White Rook White Bishop White Knight White Queen White King White Pawn Black Rook Black Bishop Black Knight Black Queen Black King Black Pawn

A bit of opening theory

Attempting to be the de Lucena of gravity chess!
In gravity chess, the opening has significantly more immediate impact than in normal chess. Consider, for instance, the opening 1. f4:
Note how this already develops the bishop, and the opponent has not even had a chance to respond. Thus, white has a very strong opportunity; this potential is, however, quite easy to blunder if proper care is not taken against the standard defense:
1. ?? b6
2. ?? Ba6
The standard defense is not a common defense, but is incredibly useful against a white player that opens randomly. Specifically, the defense opens up the queenside bishop, threatening Bxe2. Here is a classic example of it in action:
After Bxe2, the game is lost for white. Thus, the first thing a beginning gravity chess player learns is the importance of not letting the king fall down. As a result, the white player can often approximately evaluate the strength of his opening by considering how it would fare against a standard defense. Let's use this strategy to evaluate the classical opening, 1. c4:
At this point, white must do something to protect his c-pawn, as after Ba6, it will be under attack. Since this is gravity chess, this is also a direct threat on the bishop, since a fallen bishop in this situation is lost:
In the example above, it is clear that 3. h4 was a wasted move that cost white the bishop. But what alternatives does white have on the third move? Well, white could offer a trade with 3. c5:
But as demonstrated above, this traps the bishop when black responds with b5.
All right, so it looks like 2. b3 is a weak move, since it does nothing to protect the developed bishop. White has a seemingly strong continuation with 2. c5, where black again responds with b5. This allows white to play 3. Qb3. A beginning black player may not notice the weakness of this move and take the bishop; however, this loses a rook!
The preferred continuation for black is with a5, which traps the black queen:
Or simply loses the bishop:
In gravity chess, a bishop is one of the strongest pieces—their strength becomes apparent when one considers the relative weakness of rooks. Since it cannot move dianogally, a rook can only move down, never regaining any altitude! A bishop, on the other hand, can move from the eighth rank all the way back to the first rank in the opposite file. So, losing a bishop in an opening is, to put it mildly, quite bad.
Anyways, this shows the strength of the standard defense. When I mentioned earlier that the standard defense is rarely played, it isn't because it's a weak defense, but rather that most currently played openings attempt to prevent black from having such a strong and straightforward response.
Now, let's go back to our very first opening, 1. f4. Do you see how it protects against the standard defense?
With a different line developing as follows:
It is not yet clear whether 1. f4 is a strong opening, but at least we showed that it's much better than developing the other bishop. A stronger variant may be 1. c3, but we will leave the analysis of that for next time.