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

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

Ajax Chess

Ajax Chess is a 10x10 large variant where every piece, in addition to their regular Orthodox Chess movement, also have the option of moving one square in any direction (like a Courier Chess Man or Commoner). The Minister (Mastodon) leaper complements the Knight.

This violent variant is named after Ajax the Great, a mythological Greek hero, described in Homer's Iliad as of great stature and colossal frame, the tallest and strongest of all the Achaeans. Apart from Achilles, Ajax is the most valuable warrior in the Greek Army. When Achilles dies, Ajax is one of the Greek heroes that fought against the Trojans to get Achilles body to bury it.

Coincidentally, the variant was created in the town of Ajax, Ontario, Canada.

Additionally, for Capablanca Chess Lovers, the Ajax Ministers Chess variation is played on a 10x8 board and without reverse symmetry.


Ajax Chess (10x10)

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

The Ajax Chess opening setup is as follows:

King f1; Queen e1; Rooks a1, j1; Knights b1, i1; Bishops c1, h1; Ministers d1, g1; Pawns a2, b2, c2, d2, e2, f2, g2, h2, i2, j2.

King e10; Queen f10; Rooks a10, j10; Knights b10, i10; Bishops c10, h10; Ministers d10, g10; Pawns a9, b9, c9, d9, e9, f9, g9, h9, i9, j9.

Ajax Ministers Chess (10x8)

Direct Symmetry like in Capablanca and Orthodox Chess.

The Ajax Ministers Chess opening setup is as follows:

King f1; Queen e1; Rooks a1, j1; Knights b1, i1; Bishops c1, h1; Ministers d1, g1; Pawns a2, b2, c2, d2, e2, f2, g2, h2, i2, j2.

King f8; Queen e8; Rooks a8, j8; Knights b8, i8; Bishops c8, h8; Ministers d8, g8; Pawns a7, b7, c7, d7, e7, f7, g7, h7, i7, j7.


The inspiration of the move for the pieces in Ajax Chess is the Man or Commoner from Courier Chess.

All regular minor chess pieces (Rook, Bishop and Knights) in Ajax Chess move as in Orthodox Chess, with the additional feature that they are also allowed to move (but not capture! see below) as Courier Chess' Man (or Commoner): one square in any arbitrary direction, just like a King:

This means that Rooks get an additional one-step diagonal move (Ferz), Bishops get an additional one-step orthogonal move (Wazir), and Knights get all Man (Commoner) one-step moves.

There is a catch though to this new "adopted" move to the Orthodox Chess pieces! They are not allowed to capture with their new "adopted" moves. So Rooks are not allowed to capture on their diagonal move, Bishops can't capture on their orthogonal moves and Knights are not allowed to capture on their one-square moves.

The additional "adopted" Commoner moves are intended to easily allow a Rook, Bishop and Knight to move to a new outpost where they can carry their orthodox attacks. They can also use their "adopted" moves to block an enemy attack.

The Ajax-Minister

Two Ministers (enhanced Man or Commoners) sit side by side to the royals (King and Queen).


Over The Board, Ajax Ministers are represented by handmade Prime Ministers (King pieces without the Cross Crown).

Since the Man (or Commoner) was the inspiration of the extra movement for the minor pieces; I decided it was only fair to improve the movement of the my new Ministers as well.

Adding a two-step leap in every direction (Alfil+Dababah - circles in blue above) to their one step Man move (circles in green above) for my new Ajax-Ministers would complement nicely the rest of the non-royals.

This two-step leap would also be a natural extension to the movement of Man; an idea I also used to enhance my Courier Pachyderms for the game Silver Elephant Chess.

The Ajax Minister is the latest re-incarnation of a piece that has been known before as Pasha (Paulovits's Game by Istvan Paulovits - c.1890), Squire (Renniassance Chess by Eric V. Greenwood - 1980), Jumping General (Grand Shatranj) or Jumping King (Atlantean Barroom Shatranj) [both by Joe Joyce - 2006], and Mastodon or Mammoth (Mastodon, Mammoth and Elephant Chess by Mats Winter 2006).

Like the King and the Queen, Ajax-Ministers CAN capture on their one-square moves, as this is a natural [not adopted] move to the Man, and the Ministers are considered enhanced Commoners.

Sample Ajax-Minister's Mate:

Jose Carrillo (Puerto Rico) - Nicholas Wolff (USA)
Ajax Falcon Chess, CV Game Courier, January 2010

Position after 11. Mf4-d6# (blocking the Minister with Ne7 or Qe7 can't stop the leaping Minister).


Pawns can play one, two or three squares in their initial move. They capture one square diagonally as in regular chess and may promote to any piece (Queen, Rook, Minister, Bishop or Knight) upon reaching their last rank.

Approximate Value of the Ajax Pieces in a 10x10 board


The goal of the game is to checkmate the opponent's King, as in Orthodox Chess.

Rules for check, checkmate, stalemate, 50-move draw and Threefold Repetition Draw are like in Orthodox Chess.

En Passant

Pawns may make a one, two or three squares move on their first move. So a White Pawn on e2 can move to e3, e4, or e5 (or capture at d3 or f3). On two or three square moves, at each of the squares passed by, the Pawn can be taken en passant by an adjacent advanced enemy pawn.

Sample en passant:

Jose Carrillo (Puerto Rico) - Vitya Makov (Moldavia)
CV Game Courier, July 2009


Positions after 12.d6 (left), 12... e9-e6 (middle), 13.dxe7 e.p. (right)


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

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

White castles a-sideb-castlingO-ObKb1, Rc1
White castles j-sidei-castlingO-OiKi1, Rh1
Black castles a-sideb-castlingO-ObKb8, Rc8
Black castles j-sidei-castlingO-OiKi8, Rh8

Castling may only occur under the following conditions:

These rules have the following consequences:

Other Ajax inspired variants


Computer Play

If you have Zillions of Games installed on your computer, you can play this game. Download file:

Game Courier Presets


Ajax Chess (with Ajax-Ministers)
Ajax Chess (with Mastodons)

Game Courier Logs

Game Courier Logs for Games of Ajax Chess

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

Ajax Ministers Chess - Game Courier Preset

This variation of Ajax Chess uses direct symmetry on a Capablanca Chess 10x8 board. Opposite color Kings (and Queens) face each other in the opening setup, as in Orthodox Chess. All Ajax Chess rules apply to this 10x8 variation, including short castling to either side of the board, but excluding the ability of Pawns to move 3 squares in their opening move.

Ajax Ministers Chess (10x8)

Game Courier Logs

Game Courier Logs for Games of Ajax Ministers Chess

Ajax Family Game Courier Logs

Game Courier Logs for all the Ajax Family games

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

Ajax Chess (AC) was created by Jose Manuel Carrillo-Muniz, from Puerto Rico in July 2009.

Chess Variants by the Author:

Other Presets by the Author:

Other Pages by the Author:

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.

Last revised by H. G. Muller.

Web page created: 2009-07-05. Web page last updated: 2022-11-22