The Chess Variant Pages

Check out Metamachy, our featured variant for December, 2023.

This page is written by the game's inventor, Darren Izzard.

Test Mini-Chess (TMC)

Designed by Darren Izzard

Introduction and Background

This is a game that I put together in early July 1999 as a very simple test game for a temporal difference game-playing program I wrote, and that is how most of the play-testing has been done. However, it turned out to be quite playable (in my opinion) so here are the rules if you want to try it out! (And maybe even think of a better name for it!)


The game is played on a 6x6 board. Each player has the same basic army: two rooks, two bishops, and six pawns (the underlined letters are the ones representing each piece in the ASCII diagram). Here is the layout at the start of the game:-
Graphical Diagram
ASCII Diagram
Initial board layout


The square at the bottom-left is white's Home Square, and the square at the top-right is black's Home Square. The object of the game is to capture your opponent's Home Square by moving a piece onto it. (It's that simple!)

Pawns in TMC move differently from pawns in normal chess. They can move one square in any orthogonal direction, and capture orthogonally too (effectively they are wazirs). They do not have a two-square move at the start, and there is no en passant. Plus they don't promote.

Rooks and bishops are the same as in normal chess - but, since TMC has no king, there is no castling.

I usually limit play to 100 moves maximum. If the game hasn't resolved before then, stalemate is declared.

Page written by Darren Izzard.
Page created 15th July 1999.