The Chess Variant Pages

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This page is written by the game's inventor, Charles Daniel.


This is an entry in the 45/46 cell 2007 design contest.

Claustrophobia is played on a 5x8 board with 3 additional squares on each side - a total of 46 squares. These three squares constitute the palace, which initially holds the King, the Queen-Guard, and a Knight.

There is no castling for the king is already at a wing (in the palace), and the objective of the game is not just checkmate (which wins as usual), but to invade the palace of the opposing king with your king and capture the scepter. The scepter is located on the 3 squares of the palace, and can only be captured by the opposing king. The scepter must be protected at all cost for losing it forfeits the throne, power …everything.



An 8x8 chess board and standard chessmen can be used to represent the new pieces as follows: Queen for Queen-guard, rooks for flying bombers, bishops for ninja guards.

The Ninja Guard’s Moves

The Ninja Guard is a color bound piece that can move one or two steps diagonally. It can leap over a diagonally adjacent friendly piece to land exactly 2 squares away (a two-space diagonal leap). It can capture on any square it lands, and additionally it can can capture an enemy piece that is diagonally adjacent by jumping over it. It can capture two pieces (the first immediately adjacent to it, and the next right after) in its path on a diagonal by jumping over the first one and capturing the second piece on the square it lands.
Ninja Guard’s moves The Ninja Guard on c4 can capture all the pieces in the diagram.
It can capture the pawn on a6 by jumping over the knight at b5.
It can capture the pawn on b3 by moving to b3 or by jumping over the pawn and landing on a2.
It can capture the knight on d5 by moving to d5 or it can capture both the knight and the pawn by jumping over to e6.

The Flying Bomber’s Moves

Standard Move: For a successful bombing, there must be at least one empty square immediately after the first enemy piece on the same line.

Alternative Move: the Helicopter Landing
The Flying Bomber's peculiar short-range prowess is explained below: The 2 square range helicopter move/capture is identical to the Dabbabah except for the double capture. It flies two spaces horizontally or vertically, capturing (if possible) on square it lands.
For diagrams illustrating the moves see Flying Bombers Grand Chess
*note that the limited version of the flying bomber is used for this game - fly over and land on the empty square immediately after the enemy piece.

The Extra-mobile sliding pawn

The pawn moves and captures exactly as in orthodox chess except for the following. Normally, when a pawn faces an opposing pawn or an enemy piece, the pawn is blocked. However, the sliding pawn can, under these circumstances only if it is blocked, slide pass the enemy piece or pawn with the same 1-step diagonal movement that it would make when capturing.

The Queen Guard

The Queen Guard moves exactly like the King, 1 step orthogonally or diagonally. Ironically, the Queen-Guard despite appearing to be less powerful than the flying bomber, can deliver mate with the help of a king.

Moves over unused squares

Moves over unused squares The flying bomber at f7 is checking the king at f2 because it can capture by going to f1.
Note that the unused squares do not hinder the movement of any pieces.

The Ninja Guard on e4 is attacking the square g2 and so the king cannot go there.

The flying bomber is threatening the knight on d7 as well. It can fly over, bomb the knight and land on c7. It can also eliminate the knight by going to d7 since it is exactly 2 squares away.


The rules are as in orthodox chess except as noted below:


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 Charles Daniel.

Last revised by H. G. Muller.

Web page created: 2007-09-17. Web page last updated: 2022-12-05