The Chess Variant Pages

Check out Marseillais Chess, our featured variant for February, 2024.

This page is written by the game's inventor, Jean-Louis Cazaux. This game is a favorite of its inventor.

Heavy Chess

Heavy Chess is a slight variation of Sac Chess (Kevin Pacey, 2014) and thus does not claim any originality. As the matter of fact, the writter of this page even realized than the inventor of Sac Chess had already proposed this variation that he named Royal Bevy Chess. Heavy Chess is identical to Royal Bevy Chess. 

The fundamental principle is to see some elemental bricks behind the FIDE chess pieces. Those are the moves of the kNight (N), Rook (R), Bishop (B) and King (K). By associating those elements several fairy pieces can be made and those are very well known by chessvariants fans. Double compounds are  RN, BN, KN, KR, KB. Of course, RB is the Queen. RBK is the Amazon, one of the triple compounds.

Sac Chess had been designed with a goal of "knighting" and "crowning" every FIDE pieces by pairs. Then, it has 2 RN, 2 BN, 2 KN, 2 KR, 2KB and 2 QN=Amazons, keeping a single Queen. Heavy Chess is slight variation built on a different logic, i.e. using a pair of every double compound, the Queen being one of them. The Amazon being the stronger and a triple compound, it is used alone, by King's side. Thus, in Heavy Chess there are 2 RN, 2 BN, 2 KN, 2 KR, 2KB, 2 RB (Queens) and 1 QN (Amazon). Plus 1 King and a full line of Pawns.

(For those who want to go further, Very Heavy Chess involves the other triple compound pieces) 

Set of compound pieces for 3D printer: (from left to right) Centaur / Missionary / Marshall / Admiral / Amazon / Cardinal

Set of compound pieces for 3D printing

You can play Heavy Chess with Game Courier here!



The board has 10 x 10 checkered squares with a white one at the right end of each player.

There are 30 pieces per side:

White's pieces:

Black's pieces mirroring with King (f9), Amazon (e9), etc.

The initial setup follows some principles that have been prescribed for Sac Chess:

The difference with Sac Chess is that there are two Queens and one Amazon instead of two Amazons and one Queen.


Initial Setup:

Initial Setup:


King, Queen, Rook, Bishop, Knight move as in standard FIDE chess.

Pawns move also as in standard chess, including initial double step and en-passant capture. The only difference is for promotion, which is extended to the non-standard pieces (see below).

Amazon: it combines the move of Queen and Knight. Amazon is the most usual name for this piece.

Move of the Amazon

Marshall: it combines the move of Rook and Knight. It is also called a Chancellor. The name Marshall, also popular among chess variants, is used by consistency with my other variants.

Move of the Marshall

Cardinalit combines the move of Bishop and Knight. It is also called an Archbishop. The name Cardinal, also popular among chess variants, is used by consistency with my other variants.

Move of the Cardinal

Centaur: it combines the moves of Knight and non-royal King. Centaur is the most usual name for this piece.

Move of Centaur

Admiral: it is another compound piece that moves as a Rook or a non-royal King. That means that it is a Rook that can also step one space diagonally. It corresponds to the Dragon King that is found in Shogi. It is a Sailor in Sac chess. Dragon King seemed not appropriate in the context of this variant and I wanted a more elevated name than Sailor, hence my proposal of naming this piece an Admiral.

Move of the Admiral

Missionary: it is another compound piece that moves as a Bishop or a non-royal King. That means that it is a Bishop that can also step one space orthogonally. It corresponds to the Dragon Horse that is found in Shogi. It is a Missionary in Sac chess. Dragon Horse seemed not appropriate in the context of this variant, so I kept the name of Missionary.

Move of the Missionary


Castling: The King may castle with either Rook, with conditions as in standard chess.

Pawn Promotion: A Pawn reaching the last rank of the board is immediately replaced by any piece other than Pawn or King: Amazon, Queen, Marshall, Cardinal, Admiral, Missionary, Centaur, Rook, Bishop or Knight.

En Passant capture: Any time a Pawn takes a double step and passes through the capture square of an opposing Pawn, that Pawn may capture the Pawn as if it had only moved one square. This en passant capture must be made in the immediate move following the double step.

End Of Game: The end-of-game rules, checkmate, stalemate, etc., are identical to standard chess.


Royal Bevy Chess had been proposed earlier than Heavy Chess. Some pieces are named differently. The difference are presented in this table:

Royal Bevy Chess (K.Pacey, 2014) Heavy Chess (J.L.Cazaux, 2021)
Chancellor Marshall
Archbishop Cardinal
Sailor Admiral
Judge Centaur


Deep thanks to H.G. Muller for making the Interactive Diagram below

satellite=heavy graphicsDir=/graphics.dir/alfaeriePNG/ files=10 ranks=10 whitePrefix=w blackPrefix=b graphicsType=png squareSize=50 darkShade=#CF8948 lightShade=#FFCC9C rimColor=#000000 coordColor=#FFFFFF firstRank=1 promoChoice=AQHXJSYRBN promoZone=1 symmetry=mirror useMarkers=1 pawn::::a3-j3 knight:N:::c2,h2 bishop::::d2,g2 rook::::b2,i2 missionary:Y:BW:promotedbishop:e1,f1 admiral:S:RF:promotedrook:c1,h1 centaur:J:KN:knightguard:a2,j2 cardinal:X:BN::b1,i1 marshall:H:RN:chancellor:a1,j1 queen::::d1,g1 amazon::::e2 king::KisjO2::f2

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 Jean-Louis Cazaux.

Last revised by Jean-Louis Cazaux.

Web page created: 2020-12-21. Web page last updated: 2020-12-22