In Meteoric (Meteor) Chess the rules are the same as in orthodox chess, except that pieces are placed in the reserve, while the pawns, as usual, are placed on the second row. In the main variant the rooks are in their standard place, too. Players may either move a piece or pawn, or drop a piece from the reserve. Pieces may only be dropped on empty positions on the first four ranks, or on a friendly pawn. In the latter case the removed friendly pawn must immediately be relocated to the position immediately ahead of the dropped piece. This position must be empty. If not, the piece cannot be dropped on the friendly pawn. The two bishops must be dropped on different colours. Castling can be performed with a rook on a corner square. Note that pieces and pawns are allowed to move before all pieces have been dropped.
Since the pawns are placed on the board from the start, the dropping phase is shorter than in other drop variants. Thanks to the pawn relocation procedure, there is great freedom in the placement of the pawns, anyway. This also implies that the pieces in the reserve have recourse to the positions where the pawns are located. Note that you are allowed to make a pawn-relocation if in check, if the pawn-relocation covers the check.
Don't expect that early attacks will be fruitful. The possibilities of defense, and counter-attack, are vast. Note that a pawn can be relocated to the fifth rank by way of multiple relocations. Castling is a good idea, also in Meteoric Chess. Not only does it remove the king from the centre, it also gives protection to the corner area. Use the pawn-relocation procedure to speed up development. Don't wait too long before dropping all pieces.
In this game the variance, and possible developments, are immense. The variant with rooks already placed is more conservative (and perhaps also the best), but both variants are serious forms of chess that put great demands on the players, both strategically and tactically. There exist alternative variants of Meteoric Chess where (1) pieces cannot be dropped beyond the third rank, and/or (2) both rooks are external. Play is more conservative when it's not allowable to drop beyond the third rank. This probably emulates Fide-chess finely. Meteoric Chess was designed to solve the problem of opening monotony in orthodox chess.
• You can download my free Meteoric Chess program here (updated 2009-07-03), but you must own the software Zillions of Games to be able to run it (I recommend the download version).
• You can play Meteoric Chess per e-mail here.
• Don't miss my other chess variants.
© M. Winther (February 2007).