Chess Variants

There are a number of chess variants, using different variations on the rules. Some examples of commonly played chess variants include:

  • Suicide chess: In this game, each player aims to lose all their pieces. The King is not special and checks do not matter. Captures are obligatory, but it is not required to capture the piece that moved (any capture is allowed if more than one is available).
  • Two-move chess: Each player is allowed two moves, provided the first move does not cause check. The usual rule is that White gets one move, then Black gets two, and then after that both players get two moves. A typical rule is that if a player is responding to a check, then they don’t get a second move, which means that the first player to start a sequence of checks often gets an overwhelming attack.
  • Transfer chess (bughouse chess): This is a form of social chess with 4 players and 2 boards. There are 2 teams of 2 players. Each player on a team plays against a player of the team, and the players on each team play opposite colors. Any pieces that are captured by your partner are passed to you (“transferred” to you), and can then be “dropped” onto the board in an empty square as your move (instead of moving a piece on the board). Pawns can be dropped onto the first rank or the 8th rank, but do not become Queens via dropping on the 8th (although pawn promotion by an actual move from the 7th to the 8th is sometimes still allowed in the rules). Checkmate is by the normal rules. Chess clocks can also be used.
  • Fantasy chess: There are lots of versions of fantasy chess, with fantasy pieces that have odd powers, or with various fantasy rules.

There are also various types of chess for public performances:

  • Blindfold chess: This is played like normal chess, but the blindfolded player must be verbally told the moves (by the other player or by a referee).
  • Simultaneous chess: This is a display style of chess, where one master plays against a lot of other players on lots of boards. Some such “simuls” also use chess clocks, making them into a “clock simul”.
  • 3-1-0 Tournaments: Some tournaments use the 3-1-0 scoring system to discourage drawish play. This means: 3 points for a win, 1 point each for a draw, and 0 for a loss. The more exciting games are good for spectator chess.

There are many other possible variations on the rules of chess. Perhaps you’d like to create your own.