The Chess Variant Pages

Check out Shako, our featured variant for April, 2023.

[ Help | Earliest Comments | Latest Comments ]
[ List All Subjects of Discussion | Create New Subject of Discussion ]
[ List Latest Comments Only For Pages | Games | Rated Pages | Rated Games | Subjects of Discussion ]

Game Reviews (and other rated comments on Game pages)

Later Reverse Order EarlierEarliest
Grand Chess. Christian Freeling's popular large chess variant on 10 by 10 board. Rules and links. (10x10, Cells: 100) (Recognized!)[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
David Paulowich wrote on 2023-03-31 UTCGood ★★★★

M. Badii - J. Stranjakovitch, Paris 1989 reached the position in the diagram below after

1.e4 a6 2.d4 b5 3.f4 Bb7 4.Bd3 f5 5.exf5 Bxg2 6.Qh5+ g6 7.fxg6 Bg7 8.gxh7+ Kf8


The game continued 9.hxg8=Q+ Kxg8 10.Qe2 Bxh1 with a win by White after 24 moves.

I see no reason for rules that may prevent early pawn promotions in Grand Chess. Most of us want games that are more interesting, not less. And after all, there is no limit to the number of promoted pawns on the board in Shatranj.

[EDIT] I should have specified the rules that I was objecting to:

"5. A Pawn can promote only to a friendly piece that has been captured, and for which it is exchanged."

"6. If no friendly piece has been captured, then a Pawn may not move beyond the 9th rank."

The Sons of Mithra. Elaborate Fantasy variant with 13 different types of pieces per side. (10x10, Cells: 100) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Ruei Ching Hong wrote on 2023-03-25 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
The program is dead again .

Fluidity Chess. Hidden Dissect the pieces. Standard board without pawns. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]

Since this comment is for a page that has not been published yet, you must be signed in to read it.

Cylindrical Chess. Sides of the board are supposed to be connected. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Michael Nelson wrote on 2023-03-21 UTCGood ★★★★

Very nice touchup of the page. You might have mentioned that in problems, there is more than one way to use the cylinder concept. The one here described is chess on a horizontal cylinder, which is the only form that is playable as a game. Other forms have appeared in problems: the vertical cylinder with the first and last ranks connected and the anchor ring both basically both a vertical and horizontal cylinder simultaneously. In the latter case, a1 is connected to both a8 and h1 (and in some version h8 as well, if you really want to go crazy). With rooks and queens instantly attacking each other and the kings in mutual check, we'd need special rules to play this, but a KBB vs K ending on such a board can be analyzed, as well as more complex problems.

Radioactive Queen Chess. Hidden White has a little diff in setup, but great diff in the game. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]

Since this comment is for a page that has not been published yet, you must be signed in to read it.

Tenjiku Shogi. Fire Demons burn surrounding enemies, Generals capture jumping many pieces. (16x16, Cells: 256) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Edward Webb wrote on 2023-03-20 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

I read on the wiki talk page for Tenjiku about the idea that jumping generals could have been intended to do more than just jump-capture.

The start position shows the generals in front of the Fire Demons, both straight ahead and diagonally. There is no opportunity for jumping generals to capture Fire Demons in the start position, which is intentional.

It doesn't seem right that there is so much protection for Fire Demons, yet in some versions of the game, the King could be threatened and captured without even being able to evade the attack, as it's boxed in.

(In fact, the Bishop General could just mate the opponent's King on the first move if there were no restrictions on jumping.)

If the generals could jump whenever they wanted as far as they liked, the game would become even more tactically sharp than it already is. However, it doesn't break the game.

The Great General can't jump two squares diagonally to threaten one of the Fire Demons as the Rook General would capture it.

The best the Bishop Generals can do is to manoeuvre and attack a Horned Falcon or Soaring Eagle.

The idea that jumping generals could capture all of the opposing pieces they jumped over in one turn is plausible. I don't know if the game would break, but the inventor(s) of Tenjiku weren't sentimental about pieces — allowing Fire Demons to punch large holes into positions — so having more pieces do the same seems logical.

The Great General could just capture the Vice General; Free Eagle; Queen; Drunk Elephant; and a Pawn on the first move (with check). This doesn't seem intentional.

One of the Bishop Generals could move to the edge of the board and threaten to capture a Soaring Eagle; Water Buffalo; Phoenix; Drunk Elephant; and a Pawn. The Soaring Eagle can leap out of the way, though.

Otherwise, everything is sufficiently well defended that jumping generals couldn't capture a total of anything worth more than themselves, as they are even stronger than their current form.

That could be why Fire Demons are so powerful — with burning and sliding and an area move — because they would be ecliped otherwise by the jumping generals.

The board size (16×16) and large number of pieces that do very little makes more sense if there were even more crazy pieces. The game might devolve into a capture-fest, but that might have been the intention.

Whoever had the imagination to create this game has to be admired. I consider this to be the most ambitious of all the historical variants as its construction is so delicately balanced, even with the ambiguity in the rules themselves.

Bomberman Chess. Variant on 8 by 10 board with bombs and diffusers. (10x8, Cells: 80) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Daniel Zacharias wrote on 2023-03-13 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

This is a great idea. The bombs add enough chaos to make the game feel very different, but not too much.

Modern Courier Chess A game information page
. An attempt to reform the courier game by emulating the development of modern chess.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
David Paulowich wrote on 2023-03-08 UTCGood ★★★★

Have we missed the fiftieth anniverary of Modern Courier Chess? The rules page for Reformed Courier-Spiel (2011) contains the sentence: "With this design, Begnis also intended to improve Modern Courier Chess invented by FIDE Master Paul V. Byway in 1972."

On his own website, Clément Begnis writes: "In this respect, I need to mention here that at first (in the 1970's), Byway had made an attempt to modernize the Courier game with more powerful extra pieces."

On his own website, John Savard writes: "Attempts have been made to modernize the game, one in 1824 and one in 1971. The one in 1971, Modern Courier Chess, changed the moves of several of the pieces. Even that of 1824 by Albers made a number of changes, although it was less radical."

The current address is: Modern Courier Chess. Meanwhile, the year when Byway finished creating his game remains a mystery. VARIANT CHESS No. 8 does contain the following game from the previous year - with the letters "F" and "C" standing for Ferz and Courier (Alibaba).

[Game 4]  R. Talbot - P. V. Byway, 10 xii 1991 
1.f4 f5 2.a4 c5 3.Ra3 Cc6 4.g4 fxg4 5.Rg3 h5 6.i4 
Ch6 7.e3 g5 8.ixh5 gxf4 9.Rxg4+ Fg7 10.Qj5+ i6 
11.hxi6 Ni7 12.Qi5 Ng6 13.Qxk7 Rj8 
[Diagram uses elephants for couriers] 
14.Rxg6 Bxg6 15.i7 Ri8 16.Qxj7 Fe6 (courier leap) 17 .Ch3 
Ke8 (two-move privilege) 18.Nj3 16 19.Ni5 Bxk2 
(suicidal) 20.Rk1 Bi4 21.Rk8 Resigns. (1-0).


Enhanced Courier Chess. Courier Chess with the weaker pieces enhanced.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
David Paulowich wrote on 2023-03-03 UTCGood ★★★★

Great idea to replace the Ferz with the Gryphon! This piece rarely gets a chance to dominate an "old fashioned game". The "Griffon" is actually one of the weaker pieces in Mark Hedden's Ganymede Chess . I offer some piece values for the 12x8 board, chosen primarily for simplicity:

Pawn = 1, Woody Rook (WD) = 3, Knight = 3, Elephant (FA) = 3.25, Courier = 3.50, Man (FW) = 3.50, Rook = 5.50 and Gryphon = 8 points.

Incidentally I value the Queen at ten points, the same as R+B+P. Ralph Betza once calculated the Gryphon's worth by multiplying the value of a Rook by 1.46 in Bent Riders circa 2002.

Stone Garden Chess. Hidden The animal statues in the stone garden came to life and attacked the two rival kings! With the help of a policeman each, they…. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]

Since this comment is for a page that has not been published yet, you must be signed in to read it.

Almost chess. One queen has combined rook and knight moves. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
David Paulowich wrote on 2023-02-25 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

Sort of Almost Chess - with a White Chancellor and a Black Queen - is kind of the best chess game ever invented on less than 81 squares. Skipping the usual long speech about making opening books obsolete and adding new tactics, I will simply state that the dreaded First Move Advantage is completely cancelled. Possibly "more than cancelled" - computer testing may prove interesting.

In the near future I will be promoting this variant to join the list of Featured Games. Maybe we could give Sort Of Almost Chess a more interesting name, like Carrera's Revenge?

Stone Garden Chess. Hidden The animal statues in the stone garden came to life and attacked the two rival kings! With the help of a policeman each, they…. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]

Since this comment is for a page that has not been published yet, you must be signed in to read it.

Chess on a Longer Board with a few Pieces Added. On a 10 row by 8 column board, with three new pieces. (8x10, Cells: 80) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Kevin Pacey wrote on 2023-02-23 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

Note that in the setup of shogi (a Classic game) none of the knights there can move, either.

Borderline. (Updated!) Without pawns, with only one king, capturing opponent's pieces is omitted. (7x7, Cells: 49) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Jörg Knappen wrote on 2023-02-21 UTCPoor ★

As far as I can see there is no rule that forbids moving the King back to the place where it came from (at least, when the King move wasn't motivated by escaping check). So a situation can occur where the two players just move the King between two squares in an endless loop and the game makes no progress.

Duck Chess. A Duck that must be moved by both players can block your moves. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Kevin Pacey wrote on 2023-02-20 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

A cute and cool variant!

Blue Chip Chess. A chip, moved each turn by the players, denotes a square where pieces may not go to. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Kevin Pacey wrote on 2023-02-20 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

Nice idea!

Stone Garden Chess. Hidden The animal statues in the stone garden came to life and attacked the two rival kings! With the help of a policeman each, they…. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]

Since this comment is for a page that has not been published yet, you must be signed in to read it.

Turkish Chess. 8x10 board with different combination pieces, Vao and Pao. (8x10, Cells: 80) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Kevin Pacey wrote on 2023-02-17 UTCGood ★★★★

I'm a bit surprised this variant hasn't been played much so far on GC. If people think there's too much power in the setup, maybe by switching the FIDE army of each side onto their 2nd ranks, directly behind their pawns, that then could help the game unfold a bit more slowly, if that's desired.

Orthodia. (Updated!) Break your orthogonal and diagonal patterns! (Two versions). (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
💡📝Rechefiltr is Fire wrote on 2023-02-14 UTCGood ★★★★

I fixed it, it's your turn. There is no castling here;)

TenCubed Chess. Variant on 10 by 10 board with combination pieces. (10x10, Cells: 100) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Greg Strong wrote on 2023-02-14 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

TenCubed and Opulent were both entries in the 10 Contest.  David and I both decided to use the number 10 by having 10 piece types on an 10-by-10 board, so they are pretty similar.  Although Opulent has seen more play, I think TenCubed is probably the better game.  I have had a very difficult time getting a good opening array in Opulent.  It needs to change yet again ...

Kevin Pacey wrote on 2023-02-13 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

Nice mixture of pieces in this variant!

edit: Also, this CV reminds me a little of Opulent Chess:

edit2: Two CVs that might have been inspired by TenCubed Chess (but weren't):

Spartan Chess. (Updated!) A game with unequal armies. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
David Paulowich wrote on 2023-02-12 UTCGood ★★★★

Spartan Chess has the Warlord and the General, together worth approximately three Rooks. These are solid performers that have been used in many variants. Worth noting that pieces like the Lieutenant with additional noncapturing moves are rare. My Shatranj Kamil (64) has Elephants with noncapturing Dabbabah leaps and ArchMage Chess by Cyrus Arturas has the Prince, a Commoner with noncapturing R2 moves (no mention of Dabbabah leaps). In the diagram below, a Warlord pins a Rook against the White King - winning the piece and the game.



The Duke of Rutland's Chess. Large variant from 18th century England. (14x10, Cells: 140) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Daniel Zacharias wrote on 2023-02-10 UTCGood ★★★★

This is a nice game. It seems to have a theme of rook + weaker piece compounds. I wonder why the board isn't 15x10 to make room for another knight, and have a nice 3:2 shape like Courier Chess. An alternative enhancement would be a pair of camels on d1 and k1 and a camel-rook on i1. That would make more sense of the 10 rank board.

Behemoth Chess. Chess with a randomly moving, uncapturable Behemoth piece that can capture multiple pieces in a turn.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Thomas wrote on 2023-02-09 UTCGood ★★★★

I played this on many times and it is fun, even if the outcome is more dependent on luck than on skill.

Paulowich's Chancellor Chess. A proposal to play chancellor chess with chancellors and queens in the corner on 8 by 8 board. (8x8, Cells: 64) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Joe Joyce wrote on 2023-02-07 UTCGood ★★★★

Hi, David! Glad to see you back! This is a nice helpmate and looks like an interesting 'little' game to play - all that power in the corners and a weak center, on a small board! The central rook is a rare feature, or was, a decade or two ago. Who's used it besides Ralph, you, and me, any idea? I don't remember it in even any semi-popular game onsite aside from what you and Ralph have done.

25 comments displayed

Later Reverse Order EarlierEarliest

Permalink to the exact comments currently displayed.