The Chess Variant Pages

Check out Marseillais Chess, our featured variant for February, 2024.

Gast's Chess

by John Ayer


John W. Gast, of Worthington, Ohio created this variation in 1969.


The board is twelve squares by twelve, checkered, with a white square on each player's right. White's first rank is as follows, from left to right: rook, knight, guard, archer, bishop, queen, king, bishop, archer, guard, knight, rook. The second rank is full of pawns. Black's setup mirrors white's.



The rules are those of standard Chess, except for the above setup and pieces.


Mr. Gast seems to have exhausted the possibilities of his first invention pretty quickly, because he soon followed it up with a second. This one had a board fourteen squares wide by (preferably) twelve across (Mr. Gast and his friends tried a board fourteen squares across, but found that less satisfactory).

My notes are a little too spare, but I believe there was again a white square at each player's right, white's first rank being rook, knight, guard, archer, bishop, queen, king, pope, queen, bishop, archer, guard, knight, rook. The pope moves as rook, bishop, or knight.

Computer Play

You can also play this game by email, using the web-based Play by Mail system on this site using this Preset


The setup graphic was created using the Play by Mail  system.