Gliński's hexagonal chess by Władysław Gliński (1936) was popular in Eastern Europe with a reported half-million players.[1]
Gliński's hexagonal chess by Władysław Gliński (1936) was popular in Eastern Europe with a reported half-million players.[1]

This is a list of chess variants. Many thousands of variants exist. The 2007 catalogue The Encyclopedia of Chess Variants estimates that there are well over 2,000, and many more were considered too trivial for inclusion in the catalogue.[2]

abcdefgh
8
Chessboard480.svg
a8 black rook
b8 black knight
c8 black bishop
d8 black queen
e8 black king
f8 black bishop
g8 black knight
h8 black rook
a7 black pawn
b7 black pawn
c7 black pawn
d7 black pawn
e7 black pawn
f7 black pawn
g7 black pawn
h7 black pawn
a2 white pawn
b2 white pawn
c2 white pawn
d2 white pawn
e2 white pawn
f2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
h2 white pawn
a1 white rook
b1 white knight
c1 white bishop
d1 white queen
e1 white king
f1 white bishop
g1 white knight
h1 white rook
8
77
66
55
44
33
22
11
abcdefgh
Standard chess

Chess-derived games

This is a dynamic list and may never be able to satisfy particular standards for completeness. You can help by adding missing items with reliable sources.

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

Standard rules and standard piece types

Many variants employ standard chess rules and mechanics, but vary the starting position of the pieces or number of pieces.

Chess on a 12 by 12 board
Chess on a 12 by 12 board

Standard rules, standard piece types, variant board

Circular chess
Double Chess by Julian Hayward
Double Chess by Julian Hayward
Infinite chess. One example with pieces in their standard positions.[3]
Infinite chess. One example with pieces in their standard positions.[3]
Masonic Chess by George Dekle Sr.
Masonic Chess by George Dekle Sr.
Rhombic Chess by Tony Paletta
Rhombic Chess by Tony Paletta

In these variants, the same pieces and rules as in chess are used, but the board is different; It can be smaller or larger, the shape of either the board or individual spaces can be non-square or modular,[4] or it can even be extra-dimensional or unbounded. The movement of pieces in some variants is modified in concurrence with the geometry of the gameboard.

abcdefghij
10
a10 black rook
b10 black knight
c10 black bishop
d10 black queen
e10 black king
f10 black king
g10 black queen
h10 black bishop
i10 black knight
j10 black rook
10
9
a9 black pawn
b9 black pawn
c9 black pawn
d9 black pawn
e9 black pawn
f9 black pawn
g9 black pawn
h9 black pawn
i9 black pawn
j9 black pawn
9
8
a8
b8
c8
d8
e8
f8
g8
h8
i8
j8
8
7
a7
b7
c7
d7
e7
f7
g7
h7
i7
j7
7
6
a6
b6
c6
d6
e6
f6
g6
h6
i6
j6
6
5
a5
b5
c5
d5
e5
f5
g5
h5
i5
j5
5
4
a4
b4
c4
d4
e4
f4
g4
h4
i4
j4
4
3
a3
b3
c3
d3
e3
f3
g3
h3
i3
j3
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
i2 white pawn
j2 white pawn
2
1
a1 white rook
b1 white knight
c1 white bishop
d1 white queen
e1 white king
f1 white king
g1 white queen
h1 white bishop
i1 white knight
j1 white rook
1
abcdefghij
Decimal Rettah chess board and startup[7][a]

Different starting position

These variants use standard boards and pieces, but the pieces start on nontraditional squares. In most such variants, the pawns are placed on their usual squares, but the position of other pieces is either randomly determined or selected by the players. The motivation for these variants is usually to nullify established opening knowledge. The downside of these variants is that the initial position usually has less harmony and balance than the standard chess position.[17]

abcdefgh
8
Chessboard480.svg
a8 black bishop
b8 black knight
c8 black rook
d8 black bishop
e8 black knight
f8 black king
g8 black rook
h8 black queen
a7 black pawn
b7 black pawn
c7 black pawn
d7 black pawn
e7 black pawn
f7 black pawn
g7 black pawn
h7 black pawn
a2 white pawn
b2 white pawn
c2 white pawn
d2 white pawn
e2 white pawn
f2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
h2 white pawn
a1 white bishop
b1 white knight
c1 white rook
d1 white bishop
e1 white knight
f1 white king
g1 white rook
h1 white queen
8
77
66
55
44
33
22
11
abcdefgh
Chess960, one of the 960 possible starting positions
abcdefgh
8
Chessboard480.svg
a8 white rook
b8 white knight
c8 white bishop
d8 white king
e8 white queen
f8 white bishop
g8 white knight
h8 white rook
a7 white pawn
b7 white pawn
c7 white pawn
d7 white pawn
e7 white pawn
f7 white pawn
g7 white pawn
h7 white pawn
a2 black pawn
b2 black pawn
c2 black pawn
d2 black pawn
e2 black pawn
f2 black pawn
g2 black pawn
h2 black pawn
a1 black rook
b1 black knight
c1 black bishop
d1 black king
e1 black queen
f1 black bishop
g1 black knight
h1 black rook
8
77
66
55
44
33
22
11
abcdefgh
Upside-down chess starting position (White sits at bottom)
Different number of pieces

These variants use standard chess pieces on a standard board, but players begin with unorthodox numbers of pieces. For example, starting with multiple queens or fewer pawns. Many such games use unbalanced starting positions, with one player having more or fewer of particular pieces than the other player.

abcdefgh
8
Chessboard480.svg
a8 black knight
b8 black knight
c8 black knight
d8 black knight
e8 black king
f8 black knight
g8 black knight
h8 black knight
a7 black pawn
b7 black pawn
c7 black pawn
d7 black pawn
e7 black pawn
f7 black pawn
g7 black pawn
h7 black pawn
a2 white pawn
b2 white pawn
c2 white pawn
d2 white pawn
e2 white pawn
f2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
h2 white pawn
b1 white queen
d1 white queen
e1 white king
g1 white queen
8
77
66
55
44
33
22
11
abcdefgh
Charge of the Light Brigade
abcdefgh
8
Chessboard480.svg
a8 black rook
b8 black knight
c8 black bishop
d8 black queen
e8 black king
f8 black bishop
g8 black knight
h8 black rook
a7 black pawn
b7 black pawn
c7 black pawn
d7 black pawn
e7 black pawn
f7 black pawn
g7 black pawn
h7 black pawn
a4 white pawn
b4 white pawn
c4 white pawn
d4 white pawn
e4 white pawn
f4 white pawn
g4 white pawn
h4 white pawn
a3 white pawn
b3 white pawn
c3 white pawn
d3 white pawn
e3 white pawn
f3 white pawn
g3 white pawn
h3 white pawn
a2 white pawn
b2 white pawn
c2 white pawn
d2 white pawn
e2 white pawn
f2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
h2 white pawn
a1 white pawn
b1 white pawn
c1 white pawn
d1 white pawn
e1 white pawn
f1 white pawn
g1 white pawn
h1 white pawn
8
77
66
55
44
33
22
11
abcdefgh
Dunsany's Chess by Lord Dunsany
abcdefgh
8
Chessboard480.svg
b8 black knight
c8 black knight
e8 black king
f8 black knight
g8 black knight
e7 black pawn
a2 white pawn
b2 white pawn
c2 white pawn
d2 white pawn
e2 white pawn
f2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
h2 white pawn
e1 white king
8
77
66
55
44
33
22
11
abcdefgh
Peasants' Revolt by R. L. Frey
abcdefgh
8
Chessboard480.svg
a8 black knight
b8 black queen
c8 black pawn
d8 black bishop
e8 black king
f8 black pawn
g8 black pawn
h8 black rook
a7 black bishop
b7 black pawn
c7 black knight
d7 black knight
e7 black bishop
f7 black queen
g7 black rook
h7 black pawn
a2 white knight
b2 white knight
c2 white knight
d2 white bishop
e2 white pawn
f2 white queen
g2 white rook
h2 white queen
a1 white bishop
b1 white rook
c1 white queen
d1 white queen
e1 white king
f1 white pawn
g1 white knight
h1 white queen
8
77
66
55
44
33
22
11
abcdefgh
Really Bad Chess (example) by Zach Gage
abcdefgh
8
Chessboard480.svg
a8 black knight
b8 black knight
c8 black knight
d8 black knight
e8 black king
f8 black knight
g8 black knight
h8 black knight
a7 black pawn
b7 black pawn
c7 black pawn
d7 black pawn
e7 black pawn
f7 black pawn
g7 black pawn
h7 black pawn
c6 black pawn
f6 black pawn
b5 black pawn
c5 black pawn
d5 black pawn
e5 black pawn
f5 black pawn
g5 black pawn
a2 white pawn
b2 white pawn
c2 white pawn
d2 white pawn
e2 white pawn
f2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
h2 white pawn
a1 white rook
b1 white knight
c1 white bishop
d1 white queen
e1 white king
f1 white bishop
g1 white knight
h1 white rook
8
77
66
55
44
33
22
11
abcdefgh
Weak! by Ralph Betza

Variant rules and standard piece types

These variants introduce changes in the mechanics of the game, such as movement of pieces, rules for capturing, or winning conditions, using standard chess pieces.

Variant rules, variant set of standard piece types, variant board

These use standard pieces, but the quantity of one or more types of piece from a standard set is non-standard.

Chad by Christian Freeling
Chad by Christian Freeling
Jeson Mor starting position
Jeson Mor starting position

Variant rules, standard set of standard piece types, standard board

abcdefgh
8
Chessboard480.svg
a8 black rook
d8 black queen
f8 black rook
g8 black king
a7 black pawn
e7 black bishop
f7 white knight
g7 black pawn
h7 black pawn
b6 black pawn
e6 white bishop
f6 black knight
c5 black pawn
a2 white pawn
b2 white pawn
c2 white pawn
f2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
h2 white pawn
a1 white rook
e1 white rook
g1 white king
8
77
66
55
44
33
22
11
abcdefgh
Jump Chess example checkmate
abcdefgh
8
Chessboard480.svg
a8 black rook
b8 black upside-down king
c8 black bishop
d8 black queen
e8 C d
f8 black bishop
g8 black upside-down king
h8 black rook
a7 black pawn
b7 black pawn
c7 black pawn
d7 black pawn
e7 black pawn
f7 black pawn
g7 black pawn
h7 black pawn
a2 white pawn
b2 white pawn
c2 white pawn
d2 white pawn
e2 white pawn
f2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
h2 white pawn
a1 white rook
b1 white upside-down king
c1 white bishop
d1 white queen
e1 C e
f1 white bishop
g1 white upside-down king
h1 white rook
8
77
66
55
44
33
22
11
abcdefgh
Knightmate starting position
abcdefgh
8
Chessboard480.svg
a2 black king
b2 black rook
c2 black bishop
d2 black knight
e2 white knight
f2 white bishop
g2 white rook
h2 white king
a1 black queen
b1 black rook
c1 black bishop
d1 black knight
e1 white knight
f1 white bishop
g1 white rook
h1 white queen
8
77
66
55
44
33
22
11
abcdefgh
Racing Kings: first king to 8th rank wins
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.

Chance and incomplete information

In contrast to classical chess which is a game of complete information, these either have elements of chance or players do not have perfect information as to the state of the board.

Variant (fairy) pieces

Variant rules, pieces and board

Ea5 black rook
Eb5 black knight
Ec5 black king
Ed5 black knight
Ee5 black rook
Ea4 black pawn
Eb4 black pawn
Ec4 black pawn
Ed4 black pawn
Ee4 black pawn
Ea3
Eb3
Ec3
Ed3
Ee3
Ea2
Eb2
Ec2
Ed2
Ee2
Ea1
Eb1
Ec1
Ed1
Ee1
E
Da5 N d
Db5 black bishop
Dc5 black queen
Dd5 N d
De5 black bishop
Da4 black pawn
Db4 black pawn
Dc4 black pawn
Dd4 black pawn
De4 black pawn
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 white pawn
Bb2 white pawn
Bc2 white pawn
Bd2 white pawn
Be2 white pawn
Ba1 white bishop
Bb1 N l
Bc1 white queen
Bd1 white bishop
Be1 N l
B
Aa5
Ab5
Ac5
Ad5
Ae5
Aa4
Ab4
Ac4
Ad4
Ae4
Aa3
Ab3
Ac3
Ad3
Ae3
Aa2 white pawn
Ab2 white pawn
Ac2 white pawn
Ad2 white pawn
Ae2 white pawn
Aa1 white rook
Ab1 white knight
Ac1 white king
Ad1 white knight
Ae1 white rook
A
Raumschach starting position. Inverted knights represent unicorns.
abcdefghij
10
a10 black upside-down rook
b10
c10
d10
e10
f10
g10
h10
i10
j10 black upside-down rook
10
9
a9 black upside-down bishop
b9 black rook
c9 black knight
d9 black bishop
e9 black queen
f9 black king
g9 black bishop
h9 black knight
i9 black rook
j9 black upside-down bishop
9
8
a8 black pawn
b8 black pawn
c8 black pawn
d8 black pawn
e8 black pawn
f8 black pawn
g8 black pawn
h8 black pawn
i8 black pawn
j8 black pawn
8
7
a7
b7
c7
d7
e7
f7
g7
h7
i7
j7
7
6
a6
b6
c6
d6
e6
f6
g6
h6
i6
j6
6
5
a5
b5
c5
d5
e5
f5
g5
h5
i5
j5
5
4
a4
b4
c4
d4
e4
f4
g4
h4
i4
j4
4
3
a3 white pawn
b3 white pawn
c3 white pawn
d3 white pawn
e3 white pawn
f3 white pawn
g3 white pawn
h3 white pawn
i3 white pawn
j3 white pawn
3
2
a2 white upside-down bishop
b2 white rook
c2 white knight
d2 white bishop
e2 white queen
f2 white king
g2 white bishop
h2 white knight
i2 white rook
j2 white upside-down bishop
2
1
a1 white upside-down rook
b1
c1
d1
e1
f1
g1
h1
i1
j1 white upside-down rook
1
abcdefghij
Shako starting position. Cannons (shown as inverted rooks) are on a1, j1, a10, and j10. Elephants are on a2, j2, a9, and j9.

Movement in higher dimensions

Parallel Worlds Chess, a 3D variant
Parallel Worlds Chess, a 3D variant

Main article: Three-dimensional chess

A number of variants have been developed where the playing area is in three dimensions or more. In most cases an extra spatial dimension is represented by multiple boards being laid next to each other. Some extra-dimensional variants attempt to reflect the 3D nature of modern warfare (e.g. Raumschach, designed to reflect aerial and submarine warfare), while others incorporate fantasy or science fiction ideas such as parallel worlds and time travel.[92][93] An example of the latter is the variant introduced by the 2020 computer game 5D Chess with Multiverse Time Travel, which uses a varying number of boards all being played in parallel.

Fairy pieces on a standard board

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

abcdefgh
8
Chessboard480.svg
a8 black rook
b8 black knight
c8 black bishop
d8 black queen
e8 black king
f8 black bishop
g8 black knight
h8 black rook
a7 black pawn
b7 black pawn
c7 black pawn
d7 black pawn
e7 black pawn
f7 black pawn
g7 black pawn
h7 black pawn
d6 white upside-down king
d3 black upside-down king
a2 white pawn
b2 white pawn
c2 white pawn
d2 white pawn
e2 white pawn
f2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
h2 white pawn
a1 white rook
b1 white knight
c1 white bishop
d1 white queen
e1 white king
f1 white bishop
g1 white knight
h1 white rook
8
77
66
55
44
33
22
11
abcdefgh
Anti-king chess. The anti-king is shown as an inverted king.
Empress, amazon, or princess pieces

There are a number of variants which use the empress (rook + knight) and princess (bishop + knight) compound pieces. The empress is also called marshall or chancellor.[101] The princess is also called cardinal, archbishop, janus, paladin, or minister.[102] Another compound piece is the amazon (queen + knight). To adapt to the new pieces, the board is usually extended to 10×8 or 10×10 with additional pawns added.[103]

Grand Chess by Christian Freeling
Grand Chess by Christian Freeling
Other fairy pieces

The pieces in these 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 variants include one or more fairy pieces which move differently from chess pieces.

Single-player variants

a4 white knight
b4
c4 black bishop
d4 white rook
a3 white king
b3 black king
c3 white rook
d3 black rook
a2 black knight
b2 black knight
c2 white queen
d2 white bishop
a1 black rook
b1 white knight
c1 black bishop
d1 white bishop
Queen's Quadrille. All pieces are placed randomly.
a4 white king
b4 white queen
c4 black bishop
d4 white rook
a3 black rook
b3 black king
c3
d3 black rook
a2 white bishop
b2 black bishop
c2 black queen
d2 white bishop
a1 white knight
b1 white knight
c1 black knight
d1 black knight
Hippodrome. All pieces are placed randomly, except for the knights.

Similar to solitaire, there are a few chess variants for a single player. Unlike chess puzzles, these variants have a random starting position. Some of these are similar to permutation chess problems, for example the game Queen's Quadrille, which was invented by Karen Robinson in 1998.[112] 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 colour. The goal is to move the queen along a predetermined pattern; for example from one corner to the other, 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.[113] 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.

In 1998 Robinson also invented a game which Hans Bodlaender named Chess Contradance, as the setup is like a contradance with the two lines facing each other. The pieces are set up as in regular chess, but without pawns. The first and eighth ranks are safe havens, i.e., no piece can be captured on these ranks. The objective of the puzzle is to move the pieces such that all pieces move to the opposite back row without ever putting any piece in danger of being captured. Black and White alternate moves.[114]

Variants for more than two people

Bughouse chess, the game in progress
Bughouse chess, the game in progress

Games inspired by chess

These variants are very different from chess and may be classified as abstract strategy board games instead of chess variants.

Chess-related historical and regional games

Some of these games have developed independently while others are ancestors or relatives of modern chess.[115] The popularity of these 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). The games have their own institutions and traditions.

Historical

Shatranj set, 12th century
Shatranj set, 12th century
Solid white.svg
a b c d e f g h
Solid white.svg
8
a8 sy
b8 py
e8 black king
f8 black upside-down bishop
g8 black knight
h8 black upside-down knight
8
7
a7 ny
b7 py
e7 black pawn
f7 black pawn
g7 black pawn
h7 black pawn
7
6
a6 ey
b6 py
6
5
a5 ky
b5 py
5
4
g4 pr
h4 kr
4
3
g3 pr
h3 er
3
2
a2 pg
b2 pg
c2 pg
d2 pg
g2 pr
h2 nr
2
1
a1 sg
b1 ng
c1 eg
d1 kg
g1 pr
h1 sr
1
Solid white.svg
a b c d e f g h
Solid white.svg

Regional

Sittuyin, players elect their own starting setups behind the pawns

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Parton expressed no preference for a particular back rank setup. Another is RNKBQQBKNR given in Feenschach.

References

  1. ^ Pritchard (1994), p. 139
  2. ^ Pritchard (2000), p. 8: "Most published ones (but none described here), are, in truth, forgettable."
  3. ^ a b "Infinite Chess, PBS Infinite Series" PBS Infinite Series, with academic citations including "Transfinite game values in infinite chess" (2013)
  4. ^ Jelliss, G. P. (Autumn 1997). "Reshaping the Chessboard". Variant Chess. Vol. 3, no. 25. British Chess Variants Society. pp. 92–93. ISSN 0958-8248.
  5. ^ Pritchard (2007), p. 114.
  6. ^ "Chess on a 12 by 12 board". www.chessvariants.com. Retrieved 2022-06-13.
  7. ^ Nixon, Dennison, ed. (December 1952). "[unidentified title]". Fairy Chess Review.
  8. ^ Pritchard (1994), p. 91: "Hayward drew Capablanca's attention to the game. The Cuban found it 'remarkably interesting' and a match was arranged between him and the Hungarian master Geza Maroczy."
  9. ^ "Doublewide chess". The Chess Variant Pages
  10. ^ Pritchard (2007), p. 226
  11. ^ Infinite Chess at The Chess Variant Pages. An infinite chess scheme represented using ASCII characters.
  12. ^ László Polgár (1997). Reform-Chess. Könemann Verlags GmbH. ISBN 978-3-89508-226-9.
  13. ^ Variant Chess, Vol 8, Issue 61
  14. ^ "Polgar Superstar Chess Patent". March 6, 2009.
  15. ^ Pritchard (2007), p. 223
  16. ^ Pritchard (1994), pp. 285–86
  17. ^ Pritchard (2000), p. 18.
  18. ^ Pritchard (2007), p. 77.
  19. ^ Upside-down chess by Hans Bodlaender
  20. ^ Muller, H.G. (2015-02-27). "Charge of the Light Brigade". The Chess Variant Pages. Retrieved 2015-04-05.
  21. ^ Pritchard (2007), p. 72.
  22. ^ Whelan, George (2003-03-10). "Peasant Revolt". The Chess Variant Pages. Retrieved 2014-01-21.
  23. ^ Pritchard (2007), p. 76.
  24. ^ "Sixteen Pawns".
  25. ^ Weak! by Hans Bodlaender
  26. ^ "COLOUR CHESS - How to Play". September 1, 2017. Archived from the original on 2021-11-18 – via YouTube.
  27. ^ "Colour Chess + Lure".
  28. ^ "Colour Chess + Lure". BoardGameGeek.
  29. ^ "Diplomat Chess". The Chess Variant Pages
  30. ^ Regimental Chess on Steam, YouTube channel for Regimental Chess
  31. ^ Mason, Dave. "Extreme Chess—Carpinteria resident's game allows players to control extra armies". Santa Barbara News Press. Archived from the original on 2018-08-08. Retrieved 8 August 2018.
  32. ^ Bates, Mark (25 March 2013). "Sovereign Chess". The Chess Variant Pages. Retrieved 19 April 2016.
  33. ^ Van Deventer, Richard (2009). "Thrones Chess, a Chess Variant played on CirSquare Board perfect combination of Circular and Square Boards". Thrones Chess Games.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  34. ^ Pritchard (2007), p. 206
  35. ^ "Zonal Chess" by Larry Smith, The Chess Variant Pages
  36. ^ "Cannibal Chess and Absorption Chess". The Chess Variant Pages
  37. ^ "Power Absorption Chess". Chess Variants. Computer Web Services.
  38. ^ Roebuck, Matt (2016-12-27). "ASEAN Chess: making a move". Matt Roebuck. Retrieved 2022-08-25.
  39. ^ "Benedict Chess". chessvariants.com.
  40. ^ Pritchard (2007), p. 51.
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