Check out Chess with Different Armies, our featured variant for July, 2024.

This page is written by the game's inventor, Vu Vo.

Quang Trung Chess (4th edition)

Vu Q. Vo designed Quang Trung Chess. Later, he changed the game; amongst others, he changed the size of the board. Below, you can find his description newest version at December 2000.

Recall of Old Editions

As of 1 December 2000, the fourth edition of Quang Trung Chess has came out. Please disregard the previous three published editions of Quang Trung Chess, which have been officially recalled. The 1st edition (3mar99) uses an 8x9 board, the 2nd (15Apr99) uses a 10x10, and the  3rd (17Jul'00) uses an 8x8 board.


What's New in the Fourth Edition

The fourth edition is simpler and richer than the third edition. The Bishops in the third edition are eliminated and replaced by two Pawns--making a total of eight Pawns. The Cannons are now allowed to move and capture diagonally. The Queens are now called "Bishops," and the Cannons are now called "Queens." The Eastern names change, however, is less confusing: the Elephants are eliminated. The Counsellors are now called Elephants. As the result, Quang Trung Chess can now be played with Western and Eastern pieces.

What Quang Trung Chess Offers

Besides the Knight, all other piece-types are brand new--all five of them. No other chess version has them. Here is a few highlights of Quang Trung Chess:

-The King/Tµø'ng: smart, could give check, and can force a win by itself.
-The Pawn/Chô't: smart and responsive, and has its own goal.
-The Queen/Pháo: smarter, simpler, and more independent than the Chinese cannon.
-The Rook/Xe: able to hit-and-run and also could be blocked by another piece.
-The Bishop/Tµø.ng: simply a beautiful piece.

Official 8x8 Board

Quang Trung Chess is played on an 8x8 checkered board. Thus, I have preserved the most important contributions of orthodox chess: The checkering of the board.

The Set Up

The initial piece set up is arranged as in Figure-1 below. Starting from the middle of the back row is the King/Tµø'ng (on light square). To the right of the respective King is the Knight/Mã (on dark square). To the sides of the King and the Knight are the two Bishops/Tµø.ng, two Queens/Pháo, and Rooks/Xe--respectively. The remaining eight Pawns are spread out evenly across the third row. Black, on the bottom, goes first.

For more detail, click on the picture.
Figure 1. Quang Trung Chess Setup
qt-setup4a.gif (51367 bytes)qt-setup4b.gif (55315 bytes)
Eastern Pieces / Western Pieces

The Goals of Quang Trung Chess

  1. Checkmate the opponent's King.
  2. Pawnmate*  the opponent
  3. Stalemate the opponent.
  4. Repetition draws the game.

*to pawnmate the opponent, you must get one of your pawn to the end of one of the four central columns safely--without being captured in the next turn.

The Pieces

Quang Trung Chess is played with a set of Chinese Chess or orthodox chess (FIDE) pieces. The use of Chinese Chess pieces is intended to serve as a continuity for most Vietnamese players (who currently are avid players of Chinese Chess) to learn the new game. Secondly, it is my way of paying respect to the game, which have been with us Vietnamese for many generations. The use of Western pieces is to promote Quang Trung Chess where orthodox chess has dominated--and thus, catered to both Eastern and Western tastes.

Out of respect for the chess tradition, I have kept Quang Trung Chess exactly at 32 pieces. Each side gets 16 pieces: 1 King (Tµø'ng), 2 Queens (Pháo), 1 Knight (Mã), 2 Bishops (Tµø.ng), 2 Rooks (Xe), and 8 Pawns (Chô't).

Right below are details to the six piece-types of Quang Trung Chess. For more details on each piece, click on the name of piece.

BChariot.gif (1114 bytes)Brook.bmp (4482 bytes)Rchariot.gif (1125 bytes)The Rook (Xe)
The Chariot moves and captures by sliding orthogonally in any number of squares. After a capture, however, it must move one more pace in the same direction into an empty square--a pace away from the captured piece.

BHorse.gif (1122 bytes)Bknight.bmp (4482 bytes)Rhorse.gif (1095 bytes)The Knight (Mã)
The Knight moves and captures in an L-shape: A pace diagonally followed by a pace orthogonally out. This piece is identical to the same piece in orthodox chess (FIDE).

Bgeneral.gif (1149 bytes)Bking.bmp (4646 bytes)RGeneral.gif (1097 bytes)The King (Tµø'ng)
1. The King moves and captures by making one pace diagonally into an empty square, and then continued with another pace orthogonally (in any direction).
2. If the General is checkmated, the game is over.

Bsoldier.gif (1102 bytes)Bpawn.bmp (3990 bytes)RSoldier.gif (1127 bytes)The Pawn (Chô't)
1. When the square behind the pawn is empty: the pawn move and capture one pace diagonally forward.  2. When the square behind the pawn is not empty: the pawn move and capture one pace vertically forward.  3. When a pawn reach the other side of the board and within the four central columns, it automatically won the game if it could not be captured by the opponent on the following move. This is what I called a "pawnmate."

Belephant.gif (1144 bytes)Bbishop.bmp (4482 bytes)RElephant.gif (1139 bytes)The Bishop (Tµø.ng)
The Bishop moves and captures by jumping two paces diagonally or three paces orthogonally.

Bcannon.gif (1169 bytes)Bqueen.bmp (4646 bytes)RCannon.gif (1144 bytes)The Queen (Pháo)
The Queen moves and captures by sliding two or more paces orthogonally or diagonally. It jumps over the first square.

Make Your Own Quang Trung Set

The board is easy to obtain since Quang Trung Chess shares the same board with Western Chess (FIDE), which is available everywhere.

The Eastern Set

The Eastern pieces are Chinese Chess pieces, so you have to go to Chinatown or somewhere that sell Chinese Chess. However, there is a minor problem: A set of Chinese Chess has only five pawns (a set of Quang Trung Chess needs eight). Just make sure you got that problem figured out ahead of time before you headed out to the store. Chinese Chess are cheap--you could get a good set for a few US dollars. To make one set, I usually by two sets of wooden pieces and throw out the uglier halve. The qualities of most plastic pieces are more consistence (in this case, there aren't any uglier haft). Make sure your pieces are small enough for your board. It is much easier to find a set of pieces that fit for a board then the other way around. Find your board first.

The Western Set

The Western pieces are the regular orthodox chess (FIDE) pieces. orthodox chess is so popular that you would have no problem in getting the pieces. However, one tiny little problem you should keep in mind: a set of Quang Trung Chess has two queens while a regular set of orthodox chess has only one. If you have to by an extra set to play Quang Trung Chess, I still think it is worth it.


You can visit Vu Q. Vo's webpage on this game for more links, a Zillions-of-Games file for this game, etc.
Written by Vu Q. Vo. Webpage posted by Hans Bodlaender.
WWW page made: December 22, 2000.