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Game Reviews (and other rated comments on Game pages)

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ABC Chess. A variant with 8 armies of pieces generated by combining 1, 2 or 3 simpler pieces. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Andrew L Smith wrote on 2022-08-18 UTCGood ★★★★

I like the idea of making an army using various combinations of a few building blocks, though I do have two critiques.

1: Balance. A combination piece is usually wirth more than the sum of its parts (eg: a Queen is worth more than a Rook and a Bishop; a Mann is worth more than a Wazir and a Ferz) which means an army with A+B+C=7.75 is likely to be completely overpowered. For example, look at army 1:
BNW=10, NW=5.25, BW=5.25, W=1.25, B=3.25, N=3.25, BN=8.75 (total: 37).
This is over a full Rook stronger than the regular chess army.

The more equal the components are, the more powerful they are when they work together. For example, army 2 (where one component has most of the value) is only about 2 pawns stronger than the regular chess army. So, armies with wildly unequal component strengths will need to have stronger components than more egalitarian armies to compensate for this.

2: The components should be versatile enough to be fun to play with on their own. For example, an Alfil can only reach 1/8 of the board which is un-fun to play (both with and against). One solution to this would be 'ABCD' chess, with 4 components arranged like this:

AB  CD  AD  ABC   K   BC  BD  AC 

By adding an extra component, one can eliminate the need for components to survive on their own, and can make weak components without having to worry about un-fun Alfil play.


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.


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: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairy_chess_piece

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: https://azgoroth.itch.io/nemoroth

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”)


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.

https://zh.wikipedia.org/wiki/鬥獸棋

象>獅>虎>豹>狼>狗>貓>鼠

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.


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.


Musketeer Chess. Adding 2 newly designed extra pieces. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Jean-Louis Cazaux wrote on 2021-11-03 UTCPoor ★

The quality of the page has not been improved in more than one year. If everyone is happy with that, fine.


Grand Riders Chess. (Updated!) Chess with cross over between Cavalier Chess and Shogun Chess and use the normal riders.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Siwakorn Songrag wrote on 2021-11-03 UTCGood ★★★★
I think the old name of this board is to bad, i decided to change the name to Grand Riders Chess from Grand Shogun Cavalier Chess. I think, it is better to rename.

Beautiful Beasts. A new team for Chess with Different Armies based on the Roc.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Andrew L Smith wrote on 2021-08-28 UTCGood ★★★★

This is a great concept for an army! I like how the Vouivre encourages tactical play with its forking capabilities and ability to do nasty smothered mates, while the Geese are more focused on strategic pawn play in the endgame; similar to how the tactical Knights and the strategic Rooks provide a variety of viable playstyles in the Fabulous FIDEs.

In your opening line, 2.Vg5 doesn't work because of Qxg5.

PS: If you're willing to upload this army to ChessCraft, I'd be happy to playtest them alongside my own Starbound Sliders.

Edit: Upon closer inspection, this army is actually very weak.

  • Ouroboros: 2x5pts Although the Ouroboros is about Rook strength, it's the only one that's as strong as its claimed to be.
  • Roc: 2x3pts+0.5pts colorbound pair bonus The Roc is colorbound and has limited range, making it weak and finnicky even by minor piece standards. Complicated maneuvres are less viable when the board is full of pawns, which further highlights the Roc's difficulty in movement. It is definitely not as strong as a Rook, though its ability to reach 12 squares means it may be slightly stronger than a Knight.
  • Flying Goose: 2x1.5pts The Flying Goose has very little value, and also gives the Beautiful Beasts the very annoying trait that they can't castle without moving one of the three Pawns that will be in front of the King (unless they castle queenside and mave the a pawn). Granted, the Flying Goose is little more than a slightly stronger pawn anyway, but still.
  • Vouvire: 9pts The Vouvire is reasonably strong for a Queen equivalent and it's great for tactical play, the problem is that there's nothing to play tactically against. Knights are fun to use because they're the weakest piece in the army (so when they fork something, you're in business!) while the Vouvire is the strongest piece so it can't fork anything that's protected. Also, it can't go to any of the 8 adjacent squares, which makes maneuvering on a crowded board surprisingly difficult.
  • Total: 28.5pts CwDA armies typically range from 31.5 (Fabulous FIDEs) to 33.5 (Nutty Knights) with more complicated armies needing more value.

Two Move Chess. Designed to alleviate the first move advantage for White using double moves, while retaining the tactics of international chess.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Greg Strong wrote on 2021-08-27 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

This is an interesting and logical approach to tackling how to have a double-move variant addresses pesky rules like check and en passant.  They always require special-case rules to address, and how it is addressed here "feels" right to me.  Marseillais Chess handles the check thing fine, but falls down on how en passant is handled.  You seem to have neatly solved that, too.  I also like how you are limited to one capture per move and cannot move the same piece twice.  This also helps to preserve the strategical similarity to orthodox chess. I guess Marseillais is more of a "let's make double moves and we'll end up with an interesting but totally different game."  Originally, it wasn't even "balanced" (white started with two moves.)  This is an ambitious attempt to add the property of double moves games being "balanced" while changing as little else about the game as possible.

Extra Move Chess also provides similar benefits.  You can make a second move, but don't have to, as long as it doesn't capture or move a piece that just moved.  If you make a second move, it can be a two-space pawn move (which a first move can't, except for white's first move of the game.)  This also neatly solves check and en passant.

I'd like to add this to ChessV.  I think it's doable but I need to think some things through.  The thing I see that most concerns me is this:

Each position created by a two move turn is included in the count toward a draw by threefold repetition, or toward a draw by the Fifty move rule (or the Seventy-five move rule)

If I understand this, it would be difficult to implement and doesn't make a lot of sense to me.  Are you saying that any move in a single move turn or responsive move turn should not count towards the 50-move rule, nor should they be counted toward any potential repetition?


ChessXp. 10x10 Chess, strictly derived from the 8x8 architecture.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Andrew L Smith wrote on 2021-08-23 UTCGood ★★★★

This seems like a nice variant. I especially like the 32221111Q movement of the pawns. The falcons/bison are also fun to play with, their long leaps make for nice tactics.

Pretty much the only thing I'd change is that castling leaves the King too close to the middle. Instead, I would make it so that castling results in the King and the Rook swapping places (White king can go to b1 or i1, black king can go to b10 or i10; rook always goes to the f file) as this gets the King 1 space away from the corner. This would also fix one of the gripes I have with regular chess: queenside castling is usually terrible. Opposite side castling often leads to fun games, so making it happen more often seems like it would be desirable. Also, it would allow players to castle by moving the Rook first, as the ambiguity between O-O and Rg1 is removed.


Dou Shou Qi: The Battle of Animals - The Jungle Game. Simulated conflict between animal kingdoms. (7x9, Cells: 63) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Jean-Louis Cazaux wrote on 2021-08-20 UTCPoor ★

I came on this page by accident. After so many years, the name of this game is still wrong. It is Doushouqi, not Shou Dou Qi at all. And the comment about jaguar for leopard is absolutely right. The solution to avoid a L is to call this piece a Panther, panther or leopard is the same animal.


Hex Shogi 91. A hexagonal Shogi variant on a 91-space board. (Cells: 91) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Daniel Zacharias wrote on 2021-08-18 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

I've only played this once, but it feels right somehow. The hexagonal board, oriented horizontally like this, gives a distinct chess experience that square boards generally lack. It feels more natural than square shogi to me.


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