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This page is written by the game's inventor, Jose Carrillo.

Silver Elephant Chess

Silver Elephant Chess is a spin off variant of Mini Courier Chess Moderno. It has a main position (below left) but it also allows the players to select their choice between 4 different setups for the Silver Elephants and the Knights, a la Changgi (Korean Chess).

The main differences between Silver Elephant Chess and Mini Courier Chess is the movement of the Elephants and the initial Korean chess setup option.



The setup on the left is the main Silver Elephant Chess setup. It has an Orthodox chess piece arrangement with Silver Elephants between Bishops and Knights in a 10x8 board. In the setup at right, the Silver Elephants and Knights are removed from their initial squares, and the players in the initial turn must place a Silver Elephant-Knight pair in his/her prefered order (or randomly if they wish, just flip a coin) at either sides of the King.

There is no requirement to keep any symmetry between the left Elephant-Knight combination, and the one on the right. There is no symmetry requirements between the White and Black arrangements, therefore there are 16 possibles initial setups (4 for a player X 4 by the second player)

Any Elephant-Knight combination is possible for each player:
1. Elephant-Knight Elephant-Knight
2. Elephant-Knight Knight-Elephant
3. Knight-Elephant Knight-Elephant
4. Knight-Elephant Elephant-Knight (Main arrangement)

Here are two sample setups:


For the diagram on the left, the first move for White and Black would have been (in Game Courier format):

1. E c4-c1; N b4-b1; N i4-i1; E h4-h1 or -c4;-b4; -i4; -h4; E-c1; N-b1; N-i1; E-h1
1... e c5-c8; n b5-b8; n i5-h8; e h5-i8 or -c5; -b5; -i5; -h5; e-c5; n-b5; n-i5; e-h5

For the diagram on the right, the first move for White and Black would have been:

1. E c4-c1; N b4-b1; N i4-i1; E h4-h1 or -c4;-b4;-i4;-h4; E-c1; N-b1; N-i1; E-h1
1... e c5-b8; n b5-c8; n i5-h8; e h5-i8 or -c5; -b5; -i5; -h5; e-b8; n-c8; n-h8; e-i8

After 10-20 moves a game started from any of the alternate initial positions will look like a game started from the main position.


All regular chess pieces (except for the elephants) in Silver Elephant Chess move as in Orthodox Chess. Pawns can play one or two squares in their initial move.

Silver Elephants (represented by an Elephant with a moon by the ear) move just like leaping Courier Elephants. The Silver Elephant moves one step like a Burmese Elephant (one step diagonal in any direction, or one step forward) and can also leap 2-squares in ANY of the same Burmese directions (two steps diagonal in any direction, or two steps forwards). The square being jumped may be vacant or occupied. See the diagram below on the left.


The Courier Elephants cousins (i.e. Courier Chess Moderno diagram above at right) have the option of making a Silver Elephant leap only on their very first move. Afterwards, Courier Elephants are limited to a single-step Burmese Elephant movement.

Silver Elephants are leapers that can reach all squares on the board and can also be very nice and useful short-range attacking pieces. Their value is somewhere halfway between a Bishop and a Rook. A King and Silver Elephant are able to mate a lonely King.

Silver Elephants are known as Great Elephants in Peter Aronson's White Elephant Chess.


The goal of the game is to checkmate the opponent's King, as in Orthodox Chess.

Rules for en passant, check, checkmate, stalemate, 50-move draw and Threefold Repetition Draw are like in Orthodox Chess.

The "Bare King" condition (also found in Shatranj) applies. It occurs when a player has taken his opponent's last piece or pawn (i.e. only the opponent's King remains). This is a win for the first player unless the opponent's lonely King can then take the first player's last remaining piece or pawn on his next move (bearing the first player's King as well, i.e. King vs King), which is then a draw.

Pawns may promote to any piece (Queen, Rook, Silver Elephant, Bishop or Knight) upon reaching their last rank.

Castling is done by moving the King 3-steps in the direction of the Rook.

This table shows where the King and Rook end up and the notation for each type of castling.

White castles shortO-OKi1, Rh1
White castles longO-O-OKc1, Rd1
Black castles shortO-OKi8, Rh8
Black castles longO-O-OKc8, Rd8

Castling may only occur under the following conditions:

These rules have the following consequences:


Game Courier Presets

Silver Elephant Chess preset #1

Silver Elephant Chess preset #2 (with initial Korean setup option)

Game Courier Logs

Game Courier Logs for Games of Silver Elephant Chess

To see actual games that have been played on-line, follow the link above.

Silver Elephant Chess was proposed by Jose Manuel Carrillo-Muniz, from Puerto Rico in 2009.

Chess Variants by the Author:

Other Pages by the Author:

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 Jose Carrillo.
Web page created: 2009-06-17. Web page last updated: 2009-06-17