been aware that pieces can canter over partner pieces. John as it turns out had erred in his set-up of pieces. (Our game is much more like actual warfare than Parker could have imagined.) I wonder if Michael was bluffing. Along with my fourth move, I included a comment to Kerry to make sure he sees that I can capture Michael's Knight that I expect will wind up on K15. As it turns out, Michael decided not to end his move on K15, possibly as a result of my email. He instead ended his move on I15, forgoing capture of Kerry's Knight on K14, apparently with the expectation of moving Michael's Knight into the castle. I had considered this move before along with Kerry's response H13-H14, which should allow me to capture Michael's Knight with N11-J11-H13-H14xJ15. If this plays out, Michael still loses a Knight, while foregoing capture of Kerry's Knight. Am I missing something here? Probably. Thinking ahead even one round in this game can be mind-bending. Interestingly, Michael moved the Knight on K3 instead of the one on G3. Perhaps he anticipated the sneak attack on K3 I had been planning. After Michael makes his move, I send a group email, out of turn, asking Kerry to consider H13-H14. I hit a small window of opportunity. Kerry moves H13-H14 a few minutes after Michael's move. If this works, we have a material advantage of three pieces (two Knights and one Man). Michael sends an email regretting the move to I15 and offering to let Kerry take back the last move and capture Michael's Knight directly with G14-G12-I14xI16. This would land Kerry in his castle, though, and expose Kerry to John's E10-F10, which would probably result in John capturing four pieces of Kerry's on the next turn. I send an email to that effect. I am considering N9-L9-J11-H13-F13 for my next move. Such a move would put a Man in position to attack John's castle. I'm hoping that Kerry will notice the benefit of moving pieces across each other's ranks. Not only does this permit direct attacks on the goals, it will facilitate, and help defend against, combination attacks. I am considering sending an email to Kerry encouraging him to move a piece or two toward Michael's castle. Although it will be difficult for Kerry to actually enter the castle, the threat will force Michael to divert forces away from the John-Kerry front and make an attack by me on John's castle easier. Basically, with a material advantage it is to our benefit to fight a two-front battle. If Michael moves the Knight on J3 to the north and/or east, it will expose his flank and likely make an attack by Kerry more effective.
(MN) Sure, now I see it. Why should Kerry have to capture me with G14-G12-I14xI16 with all the accompanying dangers, when the played sequence allows Dan to capture my Knight safely? I knew I should have played xK13xK15. If we lose, I'll blame myself for not playing straight.
6. G3-I3-K5 K14-J14 F8-D8-F10 N6-L8-J10
(JL) Michael is suggesting that the game looks drawish. I wonder if he is being disingenuous. The total forces are Michael & John: 4 Knights and 11 men, and Kerry & Dan: 6 Knights and 12 men. I don't know how many men a Knight is worth, but if it were two, the force ratio is 24:19. If it were three, the force ratio is 30:23. Kerry's threatening a dangerous Knight's charge. I block his immediate threat, create a counter threat, and, if he responds carelessly, I may be able to pick up a couple pieces.
(DT) Michael's move was G3-I3-K5, which sets up a potentially devastating attack on me. If I make the move N9-L9-J11-H13-F13 as I had planned, Michael can move I4-K4-K6, which sets John up for D9-F7-H5-J5-L7xM8xN10xM10xK10xI12xG14. Kerry, I think, cannot defend again this. Luckily, I detect the threat and make a different move.
(MN) I have told everyone that I think the game looks drawish. Actually, of course, I think we are dead.
(MN) John's move is dangerous. In (Grand, or plain) Camelot, if you move a piece to a square where you can capture with that piece next move, your opponents can set up something devastating, and you're powerless to counter it.
7. I5-I6 J14-J12-H12 F10-D8 J10-I10
(JL) Michael is unhappy with my move, because I can be forced to jump. He's right, of course, because the opponents could potentially get two moves to my one. I probably should have stopped at D8, but I hate setting up my pieces in a little defensive ball and awaiting my fate.
(DT) I move J10-I10 as part of a strategy of moving pieces around John's top flank and toward John's castle.
8. J3-K4 J13-I13 E9-C9 M7-M6
(JL) I don't think I'm long for this world. With both Dan and Kerry lining up Knights on my tiny forces, and the fact that I'm the most depleted, I'm going to retreat to postpone the end. I'm going to keep my Knight on D9 and Man on C10 as long as possible, in case Michael can set up some sort of charge for my Knight. The only way I'm surviving is to keep in a little knot. That's not the way to win.
(DT) Michael is building up forces on my southern flank. My initial plan in this event was to retreat toward Kerry's forces and meet Michael's challenge only if it got close to my castle. After much consideration, however, I move M7-M6, which sets up a multi-faceted attack on Michael. Anything could happen but I think Michael will have to take a defensive move such as K4-J5. If Kerry does not move his Knight on H12 and if John's moves are inconsequential, my response to Michael's K4-J5 will be M6-L5. This would force Michael to capture the Man on L5 with the Knight on K5, which can then be captured by Kerry's Knight on H12. Not only is this exchange favorable in terms of material, it will bring Kerry's Knight close to Michael's castle.
9. K4-J5 G11-F11 E10xG12 M6-L5
(MN) John suggested K5-K6 or K4-K6, setting up D9-F7-H5-J3-J5-L7xN5, but that actually allows H12-H10-J10-L8-N8-N6-L6xJ6xH6xF6.
10. K5xM5 G13xG11 D9-F7-H5-J3 N10-N8-N6xL4
(JL) I see no point in standing around, waiting to be slaughtered. Maybe, with Michael's help, I can make a dash for Dan's castle. Certainly, Michael isn't getting anywhere near Kerry's. In addition, our two Knights working together may make it hot for Dan for a couple of turns.
(DT) Kerry declines capture of Michael's Knight on M5 and instead captures John's Man on G12. I wonder how this will affect the material outcome of the exchange. If Kerry had captured M5, I could have protected Kerry's Knight on L4 through M10-O8-M6. As far as I can tell, we could still have captured the Man on G14. I move N10-N8-N6xL4 to capture the Knight on M5. My Knight can now be captured by combination attack. I consider asking Kerry to move H11-G10, which sets up an attack by my Knight on N7 to capture three of John's Men. This, however, would allow John's Knight on J3 to canter around the board capturing seven of our pieces. Therefore, I don't make the suggestion. Michael will likely move a piece to K4 on the next turn. Kerry should respond with H12-H10-J10-L8-N8-N6. John will then capture my Knight on L4, after which I can set up an attack by Kerry on John's Knight by moving M9-M7-O7-M5. John cannot defend against the attack because White's turn comes before John's next turn. Michael can defend but in all situations, as far as I can tell, we come out ahead. If Kerry does not come down to my southern flank, then Michael and John can attack me in combination. I do not think I can defend against this.
11. J5-I5 I12-G10 D10-D9 L4-M5
(JL) Just consolidating here.
(DT) To my surprise, Michael moves J5-I5. As far as I can tell, the effect of this move is to spare my Knight on L4. I wonder if the other players have recognized the combination attack threat.
(DT) I move L4-M5. If Michael attempts to set up a combination attack on my Knight on M5, Kerry can defend with the Knight on H12. I almost moved L4-L5 because Michael could not set John up for an attack on this position. At the last minute, however, I realize that Michael could directly capture the Knight with I5-I3-K5xL5. Although Kerry's Knight on H12 could then capture Michael's Knight on L5, John and Michael would have a combination attack on Kerry's Knight that could not be stopped. For my next move, I am considering N9-L9-J11-H9-F11. We need to start an attack on John's castle.
12. I4-K4 G10-F10 D9-D7-F9 M5-M6
(JL) This move is Michael's suggestion, and I don't see anything better, except that the best it seems to offer is a Man-for-Man trade. Since we are down material, that doesn't seem like a good plan in the long run. Kerry offered Dan a suggestion on what to do in case I took his Knight on M5. Not likely, because that would just result in a Knight-for-Knight trade, leaving us with two to their five.
(DT) Michael sets up a combination attack on my Knight on M5 by moving I4-K4. If John captures the Knight, Kerry can capture John's Knight by moving
H12-H10-J10-L8-N8-N6xN4. I hope Kerry recognizes this and keeps his pieces on H12 and H11.
(DT) Kerry moves G10-F10 and points out that if John captures my Knight, on his next turn Kerry will have a choice of capturing John's Knight on N5 or John's Men on C9 and D9. In the latter case, however, Kerry's Knight could be captured by Michael's Knight on F3.
(DT) Michael sends an email suggesting that John move D9-D7-F9, which John does. Now White's next move is a forced capture unless I intervene. Although I can capture John's attacking piece, we would likely lose material. I decide to set a trap by moving M5-M6. I hope Kerry sees what I'm doing and that Michael does not. Suppose Michael makes an immaterial move. I hope Kerry will move F10xF8 to capture John's attacking Man. Kerry could instead charge with the Knight on G14, but this would set up a devastating charge by Michael's Knight on F3. Assuming Kerry moves F10xF8, John now has only two options, both of them awful. If John moves E8xG8, I can move N7-L9-J11-H9xF7xH5xJ5xL3. If John charges with the Knight on J3, I can then capture several pieces with my Knight on N7 regardless of whether John's Knight finishes on F7 or F9. Michael will need to anticipate this threat on his next move in order to fend it off.
13. K4-L4 F10xF8 J3-J5-H5-F7-D9-D7-F9xF7 M6-L7
(JL) Kerry makes the trade. I capture as Michael recommends, as it opens up some distance between Kerry and me. The disadvantage is that my Knight is now further from Dan's castle, but I may be able to move C9-E7-G7-G5-I3-K5-M3. I think our only chance in this game, aside from Dan falling into a trap, is for me to move around through Michael, and we make a combined all-out assault against Dan. I can't communicate this, though, without giving it away. I think I know how I would like to play the next game. I think each team should canter a small force through their partner, maybe three pieces, including at least one Knight. They can then make combined attacks against the one opponent. With the partnership's pieces intermixed, it should be possible to set up potentially devastating threats. If a partnership didn't realize the danger immediately, they would lose the initiative. If both sides adopted the same strategy, the battles along the Blue-White and Red-Yellow flanks could become very complex.
(DT) Michael moves K4-L4, a good move, and suggests that John capture by charging his Knight on J3 to F7. This thwarts my attack. I consider a number of options. N7-L9-J11-H9 is more aggressive. It allows Michael to set up a combination attack by moving a Man to K5 but Kerry can block this attack by moving his Man on H11 to N6. Nonetheless, the resulting board position does not strike me as an improvement. By moving a Man to M7, I can mount an attack on Michael. Ultimately, however, I go with a plan of retreat from Michael in order to set up an attack on John's castle by cantering through White's forces. This runs the risk of giving the Michael-John partnership the initiative but on the other hand, it is a more direct approach to victory. It also makes a combination attack by the Michael-John partnership on my pieces more difficult.
14. H4-J6 G14-I14-I12-G10 C9-E7-G7-G5-G3-I3-K5 N7-L9-J11-H9
(MN) I think that if we don't try something strategic, we'll just get whupped tactically by their three extra Knights. It's too bad F7-G8 was not possible because of N7-L9-J11-H9 etc. I'm suggesting to John C9-E7-G7-G5-G3-I3-K5.
(JL) Michael has come around to my point of view. I should never have made the moves 12 and 13 that he suggested, but tried to move men out, instead. Now I can only get my Knight and one Man out; the others are dead. I might have been able to get one or two more away if I had followed my instincts, but, as the weakest player, my self-confidence was low. (And rightly so, since Michael's advice prevented a couple of boners.) If I were Kerry, I would just build a chain so Dan could canter to my castle, and just play minimal defensive moves elsewhere. I figure that should take about six moves, and the game will be over.
(DT) Michael continues an attack on my southern flank and invites John to try to get two pieces into my castle. I see two risks here. First, without Kerry's support, Michael and John can engage in combination attacks. More subtly, in a race to the castle, Michael can engage in repeat sacrifices that divert me from moving into John's castle, giving John time to occupy my castle. I suggest to Kerry in an email that he help defend the southern flank. I canter a Knight out toward John's castle to begin our own attack.
15. F3-H5-J5-L5 H11-F9 F7-H5-J5 J15-I15
(MN) I'm thinking that if I now play L5-M6, Kerry is forced to play
H12-F10-H10-J10-L8-L6xN6 because of John's threat of J5-L5-N7 etc. Therefore, John can follow with K5-K6 with threats.
(JL) I expect Kerry's H11-F9, followed by my F7-H5-J5. There is an opportunity for Kerry to mess up if he tries to get too fancy and forgets my Knight can get to F9. For instance, H11-F11 would result in D9-D7-F9xH11xJ9xL9xN7. Of course, it turned out as I had predicted. At least Kerry's next move is forced, so let's see if Michael can come up with some surprise for Dan, since we get two moves to Dan's one.
(DT) This was the hardest move of the game for me yet. I made a non-move, J15-I15, which attempts to bring my isolated Knight on J15 back into play. Kerry has committed to an attack on John's two stay-behind pieces on D8 and E8. John and Michael, however, continue to mass their forces along my southern flank. My principal concern is that Michael will initiate a series of sacrifices by moving L5-M6. If Michael makes this move, and Kerry chooses to go ahead and capture the two men on D8 and E8, then Michael can engage in repeated sacrifices to pull my Knight on L7 all the way down into Michael's castle and then a few moves beyond that. In short, Michael could tie me up for seven or eight rounds, leaving John free to attack my castle and Kerry alone to defend it. The move I make keeps open the attack by the Knight on H12. After my move, Michael sends an email, without a move, suggesting that he may move L5-M6 and acknowledging that Kerry will likely charge with the Knight on H12 to capture Michael's Knight on M6. If Kerry does not make this move John will have a long charge starting from J5 capturing as many as six of our pieces. I did not even see this. Good thing we have a defense to it. Michael points out that if Kerry captures the Knight on M6 he can capture Kerry's Knight with I5-K3-M5-O7. Fine with me. The board position at that point seems favorable to us. More importantly, I need Kerry's assistance in this area and this exchange might prompt further reinforcements. The goal now ought to be to capture John's Knight at any cost. If we get it, the entire Michael-John partnership strategy falls apart. It is unlikely that the Michael-John partnership can win a race if Michael has to get a piece into White's castle. For my next move, assuming the next three moves are as Michael predicts, I initially consider I15-J14, which sets up a good attack on John's pieces. Then I realize it would allow Michael's Knight on I5 to capture the two Knights on L7 and N6. I then decide on M9-M7. This blocks John's attack and allows me to capture Michael's lone remaining Knight, although at some risk by jumping into my castle. However, all this depends on what the next three moves actually are.
16. J4-L6 F9xD7xD9 K5-K6 K9-L8
(MN) John has suggested J4-L6, and I like it better than my plan.
(JL) Kerry and Dan have seen the light and intend to bring Kerry's Knight over to help Dan. Dan has proposed M9-L8 or K9-L8. With K9-L8, we trade a Knight for a Knight and two men with Michael's I5-K7xM7xK9xK11. Kerry can recapture, but their communications are impeded. I have no good move after that, so I'll probably move J5-K5 so our last two Knights are on different colors. Dan's M9-L8 is much worse for him. Michael moves I5-K7xM7xM9xO9 and can't be recaptured right away, and, if Kerry doesn't interfere, I follow with J5-L7xL9xJ9xL11xN9. The best threat I see for Kerry is H12-F10-H10-H8, setting up a threat against my last Man by Dan. That also prevents my J5-K5. If that Man is lost, so is our last chance to win the game, unless it is part of a combination that destroys Dan, leaving Michael and Kerry to play on. OK, Dan chooses K9-L8. Michael sees two choices. If I5-K7xM7xK9xK11 and Kerry responds H12-F10-H10-J10-l12xK11, I have no immediate threat, so I could just move J5-K5. However, if Kerry responds H12-F10-H10-H8, then, if I move J5-K5, Dan responds with H9-H7xJ5xL7, taking my Man. Then my answer destroys over half his forces. Hmm. If Michael moves I5-K5-M7xK7, then after Kerry's H12-F10-H10-J10-L10-N10-N8, I can't do much useful with my Knight without exposing it to capture, as well as Dan's threat H9-J11-L9-L7xJ7xJ5xL7, or some such.
(DT) John and Michael exchange emails and Michael moves J4-L6 at John's suggestion. This likely sets up a serious attack on me. Kerry is committed to capturing the two stay behind Men on D8 and E8. I'll see what I can do. Later in the day: I have decided on K9-L8. This leaves Michael with the option of capturing one or three of my pieces. If he captures three (I5-K7xM7xK9xK11), Kerry can then capture Michael's Knight, or else Kerry can initiate a race by moving G10-F9. If he captures one (I5-K5-M7xK7), he will set up John for an attack J5-L7xL9xN7xN11 that Kerry cannot prevent. This would be a bad move by John, however, because of my response M10-M8, which forces John's Knight to capture N7xL9xJ11, where it is then itself captured. The big question that I see is whether to initiate a race. If Michael captures, Kerry can move G10-F9, which allows us to start a race. I think we can win the race but the uncertainty I have is due to Michael's opportunities to divert me with repeated sacrifices. Kerry and I, I think, would have to coordinate very well to win a race. The alternative is for Kerry to move his Knight on H12 into the fray by capturing Michael's Knight in the 3-capture-by-Michael scenario or perhaps to N8 in the 1-capture-by-Michael scenario. It occurs to me that if Michael moves I5-K7xM7xK9xK11, and Kerry responds with H12-F10-H10-J10xL12, and John then moves K6-M6, then I can force a capture of John's Man through a couple of sacrifices starting with M8-N7, with White's cooperation.
17. I5-K7xM7xK9xK11 H12-F10-H10-J10xL12 K6-M6 M8-N7
(JL) This is all pretty much as expected. The material difference isn't as bad as it seems on the surface. The number of men is equal, but many are out of the fray. They have five Knights to our two, which should be decisive, but they are all spread out, and Dan's men protecting his castle are not directly supported, so locally, we have two Knights to zero or one. (This was one of the positional advantages of Michael's move 17.) Additionally, Dan's pieces approaching my castle are both Knights. It they run for it, they will not be in the fight, and don't travel any faster than men. Everything they do takes time, and the more time we get the better off we are, as long as we can produce a threat every move that also involves approaching Dan's castle.
(MN) Because of the questions arising from the possibilities presented by the board position, I am forced to reconsider the logic of that section of the original Parker Brothers Grand Camelot Rules that deals with a player's non-opposite opponent's castle. It states: "Only a piece from the opposite side of the board may enter an opponent's castle." After considerable reflection and discussion, I decide (unilaterally) that the WCF Grand Camelot Rules should differ from the P.B. rules, and read: "A player may use a jump, or the jumping portion of a Knight's Charge, to land upon one of his own castle squares, or one of his partner's castle squares, or one of his non-opposite opponent's castle squares, but must vacate that castle upon his next turn, there being no exception." This rules change has some reasonable justifications, as well as one subsidiary benefit. It is simpler, and therefore it seems more logical. It implements conformity of treatment of all the non-goal castles. Additionally, it makes writing a Grand Camelot-playing computer program easier (for Dan).
18. L6-M7 L12-M11 M6xO8 M9-L8
(DT) Michael, Kerry, and John all oblige by making the moves described above, so I move M8-N7. Michael responds with L6-M7 (this is the first move of Round 18). Provided Kerry moves L12-L11, which I proposed along with my move, I will move N9-N8 on the next turn, which will set Kerry up to capture John's Man along with Michael's Man by jumping into and out of my castle. Before my making this move John sent an email indicating that he thought pieces could not jump into their partners' castles. I responded that I thought they could. Michael answered that they can but that pieces cannot enter the non-goal enemy castle under any circumstances. I waited to see if John would indicate whether his prior move was made with the understanding that Kerry could not jump into my castle. It appears not to have been a consideration.
(JL) Dan believes that he can get my Man in a couple of turns, through forced captures. I don't quite see it yet, but he can certainly pull me away from Dan's castle. That doesn't get him any closer to my castle, though. I wish I had a third Man. Ugh, I failed to see the effects of the double sacrifice. We are sunk. We can probably slow them down, but it won't matter in the long run, once we're forced to trade off our Knights. We should play it to the end, to learn how to play an end game.
(DT) Kerry moved L12-M11 instead of L12-L11. This will work although it leaves Michael's Man on K9. Now to begin a race to the castle.
19. M7xK9 M11-M9-O9xO7 J5-J7-H5 I10-H11
20. H3-F5-H7 D9-E10 H5-H6 H9-F11-D9
(JL) Aside from making threats, and hoping for an oversight (on their part), I see no way to stave off the inevitable. I expect Dan's moves to be H9-F11-D9, (Kerry E10-E11), H11-F11-D11, D9-C10, D11-B9, C10-A8, B9-A9. Part of the problem I am facing is, with only one piece, I must move it every turn. In addition, Michael's Knight can't catch up, because he will have to use all his moves to create threats for my Knight. Michael's 20th move maybe should have been H3-F5, followed by G4-E6. As it is, I don't see how I can get close enough to do any good.
21. L5-K5 G11-F12 H6-F6 D9-C10
(JL) If I move H6-F6, followed by Michael's K5-I7-G7-G5-E7, with the later possibilities of H7-F5-F7-D7 and G6-E6-E8, we may get close enough to be annoying. Even if we manage to pull off trading a Man and both Knights for two men and three Knights, we are still toast. Kerry and Dan just split their remaining forces to attack both castles, and Michael alone cannot defend. Dan saw the trap: if he had moved I15-G13-E11-E9-C9, as would be very tempting since he would be three moves from winning, Michael's move 21 would allow my F6xD8xD10xB8. A better choice might have been F6-D8xD10xF10xH10xH12xJ14 if Kerry hadn't prevented. Dan's move 20 was intended to prevent that move. All fantasy now, however. Michael wants to confer after Kerry's move. Maybe we can slow them down, if we are lucky.
22. K5-I7-G7-G5-E7 O7-N6 F6-F7 C10-B10
(JL) On due consideration, we are toast. Dan's next move will be H11-F9-D11-B9, followed by C10-A8 and B9-A9. The only place I can move to prevent that, F6-D8, results in I15-G13-E11-E9xC7. If Michael moves J6-H6-F6-D8 after my F6-F7, threatening C10, all Kerry has to do is E10-D9, blocking my path. My F6-E6 is no better. Dan did not move as I expected. He saw some resource that enabled us to capture one of his Knights after he castled the other. We're not dead yet, but it's close.
23. J6-H6-F6-D8 E10-D11 F7-E6 I15-G13-E11-C11-A9
(MN) G6-E8-E6-G8, J6-H6-F6-F8, I6-G8, I6-G8-E6-E8, or J6-H6-F6-D8, whatever.
(JL) Nothing we can do can prevent Dan from I15-G13-E11-C11-A9, castling a Knight. If I move F7-D7, followed by Michael's D8-C8, I don't see how Kerry can prevent D7-B9-B11. Were I he, I would move D11-C12, forcing me to continue with xD13, exiling my Knight to Siberia. Then Michael would be hard pressed to defend against a combined attack by Dan's and Kerry's Knights with Dan's H11-F9. Dan's comments to Kerry state that he has a contingency plan if I attack B10, so maybe this is it. If I move F7-E6, the outcome is less clear, but we might be able to move up H7-F5-D7, and get a little more power on the defense. If we get Michael into a forced capture situation, Kerry's N6-M5 is a definite danger.
24. H7-F5-D7-D9 F12-G11 E6-D7 H11-F9
25. E7-C9-E9xG9 G10xG8 D7-E7 B10-B9
(MN) I mentioned to John E7-E8 for my move, mainly because the four differently colored Knights in a diagonal line reminded me of a position from Irving Chernev's "The 1,000 Best Short Games of Chess."
(MN) I suggested E6-E8-C8-E10xC12 for John's move, but he turned me down. Not that it makes any difference at this point.
(JL) If Dan slips up with A9-A8, thinking he'll get a quick win, I'll ask Michael to move D9-C10, forcing Kerry's D11xB9 and allowing my response E7-C9xA9xC11. This postpones the threat to my castle many turns, and reorients the game to an attack by Kerry on Michael's castle. I doubt Dan will slip up.
26. D8-C8 G8-F8 E7xG9 B9xD7
(JL) I think our best choice for Michael is D8-C8. After Kerry's G8-F8, John's E7xG9, Dan's B9xD7, then Michael's D9-C9. If Kerry chooses against the sacrifice, then John's E7-D8 should win Dan's Knight. However, I see after Michael's D9-C9, Kerry's D11-D10, pulling Michael's Man away, and Dan's Knight walks home. Nevertheless, there's really no choice. Michael's D9-C9 is no better, and if anything else, Dan's B9-A8 wins on the spot. The end is nigh; Dan's latest note to Kerry recommends D11-D10.
27. D9-C9 D11-D10 Michael & John Resign
(MN) It's time; oh well. Overall, an extremely interesting experience for me. I had never played a four person abstract strategy board game before. It was challenging and great fun, and as an extra bonus, it was a Camelot-family game. I wonder if I like Grand Camelot better than Camelot. It certainly has more of a strategic feel to it than Camelot. Camelot is almost entirely tactical.
John Lawson & Kerry Handscomb vs. Dan Troyka &
Michael Nolan 2002