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This page is written by the game's inventor, Jean-Louis Cazaux.

Very Heavy Chess

Very Heavy Chess is a chessvariant where all compounds of standard chess pieces are used. It can be seen as an extension of Heavy Chess.

The seminal principle, which is inspired from Sac Chess, is to see some elemental bricks behind the FIDE chess pieces. Those are the moves of the kNight (N), Rook (R), Bishop (B) and King (K). By associating those elements, several fairy pieces can be made, and those are very well known by chessvariants fans. Double compounds are RN, BN, KN, KR, KB. Of course, RB is the Queen. Triple compounds may also be defined: RBN, RKN, BKN. Of course RBK brings nothing more than the Queen (RB) as the sliding moves of R and B are covering the one-step move of K.

Very Heavy Chess is using a pair of every double compound, the Queen being one of them, and of two of the three triple compounds. Only the strongest, the Amazon (RBN) is unique in each side. Thus, in Very Heavy Chess there are 2 RN, 2 BN, 2 KN, 2 KR, 2KB, 2 RB (Queens), 2 RKN, 2 BKN and 1 QN (Amazon). Plus 1 King and a full line of Pawns. A lot of firepower!


The board has 10 x 12 squares

There are 36 pieces per side:

White's pieces:

Black's pieces mirroring with King (g9), Amazon (f9), etc.

The initial setup follows some principles that have been prescribed for Sac Chess:

Initial Setup:

Initial Setup:


King, Queen, Rook, Bishop, Knight move as in standard FIDE chess.

Pawns move also as in standard chess, including initial double step and en-passant capture. The only difference is for promotion, which is extended to the non-standard pieces (see below).

Amazon: it combines the move of Queen and Knight. Amazon is the most usual name for this piece.

Move of the Amazon

Marshall: it combines the move of Rook and Knight. It is also called a Chancellor. The name Marshall, also popular among chess variants, is used by consistency with my other variants.

Move of the Marshall

Cardinalit combines the move of Bishop and Knight. It is also called an Archbishop. The name Cardinal, also popular among chess variants, is used by consistency with my other variants.

Move of the Cardinal

Centaur: it combines the moves of Knight and non-royal King. Centaur is the most usual name for this piece.

Move of Centaur

Admiral: it is another compound piece that moves as a Rook or a non-royal King. A "Crowned Rook". That means that it is a Rook that can also step one space diagonally. It corresponds to the Dragon King that is found in Shogi. It is a Sailor in Sac chess. Dragon King seemed not appropriate in the context of this variant and I wanted a more elevated name than Sailor, hence my proposal of naming this piece an Admiral.

Move of the Admiral

Missionary: it is another compound piece that moves as a Bishop or a non-royal King, a "Crowned Bishop". That means that it is a Bishop that can also step one space orthogonally. It corresponds to the Dragon Horse that is found in Shogi. It is a Missionary in Sac chess. Dragon Horse seemed not appropriate in the context of this variant, so I kept the name of Missionary.

Move of the Missionary

Heroine: it is a triple compound piece that moves as a Rook or as a King or as a nKight. She is a "Crowned Marshall". It has been baptized Archancellor for Teutonic Knight's Chess, but I found this name too long. As this piece is between the strengths of Queen and Amazon, I wanted a female name. I'm open to suggestions.

Move of the Heroine

Popess: it is a triple compound piece that moves as a Bishop or as a King or as a nKight. It is a "Crowned Cardinal". For the name I wanted a female character in the lexical fields of religion and power. (I had first called it a Templar, but this has been used for Bishop+Dabbaba in Templar Chess and Templar is not feminine). It is a Crown Princess in Teutonic Knight's Chess. Popess seems unused in CVs but I'm open to suggestions. For instance, Abbess has been suggested in the comments of this page, and indeed, this makes a nice alternative for those who are bothered by Popess.

Move of the Popess


Castling: The King may castle with either Rook, with conditions as in standard chess.

Pawn Promotion: A Pawn reaching the last rank of the board is immediately replaced by any piece other than Pawn or King: Amazon, Heroine, Popess, Queen, Marshall, Cardinal, Admiral, Missionary, Centaur, Rook, Bishop or Knight.

En Passant capture: Any time a Pawn takes a double step and passes through the capture square of an opposing Pawn, that Pawn may capture the Pawn as if it had only moved one square. This en passant capture must be made in the immediate move following the double step.

End Of Game: The end-of-game rules, checkmate, stalemate, etc., are identical to standard chess.

Triple Compounds

The Triple Compounds (left to right): Popess / Amazon / Heroine


Deep thanks to H.G. Muller for making the Interactive Diagram below

satellite=very graphicsDir=/graphics.dir/alfaeriePNG/ files=12 ranks=10 whitePrefix=w blackPrefix=b graphicsType=png squareSize=50 darkShade=#CF8948 lightShade=#FFCC9C rimColor=#000000 coordColor=#FFFFFF firstRank=1 promoChoice=AHOQMCJDYRBN promoZone=1 symmetry=mirror useMarkers=1 pawn::::a3-l3 knight:N:::d2,i2 bishop::::e2,h2 rook::::c2,j2 missionary:Y:BW:promotedbishop:f1,g1 admiral:D:RF:promotedrook:d1,i1 centaur:J:KN:knightguard:b2,k2 cardinal:C:BN::c1,j1 marshall:M:RN:chancellor:b1,k1 queen::::e1,h1 popess:O:BWN:cardinalwazir:a1,l1 heroine:H:RFN:chancellorferz:a2,l2 amazon::::f2 king::KisjO2::g2

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 Jean-Louis Cazaux.

Last revised by Jean-Louis Cazaux.

Web page created: 2020-12-22. Web page last updated: 2020-12-22