Chess Variants

Chess may be one of the most popular pastimes of all times, but there is more to chess than just the standard game.

Chess variants have been around for a while and are actually quite fascinating but unfortunately no one has the time to study them and play them.

Some commercial variants include Omega chess and Gothic Chess.

Omega Chess Board Omega Chess board     Gothic Chess Board Gothic Chess Board.

Game Design

There are many types of chess variants and they accomplish one or more of the following:

Chess, because of its immense popularity, has had all its opening theory mapped by extensive and intensive extensive literature, not to mention constant computer analysis to find the perfect opening line. As a result, every opening move up to move 20 or even up to move 40 has already been played or explored one way or the other. Quite clearly, chess is in need of some fresh ideas that would continue its grand tradition. While games such as Xiangqi (Chinese Chess), Korean Chess and Shogi (Japanese Chess) are very popular in the East (and quite popular in the West too), they do not have the same appeal as the traditional game of Chess does. Additionally, those variants too are danger of getting their best opening moves mapped out.

A new variant needs to introduce enough differences to keep the game for a lot longer time without getting stale. The author is of the opinion that Fischer Random Chess - a game proposed by former World Champion Bobby Fischer, is not the only game with remarkably new ideas that can be the next logical step for chess. A larger board (preferably a 10X10 board or 10X8 board as used in Gothic Chess) with new pieces can introduce so much more to chess than if on an 8x8 board.

Many variant designers have been hesitant to introduce the 10x10 board because they think the pawns are pushed too far back and that "hand-to-hand combat" should start early. On the other hand, the 10x8 design preserves the cramped claustrophobic feeling of 8x8 chess. However, there are other problems, there is no main long diagonal from corner to corner, and by introducing more pieces, the player feels even more claustrophobic than in standard chess and has to fend off even more early tactical skirmishes than in Fischer Random Chess. Clearly, the exact parameters of standard 8x8 chess cannot be preserved by adding pieces and increasing board size. It seems a new type of game needs to be created, one that similar to chess but does not strive to recreate every possible nuance of the original game.

Still the 10x8 board will always have its advocates simply because there is a very chess-like feel in games that utilize this type of board. Larger boards decrease the power of the knight, pawns and king and are roomier and take longer to finish. Many adjustments are necessary to create a good large-board chess. Adjusting pawn movement, adding extra pieces via drops, supplementing the size of the knights are interesting ideas that are present in my chess variants.

Take a look at Omega chess and the reviews by well-known grandmasters.

The ability to push the pawn forward towards the center (double or triple move) at any times improves on the pawn mobility even more. So if a player had pushed a pawn forward 1 space, the player can still at some time later push the pawn two spaces forward towards the center. This is not allowed in Omega Chess, but is permissible in all of my games.

And in games like Stealth Ninja Chess, a new type of pawn: the Ninja Pawn, (that can be dropped into the 2md rank) helps reinforce the pawns. This Ninja Pawn is highly mobile: it can be pushed forward to the center on the same turn it is dropped. And it can move 1 space sideways as well! When in enemy territory it can even capture 1 space sideways in addition to the usual pawn (1 space diagonally up) capture.

Not to be outdone, the system evolved for such games as Octopus Chess and Zigzag Madness features very fast pawns and ninja pawns. The pawns and ninja pawns can travel forward 1 or 2 spaces forward on the enemy half of board. This means that if the coast is clear they can promote in as little as 4 moves!

The strenghtening of the pawn structures and the improvement of the knights (they now have the ferz or wazir movements) make this new system quite unique. Strategically rich endgames are the result of this amazing new system.

Here are a few variants I have proposed on this site.

Birds and Ninjas Chess played on a 104 square board contains two pairs of new pieces: the Flying Bombers and the Ninja Guards. The Flying Bombers uses in this game are a combination of short leapers (the Helicopter move), slide movement (they move like rooks when not capturing), and a special fly over capture (never before seen in chess).

The new exciting variants on this site are:

  1. Wreckage: - A highly tactical game featuring the Dragon that captures by approach or retreat, the Detonator that destroys adjacent pieces and the dual mode Flying Guillotine that can capture by flying over a piece. Additionally, this game features more powerful stepping knights and faster Pawns and Ninja Pawns that can get to the promotion square in as little as 4 moves!
  2. Asylum Redux - A game with an enhanced rook and an enhanced bishop. The enhancement is a unique twisting sliding move. Like wreckage this game uses a speedy pawn system.
  3. Birds and Ninjas: - The birds (flying bombers) fly over the enemy to capture and the ninja guards put up a fierce defense. This game should appeal to all chess enthusiasts!
  4. Holy Grail: - Introducing the Mutating Serpent that can morph into one of several types of pieces during its turn! This radical piece creates dazzling new tactics for the game.
    And if that is not enough, the Crown Prince promotes to King when its King is checkmated -- effectively requiring the checkmate of 2 kings!
  5. Stealth Ninja Chess: - The ninja guards and ninja warriors slowly mount an attack, but watch out for the Stealth Gryphon and Stealth Anti-Gryphon that can be dropped.
  6. Displacement Chess 2 - Standard chess with no opening theory! Featuring two reverse symmetry setups and flexible castling.
  7. Raptor Chess: - Similar to Birds and Ninjas except that the Raptors add a new level of excitement to the game.
  8. Hadean Chess: A grand game with an array of exciting pieces. New longer reaching leapers called Sorcerers and the Knights are compounded with a diagonal or orthogonal step movment. The Flying Warmachines and Flying elephants are linear shortrange leapers that add even more diversity to this mix. These new pieces, the original bishops, rooks, king and queen are rounded off with 10 Ninja Pawns that stand behind the standard army of 12 pawns.
  9. Insane Ninja Chess:- A pair of long leaping pieces, and a pair of multi-directional short-range leapers makes this game truly phenomenal.
  10. Asylum Chess: - An experimental 10X10 board variant featuring super fire-through rooks, mad leaping bishops and insane ninja knights!
  11. Sorcerer Chess: Zebra and Camel compound leapers characterize this chess variant
  12. Flying Bombers Grand Chess: -This 10X10 board feels just like chess except for the larger area. The spacious feel and the two Flying Bombers, which capture by flying over the enemy piece together makes for a great experience.
  13. Random Move Number Chess - An exciting new variant which introduces a luck factor to the game. A die and perhaps a pencil and paper are the only new items needed.
  14. Flying Bombers with Hangars: : - Requires only a standard chess board! Same flying bombers as in the larger version except that they are housed on 4 extra squares protruding from the edge of a standard board.
  15. Super Knights Grand Chess: - The knights are replaced by Super Knights! Plus a Queen-Knight and a bishop-knight. A 10X10 board required.
  16. Palace Ninja Guards: - Two Ninja Guards occupy the rear of the palace which consists of two squares protruding from each side of the standard chess board.
  17. Capture the Scepter: - new extra-mobile pawns and a new objective: the king can capture the opposing king's scepter! Play on a standard board.
  18. Power Absorption Chess - A variation with FUN potential yet with remarkable simplicity in the rules. Some extra pieces needed plus caps or crowns needed to signify piece -pawns.
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If you would like to email the chess variant inventor directly:

Posted by: musketeerchess on 2016-04-30 18:09:19  
Hi, there is a new exciting and commercial Chess Variant: MUSKETEER CHESS.

It is played on an 8x8 Board, we add two new fairy pieces. We have the choice from 10 different newly designed pieces staunton compatible.

For the rules take a look at
Posted by: Dan Gurgui on 2008-10-27 03:12:59  
I have and I have no online chess program. Can you help me ?
Posted by: Grogogoll on 2008-04-10 06:28:58  
I hate spirit of competition and people trying to eat each other, sometimes I THINK those who play chess devellop a strange attitude towards life, if it's alternative then it gets even more complicated.