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List of Chess Variants

We received the following email from Sam Trenholme:
Variants of chess database. This has *a lot* of information, and some duplications. Read and enjoy!

--Sam Trenholme: internet junkie, aspiring UNIX wizard, collector of UNIX accounts set@(ocf,soda) : (email removed contact us for address) : (email removed contact us for address)

Hi Sam:  Here are some rules for chess variants that I have collected.
These are variants that are reasonably close to the regular game (i.e. not
Star Trek 3-D chess, etc.)  If you have others, and they aren't too long (I
pay for all time used on this service to send/receive mail, etc.), perhaps
you can e-mail them to me.  I should have this address at least until the
end of this month (March.)
Good luck with your collection!
 Jeff LaHue
 (email removed contact us for address)
>I am working on a on-line database of rules for variants of chess. If
 >anyone has some rules for intresting variants they wish to paost or email
 >me, I would greatly appreciate it. I'll also email people my incomplete
 >database of variants on chess to anyone who is intrested.
     o The objective is to lose all one's pieces.  The King has no
       special status.  A player able to capture an opposing piece
       must do so.  The first player to get rid of all pieces wins.
     o  Each player strives to compel the opponent to give mate.
     o  Whenever a player having the move can give mate,
        it must be given.
     o  The player who is mated wins the game.
     o The 1st rank is set up in random order (same for both sides).
       All other rules are the same as regular chess.  This helps
       someone play against an opponent who knows the "traditional"
       openings too well!
       [This can be done with dice. Just have 1 be a re-roll, 2 be the king,
       3 be the queen, 4 be a bishop, 5 a knight, and 6 a rook. You can also
       inpose restrictions, rerolling when the dice tells you to place
       a piece that breaks your restrictions. You'd roll for a1/a8, b1/b8,
       and so on. See the pat on ICS wilds in this document for more ideas
       along this vein]

     o Computer generated random set-up of the back rank pieces.
       The Pawns are normal. Your opponent's pieces are also a random
       set up. Thus your side and his are usually always very different.
       You play a 2 game (usually postal) match. One game with each side.
       This eliminates the disadvantage one would have from having a
       worse set up on one particular side.
     o On the first move, and the first move only. You have the _option_
       of transposing 2 pieces on your first rank. If you use this option
       it counts as your first move. If you choose to let your position
       "ride" then you make any legal move. Pawns move normally. This
       option is intended to allow one to castle. (He can get a King over
       to the side if it's in the center.)
     o At each move a player has the right to refuse his opponent's
       choice of move and to insist that some other move be played
       instead.  Only one refusal is allowed per move.
     o Each turn a player chooses 2 moves, and the opponent tells
       him which of the 2 to make. Different promotions of the same
       pawn count as 2 different moves. If there is just 1 legal
       move, it must be played.
     o Each player starts with one extra Knight that can be played
       later.  At any stage of the game when it's a player's turn to
       move, the player may place an extra Knight on any of the
       available squares on the board.  This counts as a move.
     o Each player has 2 moves at a time instead of 1.  A player
       giving check on a first move forfeits their second move.  A
       player who is in check must get out of check on the 1st move.
     o White has 1 move, Black then has 2 moves, White then has 3
       moves, Black then has 4 moves, etc.  When a player gives check,
       their turn ends.  A player who is in check must get out of
       check on the 1st move.
     o Any time a player's piece is captured, any of that player's
       pieces that are on any of the (up to) 8 surrounding squares
       next to it are also removed from the board.
     o Same as regular chess except the Queen also always has the
       moves of a Knight in addition to normal Queen moves.
     o 1 piece has special moves throughout the game.  For example:
       the white square Bishop of each has Knight moves as well.
     o Odds giver removes a Pawn, usually the King Bishop Pawn.
     o Odds giver removes a Knight, usually the Queen Knight.
     o Odds giver removes a Rook, usually the Queen Rook.
     o Odds giver removes both the Queen Rook and King Bishop Pawn.
     o Odds giver removes both the Queen Rook and Queen Knight.
     o Odds giver removes the Queen.
      8 rbkqqkbr          Twin Chess: An unorthodox type of chess
      7 pppppppp           which utilizes 2 Kings and 2 Queens.
      6 n______n           Mr. V.R. Parton, the proponent of this
      5 ________           type of chessplay, claims that logic,
      4 ________           symmetry and balance demand an initial
      3 N______N           arrangement of pieces as shown.  The game
      2 PPPPPPPP           is won when 1 of the opponent's Kings is
      1 RBKQQKBR           checkmated.
     o A form of chessplay in which no check is allowed except
       the giving of a checkmate.
     o  Each player has a five card hand
     o  Each piece is represented by these cards:
         Card:   K  Q  J-10  9-8  7-6  5-2  A
         Piece:  K  Q   R     B    N    P  any
     o  Each turn, you first play a card, then move a piece that
        matches the card, then replenish your hand.
     o  If you are in check, you may play any legal move,
        without playing a card.
     o  If you have a card for which you have no pieces,
        then that card may not be played
        (variation: it must be placed face up on the table).
     o  Stalemate loses for the player to move.
     o  Object is to capture all 8 opposing pawns rather than
        the King.
     o  No checks or checkmates in the game; Kings may move into
        check and be captured like any other piece.
     o  Pawns promote as usual, but if a player is forced to
        promote his last pawn, he loses.
     o  Chess game won by exterminating all of the opponent's
        forces except the King.
     o  White places from 7 to 9 extra Pawns anywhere on the
        3rd or 4th rank and plays without the Queen, or adds
        3 or 4 extra Pawns and plays with only one Rook.
     o  Pawns move forward diagonally one square at a time
        (or two for the first move), but it captures on, or
        attacks, the square directly ahead on the file.
     o  Captured men are replaced on their supposed squares of
        origin: Rook, Bishop, and Knight on a square of the
        same color as that on which they are captured, Pawns
        on the same file as that on which they were taken,
        pieces obtained by promotion as for other pieces.
     o  Kings cannot be captured.
     o  If the replacement square is occupied the captured man
        is removed from the board in the usual way.
     o  A man cannot be taken if its replacement would place
        the capturer in check.
     o  A capturing man remains stationary, shooting its target
        off the board without occupying the vacant square, an
        action that counts as a move.
     o  Captures can be made in no other way, and only one at
        a time.

:) Where did you get the rules for all these games?  If you have them
:) available, please either send as many as possible to me or at least
:) tell me if there is an ftp site where they are compiled...
:) Thanks.

Thanks for the intrest. One of my things to do is to compile a rules-to-
variations-on-chess FAQ. I know has a text file called
"AbstractGames" in /pub/chess/texts that gives an excellent list of books
containing rules for variations on chess. I will also give you the rules to 
one variation of chess that former world Chess champion Capablanca liked

Capablanca Chess:

rules as in ortho-chess, except:

1) The board is 10x8 instead of 8x8
2) There are two new pieces: The "archbishop", which has the move of
   both the bishop and the knight, and the "cardinal", which has the move
   of the rook and the knight.
3) The king moves three squares to castle instead of two, with the rook
   moving one square past the king as in ortho-chess.
4) The pawn may promote to the archbishop or cardinal, in addition to 
   promoting to the queen, bishop, knight, or rook.

The opening setup is as follows:

r n a b q k b c n r
p p p p p p p p p p
- - - - - - - - - - 
- - - - - - - - - - 
- - - - - - - - - - 
- - - - - - - - - -

(upper case being white, lower case black, and white pawns move up)

This also found its way in

---begin included text---

Here is yet another idea for a 2 player chess variant. Although not all rules
have been defined yet, here goes. By the way leave me comments if you find
this a good idea, as well as change possibilities to make it more fun.

Super Chess on 14x14 board
Piece Symbol Description
pawn    P    moves: forward 1, forward 1 or 2 initially
             captures: diagonally forward, all
             promotion: promotes to all but king upon reaching final rank
knight  N    moves: L shaped 2 square in one direction, 1 square at right angle
                    to first direction
             captures: same as moves and occupies that square
bishop  B    moves: Diagonaly any number unless blocked
             captures: diagonaly first enemy in path, and occupies that square
rook    R    moves: Straight line any number unless blocked
             captures: straight line first enemy in path, and occupies square
queen   Q    moves: bishop+rook
             captures: bishop+rook
camel   C    moves: similar to knight but 3 and 1 instead of 2 and 1 (bigger L)
             captures: similar to knight but 3 and 1 instead of 2 and 1
octopus O    moves: knight+bishop
             captures: knight+bishop
shifter S    moves: like king
             captures: like king
jumper  J    moves: 2 squares any direction
             captures: can jump over one enemy piece like a checker, capturing
                       it and occupying the destination square, 2 away from
                       the start square
air     A    moves: 4 squares in any combination (straight+diagonal)
             captures: any enemy along path, stopping at that square
lord    L    moves: rook+knight
             captures: rook+knight
demon   D    moves: like king
             captures: none
             special: any friendly piece touched cannot be captured, other
                      than another demon
faerie  F    moves: like bishop
             captures: like rook
envy    E    moves: like king
             captures: none
             special: give any friendly piece touching other than an envy or
                      pawn, queen like movement and capture capability, in
                      addition to normal abilities, but only for one move if
                      contact is lost on that move. Once contact is lost,
                      piece reverts to normal.
grunt   G    moves: camel+king
             captures: camel+king
             special: if captured, returns to square of origin if not occupied,
                      otherwise lost (square of origin on either side (left or
                      right) of board, permissible)
king    K    moves: 1 square any direction, but not into check, no castling
             captures: 1 square any direction, but not into check
             special: if under attack, and cannot defend, it is checkmated,
                      game over, opponent wins. Stalemate is a loss. No draws
                      accept by agreement of players.
Initial board configuration:
I strongly recommend you print this out and look it over and tell me
what you think :).

(email removed contact us for address)

---end included text----

btw, grunts should not get the "envy" in this variant. In fact, I don't
much like the idea of grunts at all.

Sam Trenholme: internet junkie, aspiring UNIX wizard, collector of UNIX accounts
 set@(ocf,soda) : (email removed contact us for address) : (email removed contact us for address) 

:) Anyway, under this Baroque Chess basenote were mentioned quite a few
:) games, none of which I had heard of before, but seem to be interesting
:) new chess variations.  I would like to get the rules for as many of
:) them as possible (chess variants or no, as long as they don't require
:) the purchase of some really wierd set).  If you have the rules for
:) any, please send them to me, or if you can tell me an ftp site where
:) a lot of them are posted, that would also be helpful.  Thank you for
:) your assistance.

OK, let me give you a few.

Pre-chess. Instead of having the opening setup pre-determined, we have the
opening setup as follows:

- - - - - - - -
p p p p p p p p
- - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - -

With lower case being black, upper case white, and white pawns moving up.
Next, starting with white, white and black, in turn, place a piece of their
choice on their first rank (i.e. white places a piece on *1, black places a
piece on *8, etc.), provided that nobody places two or more pieces on the
same square. If someone places a rook on a* or h* and the king on e*, then
that person can castle in the course of the game, with the usual castling
restrictions. After all eight pieces are placed by both sides, the game
begins as normal chess.

Some variations require that the bishops be placed on opposite colors
(which is a good idea anyway), and other variation remove the castling
move entirely (unneccessary if the person sets up things right).

Example: (setup) Kg1,Kb8 Rf1,Nd8 Ne1,Ne8 Nd1,Rc8 Ba1,Bh8 Bh1,Ba8 Rc1,Qg8
                 Qb1,Rf8 (move) 1. e4 e5

Would result in the follwoing position:

b k r n n r q b
p p p p - p p p
- - - - - - - -
- - - - p - - -
- - - - P - - -
- - - - - - - -
P P P P - P P P

Sam Trenholme: internet junkie, aspiring UNIX wizard, collector of UNIX accounts
 set@(ocf,soda) : (email removed contact us for address) : (email removed contact us for address) 

Here are some other variations using a normal chessboard:

Checkless Chess: The king may never be put in check, only checkmate.
This means that the opponent may not put the King in check unless he can
do checkmate. (and not checkmate in n moves either)

Double move chess: White does one standard chess move, then black does two
standard chess moves, white does two standard moves, and so on. (2 moves per
side) There is no check or checkmate. The goal is to capture the opponent's

Emperor King Chess: The king may move to any square on the board, and capture
any unguarded piece. (Guarded means watched by a piece, pinned or not) The
goal is to capture the opponent's king, normally with your king.

more to come...
Sam Trenholme: internet junkie, aspiring UNIX wizard, collector of UNIX accounts
 set@(ocf,soda) : (email removed contact us for address) : (email removed contact us for address) 

Here is another chess variant using a normal chessboard:

Shantraj is the form of chess that the muslims played during the middle ages.
The rules are identical to normal chess, except as follows:

1) Pawns do not get a 2-square leap on their first move.
2) The queen is a lot less powerful, and can only move one square
3) The bishop is also less powerful, and can only move precisly two squares
   diagonally. The bishop, however, can jump over pieces like the knight.
4) There is no castling.
5) Pawns may only promote to queens.

The opening setup is the same as our version of chess.
Sam Trenholme: internet junkie, aspiring UNIX wizard, collector of UNIX accounts
 set@(ocf,soda) : (email removed contact us for address) : (email removed contact us for address) 

:) Thanks a lot for all this neat stuff.  If you have any other wierder
:) ones that use other boards/pieces, I think you may have misunderstood
:) me.  I'm interested in the *really different* versions, too.  I just
:) don't want to have to *PURCHASE* anything expensive.  I don't have any
:) problem  building it myself.  What are Ultima, Ultimaspiel,
:) Kriegspiel, and Baroque Chess, anyway?  Thanks for your stuff!

Ok, I'll mail you Ultima/Baroque_Chess in just a second (they are the same
game). Here is the rules for Kriegspiel, as I remember them:

1) The game needs three chessboards and three people. The third person is a
2) Each person will use one chessboard. The chessboard that each player
   uses must not be visible to the other player.
3) White make a move on his board, and the referee duplicates white's move
   on his (the referee's) chessboard, with telling black the move that was
4) Black now makes a move without telling white the move he did, and the
   referee duplicates blacks move on his board.
5) This process contines, as in normal chess.
6) If a move that either black or white makes is illegal (going through an
   interposing piece), the referee informs the player of this fact, but
   doesn't tell them why the illegal move is illegal.
7) The only time the referee can give any information concerning the
   opponents position is when white or black asks the referee if a given
   pawn can take a piece. If it can, the player must take the piece with 
   that pawn. The referee as informs a person when one of their pieces
   are taken (but doesn't, I believe, inform the person whose piece took the
   opponent's piece).

This would work quite nicely on the ICS. :)

Sam Trenholme: internet junkie, aspiring UNIX wizard, collector of UNIX accounts
 set@(ocf,soda) : (email removed contact us for address) : (email removed contact us for address) 

These are the rules to Ultima:

----begin included text----
I found the rules for this game in a Artifical Intelligence Textbook (I
forgot which) a few years ago.

If you know of a program for it please tell me.

The book suggested using chess pieces with one rook turned up-side-down.

There are a few things still needed to be worked out.  Like King placement:
      Should Opposing Kings start on the same column.
      Should the King be near the freezer or the Co-Ordinator.

After playing with my brother and roommates, I have not found a way to get
a stalemate.

----Moves and Captures-----
Baroque Name (Chess Name)
	How does this piece move?
	How does this piece capture?
	What is the same in regular Chess?
King (King)
	Adjacent block only.
	Captures adjacent block. Moves into the postion
	to be captured.
	Just like the King.
Step-Back (Queen)
	Any straight line.
	Captures adjacent block. Moves one block in
	the opposite direction of position to be
	Moves like Queen.
Imitator (Bishop)
	Any Straight line.
	Captures position as would the piece in that
	Moves like Queen.
Leaper (Knight)
	Any Straight line.
	Jumps the position and lands one position
	after it.
	Moves like Queen.
Freezer (Rook)
	Any Straight line.
	Does not capture. Opponents piece adjacent to
	it can not be
	Moves like Queen.
Co-Ordinator (Down-side-up Rook)
	Any Straight line.
	Captures position located by itOs row and
	the KingOs column.
	Moves like Queen.
Squeezer (Pawn)
	Horizontal and Vertical.
	Captures position between two Squeezers
	on a move. Can not capture diagonally.
	Moves like rook.

      Mutants for nuclear energy

(email removed contact us for address) (Iago Genyus) writes:

>I found the rules for this game in a Artifical Intelligence Textbook (I
>forgot which) a few years ago.

>If you know of a program for it please tell me.

	I don't know of a program for this (but if someone else does, I'd
be interested), but I do know that this game is none other than Ultima, in-
vented by Robert Abbott, and originally published in Abbott's New Card Games.
It's a pretty weird card game, if you ask me :)

>The book suggested using chess pieces with one rook turned up-side-down.

>There are a few things still needed to be worked out.  Like King placement:
>      Should Opposing Kings start on the same column.

	No. Switch the positions of the white king and queen. 

>      Should the King be near the freezer or the Co-Ordinator.

	Both kings are nearer to their "freezers".

>King (King)
>Step-Back (Queen)
	Also called the Withdrawer
>Imitator (Bishop)
	Also called the Chameleon
>Leaper (Knight)
>Freezer (Rook)
	Also called the Immobilizer
>Co-Ordinator (Down-side-up Rook)
>Squeezer (Pawn)

	In regular chess, all captures (with the exception of the anomalous
en passant) are done by replacement, and all the pieces have different moves.
In creating Ultima, Abbott's idea was to reverse this situation, i.e. to have
all pieces (with the exception of the king) move similarly and capture dif-
	The Leaper's capture was borrowed from certain types of checkers, and
the Withdrawer was borrowed from a type of capture which occurs in Fanorona.
The custodian capture which the pawns use antedates even the replacement cap-
ture used in chess and other modern games. The Immobilizer, Chameleon and Co-
ordinator were original ideas.
	Ralph Betza, a prolific inventor of chess variants, used the idea of
the Co-ordinator to create some very playable variants. The rooks, bishops
and knights could form cosquares with their partners (as could the queen and
king), and interesting things would happen on these squares.


And to clarify the above rules:

I hope the graphics will some what clarify things.  Natural language
descriptions are not my strong suite.

Taking article <2khe6l$(email removed contact us for address) l2.NYU.EDU>, (email removed contact us for address) (rhk8563),
the following conventions apply:

K,k - King

W,w - Withdrawer AKA Step-Back AKA Queen

I,i - Imitator AKA Chameleon AKA Bishop

L,l - Leaper AKA Knight

F,f - Freezer AKA Immobilizer AKA Rook

C,c - Co-Ordinator AKA Down-side-up Rook

S,s - Squeezer AKA Pawn

.   - Empty square

(x,y) - row (x), column (y) Coordinates
S(2,5) ~ S(4,5) denotes the Squeezer moving two squares down.

	F L I K W I L C          F L I K W I L C
	S S S S S S S S          S S S S . S S S
	. . . . . . . .          . . . . . . . .
	. . . . . . . .    =>    . . . . S . . . 
	. . . . . . . .          . . . . . . . .
	. . . . . . . .          . . . . . . . .
	s s s s s s s s          s s s s s s s s
	c l i w k i l f          c l i w k i l f
Note:  there is no need to denote unique stationary pieces in this manner,
        F(1,1) = F
Starting positions:
1 F L I K W I L C
2 S S S S S S S S
3 . . . . . . . .
4 . . . . . . . .
5 . . . . . . . .
6 . . . . . . . .
7 s s s s s s s s
8 c l i w k i l f
  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8	

1) All captures take place during the move.

2) The king has not changed at all from conventional Chess.

3) Withdrawer capture:
  W captures s(5,5)  by W ~ W(3,5)
	F L I K . I L C          F L I K . I L C
	S S S S . S S S          S S S S . S S S
	. . . . . . . .          . . . . W . . .
	. . . S W . . .    =>    . . . S . . . . 
	. . . . s . . .          . . . . . . . .
	. . . . . . . .          . . . . . . . .
	s s s s . s s s          s s s s . s s s
	c l i w k i l f          c l i w k i l f

4) Imitator in effect becomes the piece it wishes to capture
  i(8,6) captures S(5,4) by i(8,6) ~ i(5,3)
	F L I K . I L C          F L I K . I L C
	S S . S . S S S          S S . S . S S S
	. . S . . . . .          . . S . . . . .
	. . W . . . . .    =>    . . W . . . . . 
	. . . S s . . .          . . i . s . . .
	. . . . . . . .          . . . . . . . .
	s s s s . s s s          s s s s . s s s
	c l i w k i l f          c l i w k . l f
Note the following:
 - if W(4,3) doesn't move, i(5,3) can capture it by i(5,3) ~ i(6,3)
 - Imitators are each others mirrors and therefore safe from capture
   by the other.
 - When imitating the Freezer they only affect the Freezer.  However,
   the Freezer's power still applies.
      F is frozen by i(6,4).
      i(6,4) & s(4,5) are frozen by F.
      S(6,3) is not threatened by anything.
	. L I K W I L C 
	S . S S S S S S
	. . . . . . . . 
	. . . . s . . . 
	. . . . F . . .
	. . S i . . . .
	s s s s . s s s
	c l i w k . l f

5) Leapers can jump in all directions "any piece a queens-move away from
   It is like a King in Checkers.

6) If we use the initial board in 4) , s(7.3) ~ s(5,3) would capture

7) This game lends itself to some imaginative animation.  This is one of my
   interest in it.

Thank you for the games name.
If there are any rules missed, send me a note:
		(email removed contact us for address)

I hope this helps...

Sam Trenholme: internet junkie, aspiring UNIX wizard, collector of UNIX accounts
 set@(ocf,soda) : (email removed contact us for address) : (email removed contact us for address) 

Here is another variant of chess. I'll keep sending you these till you tell me
to stop :) I'm also saving a copy of these myself, to put in a file which
will eventually find its way in

Double king chess:

The game is played on a 10x10 chessboard.

The object of the game is to capture *either* of your opponent's kings.

Kings may only castle to the rook closer to them. There can be two castlings,
one for each king.

Pawns may move two or three spaces on their first move, and en passent
captured if they pass an opponent's pawn. This allows for many more ways a
pawn can be en passent captured if they move more than one square.

Optional: If a pawn is on the player's third rank (that is, if the pawn
has moved ahead one square, to the third square, in a previous move),
he may move the pawn one or two spaces, with the provision that the
pawn may be en passent captured. This may or may not include allowing pawns
that moved to the third rank by capture to move 2 steps, at the players' 
discretion (sp).

Opening configuration:

r n b k q q k b n r          r n b q k q k b n r
p p p p p p p p p p          p p p p p p p p p p
- - - - - - - - - -          - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - -          - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - -          - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - -    or    - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - -          - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - -          - - - - - - - - - -
P P P P P P P P P P          P P P P P P P P P P
R N B K Q Q K B N R          R N B Q K Q K B N R

With lower case being black, upper case being white, and white pawns
moving up.

The opeing configuration on the right is my own invention, which increases
the number of possible openings.
Sam Trenholme: internet junkie, aspiring UNIX wizard, collector of UNIX accounts
 set@(ocf,soda) : (email removed contact us for address) : (email removed contact us for address) 

The following variant on chess is one Capablanca liked to play.
It is called double chess, and is identical to double king chess (see above),
except for the following:

Pawns may move up to four spaces on their first move, and en passent
captured if they pass an opponent's pawn. This allows for many more ways a
pawn can be en passent captured if they move more than one square.

Each king may castle once in the game, giving a total of two possible
castlings per side. Each castling is done with either of the two rooks on
the respective king's side, and all of the standard limitations to castling
that chess has applies. (The king at e1 may castle with the rook at a1 or h1,
the king at m1 may castle with the rooks at i1 and p1. The same is true for
black's kings.)

The opening configuration is as follows:

r n b q k b n r r n b k q b n r
p p p p p p p p p p p p p p p p
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

With lower case being black, upper case being white, and white pawns
moving up.

Please refer to my rules for double king chess for further rule
Sam Trenholme: internet junkie, aspiring UNIX wizard, collector of UNIX accounts
 set@(ocf,soda) : (email removed contact us for address) : (email removed contact us for address) 


In you write:

>I am working on a on-line database of rules for variants of chess. If anyone
>has some rules for intresting variants they wish to paost or email me, I
>would greatly appreciate it. I'll also email people my incomplete database
>of variants on chess to anyone who is intrested.
>The variants will eventually downloaded to

Yes, I'm interested in all sorts of chess variants. Please keep
me informed about your database. Here I have an incomplete file
of some chess variants mentioned in

>From: (email removed contact us for address) (Robert Hyatt)
Subject: Re: Rules for Monster Chess?

Strange variations I have played:

1.  Atomic chess where each side has one piece that can "explode" capturing
all pieces adjacent to it...

2.  Bughouse, Siamese, double-speed, etc. where two players play as partners
on two adjacent boards.  one plays black and the other plays white, normally
using 5 minutes on a chess clock.  As I capture my opponent's pieces, I give
them to my partner (and vice versa).  On his move, instead of moving one of
his pieces, he can place one of the pieces I gave him on the board on any VACANT
square, even delivering mate on the move if possible.  The normal strategy...
one player trades like crazy, the other sacs like crazy and tries to mate
his opponent before his partner is mated (remember, if you sac a piece, you
are basically giving it to your partner's opponent... not a nice thing to do
most of the time.

3. shadow chess. You place a coin on a central board square. Whenever either
side moves, the coin moves exactly like the piece being moved. If the coin can't
legally move like the piece is trying to move, then the piece can't make that
move.  The coin does not capture, although it can wind up on the same square
as a piece.  However, on my move, I cannot make a move that would leave the
coin on a square occupied by one of my pieces as I can't legally capture my
own piece, therefore the "shadow" can't "capture" my piece either.  Ditto for
sliding piece moves.  Just because a file is open, a rook can't move up or down
the file unless the file the "shadow" coin is on is also open.  The strategy
involves moving the shadow on your move so that you leave your opponent with
no good moves.  If you can move the shadow to your own eighth rank by making
a retreating move, then your opponent can't advance toward your king at all! He
must somehow attack at long distance via sliding pieces, although he can't
capture any of your pieces close to your king. Strange game.

4.  May I?  In this game, before either player makes a move, he must ask his
opponent "May I make this move?"  If the opponent says "yes", then the player
is obligated to make exactly that move... no choice even if it leaves his king
"en prise".  If the opponent says "no", then the player can make any move he 
chooses on that turn and does not have to ask "may I?" until his next turn to
move.  Strange game where a piece that is attacked more than once and defended
only once is "en prise"!!  An example....  I attack your knight with a queen
and rook, and your knight is only defended by a pawn.  I ask "May I take your
knight with my rook?" and you say "no".  I then take it with my queen.  You
then ask may I take your queen with my pawn and I say no!  sorry, but the
knight is dead.  The strategy involves "feints" where you ask to take a piece
that is defended only once, and your opponent then says no.  Then you make
the real move you wanted, namely Qxf7+.  When your opponent says "May I take
your queen with my king?" you say "no!"  you get the idea...

>From: (email removed contact us for address) (Alexander Hanysz)
Subject: Re: Rules for Monster Chess?

On the subject of chess variations, I think the strangest one I've played
is one called ``Through the Looking Glass chess''.  This is played with two
boards, one with all the pieces set up as usual and the other initially
empty.  Whenever a piece moves, it first moves as normal, then
``teleports'' to the corresponding square on the other board.  The move
must be legal on the first board, and the piece must land on a vacant
square on the other board.  It is illegal to move into check even

Example game:
  1. e4 d5
Both these pieces move to the alternate board.
  2. Be2 dxe4
The white pawn is captured on the alternate board, and then the black pawn
moves to the original board.
  3. Bb5 mate
The bishop lands on the original board.  This is mate -- black can not
interpose because the interposing piece would go to the other board; but
the king can not escape to the other board because it can not legally move.
(Yes, it requires some thought!)


From: Howard Wachtel <(email removed contact us for address)>
Subject: Re: The chess variation "Ultimate"

   I'm very much interested in "Ultimate", and am anxious to hear
what you've got it e-mail from other players.  I'd especially like
to know who originated or developed the game.

   As you said, in Ultimate, the pawns move like Rooks, and the other
pieces (except the King) move like Queens, but none of the pieces
(except the King) captures the same way it moves.  (In normal chess,
the pawn is the only piece that does not capture the same way as it
moves.)  In other words, pieces other than the King cannot take an
enemy unit by simply moving onto the square which it occupies.

   The pawns are called "trappers" and capture an enemy unit by
trapping it (sandwich-like) against another friendly unit.  The
Knights, probably the most powerful units, are called the "leapers"
and capture an enemy unit by leaping over it.  The Queen, called
the "withdrawer", captures an enemy unit by withdrawing from it.
As for the Rooks, each player turns upside-down the Rook which
begins on a white square (White's KR, Black's QR).  The upside-
down Rook is called the "coordinator", and captures an enemy unit
in a fashion which is rather difficult to explain without a
chessboard--viewing the board as an xy-coordinate system with
your own King as the origin, the Coordinator moves to a particular
square and captures an enemy unit which is at the x- or y-axis
projection of the Coordinator's location.  (Example:  your king
is at e1, coordinator moves to h5, any enemy unit at e5 or h1 is
removed.)  The right-side-up Rook is called the "immobilizer",
which does not capture at all, but immobilizes any unit adjacent
to it (a King's move away)--that unit cannot move while it is
immobilized.  (Watch out if your King gets immobilized!)  Finally
the Bishop, called the "chameleon", captures an enemy unit in the
same way that unit would capture!  It leaps over a leaper, withdraws
from a withdrawer, coordinates a coordinator, and traps a trapper.
It would also check an enemy King by moving adjacent to it.  I'm
not sure whether or not a chameleon can also immobilize an enemy
immobilizer!  The King captures as in normal chess, and check
and checkmate have the same meaning.

Okay - people have been talking about chess varients, so here are the
ones I know about and play frequently:

    Monster: White sets up normaly, black sets up only his king and the four
    center pawns (all one space ahead of normal).  Black can move twice for
    each white move and blacks pawns cannot advance.

  Two questions: can black's pawns capture?  Can black use his two moves
  to move trough check on the first?

  Let's see.  If no, no, then this is a pretty simple win for white, and
  the only varisble is # of moves.  If yes/no, black still seems dead.  If
  no/yes or yes/yes, then black has considerable stall power, but no chance
  of winning, and can still only get the stalemate by white error.

the way i played this was yes/yes  and there is no way for White to avoid
checkmate.  the double-moving king is more powerful than a Queen.  this
first came to my attention as a bar trick to get a free drink off an
unsuspecting rube.  the pawns are unnecessary, but put in to make the
problem seem plausible.

    Monster chess is actually easier for black - you try mating a king that can
    run two spaces!!  The setup ends up like this.

			R N B K Q B N R
			P P P P P P P P
			- - - - - - - -
			- - - - - - - -
			- - - - - - - -
			- - P P P P - -
			- - - K - - - -
			- - - - - - - -

Bug House: This varient requires two chess sets, and four players.  It starts
as if two games of chess were going to be played, but when a piece is captured,
you hand it to your teammate (so black on one board has to team with white
on the other)  On their move, they have the option of placing it on any open
space on the board.  If you play with clocks, they should typically be set
for about 3 min.  If not, moves should try to be made in under 5 sec, and
pieces cannot be placed on the board the same turn your partner gives them
to you.

Rebirth-Chess: This is a mix between Bug-House and regular chess.  It only
requires two players, and is played at a normal speed, but if a piece dies on
a space other then where it started, the player gets it back, and can use his
turn to put it back on its starting place.

Ultima-Chess: The setup for this game is only slightly altered from the classic
setup - the bishops and knights are reversed.  Each piece has their normal 
movements, as well as the movements of any (of your) pieces in the column
they start out with.  This makes for some very interesting strategic setups
to get the maximum power of the pieces, as well as when you move one piece
into a column to allow another piece to put the king in check - there are
endless posibilities.

Inverse-Ultima-Chess: This varient of Ultima chess (for those truely sadistic
among you) lets a piece have the power of the column it lands in, rather then
the one its from.  In other words, a pawn can shoot sideways across the board
into the rooks column.  It is insane trying to figure out what moves everything
has, and checkmate is especially dificult to be sure of!  Overall, I've had
fun times playing it, mostly because just how insane it is.

Well, thats about all I can think of for now.  If anyone else can add to the
list please do so because I'm always interested in finding new varients to

Here's a quick variant.  "March of the pawns" (by Mel Nicholson, 1986)

Each player sets up the eight pawns and king in normal positions, and
then proceeds according to the normal rules of chess (no castling, of
course, but en passant DEFINATLY applies).

There is in fact an entire field called "fairy chess" which makes up
and plays new variants of chess, often for problem compositions.
One book which catalogues many of these variants is:

author = "Anthony Dickins",
title = "{A} {G}uide {t}o {F}airy {C}hess",
publisher = "Dover",
year = "1971"

There are too many variants discussed in this book to list them all,
so I'll just list a few I played and liked.  Many of these features
can be used in combination to create a wide variety:

1. Imitator chess.  Place a new piece, called an imitator (a coin does
the job nicely), on the square d4, otherwise the setup is the same as
normal chess.   No players take turns making normal chess moves, but
each time they move a piece from  to , they also move
the imitator from  to .  For example, if 
the imitator is on d4 and I move Ng1-f3, I then must move imitator
to c6.   If making this move would put the imitator on an occupied
square (after moving your own piece) or off the board, that move is

2. Neutral men.  Start the game with some with some men declared to be
neutral.  On his turn a player can move one of his own men, *or* a
neutral man which has not just been moved. 

3. Rifle chess.  In normal chess, pieces capture by moving to a final
square.  Change this so that the piece does the capture, but then gets
put back on its original square.  This makes it impossible to directly
defend pieces.

4. Robot chess (from Danny Loeb):  On a turn you either make a normal
move, or you can "program" a pawn by specifying a direction for it to
travel (often by turning it on its side and pointing it that way).  
*Before* each player makes his move, all his own robot pawns make
their moves.  A robot pawn moves 1 square in its specified direction,
capturing an enemy piece already there if possible.  If that square is
occupied by a friendly piece, the pawn does nothing.  If the pawn hits
the side of the board, it is deprogrammed and becomes a normal pawn.
[This is really wacky! Great for computer scientists]. 

People interested in chess variations might want to check out John
Gollon's _Chess_Variations:_Ancient,_Regional,_and_Modern_
Published by Charles E. Tuttle Co. isbn:0-8048-1122-9.

Dear Mr. Trenholme,

  I understand you are requesting chess variants.
Well, my friend came up with this one, which I
haven't seen elsewhere.

King of the Mountain

Setup: normal
  The game proceeds normally until the end of the
10th move (i.e. each side gets 10 moves). At this
point, all pieces in the outermost ring of squares
are removed. If either king is in this ring, that
player loses unless both kings are in this ring, in
which case the game is a draw.
  After the pieces are removed, the outermost ring
is barred from further play. Ten moves later, the
pieces in the next ring are removed as above.
  A player wins by checkmate or forcing the enemy
king to be removed as above (the most elegant way)
It is clear the game can last a maximum of 30 moves,
as there is room in the central squares for only one
king. This makes this variant fast and furious, especially
as both players try to cram as many pieces as possible into
the central squares.

  Scott de Brestian

Long Leapers:  Knight's move one square longer instead of two up over.
three up and over.

Give away:  You must capture a piece.  The one who takes the oppsing
King loses.

Most chess variants are described in the old Harkness Handbook, but for 
Giveaway you might want to define the winner as the person with no 
legal moves, i.e, having only a blocked pawn at the end is a win.  

Kamakazie is another good one.  Place a partition between 4th & 5th ranks
while the players arrange their pieces any way they want.  Castling only
permitted if king is placed on e1 or e8 with a rook on "R1".  The
partition is lifted and the clock (usually 5 min) is started.  Combine
this with Kriegspeil and I guess you can call the game WWII. 

Two for one:  White gets a king on e2 and pawns on c3, d3, e3, & f3;
but gets 2 moves for each one by Black.  Unlike Scotch Chess (described
in Harkness), White can be in check after his 1st move as long as
the king is safe at the end of the move.  Similar to "fox & geese"
in  checkers.

Warren Porter    (email removed contact us for address)

Here are some more historical chess variants:

In the following three variants, the pieces have the following moves:

archbishop: the move of both our bishop and knight

giraffe: the move of both our queen and knight

soldier: one square "toward the enemey king". Interpret that as you wish.

pawn: as our pawn except it has no double-leap, and promotes only to a queen

fers: precisly two squares diagonally, able to jump over pieces like our

All the other pieces move as in our version of chess.

There are three possible opening setups, two 10x10, and one 12x12, as

r n b g k q a b n r          r n b a g k q b n r
p p p p s s p p p p          p p p p s s p p p p
- - - - n n - - - -          - - - - n n - - - -
- - - - - - - - - -          - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - -          - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - -          - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - -          - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - N N - - - -          - - - - N N - - - -
P P P P S S P P P P          P P P P S S P P P P
R N B A Q K G B N R          R N B Q G K A B N R

r n b r f k q f r b n r
p p p p p p p p p p p p
- - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - -

In the following variant, the pieces have the following moves:

pawn: no double-step on the first moves, promotes only to queen

zebra: this piece has an unusual move. It moves one square diagonally, then
three or more squares in a straight line. It can not move over interposing
pieces, and but move at least four squares (one diagonal + three straight)

camel: like a knight, but on a 2x4 "L" instead of our knight's 2x3 "L"

queen: the queen may only move one square diagonally. It is a lot weaker than
our queen.

fers: The fers may move only precisely two squares diagonally, but is able to
jump over interposing pieces.

archbishop: the combined move our our knight and our bishop.

The opening setup is as follows:

r n f a c z k q c a f n r
- - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - -
p p p p p p p p p p p p p
- - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - -

Sam Trenholme: internet junkie, aspiring UNIX wizard, collector of UNIX accounts
 set@(ocf,soda) : (email removed contact us for address) : (email removed contact us for address) 

OK, here is a variant I made up:

The setup and board size is the same as ortho-chess (ortho-chess is the
standard version of chess (not shogi or chinese chess either :) ). 

The king and the queen have the same move as ortho-chess. 

The bishop moves forwards (forwards being the direction pawns of the same 
color as the bishop move and capture in) like a queen, backwards like a 
rook, and can not move sideways, as follows:

 _  ^  _
|\  |  /|
  \ | /

The rook has the move of the last piece (n.b a pawn is *not* a piece) moved.
The rook has no move at the beginning of the game, except for castling.

The knight can move either like a knight in ortho chess or a camel (a camel
moves from one corner of a 2x4 rectangle to another corner of a 2x4
rectangle, unline our knight which moves from one corner of a 2x3 rectangle
to another corner of a 2x3 rectangle), depending on the last piece moved.
If the last piece moved is a bishop, or a rook imitating a bishop, then the
knight has a move of a ortho-knight. If the last piece moved is a queen,
king, or rook imitating a queen or king, then the knight has a move of a
camel. If the last piece moved is a knight, or a rook imitating a knight, 
then the knight has the move of the knight/rook in the previous move. 
The knight has a move of an ortho-knight at the beginning of the game.

Castling is the same as ortho-chess, that is the king and the rook must both
have not have previously moved, and the squares the king moves through must
not be thratened, and the king cannot castle out of check. For the purposes
of determining rook and knight moves, castling counts as the king moving.

"The last piece moved" can mean two things, making for two variants of chess.
It can either mean the last piece moved by the player who is about to move a 
knight or bishop. It can also mean the last piece moved by the opponent of the
person about to move the knight or bishop.

Please email me with comments and suggestions.
Sam Trenholme: internet junkie, aspiring UNIX wizard, collector of UNIX accounts
 set@(ocf,soda) : (email removed contact us for address) : (email removed contact us for address) 

Here's a few you may not have heard before:

1. Salt Shaker Chess. A salt shaker or other distincitve token is placed on
   one of the central squares before the game starts. It does not belong to
   either side, and never leaves the board. Each move made by either player
   is copied by the shaker, which moves the exact same distance and
   direction as the moving piece. The salt shaker may jump over other
   pieces, and captures whatever it lands on. If a move would take the
   shaker off the board, that move is prohibited. For example, if the shaker
   is on the g file (king's rook file) then the player to move may not move
   any piece towards the g file. In particular, said player may not castle
   kingside, for the shaker mimics the king during castling moves. Check
   and mate are more difficult to recognize, so sometimes the object
   is just to capture the king.

2. Unambiguous chess. You must be familiar with english descriptive
   notation for this one. Each move must be describable in descriptive
   notation using 3 "symbols." The dash does not count as a symbol, but
   the x for captures does. Castling queenside is o.k. For example,
   N-B3 is fine as long as there is no ambiguity: if N-QB3 or N-KB3 are
   both possible, then neither move is legal. Also if QR-K1 and KR-K1
   are possible, neither may be played.

3. Protean chess. Prior to starting the game, each player chooses which
   single piece of his/her army will be the protean piece. Usually it's
   a pawn. It may not be the king. A protean piece must turn into the type
   of whatever piece it captures. If it ever captures a pawn, it moves
   and promotes like a pawn, etc. However, if a protean pawn captures while
   promoting, it must become the type of piece captured. Your choice is
   written down before the game starts.

David Bush          (email removed contact us for address)

Progressive (Scottish) Chess
	White makes one move, Black relplies with two moves, White makes
three moves etc.  Check at any point concludes that sides series of moves,
and his opponent must respond to check on his first move.

Marseillaise (Double-Move) Chess
	Each side gets two moves.  You can only check on the second move,
and must move out (block etc.) check with your first move.  Not sure if
mate can be given on first move, (but it shouldn't matter).

Cylindrical Chess
	A and H files are joined, to make the board a cylinder.  1. e4 f6
2. Nf3 g5 3. c3 is mate.

Grid Chess
	The Board is divided into 16 2x2 squares.  On a move, a piece must
cross at least one of the lines dividing the board.

	Simple.  Interchange the position on the knights and bishops.

Pocket Knight
	Each player has an extra Knight that can be placed on the board in
substitution of a move.

Rejection Chess
	On any move, a player may reject his opponent's move, but must
accept the alternative chosen by his opponent.

Canadian (Madhouse) Chess
	When a capture is made, the player making the capture must replace
the piece on any square of his choice. Pawns may not be replaced on the
back rank.

Circe Chess
	Captured pieces are reborn on original squares.  Pawns on the file
where they were captured.  Rook, bishops, and knights, on the same color
square.  Queens on d1 and d8.  If it is not possible to replace a piece,
it is removed from the game.

Here is a description of the ICS's "wild" variations of chess:

The stats variable "wild" controls the how the initial position is
generated.  In all variants (except 5-9), each side has eight pawns, in
their usual positions, and only the ranks 1 and 8 differ from normal
chess.  Here are the meanings of each value:

  0:  This is regular old chess.

  1:  In this variant both sides have the same set of pieces as in
      normal chess.  The white king starts on d1 or e1 and the black
      king starts on d8 or e8, and the rooks are in their usual positions.
      Bishops are always on opposite colors.  Subject to these constraints
      the position is random.  Castling is similar to normal chess:
      o-o-o indicates long castling and o-o short castling.

  2:  Here the usual set of pieces is arranged randomly on the first
      and eighth ranks.  Black's arrangement is always a mirror image
      of White's.  Castling is not allowed.

  3:  Here the set of pieces itself is randomly chosen (subject to the
      constraint that there is one king of each color).  Black's pieces
      mirror White's, and castling is not allowed.

  4:  A random set of pieces is generated.  These are placed randomly for
      white and black, subject to the constraint that the bishops must
      be balanced.

  5:  The opening position is as follows:

      % A game concocted by Darooha

      R N B K Q B N R
      P P P P P P P P
      - - - - - - - -
      - - - - - - - -
      - - - - - - - -
      - - - - - - - -
      p p p p p p p p
      r n b k q b n r

      Please note that the white pieces are at the *top* of the board, and
      the black pieces are at the bottom. This means that pawns are one
      square from promotion on both sides.

  6:  % Suggested by Jidan

      n n r r - - k -
      p p p p - - P - 
      - - - - - - P B
      - - - - - - P - 
      - - - - - - p - 
      - - - - - - p b 
      P P P P - - p - 
      N N R R - - K - 

  7:  % from Kirin

      p n b q k b n p
      - p p r r p p -
      - - - p p - - -
      - - - - - - - -
      - - - - - - - -
      - - - P P - - -
      - P P R R P P -
      P N B Q K B N P

  8:  r n b q k b n r
      - - - - - - - -
      - - - - - - - -
      p p p p p p p p
      P P P P P P P P
      - - - - - - - -
      - - - - - - - -
      R N B Q K B N R

   9: % Here there are two kings.  If you sweep the board in the following
      % order: a1 a2 a3...a8 b1 b2..h8, the king you come to first is the one
      % you must mate.  The other king is just an ordinary piece.

      r n b q k k n r
      p p p p p p p p
      - - - - - - - -
      - - - - - - - -
      - - - - - - - -
      - - - - - - - -
      P P P P P P P P
      R N B Q K K N R

In all boards, lower case is black, upper case white, and white pawns move
up. All pieces move as they do in ordinary chess.

Here is another variant that gets people out of the opening book:

You set up the chessboard as in normal chess.
White does one of the following two things:

1) Swap all the rooks and knights. (Replacing all the black rooks with black
   knights, and all the white rooks with white knights, and replacing the
   knights with the rooks)

2) Swap all the rooks and bishops.

Black now has the option to do one of the following:

1) Swap all the rooks and bishops

2) Swap all the bishops and knights

This results in one of the following three opeing setups:

(w:2 , b:1)          (w:1 , b:1)          (w:1 , b:2)
                     (w:2 , b:2)

r n b q k b n r      n b r q k r b n      b r n q k n r b
p p p p p p p p      p p p p p p p p      p p p p p p p p
- - - - - - - -      - - - - - - - -      - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - -      - - - - - - - -      - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - -      - - - - - - - -      - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - -      - - - - - - - -      - - - - - - - -
P P P P P P P P      P P P P P P P P      P P P P P P P P 
R N B Q K B N R      N B R Q K R B N      B R N Q K N R B

OK, so the setup on the left is regular old chess. There, is however, now
the matter of determining the move of the queen.

The move is determined as follows: first, white selects a piece (chossing
from the rook, knight, or bishop) that the queen will have the move of. Next,
black selects a piece (again, the choices are rook, knight, and bishop) that
the queen will have the move of, with the restriction that the piece may not
be the same piece that white just selected.

The queen will have the combined moves of both of these pieces.

This resuls in three possible "queens": 1) our queen, rook+bishop,
2) rook+knight, 3) bishop+knight

There is also a restriction that this may not be ordinary chess. That is,
if the board opening is the same as normal chess, then the queen selected
must be differant from our queen. Black must not select that the queen has
the move of the bishop if white selects it has the move of the rook, and
vice versa.


From: (email removed contact us for address) 1.Jpl.Nasa.Gov (Tim Thompson)
Subject: Rules of Chess: Brief History
Date: 7 Apr 1993

  In response to earlier posts asking about the history of en-passant,
and castling, I did some homework on the old rules, and here is a
summary of what I found. My source is primarily H.J.R. Murray's
monolithic "History of Chess".
  First, a general observation: remember that chess was originally
a gambling game, where dice were used to determine what piece was to
be moved, and players played for money. Of course, we still do, but
somewhere along the line, fairly early on, the dice were ditched.
I suspect that the dice persisted in some places through the mediaeval

MUSLIM RULES: These are the earliest know rules for chess in Europe,
dating from circa 1100, and are essentially the same as the rules for
the arab ancestor of chess, "shatranj"

   BOARD is unchequered (no colored squares).
   PIECES are set up as in modern chess, but the K and Q may sit on
      either d1 or e1, although opposing monarchs must face each other.
   KING, KNIGHT, ROOK, and PAWN move and capture as in modern chess.
      EXCEPTIONS: PAWNS have no initial two-square move.
   QUEEN: moves one square, diagonal only.
   BISHOP: "leaps" to second square, diagonal only
           (i.e., "leaps" from b2-d4, over anything on c3).
   PAWN PROMOTION: Pawn promotes only to a queen
   STALEMATE and "bare king" both win. Hence, you have 3 ways to win
      instead of 1. Win by checkmate, win by stalemate, or by taking
      everything but the king.
   There is no "king leap", or anything like castling.

SPANISH RULES: From a manuscript dated 1283.

   BOARD is now chequered. Evidently this became popular quickly.
   PIECES are set up as in modern chess.
   KING, KNIGHT, ROOK, and PAWN move and capture as in modern chess.
      EXCEPTIONS: PAWNS may make the 2-square advance, on their first
                  move, but only until any capture is played.
   QUEEN: moves one square diagonally only.
      EXCEPTIONS: On the first move a queen may leap over 1 square,
                  on the rank, file, or diagonal, but cannot make
                  a capture when doing so.
   BISHOP: "leaps" to second square, diagonally only.
   PAWN PROMOTION: Pawns promote to queen only, and only if the
                   first queen is gone. The new queen also has the
                   right to make the "special" first move leap.
                   A pawn may advance to the last rank, but it must
                   sit and wait if it cannot promote yet.
   There is no indication of stalemate, or "bare king" at this time.

   By circa 1500 the Spanish rules had changed thus:
   1. The PAWN could make its first two-square move without any
      restriction concerning captures. The EN PASSANT rule was
      in force as we know it today.
   2. The PAWN could promote, to a queen only, whether or not
      there was already a queen on the board. The new queen
      continues to enjoy the right to make the special first move
   3. The KING on its first move could "leap", from e1, to any of these
      squares: c1,c2,c3,d3,e3,f3,g3,g2, or g1, only if it was not in
      check, and had never been in check, and did not cross over an
      enemy controlled square.
   4. Win by stalemate, or by "bare king" were considered "inferior"
      wins, so the winner could claim only 1/2 the stakes for the game.

ITALIAN RULES: circa 14th century, were basically the same as the Spanish
rules given above, as circa 1500, but with these notable exceptions:

   1. The EN PASSANT capture was not allowed. The phrase "passar bataglia"
      refers to the ability of pawns to pass one another unmolested.
   2. The PAWN promoted likewise, and the new queen continues to enjoy
      the right of the special first move, but may not check or capture
   3. The KING may make the same first move leap, but add the squares
      b1 and b2 to the list.
   4. Stalemate is a draw. Bare king does not win.
   5. The queen and king could move simultaneously, if it was the first
      move for both.

GERMAN RULES: Circa 1420 were, again, basically the same as the Spanish
rules, with these exceptions:

   1. Pawns were reistricted in their first 2-square move, as in the 1280
      Spanish rules.
   2. The KING leap was at least the same as in the Italian rules, and
      he may even have been allowed to leap farther.
   3. Stalemate normally a draw, but a win in some places.
   4. Bare king normally a win, but in some areas, he of the bared king
      actually won.
   5. The Italian K and Q combined first move was not "official", but it
      was allowed in some areas. Also, some allowed a pawn to join in, if
      it was moving out of the way of the King, making a K+Q+P combined
      first move possible.

FRENCH and ENGLISH rules from the mediaeval period are not given, and may
be known only fragmentarily. It seems the Italian and Spanish adjustments
to the Muslim rules were slowest in reaching these areas.

The modern rules we know date from convulsive changes to the rules in the
15th century. That's when the queen changed from a 1 square wimp to a
monster, and that's when the king's "leap" was replace by castling.
I have no documentation for dates and places, however, I can address
one question specifically: was castling originally accomplished in
one or two moves? The following fragmentary game comes from "The Oxford
Encyclopedia of Chess Games". Specifically, observe how Black castles
at move 11, using two moves, while the white king "leaps" to g1, but
doesn't bother to finish "castling". However, remember that the King could
not cross check, even in the 1280 Spanish rules.

Scovara-Boi, Madrid, 1575:
1. e4,e5;  2. Bc4,Bc5;  3. Nf3,Nc6;  4. c3,Qe7;  5. d4,exd4;
6. cxd4,Qxe4+;  7. be3,bb4+;  8. Nc3,d5;  9. Bd3,Qe7;  10. h3,Nf6
11. Kg1,Rf8;  12. g4,Kg8;  13. Rh2,Bd6;  14. Rg2 ...

In my 1777 edition of "Philidor's Analysis of Chess", the rule for
castling is as we know it now, but with this footnote:

   "The old way of castling in several countries, and which
    still subsists in some, was to leave to the player's
    disposal, all the interval between the King and the Rook,
    inclusively, to place there these two pieces"

So, at least as recently as 1777, in many places you could put
the King and Rook where ever you darned well chose to.

                  STALEMATE: The GREAT CURIOSITY
Stalemate has always been a problem, being interpreted in the early days
as a win, and later as a draw. However, in 1614, we find this passage in
the English work "Saul's Famous Games of Chesse-Play":
   "He that hath put his adversary's King in a stale, loseth the game,
    because he hath disturbed the course of the game, which can only
    end with the grand Check-mate"

This interpretation of stalemate, that the one who stalemates his
opponents King loses, persisted in England for a very long time.
In my edition of Philidor, the rules read

   "In England, he whose king is stalemated wins the game, but in
    France, and several other countries, the stalemate is a drawn game".

This rule remained in force in the London Chess Club until 1820, and
continued to be printed in general chess "handbooks" at least through
1857. I do not know if the rule was widespread in America, but one
traveling American student used the rule in a game against von der Lasa,
in 1861.

Timothy J. Thompson, Earth and Space Sciences Division, JPL.
Assistant Administrator, Division Science Computing Network.
Secretary, Los Angeles Astronomical Society.
Member, BOD, Mount Wilson Observatory Association.

INTERnet/BITnet:    (email removed contact us for address)
NSI/DECnet:         jplsc8::tim
SCREAMnet:          YO!! TIM!!
GPSnet:             118:10:22.85 W by 34:11:58.27 N

The following was posted in by Stephen Leary:

The following are the rules to chinese chess:

This posting is intended to address Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
about the game of Chinese chess (otherwise known as "xiangqi" or
"elephant game" or "co tuong"). Corrections, additions, suggestions, etc.,
should be sent to Stephen Leary at (email removed contact us for address)
"The FAQ belongs to the readers of"

        Posting Frequency: every two weeks
        Last Update:       March 1, 1994

INDEX of Questions:

1.  What is Chinese Chess?
2.  What does the board look like?
3.  What are the pieces & how do they move?
4.  What are the rules of the game?
5.  Are there any basic guidelines for handicap play?

    What is Chinese Chess?
    Chinese chess is a chess-like game which is especially popular in the
    Far East: China, Taiwan, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, Hong Kong, etc.
    The strongest players and tournaments can be found in these countries.
    As would be expected, most of the materials published on Chinese chess
    are written in the languages of this region: most notably, Chinese and
    Vietnamese.  As Asians continue to immigrate to Europe and North 
    America, the level of Chinese chess skill on these continents can be
    expected to improve and more materials should become available in
    western languages, such as English, French, and German.  Also, more
    westerners should be expected to become interested in the game and
    improve their level of expertise.
    Chinese chess is NOT any of the following games: Shogi, Japanese chess,
    go, wei chi, weiqi, Chinese checkers, orthodox chess, Korean chess,
    Thai chess, Makrook, Malaysian chess, Mah Jong, Sic bo, Pai gow.

    What does the board look like?

    It looks like this (along with the starting position of the pieces):

    r---n---m---g---k---g---m---n---r   9
    |   |   |   | \ | / |   |   |   |
    +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+   8
    |   |   |   | / | \ |   |   |   |
    +---c---+---+---+---+---+---c---+   7
    |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
    p---+---p---+---p---+---p---+---p   6
    |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
    +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+   5
    |       R   I   V   E   R       |
    +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+   4
    |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
    P---+---P---+---P---+---P---+---P   3
    |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |
    +---C---+---+---+---+---+---C---+   2
    |   |   |   | \ | / |   |   |   |
    +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+   1
    |   |   |   | / | \ |   |   |   |
    R---N---M---G---K---G---M---N---R   0

    A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I

    What are the pieces and how do they move?

    Each side has the following pieces:
    2 Rooks     (R) (or chariots or carts)
    2 Knights   (N) (or horses)
    2 Ministers (M) (or bishops or elephants)
    2 Guards    (G) (or assistants or counselors)
    1 King      (K) (or generals)
    2 Cannons   (C) (or catapults)
    5 Pawns     (P) (or soldiers)

    The rooks move and capture as in chess
    KNIGHTS                                           .................8
    The knights move and capture as in chess, with    .................7
    one important difference: they can be blocked.    .................6
    Example: if a knight sits on c2 and another piece .................5
    (either your own or the opponent's) sits on c3,   .     river      .
    the knight cannot move to d4 or b4; but it could  .................4
    move to b0 or d0 or a1 or e1 or e3. If a knight   ....R............3
    sits on c2 and another piece is on d2, then it    ....N.c..........2
    cannot move to e1 or e3.                          ..............C..1
                                                      a b c d e f g h i
    The ministers can move exactly two diagonal spaces at a time. They cannot
    cross the river (see River below) to the other side of the board. It 
    captures on the square to which he is moving. A minister on g0 can move 
    to e2 or i2. If an opposing piece sits on e2, he can capture it. 
    If his own piece sits on e2, he cannot move there. If he sits on g0 and 
    another piece sits on h1, he cannot move to i2 because he is blocked.

    The guards can move only 1 space diagonally, and cannot leave the
    palace (see Palace below). They capture the same way they move.

    The king moves as in chess, only he cannot move diagonally, only 1
    square vertically or horizontally. The king must remain in the palace.
    There is no castling as in chess.

    Cannons move like rooks, as many squares vertically or horizontally as
    they want, as long as there is no other piece in the way. However,
    cannons capture by jumping over a piece to capture another piece.
    Example: a cannon sits on e1; a knight sits on f1 (the piece can belong
    to either side); and an opposing rook sits on h1. The cannon could
    capture the rook by jumping over the knight. It can only capture by
    jumping, and can jump over only one piece. If there were two pieces
    between the cannon and the rook, then the rook could not be captured
    by that cannon. The cannon cannot jump if it isn't going to capture
    something, it must simply move like a rook.

    Pawns move 1 square forward (never two, as is possible on the first
    move in chess). While the pawn is on its own side of the board, it
    captures by moving 1 square forward and taking an opposing piece that
    may be sitting there (the pawns don't capture diagonally as in chess).
    Once a pawn moves across the river onto the other side of the board,
    it acquires an additional power: it can then move 1 square sideways
    in addition to being able to move 1 square forward. On the other side
    of the board, the pawn could then capture by moving sideways or forward.
    The pawn can never move backward. The pawn does not promote when it
    reaches the back rank of the opponent--it can then just move sideways.

    The king and guards cannot leave the palace (except the guards who leave
    when they are captured :-) ). If we call the king's starting point
    e0, then the palace is defined as these 9 points: d0, e0, f0, d1, e1, f1,
    d2, e2, f2.

    The river is nothing more than an empty space in the middle of the
    board dividing the two sides. A piece cannot move into the river--no one
    can sit in the river because he would drown. It doesn't count as a space.
    The word "river" is not printed on most sets; usually there are some
    Chinese characters printed on it. The minister and guard are considered
    purely defensive pieces because they cannot cross the river and attack 
    the opposing king. Once a piece crosses the river, it becomes more 
    important for attack than defense.

    The pieces move on the intersections of the board, not in the spaces
    between them, as in chess.

    In chess, the player who moves first has the "white" pieces. In Chinese
    chess, the player who moves first moves red pieces. The second player's 
    pieces are usually black or sometimes green or blue.

    What are the rules of the game?

    Here are some rules to remember:

    a) the object of the game is to checkmate or stalemate the opponent. 
       This is accomplished by:
       1. Placing the opponent in check so that he has no legal move
          to get out of the check.
       2. Stalemating your opponent so that he has no legal move (when you 
          stalemate your opponent, you win--it is not a draw as in chess).
    b) Red usually moves first.

    c) You cannot check your opponent indefinitely by moving the same
       piece to the same squares (resulting in perpetual check and a draw
       in chess). You cannot put the opponent in check more than 3 times
       in a row with the same piece without either side moving any other
    d) Similar to the rule above, you cannot indefinitely "chase" an
       opposing piece from one square to another if your opponent has no
       other way to avoid losing the piece. If you move a rook to e5
       threatening a cannon on e6, and your opponent's only move to avoid
       capture is to move the cannon to f6, then you cannot keep chasing it
       from e6 to f6 by moving from e5 to f5 indefinitely.  The idea of
       this rule and the rule above is to avoid perpetual check draws.
       Some of these situations can be complicated but usually the person
       who is initiating the perpetual move loop must break it off.

    e) The two kings cannot face each other on the same file. If red's
       king is on e1 and black's king is on e9 and there are no pieces
       directly between them on the e-file, then that is an illegal
       position. If black's king is the only piece on the f-file, then red's 
       king on the e-file cannot move to the f file.

    f) When neither side can checkmate or stalemate the opposing king, 
       the game is a draw.

    Are there any basic guidelines for handicap play?

    Rook Odds
    The side giving odds as red plays without the left rook. There are 3
    "iron" pieces. Red's leftmost pawn, left knight and left cannon can't
    be captured unless they've moved.

    2 Knights Odds
    Red plays without his knights. "Iron" center pawn. Red's center pawn can
    be captured only by check & only by the piece giving check.

    Knight and Move(s) Odds
    The side giving odd plays black and without his left knight; red makes
    1 or more moves before black replies (possible red moves--see Moves Odds).

    1 Knight Odds
    Red plays without his left knight.

    4 Plus Moves Odds
    The side receiving odds plays red & makes 4 or more moves before black
    moves. No pieces except pawns can be moved to the player's own river
    edge for these 4 (or more) moves.

    3 Moves Odds
    The side receiving odds as red makes 3 moves before black replies.
    About equal to 1 knight odds. No pieces are allowed to cross the river
    during these 3 initial moves.

    2 Moves Odds
    Side receiving odds as red makes 2 moves.

    1 Move Odds
    The side receiving odds plays red.

    Less Than 1 Move Odds
    Half-move odds would be playing 2 games as red & 1 as black.

    Agree to the conditions before play begins to avoid disputes.
    Giving cannon odds is rare & much harder than giving knight odds.

Some variations to chinese chess:

Here is a variant of Chinese chess that can be played on a standard
19 X 19 go board (finally, a fun & socially responsible use for such
a board :-) ). Since there are 7 different armies on the board, they
are each given their own color. I recommend using go stones (most
xiangqi pieces are going to be too big) & paint them different colors 
to match each army, then paint the symbol of each piece on top of the 
color. Usually, you're going to need a lot of people to play this game. 
Probably it's best to try to enlist people at the local club or maybe 
when with friends on weekends with nothing to do.  The special "penalties" 
of this game make it ideal for a special late-night weekend social 
occasion :-)

Name of Game: Qiguo Xiangxi (7 Warring States Chess)

There are a total of 120 pieces used in this variant symbolizing the
seven Warring States (403-221 B.C.) period.  This variant was created
by Guang Si-ma.

The Zhou (kingdom) has 1 piece (at the center point of the board).
Each of the 7 Warring States has 17 pieces.
        The Zhou piece is yellow     (central space)
        Qin is white                 (starts in west position)
        Chu is red                   (south position)
        Qi is indigo (dark blue)     (east position)
        Yan is black                 (north position)
        Han is cinnabar (orange-red) (south position)
        Wei is green                 (east position)
        Zhao is purple               (north position)


        General (Jiang)   
                Each of 7 states has 1 General. He moves vertically, 
                horizontally, or diagonally with no limit on distance 
                (like the queen in orthodox chess).

        Deputy General (Pian1)
                Each army has 1 Deputy General. He moves vertically or
                horizontally with no limit on distance (like the rook).

        Officer (Bi4)
                Each army has 1 Officer. He moves diagonally
                without limit (like the bishop in orthodox chess).

        The Generals, Deputy Generals, and Officers are viewed
        as being mounted on chariots (elephants were not used in China,
        though the Xiang character is used in the game's name).

        Diplomat or Liaison Officer (Xing2ren2)
                Each army has 1 Diplomat. He moves vertically,
                horizontally, or diagonally without limit (like the queen
                in orthodox chess). But he may not engage in combat, and
                may not be killed.

        Cannon (Pao)
                Each army has 1 cannon. It moves vertically or
                horizontally without limit. There must be an intervening
                piece for it to attack another piece (it moves just like
                modern-day cannon).

        Archers (Gong1)
                Each army has 1 (unit of) Archers. The unit moves
                4 spaces (on each move) vertically, horizontally, or

        Crossbowmen (Nu3)
                Each army has 1 (unit of) Crossbowmen. The unit moves
                5 spaces vertically, horizontally, or diagonally.

        Swordsmen (Dao1)
                Each army has 2 units of Swordsmen. Each unit moves
                1 space diagonally.

        Broadswordsmen (Qian?)
                Each army has 4 units of Broadswordsmen. Each unit moves
                1 space vertically or horizontally.

        Cavalry (Qi2)
                Each army has 4 units of Cavalry. Each unit moves
                4 spaces and moves similar to a knight--1 space in a
                straight line and then 3 spaces diagonally.

If 7 people play the game, each takes 1 warring state.  If 6 people play,
1 player takes both Qin and 1 other state in alliance with it. If 5
people play, then in addition to the Qin alliance, Chu is allied with
1 other state. If 4 people play, then in addition to the Qin and Chu
alliances, Qi is allied to another state.

When each player takes possession of 1 state, those states with which
they are allied are chosen by the players themselves. Both of the allied 
states are directed by the choosing players, who must first take an oath 
saying, "If either of the states under my command is lost, it will be 
through my own carelessness." If 1 player orders an ally to attack a very 
strongly defended state, he must first penalize himself by downing a glass 
of liquor (or beer).

The order of play is: Qin, Chu, Han, Qi, Wei, Zhao, and Yan
(this order is counterclockwise beginning with the state in the west
in the initial position, which is Qin).

If a poor move is played, it may not be taken back (except if penalty is
agreed by players beforehand--glass of beer, lose next turn, etc.).
If anyone moves a piece incorrectly, he is penalized (either a lost move
or a shot of liquor, exact penalties at discretion of players themselves).
If a player attacks his own ally, then the entire army of that ally is
lost and removed from the board. Whenever a player is placed in check, 
he may be penalized according to previously agreed upon penalty :-)

A player wins over another state by capturing that enemy's General. But
even if the General is not taken, a player can win by capturing more
than 10 other pieces of the opposing state. If an enemy has not yet lost
10 pieces and a player's own army loses more than 10, then that player's
own army is lost and removed.

At the end of the game, the player who has captured the most pieces is
the winner of the game. First the winner takes a victory drink (a special
drink that is not used for other purposes associated with this game),
then the losers take a drink.

Should 1 player have captured 2 Generals, or take a total of 30 lesser
pieces, he is declared Dictator, or Tyrant, or just Bully (Ba4). Once a 
player has become Dictator, all the other states avow their submission 
to him, and everyone drinks another round. 

Relative value of pieces in their initial positions:
1 Cavalry unit is equal to any 2 units of Archers, Crossbowmen,
Swordsmen, or Broadswordsmen. A Cannon is equal to 3 units of same.
An Officer is equal to 4. A Deputy General is equal to 5.

The Zhou king is yellow and sits in the center to show respect for the
Son of Heaven. He has no army, does not engage in battle. Each of the
7 states has a particular color to reflect its directional position.
The Diplomats represent persuasive politicians who try to create
alliances among the states.

The Yi Zheng Retired Scholar Pei Zi-xi obtained a copy of the text of
this game's rules and had it engraved on wooden blocks so that it would
be widely transmitted. It was then printed on the day of the Lantern
Festival in the second year of the Kai-xi reign period (24 February 1206).

Game Board with Initial Position

G       General
D       Deputy General
O       Officer
L       Liaison Officer (Diplomat)
P       Pao (Cannon)
A       Archers
C       Crossbowmen
S       Swordsmen
B       Broadswordsmen
H       Horsemen (Cavalry)
Z       Zhou King

                     Yan                            Zhao 
                     Chu                             Han

Stephen Leary

Game of the Three Kingdoms

This game is supposed to illustrate the war of the Three Kingdoms:
Wei (blue), Shu (red) and Wu (green), A.D. 221-64. The lines of the
board are not straight throughout, and each army faces the other
two. The pieces consist of the regular 16, but also a different piece
(2 of them for each army). This piece in red's army is designated as (F) 
for "fire." Blue's is called (B) for "banner" and green's is called (W) 
for "wind."  Their move is an extended knight's move: 2 steps vertically or
horizontally and then 1 step diagonally. In the initial position, they
each sit 2 spaces directly above the guards of each army.

When one of the Generals (who are named Wei, Shu, and Wu) is mated,
the player who has mated him removes the king from the board and
adds the remainder of his army to his own.

The board has 6 sides. 3 of the sides have 9 spaces across (where the
3 armies start). The other 3 sides have 10 spaces across, each.
The board is really 3 half regular boards,  plus 12
squares (3 X 4 squares, each dividing each army's half board from
the others) & 1 triangle space (in the very center of the board).

A diagram of the board is given in H.R. Murray's book, "A History
of Chess."

R = Rook         K = King      F = Fire
H = Horse        C = Cannon    B = Banner
E = Elephant     P = Pawn      W = Wind
G = Guard

Here's my diagram of the board. Pretty good, huh? :-)

Blue Army         (R)-+----+---(P)-|----|-(P)---+----+-(R)       Green Army
              (E)-----+-------(P)\ |    | /(P)-------+-----(E)
            (G) -----(B)---- \    \|----|/   \ / ---(W)------(G)
          (K)  +              \    |    |    /\            +   (K)
        (G)       \             \  |    |  /    \      /         (G)
      (E)   \          (P)        \|----|/       (P)           /   (E)
    (H)   +   (B)             \    |    |    /       \      (W)   +  (H)
  (R)  \     \   \                \|----|/              /       /   /  (R)
    +   (C)   (P)   \            /  \  / \           /      (P)  (C)   + 
      +    \     \     \ /           \/        \   /        /   \/    +  
       (P)   \     \ /   \           /|\         /   \    /     /  \(P)
          \    /     \      \    /    |     \   /       /  \  /    /
            +    \     \   /  \       |       /   \   /     /   \ +
              \    \  /  \     \      |      /      /    \ /    /
                +   \     \     \     |     /      /     /    +
                 \    \    \     \    |    /     /     /    /

                                  Red Army

Here is another Xiangqi variant, as given in Xiangqi Review
(Volume II, Number 5).  You only use half the board, but all
32 pieces.

Turn over all 32 pieces, so you can't see what they are, and mix
them all well.  Then put them all face-down on the *squares* of
a half-board--not on the intersections, on the squares, like in
orthodox chess.

After deciding who goes first, the first player chooses a piece
to turn over, which constitutes one move. Then the second player
turns over a piece. The players then alternate, either turning
over another piece or making a move with a piece already turned up.

All the pieces move the same way--one square up, down, right, or
left, but not diagonally. You can move a piece onto any adjacent
empty square, or onto an adjacent square occupied by another
piece by capturing that piece, if legal. The captured piece is
then removed from the board. Moving is compulsory, capturing not.

The men rank in this order:

king -> Rook -> Horse -> Cannon -> Bishop -> Guard -> Pawn -->> King

Each piece can take any piece that's equal or lower in rank. The
exception is that a pawn *can* take a king! 

A game is won when you have captured all men from your opponent, or
when he resigns. Checkmating the king doesn't end the game, draws
are rare.

Material gain is the highest objective. Be careful when capturing
that your piece isn't trapped or lost to another higher piece.

There is no checking or hitting violations, no repetition prohibitions.
Force your opponent to take risks by having to turn over unknown
pieces next to his. In some positions, the rook may even be worth
more than the king.

Written by various authors. Submitted by Sam Trenholme.
WWW page created: April 21, 2000.