The site has moved to a new server, and there are now some issues to fix. Please report anything needing fixing with a comment to the homepage.

The Chess Variant Pages


Byzantine chess is a circular chess variant based on Shatranj rules.

The design of the pieces was based on a very old chess set dated to the 12th century found in Nishapur, Iran

The original names of pieces were: Shah (King), Firzan (Minister), Fil (Elephant), Faras (Horse for Knight), Rukh (no meaning for rook) and Baidaq (Soldiers for pawns).


Each player commands a 16 pieces set:

Initial setup

Pieces moves

The moves are identical to orthodox chess moves adapted to circular topology.

Dispite this ring topology, rooks are not allowed to move to the position they are leaving.

There is no castling.

Pawns do not have double step start possibility. There is no "En passant" capture and no promotion.

2 pieces have different names and movements:

Please see the move diagrams below.

For more details and references, please access the Wikimedia Circular Chess page.


Jocly implementation