In the world of chess problems, the word "fairy" means "unorthodox", and "fairy chess" is a blanket term for a vast range of games which are based on, but different to, chess. Few of these variants are commonly played over the board; they most often appear in problems and compositions. Some of the common ways in which fairy problems deviate from standard chess rules are:

  • The addition of new pieces with powers not possessed by ordinary chess pieces (for example, the grasshopper)
  • Differences in the layout or size or topology (see cylindrical chess) of the board
  • Additional rules restricting the range of legal moves (for an example, see maximummer).

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