Chess variant

Gliński's hexagonal chess – one of many chess variants

A chess variant is a game related to, derived from or inspired by chess.[1] The difference from chess might include one or more of the following:

  • different board (larger or smaller, non-square board shape overall or different intra-board cell shapes such as triangles or hexagons)
  • addition, substitution or removal of pieces in standard chess (non-standard pieces are known as fairy pieces)
  • different rules for capture, move order, game objective, etc.

Regional chess games, some of which are older than Western chess, such as Chaturanga, Shatranj, Xiangqi and Shogi, are typically called chess variants in the Western world. They have some similarities to chess and share a common game ancestor.

The number of possible chess variants is virtually unlimited. Confining the number to published variants, D.B. Pritchard, author of The Encyclopedia of Chess Variants, estimates there are well over 2000.[2][3]

In the context of chess problems, chess variants are called fantasy chess, heterodox chess or fairy chess. Some chess variants are used only in problem composition and not in actual play.

Contents

Chess-derived games

These chess variants are derived from chess by changing the board, pieces or rules.

Chess with different starting positions

In these variants, the starting position is different, but otherwise the board, pieces and rules are the same. In most of such variants the pawns are placed on their usual place, but position of other pieces is either randomly determined or selected by the players. The motivation for these chess variants is to nullify established opening knowledge. The downside of these variants is that the initial position has usually less harmony and balance than standard chess position.[4]

Solid white.svg a b c d e f g h Solid white.svg
8  black bishop  black knight  black rook  black bishop  black knight  black king  black rook  black queen 8
7  black pawn  black pawn  black pawn  black pawn  black pawn  black pawn  black pawn  black pawn 7
6  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king 6
5  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king 5
4  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king 4
3  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king 3
2  white pawn  white pawn  white pawn  white pawn  white pawn  white pawn  white pawn  white pawn 2
1  white bishop  white knight  white rook  white bishop  white knight  white king  white rook  white queen 1
Solid white.svg a b c d e f g h Solid white.svg
Chess960 – one of the 960 possible starting positions
Solid white.svg a b c d e f g h Solid white.svg
8  white rook  white knight  white bishop  white queen  white king  white bishop  white knight  white rook 8
7  white pawn  white pawn  white pawn  white pawn  white pawn  white pawn  white pawn  white pawn 7
6  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king 6
5  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king 5
4  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king 4
3  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king 3
2  black pawn  black pawn  black pawn  black pawn  black pawn  black pawn  black pawn  black pawn 2
1  black rook  black knight  black bishop  black queen  black king  black bishop  black knight  black rook 1
Solid white.svg a b c d e f g h Solid white.svg
Upside-down chess starting position (White sits at bottom)
  • Chess960 (or Fischer Random Chess): The placement of the pieces on the first rank is randomized, and the pieces on the eighth rank mirror it.
  • Displacement chess: Some pieces in the initial position are exchanged but the rules remain exactly the same. Some examples of this may be that the king and queen are flipped, or the knight on the b-file is traded with the bishop on the f-file.
  • Pre-Chess: Proposed by Pal Benko in 1978.[5] The game starts with white and black pawns set as usual, but the initial position of other pieces is selected by the players in the following way: First, White places one of his pieces on his first rank, and then Black does the same. Players continue to alternate in this manner until all pieces have been placed. (The only restriction being, bishops must be placed on opposite-color squares.) Then the game proceeds in the usual way. Castling is permitted only if the king and a rook were placed on their usual squares.
  • Transcendental chess: Similar to Chess960, but the opening white and black positions do not mirror each other.
  • Upside-down chess: The black and white pieces are switched so that all the pawns are one step away from getting promoted.[6] The game can start, for example: 1. Nc6 Nf3 2. b8Q g1Q etc.

Chess with different forces

Some chess variants use different number of pieces for White and Black. All pieces in these games are standard chess pieces, there are no fairy chess pieces.

  • Dunsany's chess (or Horde chess): One side has standard chess pieces, and the other side has 32 pawns.
  • Handicap chess (or Chess with odds): Variations to equal chances of players with different strength.
  • Pawns game: In the starting position White does not have a queen, but has eight additional pawns (see diagram below). The game was played by such old masters as Labourdonnais, Deschappelles and Kieseritsky.[7]
  • Peasant's revolt: By R.L. Frey (1947). White has a king and eight pawns (the peasants) against king, pawn and four knights by Black (the nobles).[8]
  • Weak!: White has usual pieces, Black has one king, seven knights and sixteen pawns. This game was played at Columbia University chess club in the 1960s.[9]
Solid white.svg a b c d e f g h Solid white.svg
8 a8 black rook b8 black knight c8 black bishop d8 black queen e8 black king f8 black bishop g8 black knight h8 black rook 8
7 a7 black pawn b7 black pawn c7 black pawn d7 black pawn e7 black pawn f7 black pawn g7 black pawn h7 black pawn 7
6 a6 black king b6 black king c6 black king d6 black king e6 black king f6 black king g6 black king h6 black king 6
5 a5 black king b5 black king c5 black king d5 black king e5 black king f5 black king g5 black king h5 black king 5
4 a4 black king b4 black king c4 white pawn d4 white pawn e4 white pawn f4 white pawn g4 black king h4 black king 4
3 a3 black king b3 white pawn c3 white pawn d3 black king e3 black king f3 white pawn g3 white pawn h3 black king 3
2 a2 white pawn b2 white pawn c2 white pawn d2 white pawn e2 white pawn f2 white pawn g2 white pawn h2 white pawn 2
1 a1 white rook b1 white knight c1 white bishop d1 black king e1 white king f1 white bishop g1 white knight h1 white rook 1
Solid white.svg a b c d e f g h Solid white.svg
Pawns game
Solid white.svg a b c d e f g h Solid white.svg
8 a8 black king b8 black knight c8 black knight d8 black king e8 black king f8 black knight g8 black knight h8 black king 8
7 a7 black king b7 black king c7 black king d7 black king e7 black pawn f7 black king g7 black king h7 black king 7
6 a6 black king b6 black king c6 black king d6 black king e6 black king f6 black king g6 black king h6 black king 6
5 a5 black king b5 black king c5 black king d5 black king e5 black king f5 black king g5 black king h5 black king 5
4 a4 black king b4 black king c4 black king d4 black king e4 black king f4 black king g4 black king h4 black king 4
3 a3 black king b3 black king c3 black king d3 black king e3 black king f3 black king g3 black king h3 black king 3
2 a2 white pawn b2 white pawn c2 white pawn d2 white pawn e2 white pawn f2 white pawn g2 white pawn h2 white pawn 2
1 a1 black king b1 black king c1 black king d1 black king e1 white king f1 black king g1 black king h1 black king 1
Solid white.svg a b c d e f g h Solid white.svg
Peasant's revolt
Solid white.svg a b c d e f g h Solid white.svg
8 a8 black knight b8 black knight c8 black knight d8 black knight e8 black king f8 black knight g8 black knight h8 black knight 8
7 a7 black pawn b7 black pawn c7 black pawn d7 black pawn e7 black pawn f7 black pawn g7 black pawn h7 black pawn 7
6 a6 black king b6 black king c6 black pawn d6 black king e6 black king f6 black pawn g6 black king h6 black king 6
5 a5 black king b5 black pawn c5 black pawn d5 black pawn e5 black pawn f5 black pawn g5 black pawn h5 black king 5
4 a4 black king b4 black king c4 black king d4 black king e4 black king f4 black king g4 black king h4 black king 4
3 a3 black king b3 black king c3 black king d3 black king e3 black king f3 black king g3 black king h3 black king 3
2 a2 white pawn b2 white pawn c2 white pawn d2 white pawn e2 white pawn f2 white pawn g2 white pawn h2 white pawn 2
1 a1 white rook b1 white knight c1 white bishop d1 white queen e1 white king f1 white bishop g1 white knight h1 white rook 1
Solid white.svg a b c d e f g h Solid white.svg
Weak!

Chess with different boards

Ea5 Eb5 Ec5 Ed5 Ee5
Ea4 Eb4 Ec4 Ed4 Ee4
Ea3 Eb3 Ec3 Ed3 Ee3
Ea2 Eb2 Ec2 Ed2 Ee2
Ea1 Eb1 Ec1 Ed1 Ee1

E

Da5 Db5 Dc5 Dd5 De5
Da4 Db4 Dc4 Dd4 De4
Da3 Db3 Dc3 Dd3 De3
Da2 Db2 Dc2 Dd2 De2
Da1 Db1 Dc1 Dd1 De1

D

Ca5 Cb5 Cc5 Cd5 Ce5
Ca4 Cb4 Cc4 Cd4 Ce4
Ca3 Cb3 Cc3 Cd3 Ce3
Ca2 Cb2 Cc2 Cd2 Ce2
Ca1 Cb1 Cc1 Cd1 Ce1

C

Ba5 Bb5 Bc5 Bd5 Be5
Ba4 Bb4 Bc4 Bd4 Be4
Ba3 Bb3 Bc3 Bd3 Be3
Ba2 Bb2 Bc2 Bd2 Be2
Ba1 Bb1 Bc1 Bd1 Be1

B

Aa5 Ab5 Ac5 Ad5 Ae5
Aa4 Ab4 Ac4 Ad4 Ae4
Aa3 Ab3 Ac3 Ad3 Ae3
Aa2 Ab2 Ac2 Ad2 Ae2
Aa1 Ab1 Ac1 Ad1 Ae1

A

Raumschach starting position (inverted knights represent unicorns)

In these chess variants the same pieces and rules as in chess are used, but the board is different. It can be smaller or larger, non-square overall or based upon triangle or hexagon spaces (instead of square spaces). The movement of pieces in some variants is modified to account for the unusual property of the playing board.

  • Active Chess: Played on a 9×8 board, an extra queen is placed with an extra pawn in front. Invented by G. Kuzmichov in 1989, his students play-tested the game, deciding the best opening array was to place the second queen on either the eighth or ninth file.[10]
  • Alice Chess: Played with two boards. A piece moved on one board passes "through the looking glass" onto the other board.
  • Circular chess: Played on a circular board consisting of four rings, each of sixteen squares.
  • Cubic Chess: A 3D variant similar to Raumschach but played on a 6×6×6 board. Each player has six pieces and 12 pawns.
  • Cylinder chess: Played on a cylinder board with a- and h-files "connected". Thus a player can use them as if the a-file were next to the h-file (and vice versa).
  • Chess Attack: Played on a six row, five columns board, Chess Attack follows standard chess rules, and can be regarded as an endgame variant.
  • Doublewide chess: Two or four regular chess boards are connected (for a 16×8 or 16×16 play surface) and each player plays with two complete sets of chess pieces. Because each player has two kings, the first king can be captured without ending the game.[11]
  • Flying chess: This is played on a board of 8×8×2, giving a total of 128 cells. Only certain pieces can move to and from the additional level.
  • Gravity chess: Rules are the same as in regular chess, except that all pieces are gravitationally "attracted" to the h-file (or a-file, depending on variants). This means that whenever there is free space between a piece and the h-file, the piece moves as far as it can to the h-file until the free space runs out.
  • Grid chess: The board is overlaid with a grid of lines. For a move to be legal, it must cross at least one of these lines.
  • Hexagonal chess: A family of chess variants played on a hexgrid with three colours and three bishops.
  • Infinite chess: Has a board shaped like the infinity symbol. It is connected at the center, and all pieces of the traditional chess are used.[12]
  • Lord Loss chess: Played on five different boards with two players. One person moves a piece on any board and his/her opponent can choose to move on a different or the same board. The game is featured in the book Lord Loss by Darren Shan.
  • Los Alamos chess (or Anti-Clerical chess): Played on a 6×6 board without bishops. This was the first chess-like game played by a computer program.
  • Millennium chess: Similar to Doublewide chess. Two boards are connected side by side; however, in this variant the middle files are merged, making a 15×8 board.
  • Millennium 3D Chess: An easy-to-learn 3D variant played on a 8×8×3 board.
  • Minichess: A family of chess variants played with regular chess pieces and standard rules, but on a smaller board.
  • Polgar Superstar Chess: Hexagonal chess variant played on a special, star-shaped board.[13] It was invented by László Polgár in 2002.[14]
  • Raumschach: Called "the classic 3D game" (Pritchard); played on a 5×5×5 board, including a new piece (unicorn) to move through cube vertices.
  • Singularity chess: Played on a board distorted in the center. Due to the distortion, some pieces can make U-turns, attack the same square multiple ways, and bishops can possibly change square colors (e.g., starting on a black square and ending on a white square).[15]
  • Tri-D Chess (or Star Trek chess): The 3D version of chess depicted in the television series Star Trek; rulesets created by fans.

Chess with unusual rules

  • Absorption Chess: A capturing piece gains the movement abilities of the piece it is capturing. Therefore if a rook captured a bishop, the rook would then be able to move like a queen as it can move like the rook and now the bishop. This rule does not apply to kings and pawns.
  • Absorption Chess II (or Seizer's Chess): Similar to the original Absorption Chess. A capturing piece gains the movement abilities of the piece it is capturing. This rule does apply to kings and pawns.
  • Accelerated Chess: Each player makes two non-capturing moves or one capturing move in each turn.
  • Andernach chess: A piece making a capture changes colour.
  • Antichess (or Giveaway chess, Take Me chess, Loser's chess, Suicide chess, Must Kill, Reverse Chess): Capturing moves are mandatory and the object is to lose all pieces. There is no check – the king is captured like an ordinary piece.
  • Arimaa: A piece may push or pull opponents weaker piece.
  • Atomic chess: Any capture on a square results in an "atomic explosion" which kills (i.e. removes from the game) all pieces in any of the eight surrounding squares, except for pawns.
  • Benedict chess: Pieces are not allowed to be "captured". If a piece when moved could capture an opposing piece in its next move, that opposing piece changes sides.[16]
  • Chad: A variant by Christian Freeling on a 12×12 board, kings are limited to 3×3 castles while eight rooks per side rule the board and can promote to queens.
  • Checkers chess: Normal rules of chess are followed. However, pieces can only move forwards until they have reached the far rank.[17]
  • Checkless chess: Players are forbidden from giving check except to checkmate.
  • Chicken Chess: A combination of Benedict Chess and Suicide Chess. As in Suicide, the object is to lose all of your pieces and captures are mandatory. As in Benedict, if you threaten a piece it changes to your color.
  • Circe chess: Captured pieces are reborn on their starting squares.
  • Crazyhouse: Captured pieces change the colour and can be dropped on any unoccupied location. There are two variations of this variant, known as Loop chess and Chessgi.
  • Einstein chess: Pieces transform into more or less powerful pieces when they move.[18]
  • Extinction chess: A player must capture all of any one type of pieces his/her opponent controls to win (for example, all the knights an opponent has, or all their pawns, etc.)
  • Genesis Chess: The game begins with a blank board and opponents take turns placing down or moving pieces.[19]
  • Guard chess (or Icelandic chess): Allows captures only when a piece is completely unprotected by friendly pieces. Checkmate occurs when the piece forcing the mate is protected and therefore cannot be captured.[20]
  • Hierarchical chess: Pieces must be moved in the following order: pawn, knight, bishop, rook, queen, king. A player who has the corresponding piece but cannot move it loses the game.[21]
  • Jedi Knight chess: Knights may move three spaces diagonally or horizontally or both, depending on the rules accepted.[22]
  • Kamikaze chess: When capturing, the capturing piece is removed from the board also. So, a king cannot defend itself by capturing an attacker. A capture is not allowed if it would expose the king to discovered check.[23]
  • Knight relay chess: Pieces defended by a friendly knight can move as a knight.
Solid white.svg a b c d e f g h Solid white.svg
8  black rook  black king  black bishop  black queen  black knight  black bishop  black king  black rook 8
7  black pawn  black pawn  black pawn  black pawn  black pawn  black pawn  black pawn  black pawn 7
6  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king 6
5  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king 5
4  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king 4
3  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king 3
2  white pawn  white pawn  white pawn  white pawn  white pawn  white pawn  white pawn  white pawn 2
1  white rook  white king  white bishop  white queen  white knight  white bishop  white king  white rook 1
Solid white.svg a b c d e f g h Solid white.svg
Knightmate starting position
  • Knightmate (or Mate The Knight): A a game invented by Bruce Zimov in 1972. The goal of the game is to checkmate the opponents's knight (which is placed on e-file). The kings on b- and g-files can be captured as other pieces. Pawns can additionally promote to kings but not to knights.[24]
  • Legan chess: Played as if the board would be rotated 45°, initial position and pawn movements are adjusted accordingly.
  • Madrasi chess: A piece which is attacked by the same type of piece of the opposite colour is paralysed.
  • Monochromatic chess: All pieces must stay on the same colour square as they initially begin.
  • Patrol chess: Captures and checks are only possible if the capturing or checking piece is guarded by a friendly piece.
  • PlunderChess: The capturing piece is allowed to temporarily take the moving abilities of the piece taken.
  • Reincarnation Chess: A captured piece can turn into a zombie, then reincarnate back into the game as a normal piece if captured again.
  • Refusal chess (or Outlaw chess, Rejection chess): When a player makes a move the opponent can refuse to accept it, forcing the first player to change to another move, which must be accepted. The only exception is when only one legal move is possible.[25]
  • Replacement chess: Captured pieces are not removed from the board but moved by the capturer anywhere else on the board.[26]
  • Rifle chess (or Shooting chess, Sniper chess): When one piece captures another, it remains unmoved in its original square, instead of occupying the square of the piece it has captured.[27]
  • Stationary King: Both players' kings are not allowed to move.
  • Take-all: The first player to capture all opposing pieces wins. The king is allowed to move into check and pawns can be promoted to kings.
  • Three-check chess: A player wins if he checks the opponent three times.

Chess with incomplete information or elements of chance

In these chess variants, luck or randomness sometimes plays a role. Still, like in poker or backgammon, good luck and bad luck even out over the long-term with clever strategy and consideration of probabilities being decisively important.

  • ChessHeads: Played with cards that change the game rules.[28][29]
  • Dark chess: You see only squares of the board that are attacked by your pieces.
  • Dice chess: The pieces a player is able to move are determined by rolling a pair of dice.
  • Fantasy Chess: Traditional chess with a layer of wargaming added. Players fight for the square (which can be co-occupied) using dice. Can be expanded to 4 player game and piece capability can improve each game.[30]
  • Knightmare Chess: Played with cards that change the game rules.
  • Kriegspiel: Neither player knows where the opponent's pieces are but can deduce them with information from a referee.
  • No Stress Chess: Marketed for teaching beginners, the piece or pieces a player is able to move are determined by drawing from a deck of cards, with each card providing the rules for how the piece may move.[31] Castling and en passant are not allowed.
  • Play It By Trust: Devised by Yoko Ono. Both players' pieces are white, which means after a few moves, players must learn to trust each other as to whose pieces are whose.
  • Penultima: An inductive chess variant where the players must deduce hidden rules invented by "Spectators".
  • Schrödinger's chess: Each player's minor pieces are concealed in such a way that the opponent does not know what they are until they are revealed. When covered, pieces move in a restricted way.[32]
  • Synchronous chess: Players try to outguess each other, moving simultaneously after privately recording intended moves and anticipated results. Incompatible moves, for instance to the same square with no anticipated capture, are replayed. Alternatively, two pieces moving to the same square are both captured, unless one is the king, in which case it captures the other. Play ends with capture of king.[33]

Multimove variants

In these variants one or both players can move more than once per turn. The board and the pieces in these variants are the same as in standard chess.

  • Avalanche chess: Each move consists of a standard chess move followed by a move of one of the opponent's pawns.
  • Doublemove chess:[34] Similar to Marseillais chess, but with no en passant, check or checkmate; the object is to capture the king.
  • Kung-Fu chess: A chess variant without turns. Any player can move any of his pieces at any given moment.
  • Marseillais chess (or Two-move chess): After the first turn of the game by White being a single move, each player moves twice per turn.
  • Monster chess (or Super King): White has the king and four pawns against the entire black army but may make two successive moves per turn.
  • Progressive chess (or Scottish chess): The White player moves once, the Black player moves twice, the White player moves three times, etc.
  • Zonal chess:[35] Board has triangular wings or "zones" on either side of the main 8×8 board. Queens, bishops and rooks that start from one of the squares in either zone may change direction and keep going on the same move. A queen, for example, could zig around an obstruction and attack a piece in the opposite zone. Note that the power to change direction only applies when a piece's move starts from a zonal area. It is possible (using the queen and rook) to cross the board from one zone to another, but any piece entering a zone cannot make use of the extended move.

Multiplayer variants

Bughouse chess, the game in progress

These variants arose out of the desire to play chess with more than just one other person.

  • Bosworth: A four player chess variant played on 6×6 board. It uses a special card system with the pieces for spawning.
  • Bughouse chess (or Double chess, Exchange chess, Siamese chess, Swap chess, Tandem chess, Matrix chess, Transfer Chess, Advanced Teamwork Chess): Two teams of two players face each other on two boards. Allies use opposite colours and give captured pieces to their partner. The two-player version of the game, played with only one board, is Crazyhouse.
  • Business chess: Played with two teams using normal chess playing rules but allowing up to five variations of the game. The team may discuss and play alternative moves freely.
  • Djambi: Can be played by four people with a 9×9 board and four sets of special pieces. The pieces can capture or move the pieces of an adversary. Captured pieces are not removed from the board, but turned upside down. There are variants for three players or five players (Pentachiavel).
  • Enochian chess: A four-player variant with magical symbolism, associated with the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.
  • Forchess: A four-person version using the standard board and two sets of standard pieces.
  • Four-handed chess (or Chess 4, 4-Way chess): Can be played by four people and uses a special board and four sets of differently coloured pieces.
  • Fortress chess: A four-player variant played in Russia in 18th and 19th centuries.
  • Mad Threeparty Chess: For three players on a 10×10 board. Each player has two enemy kings to attack, and two of his own to defend.
  • Three player chess: Family of chess variants specially designed for three players.

Single player variants

a4 b4 c4 d4
a3 b3 c3 d3
a2 b2 c2 d2
a1 b1 c1 d1
Queen's Quadrille. All pieces are placed randomly.
a4 b4 c4 d4
a3 b3 c3 d3
a2 b2 c2 d2
a1 b1 c1 d1
Hippodrome. All pieces are placed randomly, except the knights.

Similar to card solitaires, there are a few chess variants for a single player. In difference to chess puzzles, these variants have a random starting position. Some of these variants are similar to permutation chess problems, for example the game Queen's Quadrille, which was invented by Karen Robinson in 1998.[36] All chess pieces (except pawns) are randomly placed on a 4×4 board. Then one of the queens is removed and the game is started. Pieces move as usual, however capturing is not allowed. A player can move white and black pieces in any order, without regard for color. The goal is to move the queen to one of the corners, or visit all squares on the board only once. The same idea is found in the game Hippodrome, which was invented by Andy Lewicki in 2003.[37] The initial position is obtained by placing four knights on the first row and all other pieces from a chess set (except pawns) on the remaining fields. Then one of the pieces (except knights) is removed and the game is started. The goal is to move all knights to the opposite rank.

Chess with unusual pieces

Most of the pieces in these chess variants are borrowed from chess. The game goal and rules are also very similar to those in chess. However, these chess variants include one or more fairy pieces which move differently than chess pieces.

Solid white.svg a b c d e f g h Solid white.svg
8  black rook  black knight  black bishop  black queen  black king  black bishop  black knight  black rook 8
7  black pawn  black pawn  black pawn  black pawn  black pawn  black pawn  black pawn  black pawn 7
6  black king  black king  black king  white upside-down king  black king  black king  black king  black king 6
5  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king 5
4  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king  black king 4
3  black king  black king  black king  black upside-down king  black king  black king  black king  black king 3
2  white pawn  white pawn  white pawn  white pawn  white pawn  white pawn  white pawn  white pawn 2
1  white rook  white knight  white bishop  white queen  white king  white bishop  white knight  white rook 1
Solid white.svg a b c d e f g h Solid white.svg
Anti-king chess. The anti-king is shown as an inverted king.
  • Anti-King chess: Uses an anti-king. This piece is in check when not attacked. If the player has an anti-king in check and unable to move it to the position attacked by the opponent, the player loses (checkmate). The anti-king cannot capture opponent's pieces, but it can capture friendly pieces. The king does not attack the anti-king of the opponent. The anti-king does not check its own king. All other rules are the same as in standard chess, including check and checkmate to usual king. The game was invented by Peter Aronson in 2002.[38]
  • Baroque (or Ultima): Pieces on the first row move like queens, and pieces on the second row move like rooks. They are named after their unusual capturing methods. For example, Leaper, Immobilizer and Coordinator.
  • Berolina chess: Which uses the Berolina pawn instead of the normal pawn, all other things being equal.
  • Bomberman chess: Inspired by the Bomberman video game series. Played on an 10×8 board with special Bomb and Defuser pieces. The Bomb piece can be exploded on its turn in vertical and horizontal directions (similar to the movement of a rook), destroying any pieces in the blast range, and the Defuser piece can capture a bomb piece.[39]
  • ButterflyChess: Butterflies are the hybrids of the queen with a grasshopper, rook with RG, and bishop with BG – all with complete movement.[40][clarification needed]
  • Chess with different armies: Two sides use different sets of fairy pieces. There are several armies of approximately equal strength to choose from including the standard FIDE chess army.
  • Dragonchess: Uses three 8×12 boards atop one another, with new types of chess pieces. From the inventor of Dungeons & Dragons.
  • Duell: Dice are used instead of pieces.
  • Gess: Chess with variable pieces, played on a go-board.
  • Grasshopper chess: A a chess variant in which the pawns can promote to grasshopper, or in which grasshoppers are on the board in the opening position.
  • Maharajah and the Sepoys: Black has a complete army, White only one piece – Maharajah (queen+knight).
  • Omega chess: Played on a 10×10 board with four extra squares, one per corner. Also, two fairy chess pieces are used, the Champion and the Wizard. Both can jump other pieces like the knight.
  • Pocket mutation chess: Player can put a piece temporarily into the pocket, optionally mutating it into another piece.
  • Pole chess: Each player has an uncapturable piece known as a Pole. The Pole, which does not begin play on the board, may be moved to any empty space on the board as a legal move. Thus, the Pole can be used to block check, making it much harder to achieve mate. Mentioned in the novel Robot Adept by Piers Anthony.
  • Shako: Played on a 10×10 board. New pieces are the Cannon from Xiangqi (Chinese Chess) and an Elephant moving as Fers+Alfil of old Shatranj (ancestors of queen and bishop), so diagonally one or two squares with jumps allowed.[41]
  • Stealth chess: Played in the fictional Ankh-Morpork Assassins' Guild from the Discworld series of books; played on an 8×10 board. The fairy piece is the Assassin.
  • 2000 A.D.: Played on a 10×10 board; featuring pieces Empress, Capricorn, Gorgon, Chimaera, Dragon, Mimotaur, Unicorn, Fury.
  • Wildebeest Chess: An 11×10 variant by R. Wayne Schmittberger, featuring two camels per player, and a wildebeest (combined camel+knight). Pawns move one, two, or three squares on their first move.

Bishop+knight and rook+knight compounds

There are a numbers of chess variants which use bishop+knight and rook+knight compound pieces. Several different names have been given to these pieces. Rook and knight compound (R+N) is named chancellor, marshall, empress etc.[42] Bishop and knight compound piece (B+N) is called archbishop, cardinal, janus, paladin, princess, Prime Minister etc.[43] To adapt two new pieces the board is usually extended to 10×8 or 10×10 with two additional pawns added.

  • Capablanca chess: A chess variant by the former world chess champion, José Raúl Capablanca. Played on a 10×8 board with chancellor (R+N) and archbishop (B+N).
  • Capablanca random chess: By Reinhard Scharnagl (2004). A generalization of all possible variants of Capablanca chess with random starting positions following a method similar to that used in Chess960.
  • Embassy Chess: By Kevin Hill (2005). Played on a 10×8 board with marshall (R+N) and cardinal (B+N). The starting position is taken from Grand chess.
  • Gothic chess: A commercial chess variant. Played on a 10×8 board with chancellor (R+N) and archbishop (B+N).
  • Grand chess: nvented by Christian Freeling (1984). Played on a 10×10 board with marshall (R+N) and cardinal (B+N).
  • Janus chess: By Werner Schöndorf (1978). Played on 10×8 board with two januses (B+N).
  • Modern chess: Played on a 9×9 board, with an extra pawn and a Prime Minister (bishop + knight). It was created by Puerto Rico's Gabriel Vicente Maura in 1968.
  • Seirawan chess: Invented by grandmaster Yasser Seirawan in 2007. Played on standard 8×8 board with elephant (R+N) and hawk (B+N).

Chess hybrids

The pieces in these chess variants are borrowed from both chess and another game. The game goal and rules are either the same or very similar to those in chess. However, these chess variants include one or more fairy pieces which move differently than chess pieces.

  • Chessers: By Christopher Schwartz and Sander Beckers. Played on a regular chess board but with the inclusion of checkers pieces integrated into the mechanics of an otherwise standard chess game.
  • Proteus: By Steve Jackson Games. Played on a regular chess board using 8+8 dice with a different chess piece on each side. Each turn a player must rotate one die and move another like the corresponding piece moves. Instead of a king, the dice have a new piece, Pyramid, which cannot move, capture or be captured. Winner is determined with a scoring system based on the value of captured pieces. Queens can be captured from both the square they're occupying and the square directly behind them.
  • Playing cards on a chess board: The card game allows to play openly on a board with rectangular sectors when the chances to win are equal for players, just as play a chess or checkers but with application of traditional rules of playing cards.

Games inspired by chess

These chess variants are very different from chess and may be classified as abstract board games instead of chess variants (by restrictive, proper definition).

Chess-related historic and regional games

Shatranj set, 12th century

Some of these games have developed independently while others are ancestors or relatives of modern chess.[45]

The popularity of these chess variants may be limited to their respective places of origin (as is largely the case for Shogi), or worldwide, as is the case for Xiangqi which is played by overseas Chinese everywhere. These games have their own institutions and traditions.

Historic chess-related games

Regional chess-related games

  • Banqi (or Chinese Half chess) (China)
  • Chandraki (Tibet)
  • Hiashatar (Mongolia)
  • Janggi (Korea)
  • Jungle game (or Animal chess, Children's chess, Dou Shou Qi) (China)
  • Main Chator (Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines)
  • Makruk (Thailand)
  • Ouk Chatrang (Cambodia)
  • Rek Chess (Cambodia)
  • Samantsy (Madagascar)
  • Senterej (Ethiopia)
  • Shatar (Mongolia)
  • Shogi (Japan) see also Shogi variants
  • Sittuyin (Burma)
  • Xiangqi (China)

Chess variants software

Some program authors have created stand-alone applications that are capable of playing a few, many or an unlimited number of variants.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Pritchard, D. (1994). The Encyclopedia of Chess Variants. Games & Puzzles Publications. p. vii. ISBN 0-9524-1420-1. 
  2. ^ D.B. Pritchard (2000). Popular Chess Variants, p. 8.
  3. ^ "Most published ones (but none described here), are, in truth, forgettable." D.B. Pritchard (2000). Popular Chess Variants, p. 8.
  4. ^ Pritchard (2000), p. 18
  5. ^ Pritchard (2007), p. 77
  6. ^ Upside-down chess by Hans Bodlaender
  7. ^ Unbalanced games by John Beasley, Variant Chess, Volume 5, Issue 37, ISSN 0958-8248.
  8. ^ Pritchard (2007), p. 76
  9. ^ Weak! by Hans Bodlaender.
  10. ^ Pritchard (2007), p. 114
  11. ^ "Doublewide chess". http://www.chessvariants.org/large.dir/doublewide-chess.html. 
  12. ^ "Infinite chess". http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/32793. 
  13. ^ Variant Chess, vol 8, Issue 61
  14. ^ Polgar Superstar Chess Patent
  15. ^ michaeljzachary.blogspot.com
  16. ^ "Benedict chess". http://www.chessvariants.com/difftaking.dir/benedict.html. 
  17. ^ Pritchard 2007, p. 51.
  18. ^ Einstein chess
  19. ^ "Genesis chess". http://genesischess.com/. 
  20. ^ "Guard chess". http://www.chessvariants.org/difftaking.dir/guardchess.html. 
  21. ^ Pritchard (2007), p. 48.
  22. ^ Jedi Knight chess.
  23. ^ Pritchard, 2007, p. 44
  24. ^ Knightmate by Hans Bodlaender.
  25. ^ Pritchard (2007), p.61.
  26. ^ "Replacement chess". http://www.chessvariants.org/difftaking.dir/replacement.html. 
  27. ^ "Rifle chess". http://www.chessvariants.org/difftaking.dir/rifle.html. 
  28. ^ ChessHeads chessmate.com
  29. ^ ChessHeads BoardGameGeek
  30. ^ Fantasy Chess
  31. ^ "No Stress Chess". http://www.boardgamegeek.com/game/19918. 
  32. ^ "Schrödinger's chess". http://elvis.rowan.edu/~kilroy/other/?chess. 
  33. ^ Pritchard (2007), p.100
  34. ^ "Doublemove chess". http://www.chessvariants.com/multimove.dir/doublemove.html. 
  35. ^ By Larry Smith.
  36. ^ Queen's Quadrille
  37. ^ Hippodrome
  38. ^ Anti-King chess by Peter Aronson. Two setups were suggested by the inventor initially, but only the second one (Anti-King II), which is very close to standard chess gained popularity.
  39. ^ Bomberman chess
  40. ^ [www.cubiccheckers.com]
  41. ^ Shako by Hans Bodlaender.
  42. ^ The Piececlopedia: The Rook-Knight Compound by Fergus Duniho and David Howe.
  43. ^ The Piececlopedia: Bishop-Knight Compound by Fergus Duniho and David Howe.
  44. ^ "ChessWar". http://rpr.kapsi.fi/games/misc/chesswar.html. 
  45. ^ Murray, H.J.R. (1913). A History of Chess. Benjamin Press (originally published by Oxford University Press). ISBN 0-936-317-01-9. 

References

  • Pritchard, D. B. (2007). The Classified Encyclopedia of Chess Variants. John Beasley. ISBN 978-0-9555168-0-1. 
  • Pritchard, D. B. (2000). Popular Chess Variants. Batsford Chess Books. ISBN 0-7134-8578-7. 

External links

General

Collections

In addition to individual chess variants with popularity, collections (generally acknowledged to be of respectable quality) have been created by several inventors:


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