Chess Variants

If you are interested in playing something other than standard chess, there are many chess variants to choose from. Some of these include:


Fischer Random Chess, also known as Chess960 is a chess variant that has grown in popularity in recent years, with more top-level tournaments being played using this variant. Invented by the great Bobby Fischer himself, Chess960 has all the same rules as standard chess, but the starting position is randomized. There are 960 possible starting positions, with the game ending a traditional conclusion (checkmate, stalemate or loss on time). The only rules for the starting position is that bishops must be on opposite colors, and the king must be placed between the rooks to make castling possible.

Bughouse Chess:

Bughouse Chess is a variant that is played with two teams of two (four players total) with two separate chess boards. One of the team members will have the white pieces and the other will have the black pieces. Whenever a piece is captured, it is given to the teammate to be able to be re-introduced to that game. The chess game ends the same way it does in standard chess (checkmate, stalemate or loss on time). The only rule for dropping pieces is that a pawn can not be placed on the 1st or 8th rank.

Crazyhouse Chess:

Crazyhouse Chess is a variant that is similar to Bughouse, but only one chess board and two players are needed. Standard chess rules apply with the only exception being that captured pieces reverse their color and are able to be placed on future moves. The game is either won, lost, or drawn when there is a checkmate, stalemate, or loss on time. Like Bughouse, pawns can not be placed on the 1st or 8th rank but all other moves are possible, and pieces can be dropped to deliver a check or checkmate.

Horde Chess:

Horde Chess is one of the more unique chess variants, with white starting with four full rows of pawns, and four pawns on the fifth rank (36 pawns in total), while black starts with the standard pieces and starting position. Since white doesn’t have a king, white wins the game when the black king is checkmated, while black wins the game when all the white pawns have been taken. As for the rules in this variant, the white pawns can move up two squares, from the 1st and 2nd rank, as long as that square is available, and can promote to a queen, rook, bishop, or knight on the 8th rank.

King of the Hill Chess:

King of the Hill Chess is a variant that has all the standard rules of chess, with the added stipulation that a game can be won when a king reaches the center of the board (d4, e4, d5, e5 squares), regardless of the position or material deficit, as long as that king move is a legal one. The game can still be won in the traditional sense, by checkmate or loss of time. Positions do get dangerous and exciting when the king marches to the center of the board, especially when it is under heavy attack.