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This page is written by the game's inventor, Rich Hutnik.

Near vs Normal Chess

Near Chess is based off the variant, Skirmish Chess, by Tony Paletta:

Skirmish Chess is a modest variant of regular chess, that follows nearly all the rules of regular chess, but is meant to engage the players faster, by moving the pieces closer. Near Chess uses the same set up, but drops multiple normal chess specific rules.

Near vs Normal Chess pits pieces following Near Chess rules against those following normal chess rules.

A PDF version of Near Chess rules, with diagrams, can be found here:

There is a Zillions version, with multiple variants, for Near vs Normal Chess at:;id=1579


This is the set up for Normal side (normal chess):
Normal's pawns start in the second rank (non-pawns) and their non-pawns start in the first rank.

This is the set up for Near side (Near Chess):
Near's back rank is empty and Near's chessmen are moved up to the third rank (pawns) and the second rank (non-pawns). Pawns do not have a double-step option on their first move.


Same as in standard FIDE Chess.


Normal chess pieces operate under normal (FIDE) chess rules (see exceptions below). Pieces under Near Chess rules operate under these conditions:
1. Pawns only move one space forward and capture one space diagonally.
2. There is no castling.
3. Game is won by capturing the opponent's king, rather than checkmating it. This reduces the chance of the Near Chess side stalemating. This greatly reduces the chance of a stalemate occurring. In the case of a very rare stalemate, it would be counted as a win for the Normal side. In Near vs Normal, stalemates count as wins.
4. Pieces only promote to those pieces that have been captured, except a pawn. In other words, the player is limited to only one queen, two rooks, two knights, etc... A pawn is not permitted to move into the back row, unless it is able to be promoted to some other pieces, besides another pawn. An exception to this rule is if a pawn can capture an enemy king in the back row. If it can, it may perform the capture to win the game.

When playing, players need to decide whether or not En Passant is in effect. If it is, then only Near Chess pieces perform En Passant. This would be done if En Passant is viewed as a weakness with normal chess pawns, rather than a move. Near Chess moves only move one space, so it isn't possible to perform En Passant on them.

Either black or white sides can be played by Near Chess set up and rules. For the sake of handicapping, the side which wins by capturing their opponent's king has an advantage over the opponent who has to checkmate their opponent. Either give both players capture or checkmate (capture producing less draws), or give the stronger player checkmate win conditions. The same would apply for promotion rules. The side using Near Chess promotion rules is at a disadvantage over those using normal chess rules.


This game started as an experiment in Zillions that pitted pieces operating under Near Chess rules verses those who operate under normal (FIDE) chess rules. After seeing the game played competitively, it was decided to list it as an entry here. If repeated play bears out sides are completely balanced, perhaps this can one day get adapted into normal chess as an alternate starting position. For now, it is presented as a novelty item for the variant community to explore.

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 Rich Hutnik.
Web page created: 2008-04-19. Web page last updated: 2008-04-19