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This page is written by the game's inventor, Florin Lupusoru.

Fearsome Chess


Inspired by the complex hierarchy of fear found in nature, this game gives a new life to a childhood game like "Fear Me!" by mixing fear relationship with chess strategy.  

This game has different names around the world and uses different animals in the fear hierarchy according to the local fauna. The game I remember had the following hierarchy:

I had to add an extra Bear in this hierarchy (in between the Wolf and Hunter) in order to match the six types of chess pieces. Also, the Mouse is replaced by a Squirrel. 


The initial setup looks like this:

For a 10x10 chessboard the setup looks like this:


Each player has the following pieces:

On a 10x10 version each player gets two extra Squirrels. 

Pieces move like their chess counterparts. 


Capturing follows the hierarchy of fear. Squirrel can be captured by Cats, or other Squirrel. Cats can be captured by Dogs, or other Cats, etc. Hunters can be captured by Squirrels, or other Hunters. 



The objective of the game is to control three of the four red squares. Moving a piece on a red square does not count as controlling it if that piece still has natural predators on the board. 

Natural Predators

Each piece has its own natural predators:

Winning the game

Additional rules


I have replaced Mice with Squirrels because they look much cooler and are already part of several chess sets. 

This 'user submitted' page is a collaboration between the posting user and the Chess Variant Pages. Registered contributors to the Chess Variant Pages have the ability to post their own works, subject to review and editing by the Chess Variant Pages Editorial Staff.

By Florin Lupusoru.

Last revised by Florin Lupusoru.

Web page created: 2024-02-25. Web page last updated: 2024-03-03