The Chess Variant Pages

Color Chess

For the 39th birthday of his brother Hans, Maarten Bodlaender designed a chess variant, and wrote a program that played the chess variant. The variant was designed such that it would not be hard to make a program that plays the variant well. Indeed, color chess fits well this description, and on a modern machine with a high level, the program is hard to beat.


The game is played on a board formed by a 6 by 6 colored grid, with a three by one part at the right of it. Squares have one of five colors.

Pieces move like in chess, except kings cannot leave the small three by one part, and knights are the only pieces that can change parts. Pawns do have the possibility to make a double move but cannot make an en passant capture. Kings are normal pieces, and can be moved into check and taken as any other piece.

In addition, the colors of the squares determine with what kind of piece the player must move next. Each color has a piece sequence attached to it, e.g., purple has Knight, Pawn, King. This means, that when a player moves a piece to a purple square, then his opponent must move with a knight, when he is able to do so. If he cannot move a knight, then he must move a pawn, and if he cannot move a pawn, then he must move a king.

The purpose of the game is to stalemate the opponent, i.e., a player that cannot move loses the game.


As each color sequence has a king at the last position, a player usually does not lose as long as he has a king (unless the king is blocked by a knight).


The program colorchess.exe is a file that just runs (it does not install).
Written by Hans Bodlaender. Color Chess design and program by Maarten Bodlaender.
WWW page created: May 10, 1999.