What are we to make of chess variants?

What is the definition of chess, chess variants? I don't know, and I don't care too much. A look around shows that chess variants have to be like chess, at least superficially. There have been many, many chess variants over the decades. Going farther back, chess was kickstarted in India. Going west, it developed into the international chess you know. Going east, it left a trail of variants in different places, for example makruk in Thailand. I'll let you decide if Atlantis Chess (in the library) is a chess variant.

Is a chess variants convention asking too much? It could be in a corner of a convention/tournament, like an Oak Games convention. People could wander by and give a chess variant a try with another willing player. People could discuss online in advance who wants to play what.

Omega Chess / photographs


Extinction Chess


Fischer Random Chess



bughouse chess

The Insanity of Top Level Bughouse Chess

A confused older gentleman.



Fog of War Chess

I guess that would have to be done electronically.


Atomic Chess / example games



horde chess


I looked into 5-dimensional chess. Then I decided not to look into it.


Many years ago I came up with fifth column chess. Just a thought, not developed or tested. Three of your pieces, excluding kings, can be taken over and used by your opponent. Your opponent knows which ones in advance, but you don't. Vice versa too. I guess no taking over pieces until the first normal capture.

Hidden Queen Chess, where one of your pawns is secretly a queen, is said to be fun.

And then there are the traditionals.


Chinese Chess is the big one, with a huge number of players. It has terrain features. Korean chess is closely related to that. Japanese Chess, called Shogi, involved capturing enemy pieces and parachuting them back on the board as your pieces.

makruk rules

Thai chess. It has a nice appearance.