Monday, December 5, 2011

Chess Variants - Fun and Challenging

It is a given that chess players enjoy chess. But not all chess players enjoy chess variants, but they should. Chess variants can be fun, challenging, and rewarding. Besides, your chess experience should be, above all else, fun. Why not let loose and allow yourself to enjoy some of these variations? These specific variants were chosen because they require no special boards or equipment, with the exception of Vegas Chess.

Chess960 (Fischer Random)
Chess 960 was invented by Bobby Fischer and it was his answer to what he believed was a fundamental flaw in the game, and that was too much focus on the opening stage of the game. Chess 960 allows for a semi-random arrangement of pieces on the back rank, but allows normal castling so that the middlegame looks very much like a legitimate chess position. This cuts out the need for hours of study, opening traps, and prearranged draws. You simply play chess.

Giveaway Chess
This is a chess variant where the object of the game, as the name indicates, is to literally give away your entire army to your opponent. When you present a capture to your opponent, he is obligated to take it. The king has no special value and can be captured like any other piece.

The first player to clear the board of all of his pieces is the winner. Fritz comes with both a Chess 960 and Giveaway chess playing mode.

Vegas Chess
Each side sets up normally and moves normally. The only difference is each player is outfitted with two-specialized 6-sided dice featuring the chess pieces instead of dots. When it is your turn you roll the six-sided dice and you may only move the piece that is indicated on either die face. If there are no legal moves, you pass your turn.

Rotation Chess
You and your opponent rotate the board every ten moves.

Pawn Storm Chess
Each side begins the game with all of their pawns on their own fourth ranks. Every pawn on the board is in a state of mutual tension from the very start.

16-pawn chess
One player begins the game with no queen but eight extra pawns. The opponent is set up as normal.

Scotch Chess
Set up and moves are as in a normal game. White gets one move, the black gets two. Then white gets three moves, then black gets four. The game rarely lasts more than 3 or 4 turns.

Double-Move Chess
The setup and moves are the same as normal chess but each player gets two moves each turn. If the first move is a check, they do not get a second move.

Bughouse is a ton of fun and should never be taught to children or they will never want to play normal chess again. It requires four players forming two teams of two. You sit beside your teammate who plays an opposite color than you. When you capture an opponent's piece, you place it in front of your teammate (who is playing the same color as your opponent in a different game). On your turn, you can either move a piece on your board, or place a piece that your teammate has given to you. The game is won when either you or your teammate checkmate the opponent.

Give one of these variants a try some time. They are challenging, fresh, and most importantly... fun! If you are interested in more extensive rules on any of these games, follow this link.