Chess Variants

Chess Variants



Historical variants
implemented as Zillions programs

Knights Templar playing chess, Libro de los juegos, 1283
Knights Templar playing chess, Libro de los juegos, 1283.

There is a psychological motif underlying the making and playing of boardgames, as explicated in my game alchemy essay. It corresponds to mandala creations, which try to encapsulate the hectic game playing nature of human life. As a whole, constructs such as these are expressions of psychic wholeness, a dynamic form of mandala. They are not meant to be studied and analyzed, because that would be a waste of valuable time. Still, it’s entertaining to play a game or two against my programs. Suffice it to say that this motif, the playing of games, is what underlies practically all human activity, whether in art, politics, science, or technology. Fascinated and obsessed, we play our “games” according to predefined rules; but from a bird’s eye perspective we appear like little laboratory mice running around in labyrinths.

Gustav III’s Chess - invented by a king! (Gustav den tredjes schack)

4-handed Chaturanga with dice - ancient chess for gamblers (Fyrsidig Chaturanga med tärning)

4-handed Shatranj - a relative of 4-handed Chaturanga.

Burmese Chess - in rememberance of the god Rãma’s joint battle with the monkeys. (Burmesiskt schack).

Oblong Shatranj with die - a medieval chess variant (Avlångt shatranj (schack) med tärning).

Chinese Chess - the world’s most popular game.

MiniXiangqi - 7x7 Chinese Chess.

Korean Chess - a variant native to Korea.

Hiashatar - a variant native to Mongolia.

Circular Chess - a revived medieval variant.

Paulovits’s Game - featuring the General and the Pasha

Capablanca’s Chess and other 8x10 chess variants. (Capablancas schack)

Blindfold Chess - advanced training of the “little grey.” There is also a DOS implementation to download (Blindschack).

Royal Pawn Chess - introducing the absolute pawn

Bario - the future of chess?

Bolyar Chess - a variant native to Bulgaria

Seirawan Chess - a conservative drop chess

Gorgona Chess - featuring the paralyzing Gorgona

Airplane Chess - introducing the Airplane

Aviation Chess - featuring the Aviator

Coordinator Chess - featuring the Coordinator

Angel Chess - a bellicose variant

Troitzky Chess - chess on a roundish board

Modern Courier Chess - a modernized medieval variant

Fischer Random Chess (Chess960)

Torpedo Chess - pawns make two steps everywhere

AlphaZero Variants - the variants investigated by AlphaZero

Chess Attack - a mini variant endorsed by the World Champion

Cambodian Chess - an old variant played in Cambodia ...New!

Asean Chess - as defined by Asean Chess Confederation ...New!

Chess18 - Fischer Random with only 18 positions ...New!

My variants

The following variants are attempts at “improvements” of standard chess. At least, they are suitable for training purposes. The ten that immediately follow are relocation variants.

Relocation Chess - rearranging the piece array (also Chess64).

Dynamic Chess - introducing a new pawn move (also Chess4).

Fischer Placement Chess - generating a modest subset of Chess960.

Configuration Chess - reconfiguring the startup position (also Chess400).

Placement Chess - mirrored rearrangement of the piece array (also Chess20).

Arrangement Chess - rearranging the initial position (also Chess100).

Regiment Chess - reordering the piece array (also Regiment Random Chess).

Regroupment Chess - regroupment in the piece array (also Chess484).

Multi-chess - regroupment in the initial array (Chess57).

Chess-9 - modest non-mirrored rearrangement of the initial position.

Relocation Chess Variants - collected in one program.

Revised Chess - introducing the revised pawn.

Adjutant Chess - with empty extra corner squares.

Castle Chess - standard chess with extended castle.

Future Chess - a relocation variant with extra corner squares.

Stalemate Chess - stalemate wins sometimes

Improved Chess - an improvement of Fide-chess

Reformed Chess - introducing swapping pawns

Neoorthodox Chess - introducing extended castling

Fide-chess 2.0 - chess with extended kingside castle.

Sentry Chess - forward capturing pawn (with king behind).

Valiant Chess - introducing a new pawn move.

Pushpawn Chess - a pawn can push back an enemy pawn.  ...New!

Immunity Chess - the king cannot capture pawn on second rank.  ...New!

Frog King Chess - the king can capture by jumping.  ...New!

The following variants are “modest”, i.e. they are played on a standard board with the inclusion of a new piece, or some other new feature.

Variable Chess - one light piece is initially external.

Flexible Chess - the light pieces are initially external

Reserve Chess - chess with extra piece.

Neoteric Chess - relocation chess with extra piece.

Pioneer Chess - chess with extra piece.

Accessory Chess - chess with accessory piece.

Pilgrim Chess - chess with extra piece.

Alternative Chess - with or without extra piece.

Alpaca Chess - the Alpaca can be exchanged for two pawns.

Chess256 - pawns are randomized on the 2nd and 3rd ranks.

Extrapawn Chess - standard chess with extra pawn.

Winther’s Chess - introducing the Bombard cannon.

Stoltz Chess - in honour of Gösta Stoltz

Stahlberg Chess - in honour of Gideon Ståhlberg

Pyrrhus Chess - introducing the paralysing Pyrrhus

Basilisk Chess - introducing the Basilisk cannon.

Culverin Chess - introducing the Culverin cannon.

Perier Chess - introducing the Perier cannon.

Swedish Cannon Chess - introducing the Swedish Cannon

New Chess - drop-chess with pawn relocation

Meteoric Chess - a sound but lively drop chess variant

The following variants are of various type, many are controversial but interesting.

Twinmove Chess - a fully practicable double-move chess (Dubbeldragschack)

Scorpion Chess - introducing the dangerous Scorpion pawn

Correlator Chess - a big board variant featuring the Correlator.

Swedish Chess - finally, the “perfect” chess variant. (Svenskt Schack)

Elephant Chess - a tranquil form of chess.

Mammoth Chess - a new big-board drop-chess.

Mastodon Chess - a new big-board chess.

Dromedary Chess - the long-leaper unshackled

Hopper Chess - introducing the new hop move

Orphic Chess - an entrancing chess

Gunnery Chess - introducing the cannon pawn

Gunnery Chess (8x10) - big-board chess with cannon pawns

Geminus Chess - twinmove drop-chess

Samhain Chess - in commemoration of the ancient Celts

Barion - quantum physics on the chessboard.

Mastodon Chess (8x10) - a new big-board chess.

Mammoth Chess (8x10) - a new big-board drop-chess.

Scandinavian Chess - a development of Capablanca’s 8x10 variant. (Skandinavisk schack)

Shamanic Chess - introducing the shaman piece

Chess-B - a complement to Fide-chess.

Harpy Chess - introducing the pestering Harpy

Elk Chess - enters the Elk, the King of the Wood

Hopper-Elk Chess - a dynamic variant with hopper moves

Gustavian Camelrider Chess - featuring the long-leaping Camelrider (Kamelryttarschack)

Elkrider Chess - introducing the Elkrider

Cannonrider Chess - introducing the Cannonrider

Gustavian Cannonrider Chess - Cannonriders on a Gustavian board

Magicpawns Chess - introducing the flighty magic pawn

Royal CannonChess - introducing the royal cannon move

Brigadier Chess - introducing the brigadier piece

Commodore Chess - featuring the commodore cannon

Constable Chess - introducing the constable piece

Grenadier Chess - introducing the grenadier piece (Grenadjärschack)

Mortar Chess - introducing the mortar piece (Mörsarschack)

Howitzer Chess - introducing the howitzer piece (Haubitsschack)

Magneticpawns Chess - introducing the magnetic pawn

Stheno Chess - introducing the repulsive stheno piece

Oxybeles Chess - introducing the oxybeles catapult

Mangonel Chess - introducing the mangonel catapult

Naiad Chess - introducing the magnetic naiad piece

Castalia Chess - introducing the magnetic castalia piece

Ladon Chess - introducing the repulsing ladon piece

Alseid Chess - introducing the magnetic alseid piece

Turret Chess - introducing the turret catapult

Belfry Chess - introducing the belfry catapult

Bodyguard Chess - featuring bodyguard and kwagga

Echidna Chess - introducing the repulsing Echidna

Leto Chess - introducing the telekinetic Leto

Trebuchet Chess - introducing the Trebuchet catapult

Gastrophete Chess - introducing the Gastrophete catapult

Bombardier Chess - introducing the Bombardier piece

Columbiad Chess - introducing the Columbiad piece

Scout Chess - introducing the long-leaping Scout

Gustavian Cannon Chess - featuring the Swedish Cannon

Guanaco Chess - introducing the Guanaco.

Zeppelin Chess - introducing the Zeppelin

Dragonet Chess - introducing the Dragonet

Interloper Chess - introducing the invulnerable Interloper

Phalanx Chess - introducing the Phalanx pawn

Warlock Chess - introducing the transforming Warlock

Matron Chess - introducing the attacking Matron

Pitcher Chess - introducing the catapult pawn.

Leapfrog Chess - introducing the hopping pawn.

Capablanca Relocation Chess - rearranging the Capablanca piece array.

Flexible Chinese Chess - the horses are initially external

Blockula Chess - witches keep the pieces under a spell.

Diarchic Chess - witches have the kingdom under a spell.

Crook Chess - introducing the Crook (Cannon-Rook) ...New!

Here follows bifurcation pieces.

Crossbishop Chess - introducing the crossbishop piece

Crossrook Chess - introducing the crossrook piece

Crossbishop Chess (8x10) - a big-board variant with crossbishops

Doublebarrel Chess - introducing the leaping doublebarrel

Doublecannon Chess - introducing the leaping doublecannon piece

Doublecannon Chess (8x10) - a big-board variant with doublecannons

Amiral Chess - introducing the bouncing amiral

Helmsman Chess - introducing the bouncing helmsman

Buccaneer Chess - introducing the bouncing buccaneer

Secutor Chess - introducing the colliding secutor piece

Murmillo Chess - introducing the colliding murmillo

Hoplomach Chess - introducing the leaping hoplomach

Retiar Chess - introducing the bouncing retiar

Pegniar Chess - introducing the bouncing pegniar

Sagittar Chess - introducing the sagittar cannon

Venator Chess - introducing the venator cannon

Essedar Chess - introducing the colliding essedar

Provocator Chess - introducing the colliding provocator piece

Laquear Chess - introducing the colliding laquear

Meridian Chess - introducing the bouncing meridian

Samnis Chess - introducing the bouncing samnis

Thraex Chess - introducing the leaping thraex

Gaul Chess - introducing the leaping gaul

Veles Chess - introducing the Veles bifurcation piece.

Dimachaer Chess - introducing the colliding dimachaer piece

Hoplit Chess - introducing the Hoplit bifurcation piece

Gladiatrix Chess - introducing the agile Gladiatrix

E-MAIL interfaces

You can play several of my chess variants per e-mail. The following links lead to graphical interfaces for e-mail chess, where you can challenge human opponents. To those who prefer more or less standard chess, or Fischer Random, I recommend...

Chess256 (Randompawns Chess) or...

Fischer Placement Chess - swap king and/or queen before play begins (Chess25).

Placement Chess - a modest version of above variant.

Revised Chess - a pawn on 7th can capture forwards.

Configuration Chess - a swap method that generates 400 positions

Relocation Chess (King or Queen can be relocated)

Chess-9 (a swap method that generates 9 positions)

Regiment Chess (a swap method where only the kings are mirrored)

Arrangement Chess (a swap method that generates a 100 different positions)

Chess64 (Relocation Random Chess)

Chess400 (Configuration Random Chess)

Chess484 (Regroupment Random Chess)

Chess20 (Placement Random Chess)

Regiment Random Chess

Chess100 (Arrangement Random Chess)

Castle Chess - with extended castle rule

Adjutant Chess - a modest variant with empty extra corner squares

Adjutant Chess (2) - with Adjutants, a kind of enhanced bishop.

Gustavian Cannon Chess - the Swedish Cannon is a relative to the Korean Cannon

Culverin Chess - the Culverin cannon steps like a king but captures by jumping

Zeppelin Chess - the Zeppelin flies directly to any empty square orthogonally.

Flexible Chess - a modest drop variant.

Reformed Chess - a modest variant with pawn swap.

Improved Chess - a modest variant with oblique pawn move.

Dynamic Chess - a modest variant with oblique pawn move.

Valiant Chess - a modest variant with oblique pawn move.

Extrapawn Chess - standard chess with extra pawn in the reserve

Alpaca Chess - the Alpaca is worth 2 pawns.

Pyrrhus Chess - the Pyrrhus can paralyze an enemy piece.

Gorgona Chess - the Gorgona can paralyze but not capture.

Turret Chess - the Turret catapult can sling pieces.

Oxybeles Chess - the Oxybeles catapult can sling to the farthest square.

Secutor Chess - the Secutor must collide to capture.

Dimachaer Chess - the Dimachaer must collide to moves and capture.

Essedar Chess - the Essedar must collide to move.

Accessory Chess - a drop variant with a Divaricator, that captures by withdrawal.

The Hopper Chess variants are sophisticated and somewhat ferocious:
Hopper Chess and

Hopper Chess (with Scorpions)

Those strategically disposed should have a look at my two Mastodon Chess variants:

Mastodon Chess (10x10) and

Mastodon Chess (8x10)

Orphic Chess is a very tactical, and intriguing, drop variant:
Orphic Chess.

or try the alternative variant, with Elks:
Orphic Chess (with Elks).

My two double-move chess variants are quite functional:
Twinmove Chess (compulsory) and

Twinmove Chess (uncompelled).

Scorpion Chess features the new Scorpion pawn.

Randomscorpions Chess is a randomized version of Scorpion Chess.

Swedish Chess the solution to opening monotony?

Dromedary Chess, the long-leaper movement employed in a completely new fashion.

Elk Chess - features the restive Elk.

Elk Chess - with Scorpions instead of pawns.

Elephant Chess features the time-honoured Burmese Elephant.

Meteoric Chess - a drop-chess close to standard chess.

New Chess is drop-chess with pawn relocation. Ideal for training and for avoiding theory.

Gunnery Chess is an advanced tactical variant with cannon pawns.

Gunnery Chess (with Scorpions) is the same as above, but with Scorpions instead of pawns.

Gunnery Chess (8x10) is a very advanced tactical variant with cannon pawns and Mastodons.

Hopper-Elk Chess is a dynamic variant which combines hopper moves and Elks.

Gustav III’s Chess is a classy variant invented by king Gustav III of Sweden.

Gustavian Camelrider Chess features long-leaping Camelriders on a Gustavian board.

Gustavian Camelrider Chess (with Scorpions) is the same as above but with Scorpions instead of pawns.

Elkrider Chess introduces the very interesting Elkrider piece.

Cannonrider Chess introduces the very special Cannonrider piece.

Gustavian Cannonrider Chess Cannonriders on a Gustavian board.

Magicpawns Chess - pieces can change place with friendly pawns.

Royal CannonChess is a challenging variant where pieces can launch themselves as cannon balls.

Commodore Chess features an extended form of cannon piece, the Commodore, on the very sensible Gustavian board.

Brigadier Chess introduces the new Brigadier piece. Played on a Gustavian board.

Seirawan Chess by Yasser Seirawan. Play S-chess online here.

Descent Chess This drop variant was not invented by me, but I heartily recommend it!

My variants with only standard equipment are also summarized here.

Chess Articles

The chess rules - should they be modified?

TascBase - an advanced key-tree chess database

Chess Assistant 2.0 - a refined DOS chess database

Relocation variants - enhanced variance in chess

Schackspelarens spelstil - (in Swedish)

The Chessplayer’s playing style - (in English)

StandardRating - ett program för ratingberäkning (in Swedish)

StandardRating - a program for rating calculation

BlindChess - a freeware DOS blindfold chess program.

My chess games

M. Winther’s chess games - some of my games at

Other sites:

FICS - spela schack online

Mindsports - en brädspelssajt där man kan spela online

Megaglass - massor av spelpjäser av glas

British Chess Variants Society - Brittiska förbundet för schackvarianter.

Halma and Chinese Checkers - om Kinaschack och Halma.

Encyclopedia Mythica - mytologisk encyklopedi.

The Gnostic Society Library - skrifterna från Nag Hammadi bl a Tomasevangeliet.

Theological Journal på CD, m.m. - diverse teologiska tidskrifter - engelsk standard-encyklopedi

Saint John of the Cross - texter av Johannes av Korset (inkl. Dark Night of the Soul)

Board Game Studies - forskning om brädspel

BrainKing - ytterligare en brädspelssajt där man kan spela online

Chess paintings - målningar med schackmotiv.

Palview - Javascript-program för att visa schackpartier

The Chess Variant pages - Schackvarianter - Chess Games Database Online

Philosophical texts

The Catholic Encyclopedia

The Greek Mythology Link - allt om grekisk mytologi.

The Franciscan Archive

New 2024-02-15
Crook Chess

New 2023-09-26

updated 2022-04-24
AlphaZero Variants

updated 2022-04-10
AlphaZero Variants

updated 2022-04-09
AlphaZero Variants

updated 2022-01-27
AlphaZero Variants

updated 2021-11-07
Frog King Chess

updated 2021-11-04
Immunity Chess

updated 2021-11-03
Chess Attack

updated 2018-04-13
Modern Courier Chess

updated 2017-09-27
Diarchic Chess

updated 2017-09-26
Diarchic Chess
Blockula Chess

updated 2017-09-24
Blockula Chess

updated 2017-09-21
Blockula Chess

updated 2017-07-01
Swedish Chess

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