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Viennese Chess

or alternately, Viennese Kriegspiel


This variant of Screen chess was invented by Dr. Ritter von Korwin-Dzbanski in 1908. Screen chess involves placing a barrier or screen between the two halves of the chess board, blocking each player's view of the other half of the board. The two players then place their pieces (according to certain rules) on their half of the board. The barrier is then lifted and the game is then played as in orthodox chess.


In Viennese chess, each king is placed on a random square in one of the first two rows. Then the barrier is put up, and the players place their pieces on their half of the board as they wish. Bishops must be on opposite color squares, and pawns are not allowed on the first row.

Whether black starts first or white is then determined by lot. The game then proceeds as in orthodox chess.

Sample Game

Jan 1909
Wiener Schachzeitung
White: G. Marco
Black: J Thirring

Starting position
 1. ...   Bxg3
 2. cxd5  Bg4
 3. fxg3  Bxf3+
 4. Nxf3  Qf8
 5. Qh1   Nh5
 6. Qg2   Qg7
 7. Ne5   Rxe5
 8. dxe5  Qxe5
 9. dxc6  Nxg3+
10. Kd1   Rf1+
11. Kc2   Nxc6
12. Rxa6  Qh5
13. Ra1   Rf3
14. Rxb6  Kb8
15. Rxc6  bxc6
16. Nd4   Rf6
17. Qxg3+ Kb7
18. Rxa7+ Kxa7
19. Qc7+  Ka6
20. c4    Rf5
21. Nxc6  1-0

Written by David Howe. Based on an email from Carlos Cetina, with information from the book on chess variants written by Gabriel Maura Vicente. Additional information and sample game from David Pritchard's Encyclopedia of Chess Variants.
WWW page created: January 29, 1999.