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This page is written by the game's inventor, Kevin McPartland.

Goal Box Chess

By Kevin McPartland


Goal Box Chess is a Chess variant played on 42 squares where the object is to occupy two special squares with your pieces.

Board and Setup

Queen (Q): d1
Rook (R): e1
Bishop (B): c1
Knight (N): b1, f1
Pawn (P): c2, d2, e2
Queen (q): d8
Rook (r): c8
Bishop (b): e8
Knight (n): b8, f8
Pawn (p): c7, d7, e7

Special Squares
Goal Boxes : a4, g5
Entrances : b4, f5
8     |:n:| r |:q:| b |:n:|    
7     |   |:p:| p |:p:|   |    
6     |:::|   |:::|   |:::|
5     |   |:::|   |:::| * |!!!|
4 |!!!|:*:|   |:::|   |:::|
3     |   |:::|   |:::|   |    
2     |:::| P |:P:| P |:::|
1     | N |:B:| Q |:R:| N |
    a   b   c   d   e   f   g


The object of Goal Box Chess is: The moment that your pieces occupy both goal boxes, you win the game.

Any piece that is already on the goal box entrance square (marked with a cross-hatch in the graphic, and a "*" in the ASCII diagram) may enter the adjacent goal box (marked with an outline in the graphic, and "!!!" in the ASCII diagram), as its move. This is the only way to enter a goal box. It captures any enemy piece already in the goal box.

Any piece that is already in the goal box, may move to the goal box entrance square as its move. It captures any enemy piece in the goal box entrance square.

Any piece that is already in the goal box may, as its turn, be exchanged with any other friendly piece on the board. (A pawn may be promoted in this manner!)

Note the use of the word "may" in these rules. Players may choose not to do any of the above moves. However, if a player has only one piece left on the board, he must still move, even if it means moving his piece out of the goal box. Ties are almost impossible in Goal Box Chess.

If all of one player's pieces are eliminated before both goal boxes are occupied by one player, then the player with pieces left is the winner. Exception: if that player has only one piece left, then the game is declared a draw. (It is assumed that the player with pieces left can have as many additional moves as is necessary, so that he can occupy both goal boxes if he has two pieces.)

All other rules are those of FIDE Chess.

Designer's Notes

My objective in designing Goal Box Chess was to create a game that uses only the equipment found in a normal chess set. The board for my game can be created by masking out 22 squares of a normal chess board. The pieces are all found in a normal chess set; just leave a bunch in the box.

In addition, my design does not change how any of the chess pieces move or capture other pieces. There is no need for players to memorize strange movements of made- up pieces. This makes the game very quick for new- comers to Goal Box Chess to get into the flow of the game.

The game was inspired by the idea of creating a board with 42 squares, while two of the squares are very special. So special, in fact, that they are the object of the game. No need for a King in Goal Box Chess! I kept the new rules to a minimum -- there are really just 3 rules that are different from Standard Chess, along with the different object to the game. But from this minor modification to the rules, an entirely new game emerges!

In playing Goal Box Chess, we have found it to be fast, challenging, and exciting. It is almost impossible for a game to end in a draw, so just about every game is decisive. Games rarely last more than 15 minutes. But every game is different, as players try out different openings and different strategies.


Computer Play

An implementation of Goal Box Chess has been written for Zillions of Games. You can download it here:

Written by Kevin McPartland, © 2001 Kevin McPartland.
WWW page created: January 2nd, 2002.