The Chess Variant Pages

Large Variant 99 Contest


This page contains information about a contest that will take place in 1999. Entries for this contest will be "large" chess variants. There will be an initial submission period, followed by a general vote in which anyone may participate. From this voting, the four top finalists will be selected. These four games will then be playetested by our volunteer playtesters. After the playtesting is completed, the playtesters will then be allowed to participate in the vote to determine the winner of the contest.


  1. Entries must be submitted to me (David Howe) by the contest submission deadline.
  2. For an entry to be accepted it should:
    1. Be a "large" chess variant. As a suggestion, the number of squares on the board plus the number of pieces should be between 104 and 216 1.
    2. Be a two-player game (or a multiplayer game with a two-player variant).
    3. Be easily playable via email. This discourages, games with elements of chance or luck, or games with imperfect knowledge (eg. Stratego type games). Some people might find playing on Hex or 3D boards via email somewhat difficult.
    4. Be simple enough so that a playtester can easily grasp the rules and play a game in a reasonable amount of time.
  3. The person submitting the variant must be the author, or must have the author's permission to submit the variant.
  4. All submitters will be expected to participate in playtesting by playing at least one game of one of the four finalist games during the playtesting period.
  5. Pre-existing variants may be submitted.
  6. Variants should be submitted via email. If you are unable to send the variant via email, then you should contact me and other arrangements can be worked out.
  7. Submitted documents should be written in English, spell-checked and proof-read. Acceptable formats are: plain text, HTML, Microsoft Word, Wordperfect, or rich text format. Any graphics used to represent diagrams should be GIF format (unless embedded within the document).
  8. Individuals may not submit more than two entries. No more than two entries will be accepted from a given author.

I reserve the right to reject any game that I feel is obviously not a large chess variant, not playable by email, or for some other reason is unsuitable for this contest. And since these games will appear on Hans' web site, the submissions will also have to be approved by him. The submitter will be given latitude to convince me (or Hans) otherwise, but once the voting begins, it will not be possible to allow any more submissions into the contest.


1 Jan 1999Call for submissions
30 Apr 1999Deadline for submissions
1 May 1999Call for playtesters
1 May 1999Voting for finalists begins
31 Jul 1999Voting for finalists ends
1 Aug 1999Finalists selected
1 Aug 1999Playtesting begins
30 Nov 1999Playtesting ends
1 Dec 1999Playtester voting for winner begins
31 Dec 1999Playtester voting for winner ends


Anyone can becoming a playtester (as long as they meet the requirements -- see below). To become a playtester, contact me via email and you will be added to the list. Anyone who submits an entry for the contest is automatically a playtester. To be a playtester one must:
  1. Have an email account
  2. Have web browser access to the internet
  3. Speak english, or have access to a translator
  4. Be willing to devote some amount of time (during the specified portion of 1999 when the playtesting takes place) to playing at least one of the four finalist games


The winner of the contest will get a T-Shirt, a copy of the Chess Variant pages on CD-ROM (courtesy of Hans Bodlaender), a copy of "Zillions of Games" or "Grand Chess" game software (winners choice), and a bound copy of all the Large Variant 99 Contest pages.

The three other finalists will get a copy of the Chess Variant pages on CD-ROM, and a bound copy of all the Large Variant 99 Contest pages.

The copies of the pages are kindly donated by John William Brown, and will be spiral bound with laminated covers, in the manner of his book Meta-Chess.


1 The range of 104 to 216 was determined as follows: to get the lower limit, the number of squares in a normal chess board (64) was added to the number of pieces used in a normal chess game (32). To this was added 8, which represents an extra row, or 4 extra pieces per side.

To get the upper limit, the number of squares in a 12x12 chess board (144) was added to the number of pieces that would occupy the same ratio of pieces to squares as a normal chess game (72).

WWW page created: January 6, 1999. Last modified: April 26, 1999.