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Interesting chess variants you can play


Chess is one of the most loved games in the world. It is enjoyed because it is intellectually stimulating, however too much of it can often get dull. Fans of the game, thanks to their stimulated brains have found ways around this shortcoming with some variants in the game. Here are four variants you might enjoy.



This game, also known as Fischer Random Chess, is mostly played with the same rules as standard chess. The change comes from the opening position, which is generated at random from 960 possibilities! The back rank of pieces is shuffled, with only the following rules: the bishops must be on opposite colors, and the king must be between the two rooks. Several ways of doing this randomization are possible, such as with dice or with a computer. Only one randomization is necessary, as black's position must mirror white's, as in standard chess. Many people like this variation, as it eliminates most of opening theory and requires both players to rely on their own ideas.



Bughouse is one of the world's most popular chess variants, and requires four players and two chess boards and sets. Take your four players and divide them into two teams of two - one good idea is to pair the strongest player with the weakest, in an attempt to even out the teams. Setup the two boards and sets next to each other, with each team having one player who plays white, while the other plays black. Each game should also be played with a chess clock; each player should have a short amount of time to play, usually three or five minutes.


Both clocks should be started at the same time, and both games should begin as in normal chess. Any checkmate, resignation or flag fall ends the game. Here's the twist: when you capture one of your opponent's pieces, you pass it to your partner. On your move, you may either make a legal chess move, or you may place one of the pieces your partner has captured for you on your board! This adds a whole new layer of strategy, and team communication becomes critical. Stalling can also be a strategic option; sometimes you may lose if you make another move, but if your partner can play fast enough, you can stall and still win before you run out of time.


To keep the game fair, remember that all players should have the captured pieces available to them in plain sight, so their opponents may see what options they have. Also, keep in mind the one restriction on placing pieces: pawns cannot be placed on the first or eighth ranks. Other than that, be creative, and remember to talk to your teammate! This game is also possible for six players with three boards and sets.


Three Check

Not enough time to play a full game? Three check chess changes the rules so that the person who gives check three times wins - no need to trap the king, just attack it enough times to force a surrender! Strategy can get quite wild, as huge sacrifices that would simply lose in regular chess create enough checks to win in this game.


Atomic Chess

This variant is popular on many online chess servers, but is also easily played on a real board. The game is setup and played like normal chess. However, when a capture is made, it creates an "explosion," which destroys all pieces in a one square radius around the capture - including the capturing piece itself! The only pieces immune to the explosion radius are pawns, though they are still destroyed if they are used to capture another piece. For instance, if a piece captures another piece on e5, pieces (excluding pawns) on all the following squares are also destroyed: d6, e6, f6, d5, f5, d4, e4 and f4.


The game is won by capturing or exploding the enemy king. Even if you are already in check and have no way out, you may be able to win if you can cause an explosion that will destroy your opponent's king.

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