Chess Variants


Why you should play chess variants

There are over 1,600 chess variants tracked in the second edition of The Classified Encyclopedia of Chess Variants by D.B.Pritchard.

This book, which is the most comprehensive chess variants resource ever published, is quite hard to find, but the author’s daughter agreed to share the text as pdf – a strongly recommended reading for chess lovers!

The world of chess variants is wonderful and fascinating. The variants in this book date from ancient times to the present day, and are collected from all over the world, with many regional variants. For example, Burmese, Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Thai chess variants are covered. 

Some chess variants use an ordinary board and men; some use larger or smaller boards with additional pieces; some use hexagonal boards, circular boards, cylindrical and spherical boards, and boards of other shapes; some use boards in three and even more dimensions; some make use of cards or dice; some are for partnership and team play, or for several players each playing for himself etc.

In this section of Chess & Fun I explain a few popular and easy variants which can be played by beginners too, on a standard chessboard with standard sets.

All of these variants are really fun to play, and they help you develop specific chess skills which come useful when playing a standard chess game.

“Chess is but an imperfect variant of a game that was itself a variant of a germinal game whose origins lie somewhere in the darkness of time”

John Beasley

Chess variants for beginners

Three Check Chess

This quick chess variant helps you to improve your attacking ability and to develop your sacrifice tactics. Learn the rules.

Remove The Guard

Chess variant that helps you to improve your ability to see who is protecting what. Learn the rules.


Chess variant that helps you to develop alternatives in your strategy. This game is all about having two plans at the same time. Learn the rules.

Losing Chess

Find the best combinations and places for your pieces to be captured. This game will help you spot the most dangerous spots on the chessboard. Learn the rules.


Loved by the kids, it’s a very funny chess game to be played in team, that helps you to play more aggressively. Learn the rules.

Bughouse Variant

A bughouse variant which makes bughouse even funnier to be played between teams of any even number. Learn the rules.

Capture The Flag

This is an interesting special chess game extremely recommended to beginners. Learn the rules.

Capture The Flag Games

Capture The Flag is a special chess game really useful to beginners. I’ll show you some possible combinations you can play with. Learn the rules.

One Army vs One King

A quick to play chess variant that helps you develop attacking strategy. Learn the rules.

The Pawn Game

One of the very first chess games you should practice when learning chess. Learn the rules.