The Chess Variant Pages

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

This page is written by the game's inventor, Eric Driscoll.

ICBM Chess

Inter-ChessBoard Missle Chess

By Eric Driscoll and John Lesieutre


Note: Do not play this chess variant with expensive and/or fragile pieces. Only truly recommended set is the standard USCF ultra-durable, "indestructible", set. The authors are not responsible for damage to your chess set OR to your person or anyone you play with. You have been warned. We accept absolutely no liability for any damages incurred to anything whilst playing this variant. That said, this is one of the coolest and most fun radical "chess" variants.


Play is as Usual Chess with the following exceptions:

When pieces and Pawns are captured (note that the King is not regarded as a piece by these rules), they immediately return to their owner, who has them in hand (also called a player's stash). This is similar to Bughouse and Crazyhouse. However, in bug/crazyhouse, the player making the capture gets an equivalent piece when they capture an opponent's piece; in ICBM Chess the player owning the piece captured gets their piece back immediately to their stash instead. An example; 1. e4 e5 2. d4 exd4. At this point, white would get the captured Pawn back in hand, ready to be placed on a following turn (or never, if white were to choose not to place it). For example, white could place the Pawn at e6, to weaken black's King defense. Note that you play place a Pawn on the seventh rank (but not the eighth). A captured piece is treated as what it started as; so if a promoted Pawn is captured and returned to you, if you place it, it will be placed as a Pawn.

However, the major difference between Usual Chess and ICBM Chess is the following:

As a turn's action (i.e., instead of moving a piece or castling), you may send a "missile" flying into enemy territory. What you do is simple. Select a piece from the board OR from your stash, such as a Queen, and throw it at a target of your choosing. Any pieces knocked down are captured. They are placed in their owner's stashes. Any pieces left standing are left in the square they are in (if a piece is not clearly placed - equally divided over two or more squares - it is counted as captured and returned to its owner's stash). You MUST destroy at least one opponent piece. The King does NOT qualify for this. If you fail to do so, the piece used as a missle is removed from the game. However, knocking over your own pieces can be an advantage; it gives them instant development anywhere on the board. In order to prevent "cheating" by wiping out many of your own pieces (which would, as stated earlier, give one an advantage in developmental ability), we have added the enemy piece destruction rule as stated above.

Other miscellaneous rules include the following:

Direct questions to:
E-mail: @

Written and © by Eric Driscoll and John Lesieutre. HTML Conversion by Peter Aronson.
WWW page created: April 26th, 2001.