Different types of chess (that still use the same pieces and board):

Tournament chess - play using chess clocks, when your time is up, you lose. There are different settings for play times, based on the level of competition. At international level, the official rules are 2 hours for 40 moves.

Lightning chess is a variant using short time settings per game. Some grandmasters consider less than 60 minutes per game per player to be lightning chess. Personally, I feel that 5 minutes per game per player is the most fun.

Suicide chess - the first player to lose all his/her pieces wins. During each players turn, any piece that can be taken must be taken. The King acts as just a piece with a one square move in any direction rather than as the piece you must protect at all costs.

Transfer chess - a really fun variant where two players take on two other players. Two boards are set up side by side with colours alternating (each team has one player playing White and one player playing Black). The fun begins whenever there are captured pieces. Any of your opponent's pieces that you capture, you hand it over to your partner who may then, during his turn, place on any empty space on the board (some players disallow placing pieces on the eighth row). This rule goes for all players, so pieces get recycled into play very quickly on the other board. The game ends whenever any player's King is checkmated, when the opposing team is declared winners. Note: pieces can be placed to block, so checkmates aren't always as easy as they seem for the uniniated. Transfer chess usually requires the use of chess clocks to prevent players waiting incessantly for pieces to place. Lightning transfer chess is really fun.
/dev/joe has informed me that transfer chess is also known as bughouse

Something a little less conventional perhaps, is Omega chess which requires a whole new board (10x10 with extra 'wizard' spaces) and two extra piece types - the Wizard and the Champion. Read about it at: http://www.omegachess.com/

There is also minister chess, which is played on a 9x9 board with two Queens but the Omega chess stuff sounds sexier.

Update (July 4th, 2000): I've noitced that, in Shanoyu's writeup, he's forgotten to mention that perpetual check is another way to force a draw.

Another variant of chess is "alice through the looking glass chess" It is played on two boards. A move is made on on board but the piece transports itself to the equvalent place on the second board. Each move results in such a transportation. The King can get out of some tricky situations this way.

There is the famous star-treck chess, rules are available. I have seen rules for chess on an 8X8X8 grid, but never played this. I hvae played on an 8X8X3 grid. The central tier contains the usual pieces, the upper and lower tiers have princes and princesses instead of Kins and Queens. The rooks on these boards can move in 3-d as can the knights and the bishops (they have different names, but I have forgotten them.) The game is won either by mating the King or capturing both princes. After playing a few games of this, regular chess feels limited.

Another variant I have played is a four player game played on the one board. 8X3 grids are added to the four sides of the chess board and four complete stes of different colours are placed there. You can either play in pairs or against each other. The game is fairer when played in pairs as it prevents three ganing up on one.

There are rules available for Klingon chess. The King can be captured, but the player playes on, to the death and for honour. Pawns reaching the eigth rank instead of being promoted get displaced to a random position on the board. If there is already a piece there both are destroyed in the colliison. There are some other modifications in the way pieces can combine when making moves, alltogehter a very chaotic and bloody game.

There are rules for one dimensional chess,

Remember, if you ask someone to play a game of chess it is like telling them that you hate them.

Just as the number of possible games in chess is infinite (almost), there is an infinite number of variants on the game of Chess. Every aspect of the game can be altered. And when I say "every", I mean every. However, not all variations will yield an interesting (or even playable) variant. Here are some common variants of Chess: And that's just the tip of the iceberg. These are the better known (and more playable) chess variants. The rest you can find wandering about, or in your imagination.

This node has done an excellent job of detailing most of the variants of intellectual chess play. There is however one variant that is missed. It adds an edge to any chess game and can inject a heavy dose of mirth and merriment into an otherwise somber game. That variant is Cocktail Chess!

The Board

OK, so I admit that I got the idea from walking through a Restoration Hardware store the other day, but there is no reason to give your hard-earned cash to a yuppie store when you can easily assemble your own Cocktail Chess board. You'll need a rather large board; paper is the most obvious choice as it's easy to draw squares on and you can throw it away if you spill to much of the game contents on the board.

The Pieces

Easy enough. Just get all of the same small glasses for the pawns, and then unique pairs for the rook, knight and bishop characters. Lastly, the king and queen should be as unique and ornate as you can find. Depending on your libation of choice, you may want to use shot glasses for all the pieces, but at the very least they make good pawns. Fill up all the pieces and you're ready to get drunk... err, I mean, play chess!


Like most drinking games, the actual play of the game is wide-open to personal interpretation. Depending on if you view the imbibing of a piece as a punishment or reward, the drink can be given to the attacker or defender when a piece is taken. If the attacker has to drink for every piece taken, the game creates a natural handicap for the more skilled player, as they are going to get drunk faster.

Feel free to add as many variations as the game can sustain.

  • Is someone bitching out and not taking their requisite drink? Pound that drink for them and institute a penalty where you get to bring one of your players back to life. Be sure to fill them up with game-juice.

  • Use different amounts or just plain different alcohols for different pieces. Soon you'll begin to identify the bishop with red wine and the knight with a frosty ale. Put the best drink in the queen as a further reward for taking the coveted most-powerful piece.

  • At every check, when someone castles, or when a pawn makes it across the board, it's drinks for everyone! Enjoy a round before continuing play. Beaten in 5 moves or less? Pound all remaining pawns before the next game. I'll let you decide what to do at the moment of checkmate.

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