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The Chess Variant Pages

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Empress Chess. Help your Empress win her battle. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Che Liu wrote on 2022-08-10 UTCPoor ★

It is called "insufficient material". It's when the game cannot end in checkmate. In this game, "insufficient material" won't do anything instead ending the game in a draw immediately, it only creates a chance to claim the win. Because of this rule, the game becomes non-strategic.

Feedback to the Chess Variant Pages - How to contactus. Including information on editors and associate authors of the website.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Rechefiltr is Fire wrote on 2022-07-25 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

I have a code to create Piece in Piececlopedia. I’ve taken your template and written my text.

Mirodoly. Piececlopedia: Mirodoly. Some theoretical principles of the analysis of pieces, both for classical chess and for modern chess.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Jean-Louis Cazaux wrote on 2022-07-20 UTCPoor ★

A bit pedantic article in my opinion. Example: "the lack of fundamental regularities", why not saying "irregularities"? Anyway, I don't believe that any chess 10x10 or 12x12 can be qualified of "classical".

An "infinite" Knight is mostly known as Nightrider, much more than Unicorn, a term that has been used for many other uses in the world of fairy chess and chess variants.

A piece moving CZ is not a "discovery" at all. It is known as Bison. Or the Falcon in the non-jumping version. A minimum of researches could be done nowadays with the help of Internet before announcing discoveries. For example here:

The Sagittarius is the combination of Antelope (4,3) and Murray Giraffe (4,1). Even on 12x12 board, these long jumpers are not practical to play with. They need larger board. In fact, there are not many CVs using them. There are more problemists' pieces.

Marseillais Chess. Move twice per turn. (8x8, Cells: 64) (Recognized!)[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Vighnesh Jadhav wrote on 2022-07-16 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
Marsellais chess has a rule where each player moves 2 pieces in the same turn. Castling is considered a single move. All other castling rules apply.

The Game of Nemoroth. For the sake of your sanity, do not read this variant! (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
H. G. Muller wrote on 2022-06-07 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

Some Nemoroth pieces are 'color blind': they capture or otherwise affect friendly and enemy pieces in exactly the same way. The only effect of their allegeance is then which player is allowed to move them. But when they are petrified neither player can move them, and in effect they become neutral. An alabaster and an obsidian Leaf Pile are really the same piece, from a game-theoretical point of view, and that also holds for petrified Wounded Fiends. Likewise petrified Go Aways are all the same. And since they lose their special power on petrification, they are also the same as a Mummy. And they only differ from petrified Humans when we adopt the rule that petrified Humans promote to Zombie when pushed to last rank. Which would also make it necessary to distinguish petrified Humans by color.

Petrified Basilisks remember their allegeance because of the Basilisk's asymmetric move, which is preserved in the way it sees. Ghasts have a more severe effect on foes as on friends.

Azgoroth wrote on 2022-05-26 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

Just over twenty years after the initial publication of this page, the first ever computer implementation of Nemoroth is live, complete with a basic alpha-beta pruning AI. You can play in your browser at this link:

The only thing I haven't implemented is the Go Away push order, which I've been putting off due to how laborious the UI considerations are. As a placeholder, Go Away pushes are clockwise from top.

I originally wrote this implementation in TypeScript, but the AI was too slow and I ported it over to C++ using WebAssembly. I plan on open sourcing it eventually once I have more opportunities to clean up the code. This is one of the most difficult software projects I have ever worked on; I have known about Nemoroth since around 2013 but was not a strong enough of a programmer to pull it off until now.

I found a number of ambiguities in these rules, which I have tried my best to address reasonably on the linked page. Some have been covered in this comments section, some not (for example, if a Wounded Fiend leaves an already ichorated square, does the ichor stack to 11+ plies or max out at 10?).

The AI is surprisingly dangerous. It mobilizes the Ghast immediately and WILL advance it to d4/d5 if you let it, usually costing you the game. I have managed to beat it a few times, but it's tough as nails for how crude the programming is. Beware!

Ralph, if you're out there, thanks for this amazing variant. I tried to email you to get permission to make this but alas, I never heard back.

Archchess. Large chess variant from 17th century Italy. (10x10, Cells: 100) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Parker KH wrote on 2022-05-22 UTCGood ★★★★

i think so

ArchMage Chess. 10x10 30v30 Fantasy Chess. (10x10, Cells: 100) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Samuel Trenholme wrote on 2022-05-19 UTCGood ★★★★

I think one thing the author may do until when and if this variant gets formally published here is to make a Zillions of Games implementation of it, then send an email to Ed van Zon to get the implementation published. There can be a long delay before a submission and its publication here, but Ed’s pretty good about publishing a submission within a week of its submission.

The hard part is taking all these rules and converting them in to Zillions’ quirky language. I enjoy doing it myself; it converts rules in to unambiguous machine-readable rules, and it allows people to play the variant themselves.

I would also change the name of the summoned pieces in to something like, oh, Dragon Horse and Dragon King, the Anglicized form of these pieces’ names in Shogi. I like the summoning tactic, but it’s an open question whether having it makes the White advantage overwhelming. People seem to enjoy Crazyhouse a lot over at Lichess, so I think this summoning mechanic can be very usable.

(I should also point out that Betza called what is the Jester here the “Waffle”)

Complementarity - Part I. With Short Range Project in mind, list of a highly specific set of pieces defined by simplest compounds.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Samuel Trenholme wrote on 2022-05-15 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

A while ago, I looked at 31 possible short range pieces. I have now expanded this research.

I have written a small C program which looks at all 16,777,215 possible leapers that move at most two squares. Some findings:

  • I expected around half of all possible pieces to be colorbound in some way. Wrong. 16,452,080 (over 98%) pieces are not colorbound.
  • There are 104 non-colorbound pieces with three moves, 2,512 pieces with four moves, and some 2,696,337 pieces with 12 moves.
  • Only 2,944 possible pieces are Bishop colorbound: These relatively few pieces can go to the same 32 squares a Bishop can go to.

With some 16,452,080 non-colorbound pieces, if we replace the knight, bishop, and queen with a random non-colorbound short leaper, that gives us 4,453,099,898,116,838,912,000 which is, what, 4 hextillion possible variants, and that’s keeping the king, pawns, and rook.

OK, if that’s not enough possible variants, we can also add the ability for a given random piece to be able to be a rider in any direction it can leap (e.g. a fers-rider is our bishop; a wazir-rider is a rook, and a knight-rider is, well, a knightrider), where we randomly choose, from all the moves a given leaper has, for it to be able to ride in a random number of directions. For example, if we look at the wazir, then randomly choose which directions it moves like a rook and which directions it can only move one square, we get 16 possible pieces. If we do this for all 16,452,080 non-colorbound short range pieces, we get some 282,232,643,280 possible pieces, just over 2 to the power of 38 (2^38 or 2 ** 38 in Python notation).

This means an 8x8 board with random non-colorbound pieces and using a standard chess set has some 6,344,961,231,517,063,209,074,884,200,517,463,972,290,560,000 possible variants (the pawns and kings can keep their moves), just over 2 to the power of 152.

ChessVA computer program
. Program for playing numerous Chess variants against your PC.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Samuel Trenholme wrote on 2022-05-11 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

I don’t know the correct procedure to file a bug report for ChessV, so I will just note the bug here.

Description of bug

ChessV does not use the standard Chess960 numbering scheme for opening setups. See for the reference of correct number to starting position. In particular, ChessV is off by one (Position 0 in the official spec is position 1 in ChessV, etc.)

Steps to reproduce

Open up ChessV. Choose Fischer Random Chess. When it asks for an expected setup, choose setup #692.

Expected results

The opening setup should be RBBQKNNR (Mongredien chess)

Actual results

The setup is BRQKNNRB


Position 693 is the Mongredien setup in ChessV, so one just needs to add 1 to the official position number to get the corresponding position in ChessV.

Position 518 (519 in ChessV) is the standard chess starting position.

Samuel Trenholme wrote on 2022-05-08 UTCExcellent ★★★★★ continues to host the ChessV software, and, indeed, has been updated to have version 2.2 of ChessV. Should ever go down, this is an alternate download link.

Play Nadvorney's Spherical Chess on Game Courier. Play Nadnorney's adaptation of Chess to a spherical board on Game Courier.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
David Cannon wrote on 2022-03-29 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

I love the concept of spherical chess. I think one thing needs to be changed, however. Chess is already drawish enough on a square board, and more so on a round board. On a spherical board, where pieces move in all directions, draws may become the overwhelming norm. That is not my preference.

So, on a board like this, I would love to see something done about that. Possible ways to do it would be to put some restrictions on the movement of the King (as in XiangQi and Janggi), or to immobilize the King when in check, or to take away the King's ability to capture pieces, including attacking pieces.

Dou Shou Qi: The Battle of Animals - The Jungle Game. Simulated conflict between animal kingdoms. (7x9, Cells: 63) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Anon wrote on 2022-03-23 UTCGood ★★★★

The Wolf is ranked higher (stronger) than the Dog.鬥獸棋


Elephant > Lion > Tiger > Leopard (Panther) > Wolf > Dog > Cat > Rat

I played this since childhood. This is the proper ranking of the animals.

The confusion about Dog > Wolf happened because on some of the cheap chess pieces, the wood carving of the Dog and the Wolf are almost identical.

Ito Shogi ZIP file. Missing description[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Jonathan Rutherford wrote on 2022-03-05 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

Big thanks to Malcolm Webb for programming the zrf for this game! I would like those who download this to know that as of this date in 2022, I have updated the rules to Ito Shogi drastically, while the rules of this zrf file are based on the 2007 rules.

Hero and Superhero Chess. The King's Pawn is replaced by a Hero (moves like any other piece on your side on the board) or a Superhero (improved Hero). (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Baseball Chess Baseball Chess Set wrote on 2022-02-09 UTCGood ★★★★

great article, this is definitely one of the easiest strategies for young chess players to skim through and learn. Might also interest for more Superhero Chess Sets see this page [spam url deleted].

Baseball Chess. Missing description (9x9, Cells: 81) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Baseball Chess Baseball Chess Set wrote on 2022-02-08 UTCGood ★★★★
great article , this is definitely one of the best for young chess players to read and learn strategy.  If you intend on writing more similar content on this site be sure to check out our page with more inspiration for future posts

Jupiter (Revised). Missing description (16x16, Cells: 256) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Ruei Ching Hong wrote on 2021-12-31 UTCGood ★★★★
Is there any .ZRF file for this game?

Kriegspiel. With help of a referee, two players move without knowing the moves of the opponent. (8x8x3, Cells: 192) (Recognized!)[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
chesspro24 chesspro wrote on 2021-12-10 UTCPoor ★
What If They Castle Do they Tell you?

Capablanca Random Chess. Randomized setup for Capablanca chess. (10x8, Cells: 80) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Thomas wrote on 2021-12-02 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

But why the limitation to set up queen and archbishop on different coloured squares, when they can change the square colour by moving like rook resp. knight?

Terachess II. An unrealistic summit on a very large board of 16x16 squares and 128 pieces.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Eric Silverman wrote on 2021-11-27 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

I've been playing a lot of this game recently (via Ai Ai), partly for my own enjoyment and partly as inspiration for my own 16x16 experiments. There are relatively few modern Chess variants played on 16x16, and for me, this game is the best example thus far.

The variety of pieces presented here is at first intimidating, but one soon realises there is a logic to everything presented here, and shortly thereafter you'll find the piece movements become natural. The balance of the initial position is excellent, with every piece finding its way into the fight without too much awkward development. Games are long -- against AI at 2 minutes/move my games take at least 400 plies, with my longest so far at 695 -- but as a large Shogi variant fanatic this doesn't bother me at all. Throughout those long games one will find drama, excitement, and plentiful opportunities for subtlety and subterfuge.

If I were very picky, I might say that I'd like to see the Rook + Camel/Bishop + Camel compounds in here, which I find really fun on a large board. Also the basic leapers -- Camel, Giraffe, Knight -- feel less impactful in a game this size. Having said that, everything works well together, and I enjoy this game tremendously.

Opulent Chess. A derivative of Grand Chess with additional jumping pieces (Lion and Wizard). (10x10, Cells: 100) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Eric Silverman wrote on 2021-11-22 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

I've played the heck out of this via Ai Ai, and I absolutely adore this game. I prefer the greater piece density and the more interesting piece mix here to those of Grand Chess. The resulting play is interesting and nuanced both tactically and strategically. In my opinion Opulent Chess is one of the finest 10x10 variants.

My one complaint is the presence of Pawn promotion by replacement, but that's not particular to this game, I just dislike it everywhere. Promoting stuff is fun and interesting, so I prefer just being able to promote to any piece without restriction. After all I'm a Shogi player, and what can I say, we like promoting stuff! I also dislike some of the weird effects the rule can produce in rare circumstances, but that's more of an aesthetic objection. I do like the extended promotion zone though.

On the whole, a delightful game. Strongly recommended to anyone with an interest in decimal variants.

chesslolś chess. chess but fun.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Thomas Mens wrote on 2021-11-19 UTCGood ★★★★

chesslols chess is finaly ready

Simple Mideast Chess. Game with simple rules, no promotion, no nonstandard move or capture, no asymetric pieces, and no check, checkmate or stalemate.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Jean-Louis Cazaux wrote on 2021-11-17 UTCPoor ★

This page has many problems.

Rules 4, 5 are not rules, they are more advices.

The drop rule does not say if the captured pieces change their color.

Finally, why changing the names of all pieces or giving well established names to different moves ? It might be confusing for some players.

Sign in to the Chess Variant Pages. Sign in to the Chess Variant Pages.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
chesspro24 chesspro wrote on 2021-11-15 UTCPoor ★

10x8 Variants. Missing description[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Joseph Ruhf wrote on 2021-11-13 UTCGood ★★★★

For as long as I have known about the games with the Rook-Knight and Bishop-Knight added, I have agreed that adding just them unbalances the game even further towards the line pieces than Chess already is. This is the main reason I have made an alternate history where Capablanca looks outside of the modern descendants of the Western tradition for help in designing his proposed “next stage of Chess”. I made him look all the way to Japan simply because the first place I had thought to post the idea was the 81Dojo forum. However, the other idea I have always had was that he would simply invent a “Great Carrera” with the missing pieces (King-Knight, Queen-Knight and two step Knightrider). This game would have been possible to play with the King-Knight, two step Knightrider or Rook-Knight doubled if the players wanted.

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