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This page is written by the game's inventor, H. G. Muller.

Elven Chess

Elven Chess was conceived as a hybrid between orthodox Chess and the historical Japanese game of Chu Shogi, to allow a western Chess player to get a whiff of the latter. It was designed to be playable over the board with readily available equipment: one-and-a-half orthodox Chess sets plus an International Draughts set (checkers and board). The participating non-orthodox pieces can then be represented by placing pieces from the second Chess set (only a single Rook, Bishop and Knight, plus four Pawns are needed of each color) on the pedestal of a Draughts chip, reminding the player that in addition to the moves of its orthodox counterpart, it now also has all moves of an orthodox King. In other words, the pedestal indicates the piece is now the crowned version of the original piece.

Play Elven Chess against the computer on Jocly

Play Elven Chess against others via Game Courier


  • You can click on the pieces below to see their moves:
  • f0, e9: King
  • e1, f8: Warlock
  • f1, e8: Queen
  • g1, d8: Goblin
  • d1, g8: Elf
  • a0, a9, j0, j9: Rook
  • c1, c8, h1, h8: Bishop
  • b1, b8, i1, i8: Knight
  • a1, a8, j1, j8: Dwarf
  • a2-j2, a7-j7: Pawns


The Queen, Rook, Bishop, and Knight move identically to those in orthodox Chess. Pawns do nearly so, and in particular can do an initial double-step from the 2nd or 7th rank, and can be captured en passant immediately after that. The only difference with orthodox Chess is that they promote already on reaching the 7th rank, (2nd rank for black). They can only promote to pieces from orthodox Chess, and not to Warlock, Elf, Goblin or Dwarf. Kings also move as in orthodox Chess, and can castle under the usual restrictions of virginity, clear path and not passing through check. On castling they move 3 squares towards the Rook, however, as is usual on 10-wide boards.

The Goblin moves as Rook or King (the Shogi Dragon King, RF), and is represented by a Rook on a Draughts chip.

The Elf moves as Bishop or King (the Shogi Dragon Horse, BW), and is represented by a Bishop on a Draughts chip.

The Dwarf moves as King (but is non-royal, so really a Commoner), and is represented by a Pawn on a Draughts chip. (But this does not imply it adds anything Pawn-like to its King moves; in particular a Dwarf cannot make double steps, cannot capture e.p. and cannot promote.)

The Warlock moves as a King, but can (optionally) move twice per turn, and (optionally) use its non-last step as a 'hop', passing over a square occupied by friend or enemy without disturbing it. This means:

The Warlock (which you might have recognized as the Chu-Shogi Lion) is represented by a Knight on two stacked Draughts chips, to highlight its special powers.


The aim is to checkmate the opponent King. It is not allowed to expose your King to capture, and stalemate is a draw.

There are two special rules to prevent easy trading of Warlocks:

These rules together make it impossible for two Warlocks to be captured in subsequent moves.


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 H. G. Muller.

Last revised by H. G. Muller.

Web page created: 2014-04-24. Web page last updated: 2014-04-24´╗┐