The Chess Variant Pages



Chess Variant Construction Kit

FAIRY CHESS: The Chess Variant Construction Kit.

To change color (white/black) of a chessman click on the man and select "turn piece over"

Orthodox men can be changed into fairy men by selecting "rotate piece"

Some notable examples of fairy men and their powers of movement include: The Grasshopper-may be moved any distance along ranks, files, and diagonals to occupy, or capture on, a square immediately beyond an intervening man of either color; it may not be moved unless it hops, nor may it hop over more than one man.

The Grasshopper is most often represented by an inverted Queen symbol. The Nightrider-can make in one move, one Knight's move or more in a straight line. On an otherwise empty board a nightrider at a1 could be moved to c2, e3, or g4, or on another line, to b3, c5, or d7; it can be obstructed only by men on those squares where it touches down on its journey.

The Nightrider is most often represented by an inverted Knight symbol. The Empress-combines the powers or Rook and Knight. It may be moved at will in the manner of a Rook or a Knight.

The Empress is also known by a wide variety of other names and may be represented by an inverted or rotated Rook symbol. The Princess-combines the powers or Bishop and Knight. It may be moved at will in the manner of a Bishop or a Knight.

The Princess is also known by a wide variety of other names and may be represented by an inverted or rotated Bishop symbol. The Camel-is moved a fixed distance in a single leap for which the coordinates are 1 and 3 and it cannot be obstructed on its way. If placed on d4 it would attack a3, a5, c7, e7, g5, g3, e1, and c1.

The Camel is commonly represented by a Knight symbol rotated 270 degrees. The Zebra-is moved a fixed distance in a single leap for which the coordinates are 2 and 3 and it cannot be obstructed on its way. If placed on d4 it would attack a2,a6, b7, f7, g6, g2, f1, and b1.

The Zebra is commonly represented by a Knight symbol rotated 90 degrees. Some less commonly employed but still fairly well known variant or fairy men include the Amazon, which combines the powers of Queen and Knight; the Dabbaba, which moves exactly 2 squares on a rank or file and may leap over any intervening men; The Alfil, which moves exactly 2 squares diagonally and may leap over any intervening men; The Wazir, which moves one square on a rank or file; the Fers, which moves one square diagonally; and the Mann, which combines the powers of Wazir and Fers.

Rotating the chessmen is also useful in the playing of variants designed for more than 2 persons.

The most commonly used boards in chess variants known as "Great Chess" are the 10x10, the 12x12, and the 14x14 boards. These are included along with smaller boards such as the 4x4, the 6x6, and, of course, the 8x8. The boards of dimensions from 16x16 to 32x32 are included for variants which require the use of more than one smaller board. The board masking tiles included in the "markers may be used to alter the given boards to create boards of other dimensions, boards with grid lines, or boards of irregular shapes. Spare chessmen are also included as a "marker group" so that one doesn't run out of them.

Virtually any chess variant or fairy problem that one encounters in a book can be easily set up and played. In case all this still isn't enough for you, the CyberBoard Designer may be used to create additional figurine tiles and any chessboard designs not already included. It is recommended, however, that you create a back-up copy of these files before using Cyberboard Designer.

To download the .zip file, click here. This is a Windows based utility and will not work on a Macintosh.

References on "fairy chess" and chess variants can be found here. http://www.chessvariants.com/
References on how to use CyberBoard can be found here. http://www.execpc.com/~d-larson/cyberboard.html

Cyberboard is the creation of Dale Larson.
The Chess Variant Construction Kit is the creation Jim Wickson.


Written by Jim Wickson. Web page posted by David Howe.
WWW page created: 24 Feb 2001. Last modified on: 24 Feb 2001.