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Recognized Chess Variants. Index page listing the variants we feel are most significant. (Recognized!)[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Kevin Pacey wrote on Sat, Feb 18, 2023 09:50 PM UTC:

A quick question: Is the Recognized Chess Variants list going to be (soon!?) officially replaced/merged with the Featured Games List?

J Andrew Lipscomb wrote on Mon, Apr 6, 2020 10:21 PM UTC:

It's good now,

🕸Fergus Duniho wrote on Mon, Apr 6, 2020 11:35 AM UTC:

I was having that problem yesterday with Firefox on Windows 10, and I fixed it by changing the CSS. I just checked Safari on my iPad, and it's not having that problem. If you are still having that problem, the old CSS may still be cached in your browser.

J Andrew Lipscomb wrote on Mon, Apr 6, 2020 10:16 AM UTC:

Something is wrong in the Featured Games code. Using Safari on iPad, everything between the banner and the affiliate-link area is blank.

🕸Fergus Duniho wrote on Sun, Apr 5, 2020 08:27 PM UTC:

I have added an automated notice to each Featured Game.

🕸Fergus Duniho wrote on Sun, Apr 5, 2020 05:40 PM UTC:

I've removed the manual Recognized Variants banners from the tops of the Recognized Variants. In doing so, I learned that some of them never had the text identifying them as Recognized Variants.  So, it will be better to include automated text that shows up if the right column in the database is checked. I've also started doing grep searches to find and remove other links to rindex.html.

🕸Fergus Duniho wrote on Sun, Apr 5, 2020 01:07 PM UTC:

I think the next step will be to dismantle the Recognized Chess Variants by removing the manual and menu links to it. I can then replace them with automated links to a list of the Featured Games. So pages would go from mentioning that a game is a Recognized Variant to mentioning that it is a Featured Game. On pages for games that are not featured, I could add a link to a random featured game with mention of the Featured Games or to something about Favorited Games, so that each gets some additional exposure.

🕸Fergus Duniho wrote on Sat, Apr 4, 2020 07:46 PM UTC:

Seeing that Omega Chess wasn't listed in the Featured Games, I double checked that it was on the Recognized Variants page. When I looked it up in the database, the Link page was marked as Recognized and Primary. I switched these to the Game page, so that it shows up in the Featured Games listing.

🕸Fergus Duniho wrote on Sat, Apr 4, 2020 06:12 PM UTC:

I'm now looking into omissions. I have searched the database for Recognized Variants that are not Primary Items. I am adding those that meet other criteria. Based on this, I have added Janggi.

🕸Fergus Duniho wrote on Sat, Apr 4, 2020 05:50 PM UTC:

I have just changed the text in queryinc.php to Featured Pages or to Featured Games when the Game type is selected. I am weeding through the currently featured games. I am checking how many members have favorited a game, its average rating and how many ratings it has, how popular it is on Game Courier, and whether it has a chapter in Pritchard's Popular Chess Variants or Gollon's Chess Variations. For now, I'll continue to feature games that meet one of these criteria. But I will list below some games that just scrape by and might be worth dropping from being featured:

  • Avalanche Chess is mentioned in PCV, but it hasn't proven popular on the CVP.
  • Capablanca Random Chess has a few positive reviews, though most don't actually mention the game. It is favorited by one member.
  • Dragon Chess by Gary Gygax is favorited by four members.
  • Janus Chess is favorited by five people.
  • Los Alamos Chess is favorited by one member. It has some positive reviews, but two are anonymous. I know it is of historical interest.
  • Magnetic Chess is favorited by two people, and Pritchard has a chapter on it in PCV.
  • Minishogi is favorited by four people.
  • Odin's Rune Chess has six excellent reviews and a good one, but it is the favorite of only one person, and it is fairly unpopular on Game Courier.
  • Raumschach is favorited by three people, and I believe Dickins mentions it in A Guide to Fairy Chess
  • Star Trek Tridimensional Chess is favorited by one person and has only two reviews, but it is very well known, and expensive sets are sold for it.

The following games do not meet any of the criteria above and are being unfeatured for now:

  • Byzantine Chess
  • Chess with Batteries has one review and is favorited by one person. It is not played on Game Courier.
  • Countdown
  • Crazy 38's is favorited by one person and has two good reviews. The one person who favorited it says in his review that he has not played it.
  • Diamond Chess
  • Flip Chess and Flip Shogi are favorited by one person, have no reviews, and are unplayed on Game Courier.
  • Pocket Knight
  • TenCubed Chess is favorited by only two people and is fairly unpopular on Game Courier.

H. G. Muller wrote on Sat, Apr 4, 2020 08:34 AM UTC:

OK, so we rename the 'primary items' to 'featured pages', and probably not much else will change. We have to update the list a bit, but we would have to do that anyway.

I suppose the featured pages serve two purposes:

  • Make it on average easier for visitors of the website to find what they are looking for.
  • Draw attention to pages 'we' think they should see, but which they never would look for.

I agree that all commercial variants deserve this status, so we should add Seirawan Chess, Musketeer Chess and Paco Shako. I also think that pages that provide 'infra-structural support' for this website, such as the Checkmating Applet or the Interactive Diagram wizzard should be mentioned there.

Kevin Pacey wrote on Sat, Apr 4, 2020 02:23 AM UTC:

Calling 'Primary Items' as 'Featured Pages' instead might allow for including a historic variant like (2 player) Chaturanga more smoothly (otherwise we worry about not being too sure of the rules to use, besides that it so closely resembles Shatranj). Unless, the limit on the 'Featured Pages' is set to a rigid unchanging number that may be regretted as being too low later on, and then some items might need to be axed as featured ones to make room for ones thought better included. I'm in favour of including the commercial variants, notably Seirawan Chess in particular (as I wrote in the past), though again a limit just might be reached very quickly. I'd point out that there are many 1- or 2-letter alphabetical sub-indicies in the Main Alphabetical Index, to liberally sprinkle a generously large number (or limit) of Featured Pages over.

I now would assume, that if this concept of Featured Pages goes ahead, only CVP editor(s) in future would be the ones to pick the Featured Pages, and CVP  (possibly by explicit statement) would not encourage nomination of any currently excluded items by non-editors, though at least people can still express by comments whether they agree with a chosen item being included. If so, a look now and then at the Favourites list, or the Top 50 Game Courier list, for example, might make for a couple of more resources editors can use when in future picking Featured Pages or even the Featured Games (the formerly Recognized Variants concept, which is declared discontinued).

🕸Fergus Duniho wrote on Fri, Apr 3, 2020 11:09 PM UTC:

The reason I want to use the word "Featured" is that it has a precise, concrete meaning. Something would be featured if we feature it, and it wouldn't be featured if we don't. In contrast, calling something "Recognized" or "Primary" suggests some external quality. The idea behind the Recognized Variants is to identify those that have won or merit some kind of recognition. This can lead to disagreement or uncertainty over which variants should be considered recognized. But the idea of Featured Games isn't tied to some nebulous external standard. We could feature or unfeature games for different reasons, permanently featuring some games, and temporarily featuring others. Since it's main purpose would be to draw attention to some pages in search results, I agree that it should not be broken into categories. This purpose would also put a practical limit on how many pages should be featured.

H. G. Muller wrote on Fri, Apr 3, 2020 09:15 PM UTC:

Well, I don't care whether items are called 'primary', 'featured' or 'highlights'. It is a very good idea that some of the more important items in the index for a certain 2-letter combination go in front, though, as sometimes the lists are quite long. I don't think it would be a good idea to split the items that are thus favored into several categories

🕸Fergus Duniho wrote on Fri, Apr 3, 2020 08:47 PM UTC:

That's something that David Howe instituted so that the most important pages would be at the top of the list when listing search results. I think he largely included the Recognized Variants, though some other things are also included. It might be a good idea to replace Recognized Variants and Primary Items with Featured Games and Featured Pages, the former being a subset of the latter. Featured pages would be ones that we want to draw greater attention to or that we expect users would be looking for more. These could include links to games that enough of us think highly of, links to well-known or popular games, and links to commercially available commercial games. These could be featured at the top of search results, as Primary Items are, but referred to as Featured Pages instead. Also, they could be a bit more dynamic than Recognized Variants, meaning we could drop something from the Featured Pages, such as a commercial game no longer being made, or a game that has been reevaluated.

Kevin Pacey wrote on Fri, Apr 3, 2020 01:41 PM UTC:

I cannot seem to find a policy statement on what it takes for a chess variant or other item to be selected by editor(s) to be a 'Primary Item' in the CVP 'Main Alphabetical Index'. Usually, but not always, such Primary Items are also 'Recognized Variants'.

It would also be good to know if CVP editor(s) welcome feedback or nominations by non-editors for what might become a Primary Item. Something being a Primary Item certainly gives it a certain amount of extra attention and/or distinction.

🕸Fergus Duniho wrote on Wed, Apr 1, 2020 11:40 AM UTC:

I have a clear conflict of interest here. 

That hits the head on the nail. Conflict of interest is the main reason the Recognized Chess Variants project has been discontinued. This site is run by Chess variant inventors, and as inventors, we all want recognition for our own variants. But to do something like the Recognized Chess Variants project requires impartiality and the willingness to not use it to promote our own pet projects. The Favorites system works differently. Inventors may favorite their own games, but it's mainly how other people vote that determines whether a game rises to the top of the list. Prolific inventors are even encouraged to use this as a tool for designating their own favorites among their own games, because this is relevant information. I have not favorited all of my games, because I think it is more relevant for people to know which of my games are my personal favorites than it is for me to promote all my games equally. Even though I have invented my own games, I am detached enough from them that I can be critical of them and favor some over others. But I am not so detached from my games that I am uninterested in promoting any of them. Instead of demanding impartiality, the Favorites system allows partiality but minimizes its effect. This encourages more participation, and it provides a more accurate reading on how much recognition individual games actually have.

H. G. Muller wrote on Wed, Apr 1, 2020 09:13 AM UTC:

@Zied & Raphael:

If you read back through the comments on this topic, you will see that we have had an intense discussion in 2018 on what the future of the 'Recognized' label should be. At that time we corrected some obvious omissions of variants that are played by millions even today (Jangi, Makruk), or in their time dominated the chess scene (Shatranj, Chu Shogi). At that time a sort of concensus arose that it could be discontinued, as the categories for which novel variants could qualify would just duplicate the 'favorites' list.

🕸Fergus Duniho wrote on Wed, Apr 1, 2020 12:57 AM UTC:

Is the fact that the recognised variants section wasn't updated from 2006 means that the administrators of chessvariants haven't found any new / recent variant worth to be added ?

No, it means that this project has been discontinued. This has nothing to do with the quality of Chess variants coming out since its discontinuation. It has been replaced with allowing members to designate their favorite Chess variants. This gives everyone who cares to participate an equal voice, which is more democratic than letting editors come up with a list. At present, 3 people have favorited Musketeer Chess.

Zied Haddad wrote on Tue, Mar 31, 2020 11:18 PM UTC:Good ★★★★

Hi, thank you for your comment.

Raphael mentioned his comment to me. Loving / Preferences are individual choices.

I have a clear conflict of interest here. 

Is the fact that the recognised variants section wasn't updated from 2006 means that the administrators of chessvariants haven't found any new / recent variant worth to be added ?

Just to mention that recently, there was many things new concerning Musketeer Chess: Jocly website went down so your website, mine and HG Muller work are the only websites where it's possible to play this variant.

Many engine programmers become to have growing interest in it. The major one is for sure Stockfish that recently released Musketeer Stockfish. There are a total of 6 Programmers that already made engines for Musketeer Chess, which is not an easy variant to program due to the rules that concern the Piece selection and the "Gating Selection" = squares where the pieces will enter the game.

This growing interest is for sure for me a good thing. The majority of these programmers tried to play the game and loved it. 

Have you an idea if there are other variants that are currently commercial ?

I runned tens of thousands of engine games and played myself hundreds. 

My conclusions based on these tests are as follows: The game seems to be balanced as there are almost equal winning chances comparing black and white chances, and the draw percentage is low (less than 8%). Seirawan Chess that Inspired Musketeer Chess favors clearly White for example.


Thanks again for your comment: PS working on a wiki page and i mentioned your Game Courier in it. A really nice tool.

I hope also that Lichess will add it to their server.

🕸Fergus Duniho wrote on Mon, Mar 30, 2020 07:22 PM UTC:

Musketeer Chess is very young, and nothing has been added to this list since 2006. It has been replaced by the more democratic practice of letting users favorite games. You may play Musketeer Chess on this site with Game Courier.

Raphael Elie Kakou wrote on Mon, Mar 30, 2020 06:08 PM UTC:Good ★★★★


My interest for chess variants is growing since i retired from the army two years ago. This website is outstanding and inspiring. I met with some funs of chess variants. A special mention to a certain Medical Doctor working in Paris who's name is Dr Zied Haddad and who's a nice and smart man. He invented Musketeer Chess and i got the chance to play with him a few games and he shared with me his great passion for chess and chess variants and why he got motivation to invent and spend much time and more in inventing chess variants and designing and creating new pieces.

I must say that Musketeer Chess is for me among the best variants (with Seirawan chess and a new variant named Shogun). This post is about recognized chess variants. I wonder why Musketeer Chess isn't among these variants.


Currently it's almost the only commercial chess variant i know. It offers many different fairy pieces that help play on the board (I prefer playing on the board even though with the current pandemics the only person I can play chess or chess variants with is myself). These pieces are also very interesting esthetically and I regularly use them to customise the classic chess set. My grandson loves for example when I replace the Rook with the Spider or the Fortress (the Rook is supposed to be more valuable in terms of relative strength than the Knight or Bishop, but it is usually much smaller in size than these pieces). I also love to use the Unicorns (either replacing the knights using unicorns, or just customising my pieces). When using unicorns instead of the Knights the games are very tactical and very short.


How it's possible to add musketeer chess to the list of recognised chess variants? 

I also wanted to praise the website of the inventor, nice looking, easy to use and with many free tools like the Board Painter tool allowing to build Diagrams for many chess variants.

Kevin Pacey wrote on Wed, Jul 25, 2018 05:44 AM UTC:

Assuming that, by the passage of time since my last post on the subject, Seirawan Chess is not yet worthy to be placed on the Recognized Chess Variants list, I'd now suggest it might at least be worthy to be given 'Primary Item' status, i.e. in the CVP Main Alphabetical Index, under indicies 'Se' and 'S'.

Kevin Pacey wrote on Thu, Jun 28, 2018 05:12 AM UTC:Excellent ★★★★★

I'd like to nominate Seirawan Chess for the Popular category (I'm hoping we can squeeze at least this one entry onto the list of Recognized Variants, after something of a long lull).

I think the wiki on this variant gives the idea here and there that it has become rather popular since its invention over 10 years ago. Notably, mentioned are a number of websites devoted to it:

I find this variant to be worth rating as Excellent, if only since it seems to me to be at least as good as Capablanca Chess, while remaining on an 8x8 board as used for chess.

Kevin Pacey wrote on Thu, Apr 12, 2018 02:42 AM UTC:

I'm now significantly better liking the choices as a whole for the listed games on the Recognized Chess Variants index page. Have you thought more about commenting on any of the relatively recent comments from several people posting in this thread, Greg?

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