Chess Variants

Start at: 18:45 August 20 2019 UK time

Finish at: 22:30 August 20 2019 UK time





From 6:45 pm until 10:30 pm

5 double rounds where each round is a different Chess variant. In each round you play the same opponent twice in the same variant, once as White and once as Black.

Round 1: Losing Chess. 3min + 5s increment per move
Round 2: Monster Chess. 3min + 5s increment per move
Round 3: Knight-Relay Chess. 5min + 10s increment per move
Round 4: Atomic Chess. 5min + 5s increment per move.
Round 5: Coin Chess. 5min + 5s increment per move.

The rules for all 5 games are below. Chess sets and a copies of the rules will be available in the Learn-to-play room to give you an opportunity to try out the variants in advance.

Losing Chess

Background: Unknown inventor. Also known as Loser’s Chess, Suicide Chess, Antichess, Giveaway Chess.

  • Captures are mandatory but a player is free to choose between alternatives
  • There is no check (the king is captured like an ordinary piece)
  • A pawn can promote to a king
  • A player wins by losing all their pieces, or if they do not have a legal move

Monster Chess

Background: Unknown inventor. Also known as Super King Chess.

  • Variant starting position. Black starts as normal. White starts with a king and four pawns (c to f) only. See figure.
  • White makes two moves on their turn. Black makes a single move on their turn.
  • White may promote a pawn, but Black may not promote. Any Black pawn reaching the promotion square remains a pawn and will not be able to move again. Some versions state that Black is allowed to promote, but the version described here is to be preferred.
  • There is no check and a player wins by capturing their opponents’ king

Knight Relay Chess

Background: Invented by Mannis Charosh. Also known as N-Relay Chess.

  • Knights have relay powers. Any piece defended by a friendly knight gains the power of the knight move, except for the king which is unaffected. For example, from the starting array, the White e-pawn can move to (or capture on) c3, d4, f4 or g3 in addition to the standard options of e3 and e4.
  • Pawns and pieces may be relayed forwards or backwards, but pawns may not be relayed to the first or eighth rank
  • Any pawn relayed to its’ initial rank regains the option to make a double-step move
  • There is no en passant capture
  • Knights are immune from capture, cannot capture enemy pieces and cannot give check
  • Pawns may promote to a knight and promoted knights also have relay powers, are immune from capture and cannot capture enemy pieces

Atomic Chess

Background: Unknown inventor

  • Normal rules apply, but there is no check or checkmate
  • When a piece is captured, an explosion occurs on the capture square. The explosion removes:
    • the capturing piece
    • the captured piece
    • all pieces, except pawns, on surrounding orthogonal squares (ie. a king’s move away)
  • A player wins by removing the opponents’ king (by direct capture or explosion)
  • Moves which cause a player’s own king to explode are not allowed. Note that you can move a king such that it touches an opponent’s king as neither king is allowed to take the other (this would cause their own king to explode).

Coin Chess

Background: Unknown inventor

  • Normal rules apply except for the introduction of a coin (or counter)
  • Black starts by placing the coin on any unoccupied square. Play then continues with players alternating turns as in normal chess.
  • On their turn, a player makes any legal move but may not move onto the square where the coin has been placed. The player may move over (but not onto), the coin square.
  • The player ends their turn by leaving the coin where it stands or moving the coin to a different unoccupied square.
  • The coin can never be placed on an occupied square, and therefore cannot be used to protect a piece from capture
  • A player wins by checkmating the opponent. Note that the coin can be used to remove escape squares from the king.

Additional information


Adult, Child