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The Chess Variant Pages

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Berolina Chess

In 1926, Edmund Hebermann of Berlin invented the Berolina pawn, clearly called after the home town of its inventor. This chess piece has been used in several fairy chess problems, and also in this game, which has been popular in several chess variant circles.

The game is mentioned in Pritchard's Encyclopedia of Chess Variants. Pritchard calls the game "highly original", and mentions that draws are rare. Mobility of pawns is increased, but their capturing and defending power is decreased.


The Berolina pawn moves without taking one square diagonally, and may move on its first move two squares diagonally. It takes by moving one square straight. En passant-capture is possible: for example, when black has a pawn on b4, and white moves a pawn from a2 to c4, then the black pawn can take the white pawn by moving to b3.

The opening setup of Berolina chess is the same as of normal chess. Only, now all pawns are assumed to be Berolina pawns.

Written by Hans Bodlaender.
WWW page created: November 6, 1995. Last modified: January 10, 1997.