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The Chess Variant Pages

Grasshopper chess

The Grasshopper is a piece that is popular with inventors of fairy chess problems. It was invented in 1912 by the well-known fairy chess problem composer T. R. Dawson. The piece was inspired by the cannon from Chinese Chess. In the 1950s, J. Boyer from France, who invented many chess variants, invented Grasshopper Chess.


The game is played on a normal 8x8 chess board. In addition to the usual pieces, the players each have eight Grasshoppers positioned on the second and seventh ranks. The Pawns are placed on the third and sixth as shown below.

satellite=grass graphicsDir=/graphics.dir/alfaeriePNG/ promoZone=1 squareSize=50 graphicsType=png lightShade=#CCCC11 darkShade=#339933 rimColor=#111199 coordColor=#CCCC11 borders=0 firstRank=1 useMarkers=1 promoChoice=QNGRB pawn::fmWfcF::a3-h3 grasshopper::gQ::a2-h2 knight:N:::b1,g1 bishop::::c1,f1 rook::::a1,h1 queen::::d1 king::::e1

King e1; Queen d1; Rook a1, h1; Knight b1, g1; Bishop c1, f1; Grasshopper a2, b2, c2, d2, e2, f2, g2, h2; Pawn a3, b3, c3, d3, e3, f3, g3, h3.

King e8; Queen d8; Rook a8, h8; Knight b8, g8; Bishop c8, f8; Grasshopper a7, b7, c7, d7, e7, f7, g7, h7; Pawn a6, b6, c6, d6, e6, f6, g6, h6.

Initial Setup:


Grasshoppers move as a chess Queen, but must jump exactly one piece (of either color) when it moves, and it stops at the square immediately after the piece it jumped. For example, the following moves are legal from the opening setup:

1. G h2-h4, G c7-a5. 2. G h4 x e7

Note that Grasshoppers capture by landing on a square occupied by a hostile piece. The pieces jumped over are not captured. (In the example above, white's second move captures the Grasshopper on e7, but does not capture the Pawn on f6.)

Pawns move as they do in Chess, but without the initial double step. Pawns can promote to Queen, Rook, Bishop, Knight, or Grasshopper.

All other pieces and rules are the same as in orthodox Chess.


This game can be played with a conventional Chess set plus checkers to represent the Grasshoppers.


The game was described in R. Wayne Schmittberger's New Rules for Classic Games and in Pritchard's The Encyclopedia of Chess Variants.

Written by: Hans Bodlaender.
Updated by: Greg Strong.
WWW page created: 1995-11-15.
WWW page updated: 2021-05-15.