The Chess Variant Pages

Check out Metamachy, our featured variant for December, 2023.

This page is written by the game's inventor, Peter Aronson.



Peter Aronson


Horus is named for the Egyptian God who bears the title "Falcon of the Horizon" and who was sometimes depicted as having a Falcon's head. Horus is a game where the Falcon from George Duke's Falcon Chess is the "Royal" piece, and when you have captured all three of your opponent's Falcons, you win.

Board and Setup

Horus is played on a board of 44 squares with 12 pieces to a side, all of which start off of the board.

7      |:::|   |:::|   |:::|
6  |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|
5  |   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |
4  |:::|   |:::|XXX|:::|   |:::|
3  |   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |
2  |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|
1      |:::|   |:::|   |:::|
     a   b   c   d   e   f   g

(Note that the center square at d4 has been removed, and is not part of the game.) Each player starts with three Falcons, two Rooks, two Bishops, two Knights and three Pawns.

General Rules

The general structure of FIDE Chess is used: White moves first, Black second; a player must move a piece each turn, etc.

I do not believe a stalemate is possible.

The Moves of Pieces

Notes and Comments

George Duke's Falcon moves rather like a Bison, a fairy piece that combines the moves of a Camel and a Zebra. It is somewhat weaker than actual Bison, particularly on a board this small, since it can be blocked, but it is much stronger than a lame Bison would be. One result of the Falcon's multiple movement paths is that, unlike with lame pieces, if Black's Falcon attacks White's Falcon, White's Falcon also attacks Black's Falcon.

Horus was inspired by the thought (expressed on the page for Prisoner's Escape) that a Falcon Chess Falcon would be rather crowded on a 44-square board. Taking that thought, I turned to Knight Court, with its Royal Knight and where captured pieces return to their owner's hand, and Re, where the board starts empty and its scoring system (the three Falcons instead of one were derived indirectly from the idea of a scoring system), and synthesized this game.

Thanks to John Lawson for playtesting and suggestions.

Computer Play

I've written an implementation of Horus for Zillions of Games. You can download it here:

Written by Peter Aronson.
WWW page created: January 12th, 2004.