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This page is written by the game's inventor, Lev Grigoriev. This game is a favorite of its inventor.

Stone Garden Chess

It can be in Britain, Spain, or other European country's town with statues in gardens. To be ready for it, let's start. Stay calm in these situations, and chess variant form will let you stay calm. And win! Probably…


Animal statues are again alive! Be careful!


Blue points indicate moves to empty squares only, yellow crosses are capture only, green points are normal (both moving and capturing).


As in Shogi, the Horse moves as a chess Knight, but only forward (2 squares forward, then 1 sideways), ignoring any pieces between it and its destinations. It can promote to every piece, except for king, on the last rank. Due to their start location, Horses cannot encounter enemy Horses, and can deliver fast checkmate on start if opponent is not attentive or stupid;)


The Index moves are like four indices: it can move 3 spaces diagonally, or 2 diagonally and then 1 orthogonally with 45° turn; it can't continue if it meets anything on first 2 spaces. It can capture the same way as it moves, or to the first 2 squares diagonally. This motion is similar to that of the Ox, but 'rotated' to the diagonals.


The Raven's movement is asymmetric (orthogonal leap is oriented to opponent). It leaps 1 or 2 spaces forward orthogonally or backwards diagonally, or steps 1 sideways.


The Ox moves 3 spaces orthogonally or 2 orthogonally and then 1 diagonally with 45° turn; it can't continue if it meets anything on first 2 spaces. It can capture in the same way as it moves, or to the first 2 squares orthogonally.


The Lawman (aka Policeman) makes 1 orthogonal step, then 1 diagonal right or left (up or down) with 45° turn, then 1 orthogonal in direction of first step, and after it, can step 1 orthogonally straight or 1 diagonally right or left (up or down) with 45° turn; there he stops, to move or capture. He can also end its move on an orthogonally adjacent square, but only without capturing.


The King moves as in FIDE chess, one square in arbitrary direction, but if he moves to opponent's half of board, he promotes.

Promoted king is compound of chess king and xiangqi horse (moves one square in arbitrary direction, or makes 1 orthogonal step and then 1 diagonal step outwards, landing on last square — if first step is blocked, he can't go there).

So don't get relaxed — if promoted king steps back to his board half, he demotes back to usual chess king.


The aim of the game is to checkmate opponent’s king

A Draw occurs if there are 50 moves without progress (capture or Horse’s promotion), 3rd demotion of one of the two kings or only kings left on the board.

3-fold repetition of a position immediately stops the game, and the player who moved last (even if he made check)  then loses the game. Stalemate is a win for the player without legal move.

Value of pieces: Horse — 2 chess pawns, Index / Raven / Ox — 4, Lawman — 8


…i. e. you can have blocked Lawman and get stalemate to win…

Index is mythic creature, and his concept is on the sculptor's conscience.

Ox motion is historic (in a range of two years), because in Horizons, my another variant, Ox had this movement, but now it's not more divergent. So, when I've created Ox (which was too earlier than Horizons), his movement was as there.

Lawman's previous name was Policeman. Earlier, it had not only different name, but also different move and was a compound of Ox and Index, then his moves were changed many times, and this scheme’s version which's approved by my inner critician appeared only in the final draft. For getting uniqueness, my dear readers…

There are several alternative rules for this game:

Stone Garden Full Contact

has different setup where central Horses are swapped with Ravens, and the edge ones with Indices; thus, Horses now form two rectangles and can reach 3/4 of the board instead of 3/8, early checkmates are impossible, and promotion ranks are the last and previous-to-last.

Stone Garden Keepers

has Axemen (notation a) instead of Horses. Axeman passively moves as normal Pawn, one (two on start) straight forward, but captures as Horse, knightwise narrow forward.

Play online

Stone Garden Chess and its version Full Contact are playable on Game Courier! Big thx to Daniel Zacharias who made GC preset for normal Stone Garden.

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 Lev Grigoriev.

Last revised by Lev Grigoriev.

Web page created: 2022-09-22. Web page last updated: 2023-04-15