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The Chess Variant Pages

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



Peter Aronson


Hopgi is a small-board variant of Chessgi, with an L-shaped board, linked pairs of Kings, and in which every piece can move like a Mao-hopper in addition to its regular moves. Hopgi is a non-competing entry in the Contest to design a chess variant on 43 squares.

Board and Setup

Each player starts with a Wazir King, a Ferz King, a Rook, a Bishop and five Pawns on the board, and a Rook, Bishop and Pawn in hand. The board is a 7 x 7 square, with the four lower-left corner squares removed along with a5 and e1.

7  |:r:| p |:::|   |:::|   |:/:|
6  | w |:p:|   |:::|   |:/:|   |
5      | p |:::|   |:/:|   |:::|
4  | f |:p:|   |:/:|   |:::|   |     
3  |:b:| p |:/:|   |:::|   |:::|     
2          | P |:P:| P |:P:| P |
1          |:B:| F |   | W |:R:|
           +---+---+   +---+---+
     a   b   c   d   e   f   g
Wazir King (w): a6
Ferz King (f): a4
Rook (r): a7, 1 in hand
Bishop (b): a3, 1 in hand
Pawn (p): b3, b4, b5, b6, b7, 1 in hand
Wazir King (W): f1
Ferz King (F): d1
Rook (R): g1, 1 in hand
Bishop (B): c1, 1 in hand
Pawn (P): c2, d2, e2, f2, g2, 1 in hand

Board notes:

  1. The corner connecting squares b3 and c2 (marked with a '#' in the ASCII diagram) is blocked, and may not be moved through.
  2. Those squares marked with 'x's or slashes (c3, d4, e5, f6 and g7) above divide the board into two zones, the zone on the right being where Pawns move up and down, and the zone on the left being where Pawns move left and right. Marked squares are in both zones. See below for more detail.

General Rules

The rules of Hopgi are identical to those of FIDE Chess, except for the changes described below.

The Moves of the Pieces

In addition to their individual moves described below, each piece in Hopgi may also move like a Mao-hopper. A Mao-hopper moves one square orthogonally (left, right, up or down) to an occupied square, and then one further step diagonally outward. For example:

7  |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |:/:|
6  |   |:::|   |:::|   |:/:|   |
5      |   |:::|   |:/:|   |:::|
4  |   |:::|   |:/:|   |:*:|   |     
3  |:::|   |:/:|   |:p:|   |:P:|     
2          |   |:::|   |:p:| W |
1          |:::|   |   |   |:b:|
           +---+---+   +---+---+
     a   b   c   d   e   f   g

The White Wazir King on g2 may either leap over the Black Pawn on f2 to capture the Pawn on e3, or it may leap over the White Pawn on g3 to land in the empty square at f4 (marked with a blue circle or a '*'). Note that a piece on c1 could not leap to b3 even if there was a piece on c2, as the diagonal portion of the move would be illegal as c2 does not connect to b3 (see board note 1 above).

The pieces: