Check out Chess with Different Armies, our featured variant for July, 2024.

This page is written by the game's inventor, Jörg Knappen.

Janus Kamil Chess


Janus Kamil Chess is a crossover between Janus Chess and Modern Kamil Chess invented by Jörg Knappen in 2004.


The game is played on a 12x10 board with the following initial setup:

Camel a1, l1; Rook b1, k1; Janus c1, j1; Knight d1, i1; Bishop e1, h1; Queen f1; King g1; Pawns a2, b2, c2, d2, e2, f2, g2, h2, i2, h2, k2, l2.

Camel a10, l10; Rook b10, k10; Janus c10, j10; Knight d10, i10; Bishop e10, h10; Queen f10; King g10; Pawns a9, b9, c9, d9, e9, f9, g9, h9, i9, h9, k9, l9.

Initial Setup:


The King, Queen, Bishop, Knight, Rook, and Pawn are as in orthodox Chess (except for the Pawn's initial move and castling moves — see Rules below).


The Janus moves as either a Bishop or a Knight


The Camel is a (3, 1) leaper, basically an elongated Knight


Pawns — An unmoved Pawn can move 1, 2, or 3 spaces. It may be captured en passant on any square passed over. Upon reaching the last rank a pawn promotes to Queen, Janus, Rook, Bishop, Knight, or Camel (any piece in the opening setup except the King.)

Castling — The King can castle with either Rook by moving to the square immediately next to the Rook, which then hops to the adjacent square on the other side. Therefore, the King moves 3 spaces when castling short and 4 spaces when castling long. Castling follows all of the usual restrictions.

All other rules are as those in orthodox Chess.


I designed this variant with two ideas in my mind:

First, I wanted to design a chess variant with more pieces of different strength. My choices are Camel (a piece weaker than the knight and Janus (with a strength between Rook and Queen).

Second, the opening setup line shall feature as the second and third rank of a large duodecimal variant with more pieces in the first rank. This variant is Quinquereme Chess and extends the range of different strengths.

Computer Play

Play Online: Janus Kamil Chess can be played on this site with Game Courier. Fully automated, rule-enforcing presets for this game can be found here. You can also view games that have previously been played on Game Courier here.

Computer Play: Janus Kamil Chess is fully supported by ChessV, a free open-source program for playing chess variants.

Interactive Diagram: You can also play against a very basic AI with this interactive diagram (click on "Play it!" under the diagram):

files=12 ranks=10 promoZone=1 castleFlip=1 promoChoice=NBRQCJ graphicsDir=/graphics.dir/alfaeriePNG/ squareSize=50 graphicsType=png Pawn:P:ifmnDifmnHfmWfceF:pawn:a2,b2,c2,d2,e2,f2,g2,h2,i2,j2,k2,l2,,a9,b9,c9,d9,e9,f9,g9,h9,i9,j9,k9,l9 knight:N:N:knight:d1,i1,,d10,i10 bishop:B:B:bishop:e1,h1,,e10,h10 rook:R:R:rook:b1,k1,,b10,k10 queen:Q:Q:queen:f1,,f10 camel:C:C:camel:a1,l1,,a10,l10 Janus:J:BN:cardinal:c1,j1,,c10,j10 king:K:KirjO3iljO4:king:g1,,g10

Written by Jörg Knappen.
Updated by Greg Strong.
WWW page created: 2004-07-16.
WWW page updated: 2020-12-20.