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

This page is written by the game's inventor, Jared McComb.

Little Trio

Little Trio is a game which brings together elements of Chess, Shogi, and Xiang-Qi.  It is also a small variant, played on a 7x7 board.  To my knowledge, it is the first small Chess Variant which brings together these three games in this way.


Each player will need seven Pawns and a King from a Chess set, a Lance, Gold General, and Silver General from a Shogi set, and a Horse, a Cannon, and a Chariot from a Xiang-Qi set.

On each player's two home rows, set up the pieces in the following configuration:


p = Pawn
L = Lance
S = Silver General
G = Gold General
K = King
H = Horse
P = Cannon ("Pao")
C = Chariot

The initial setup should exhibit rotational symmetry, not reflectional -- that is to say, for example, the Chariots should start in opposite corners of the board.

Just as in Shogi, your Lance, Silver General, and Gold General should be pointed towards your opponent.


All pieces move and capture as they do in their respective games, unless noted otherwise.

The Pawn and the King come from FIDE Chess.  Pawns may promote to any piece your opponent has already captured upon reaching the farthest rank.  If none of your pieces have been captured, the pawn in question may not make a promotional move.  Pawns promoting to Lances (see below) must then immediately promote to a Gold General (in the Shogi manner of flipping the piece) in order to allow them to move on subsequent turns.  Pawns may not capture en passant.  Kings may not castle.

The Lance, Silver General, and Gold General come from Shogi.  Like in Shogi, the Lance and Silver General can promote to Gold Generals.  However, the "promotion zone" in this game consists merely of the farthest rank.  Lances must promote when they reach this rank; Silver Generals have the option of delaying promotion, or of promoting by moving away from the farthest rank, just as in Shogi.

The Horse, Cannon, and Chariot come from Xiang-Qi.  Their movement and capture patterns remain unaltered from that game.  Since the King is not a Xiang-Qi piece, it is not subject to the restrictions that its Xiang-Qi counterpart must observe -- this means that both Kings may "see" each other on the same file, without penalty.


White plays first.  On your turn, you may either move a piece or drop a previously captured Shogi piece (see below).  The rules regarding check, mate, and stalemate are the same as in FIDE Chess.  The 50-move and 3-time-repetition rules apply here as well.

If you capture one of your opponent's Shogi pieces, that piece is held "in-hand" and may be dropped on a vacant square as your own piece on a subsequent turn.  All rules governing drops are the same as in Shogi (i.e. pieces must be dropped unpromoted, and lances may not be dropped on the farthest rank).


This game was inspired by the desire to create a 49-square variant in honor of my mother's 49th birthday.  Since I own a Chess Set, a Shogi Set, and a Xiang-Qi set, the game became a combination of the three.  Since I obviously couldn't include every piece from these three games, I had to choose a subset which encompassed all three games as well as a wider variety of move types.  Thus, the Shogi pieces were taken from the short-range droppable pieces that make Shogi so intricate, the Xiang-Qi pieces were taken from the long-range pieces that make Xiang-Qi so dynamic, as well as the Horse because I wanted a knight-type move, and the Chess pieces were taken because I still needed a royal piece and some type of pawn.  There are no real diagonally-oriented pieces in this game, but then again, they aren't very prevalent in the two Eastern games either.

The Shogi pieces are not as powerful as the Xiang-Qi pieces overall, but due to their nature it is just as important, if not moreso, to protect them.

The ability to drop Shogi pieces anywhere on the board has the tendency to make the Cannon a lot more useful in the endgame than it is in Xiang-Qi.

I would greatly appreciate any help in creating a Zillions file for this game.

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 Jared B. McComb.
Web page created: 2006-04-26. Web page last updated: 2006-04-26