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This page is written by the game's inventor, A. M. DeWitt.


Ryugi (Japanese: 龍棋 ryūgi, "dragon's game") is a game inspired by David Paulowich's Unicorn Great Chess. I invented it after playing Unicorn Great Chess in the first round of the Game Courier Tournament 2019. Despite the name being Japanese, it is not a Japanese game. In fact, it is much more similar to Chess than it is to Shogi or any of its variants.

Play Ryugi against others via Game Courier


An interactive diagram has been provided (The Javascript source code was written by H. G. Muller) to make it easier to understand how each piece moves. The diagram uses pieces from the Musketeer Chess Board Painter.

First rank

Second and third ranks

M/m = Marshall, D/d = Dragon, I/i = Kirin, R/r = Rook, N/n = Knight, B/b = Bishop, Q/q = Queen, K/k = King, P/p = Pawn


The King moves one space in any direction but not into check. It moves the same as it does in Chess but castles differently.
The Queen moves as a Rook or a Bishop, the same as it does in Chess.

The Marshall moves as a Rook or a Knight. It is a popular piece in many Chess variants, dating back centuries, even before Chess as we know it today came into existence.
The Dragon moves as a Bishop or as a Nightrider. When moving as a Nightrider, it makes any number of Knight moves in the same direction, and is not blocked from moving pieces that are on squares it does not directly land on. However, it cannot jump over a piece that is directly in its path.

The Rook slides across the board in a vertical or horizontal direction, as it does in Chess.
The Bishop slides across the board in any diagonal direction, as it does in Chess.

The Knight leaps to a space one file and two ranks away or two files and one rank away, as it does in Chess.
The Pawn moves one space vertically forward without capturing, and it moves one space diagonally forward to capture, as it does in Chess. It can also move two squares forward if it is on its own starting square or that of another Pawn of the same color, and capture by en passant a Pawn that has just made a double move like it does in Chess. However, it is subject to different rules of promotion.

The Kirin moves one space diagonally or jumps two spaces horizontally or vertically.    


Aside from differences in the board, pieces, and setup, Ryugi is played like FIDE Chess with the following differences:

Pawn promotion: When a Pawn reaches the last rank, it must promote to another piece of that player's choice: a Queen, Dragon, Marshall, Rook, Knight, Bishop, or Kirin of the same color. It cannot promote to King or another Pawn.

Castling: When castling, a King may move two or three spaces toward the Rook when it castles, with the Rook leaping over the King to the closest space the King has just passed over, so that King and Rook end up adjacent to each other. The usual castling conditions from Chess apply. A King may not castle from or through check, all spaces between the Rook and King must be empty, and neither piece may have moved before.

64-move rule: The 50-move rule from Chess becomes a 64-move rule in Ryugi. Similarly, the lesser-known 75-move rule from Chess is a 96-move rule in Ryugi.


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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 A. M. DeWitt.

Last revised by A. M. DeWitt.

Web page created: 2019-04-28. Web page last updated: 2019-04-28