31 May 2019


Apparently it's like normal chess, but with the pieces arranged in unconventional starting positions.

I photographed this at the Hilldale Mall in Madison, on my way to the local Apple store.  I presume the layout is the work of an uninformed or inattentive employee rather than a passing troll.

When I play Scrabble with family, we like to do variants of the game.  I wonder if recreational chess players ever modify the game a la "Battleship," setting up pieces any way they want before the start of the game.


  1. There's actually a mobile game that starts off with this premise, except that it also adds additional random pieces.

    It's called Really Bad Chess: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.noodlecake.reallybadchess&hl=en_US

  2. There's a longtime chess variation advocated by the late Bobby Fischer, who evidently felt that regular chess had become too elementary for him. He called it Fischerandom chess. The pawns all start out in the same place, but the pieces are arranged behind the pawns in a semirandom order. Also called Chess960.


  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bughouse_chess

    Back in high school this is what we, the wild ones on the chess team, played for fun.

  4. I've played a bunch of chess variants -- they are called "fairy chess" as a general category. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fairy_chess Basically its chess with minor or major changes to rules or the board. For example, you can play chess on a board larger than 8x8 -- I've played up to 16x16. Or you can play with different pieces.

    One of the more interesting versions (to me) was "Vegas dice" chess -- where you rolled dice to see if you could move a piece. You *had* to move a piece if there was a legal move for that pieces that came up on the dice, but could not move one if you had not rolled to allow it to move. It puts a premium on improvising new strategies and actions when your pieces move. One of my friends, who was a nationally rated "expert" at Chess would lose 80% of the time to me, because he couldn't break out of his normal chess strategy paradigms.

  5. We'd play "chessers," in which you'd alternate between a chess move and checkers move.

    Harder was "suicide chess" in which the object of the game was to lose by having everything but the king captured. Everyone moved as normal, BUT if you COULD take a piece, you HAD to take one. If there was more than one capture option, you could pick.

  6. I forgot "stack chess!"
    In stack chess, you can combine pieces and their moves. Say, you move a knight onto a pawn...the "stacked" piece can move as either knight OR a pawn. Stacking a rook on a bishop can give you a new queen.


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