How do I play chess variants?

When we play chess variants, we mean a game played with a variation of the standard rules that mutates chess into a new game. Often the pieces and board remain the same, but for some variants we may play on an enlarged board, and in others we may introduce unusual 'fairy' pieces. The objective of the game might not even be to achieve a checkmate!

It is hard to improve on orthodox chess, but some variants, such as Fischer random chess/chess 960, do aim to make the player more creative and dependent on skill rather than relying on memorization.

In all cases, we provide alternative ways of enjoying chess. All variants available feature interactive instructions and rules are enforced, so you can discover and explore chess and it's many flavors.

Chess variants you can play

Alice Chess

Named after Alice in Lewis Carroll's work Through the Looking-Glass. Chess on two boards with pieces moved between the boards.

Rules in detail for Alice Chess

Alice Chess 2

A variation of Alice Chess - Black starts on the second board and no longer faces White.

Rules in detail for Alice Chess 2


Lose all your pieces to win.

Rules in detail for Antichess

Atomic Chess

Capturing a piece results in an explosion which will destroy surrounding pieces.

Rules in detail for Atomic Chess

Bear Chess

A Russian 10x10 variant featuring an additional leaping piece - the Bear!

Rules in detail for Bear Chess

Capablanca Chess

Created by José Raúl Capablanca, and played on a 10x8 board with the addition of the chancellor and archbishop.

Rules in detail for Capablanca Chess


A shuffled back rank to counter strong opening knowledge. Aka Fischer Random Chess.

Rules in detail for Chess960

Crazy House

Similar to Bughouse chess, but for two playerProfiles. Captured pieces are dropped back on to the board.

Rules in detail for Crazy House

Cylinder Chess

The board can be imagined as a cylinder with no horizontal edges on either side.

Rules in detail for Cylinder Chess

Dodo Chess

A variant of racing kings, with a reduced number of pieces and no queen.

Rules in detail for Dodo Chess

Double Chess

Played on a double width board, 12x16, with a duplicate set of pieces.

Rules in detail for Double Chess

Embassy Chess

Variant of Grand Chess played on an 8x10 board.

Rules in detail for Embassy Chess

Emperor's Game

Played on a 10x10 board with two new pieces - the General and the Adjutant.

Rules in detail for Emperor's Game

Epic Chess

Unknown Variant

Rules in detail for Epic Chess

Extinction Chess

Remove all of your opponent's pieces of the same species to win.

Rules in detail for Extinction Chess

Four Player Chess[concept]

Four playerProfiles battle over an irregular cross shaped board.

Rules in detail for Four Player Chess[concept]

Grand Chess

The Cardinal and Marshal pieces are introduced on a 10x10 board.

Rules in detail for Grand Chess

Horde Chess

The horde - 36 white pawns - vs black!

Rules in detail for Horde Chess

King of the Hill

Move your king to the center of the board - the hill - to win.

Rules in detail for King of the Hill

Los Alamos

Play the first chess-like game played on a computer! A reduced size board and piece set.

Rules in detail for Los Alamos

Maharajah and the Sepoys

Maharajah and the Sepoys is a asymmetrical variant with a full black army against a single Maharajah

Rules in detail for Maharajah and the Sepoys

Racing Kings

The kings must race to the other side of the board.

Rules in detail for Racing Kings

Seirawan Chess

After an initial move from the back rank, a Hawk or Elephant piece can be placed into the vacated square.

Rules in detail for Seirawan Chess


The original persian chess game from which modern chess evolved.

Rules in detail for Shatranj


Check an opponent three times to win.

Rules in detail for Three-Check

Transcendental Chess

Back rank is randomly determined, but on the first turn, a player can exchange two pieces.

Rules in detail for Transcendental Chess

12 by 12 Chess

Chess played on a 12x12 board.

Rules in detail for 12 by 12 Chess

Viking Chess

Played on a 12x7 board with both armies starting at the bottom of the board.

Rules in detail for Viking Chess

Vivarta Chess

Pieces transform into a different piece on every move.

Rules in detail for Vivarta Chess

Wildebeest Chess

Played on an 11x10 board, Wildebeest chess introduces the Camel And Wildebeest which are enhanced jumping pieces.

Rules in detail for Wildebeest Chess

Grand Triple Chess

Played on an 2 x 3 boards with 3 sets of pieces.

Rules in detail for Grand Triple Chess

No Castling Chess

Every rule is the same as chess, except that castling is not allowed.

Rules in detail for No Castling Chess