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This page is written by the game's inventor, Jose Carrillo.

Modern Ministers Courier Chess

Modern Ministers Courier Chess (diagram above) is a Courier Chess (diagram below left) variant that adds two additional "Modern" changes to the work done on Courier Chess Moderno (diagram below right) into smaller 11x8 board: Bishops are allowed to start on the same color squares, and the Bishop Adjustment Rule.


In 2008, during a friendly discussion with John Smith on some of the improvements of my Courier Chess Moderno variant (above right), John suggested that a further improvement could be to drop the weaker Queen (Ferz) and Sleich and replace them with a 2nd Man in a smaller 11x8 board.

Adding a 2nd Man and reducing the board from 12x8 to 11x8 would have a consequence: Bishops would need to start up in same color squares.

Modern Ministers Courier Chess meets all of the Four Modern Principles.


An 11x8 board is required. It doesn't matter whether you have light or dark squares at the corners on your side. If you have a 12x8 Courier board, just cover with a piece of cardboard (or any other material) one of the rows on one side.


Reverse Symmetry gives both players the same perspective of the board, of their own army as well as their opponent's army.

The Modern Ministers Courier Chess opening setup is as follows:

King f1; Ministers (or Man/Commoners) e1, g1; Rooks a1, k1; Knights b1, j1; Courier Elephants c1, i1; Bishops (or Couriers) d1, h1; Pawns a2, b2, c2, d2, e2, f2, g2, h2, i2, j2, k2.

King f8; Ministers (or Man/Commoners) e8, g8; Rooks a8, k8; Knights b8, j8; Courier Elephants c8, i8; Bishops (or Couriers) d8, h8; Pawns a7, b7, c7, d7, e7, f7, g7, h7, i7, j7, k7.


All regular chess pieces (except for the elephants) in Modern Ministers Courrier Chess move as in Orthodox Chess. Pawns can play one or two squares in their initial move.

The Courier Elephant is like a Burmese Elephant or Shoqi Silver General (one step diagonal in any direction, or one step forward) that also has the ability to leap 2-squares in ANY direction, on their very first move.

Essencially Courier Elephants have the priviledge of a single Shatranj Elephant (Alfil) 2-step diagonal leap for their first move, or a 2-step straight forward Dabbabah leap.

Courier Elephants are sort of "Burmese Elephant Pawns", they have the option of making an initial one or two-step forward (or diagonal) move (or leap).

The sample 12x8 Courrier board above shows how (on their first move) Courier Elephants can play 1-step diagonally foward or straight forward; or they can leap [square being jumped can be vacant or occupied] 2-steps diagonally forward or straight forward. See the elephants on j8 and c1 (represented by a white Silver General) above. Once they have first moved (or leaped), elephants can only move like Burmese Elephants or Silver Generals (i.e. elephants on j3 & e6 above that already leaped on their first move). Courier elephants can perform a capture with their initial leap.

Courier Elephants can reach all squares on the board and engage enemy elephants in battle (something not possible with the Elephant [Alfil] in Courrier Chess), as well as develop right from their first move. They are very nice and useful short-range attacking pieces, that are similar in value to the long-range color-bound Bishops and the leaping Knights. They can also be kept as short-rage defending pieces around the King.

The Minister (Man or Commoner) moves one square in any arbitrary direction, just like the king (above), but is non-royal (not hindered by check).


The goal of the game is to checkmate the opponent's King, or to exterminate the opponent's army and render his/her King "Bare".

Rules for en passant, check, checkmate and Threefold Repetition Draw are like in Orthodox Chess.

The "Bare King" condition (also found in Shatranj) applies. It occurs when a player has taken his opponent’s last piece or pawn (i.e. only the opponent's King remains). This is a win for the first player unless the opponent's lonely King can then take the first player's last remaining piece or pawn on his next move (bearing the first player's King as well, i.e. King vs King), which is then a draw.

Stalemate is a draw in Modern Minister's Courier Chess.

The 50-move draw rule is in effect, just like in Orthodox Chess.

Pawns promote to any piece (except King) upon reaching their last rank.

Castling is symmetric to both sides of the board, and the notation for castling is long (O-O-O) followed by the letter for the ending square of the King (i.e. O-O-Oc or O-O-Oi).

This table shows where the King and Rook end up and the notation for each type of castling.

White castles a-sidec-castlingO-O-OcKc1, Rd1
White castles k-sidek-castlingO-O-OiKi1, Rh1
Black castles a-sidec-castlingO-O-OcKc8, Rd8
Black castles k-sidek-castlingO-O-OiKi8, Rh8

Castling may only occur under the following conditions:

These rules have the following consequences:

The Bishop Adjustment Rule

Players on their turn, are allowed to convert one (and only one) of their Bishops to the opposite color square by swapping places with any piece adjacent to them. Neither the Bishop nor the piece to be adjusted with may have moved before the Bishop swap. The Bishop adjustment will count as a single turn, and a move for both the Bishop and the piece swapped with.

The Notation for the Bishop Adjustment is 'Bx <=> piece adjusting with', where x is the coordinate the Bishop is before the adjustment (i.e. Bc<=>M stands for a Bishop on the c file adjusting with the Minister).

Sample Bishop Adjustments

Modern Ministers Courier Chess (MMCC)
José Carrillo (CAN)- Jeremy Good (USA)
CV Game Courier, July 2009


Position after 1.f2 f5 2.Ni3 Ni6 3.g4 fxg4 4.e4 (diagram left) and after 4... Bd<=>M Bishop Adjustment with the c-Minister.


Modern Ministers Courier is a great game to play OTB with a composed set (you can use two queens to represent the Ministers) and with a Chess Clock. We recommend a minimum of 30 minutes per side on the clock for an interesting and enjoyable game. 15 minutes (or less ) per side might be only long enough to develop the pieces, and barely play in the middle game.

Game Courier Presets

Modern Ministers Courier Chess preset

Modern Ministers Courier Chess preset #2 (with the Silver Generals shape instead of Elephants)

Game Courier Logs

Game Courier Logs for Games of Modern Ministers Courier Chess

To see actual games that have been played on-line, follow the link above.

Modern Ministers Courier Chess (MMCC) was created by José Manuel Carrillo-Muñiz, from Puerto Rico in 2009.

Chess Variants by the Author:

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This 'user submitted' page is a collaboration between the posting user and the Chess Variant Pages. Registered contributors to the Chess Variant Pages have the ability to post their own works, subject to review and editing by the Chess Variant Pages Editorial Staff.

By Jose Carrillo.
Web page created: 2009-07-04. Web page last updated: 2009-07-04