The Chess Variant Pages

The 41-squares chess variant design contest


A contest will be held, in which you can participate. The aim of the contest is to design a chess variant on a board with exactly 41 squares. Read here more about the history, the rules, and the prizes to win.

Already six contests to design a chess variant were held. The first contest was held from October 1997 till April 1998: the task was to design a chess variant on a board with 38 squares. That contest was inspired by chess variants, that people designed for Hans Bodlaender's 37th birthday, and an early one for his 38th birthday by Eric Greenwood. Then, in May 1998 till June 1999, a contest was held to design a chess variant on a board with 39 squares, followed in 1999/2000 by a contest to design a chess variant on a board with 40 squares. We also had a contest to design a large chess variant, a a contest to design a chess variant on a board with 100 squares, and a contest to design a chess variant that takes at most 32 turns.

We now make the x-squares contest to a yearly tradition; hence now we have a contest to design a chess variant on a board with exactly 41 squares.

The challenge

Design a chess variant on a board of exactly 41 squares.

The Rules of the Metagame

  1. To participate, design a game that is a chess variant and that is played on a board of exactly 41 squares, and send the rules to the Chess Variant Pages (see the feedback page how to send them: email to
    .) before March 31, 2001. You can also send them on paper to: Hans Bodlaender, Nedercamp 26, 3992 RP Houten, the Netherlands.
  2. The notion of square can be interpreted broadly, and is meant to denote any cell that can contain a piece. So, e.g., variants with hexagonal cells are acceptable.
  3. In your entry, you may, if you want, also include a few sample games, comments, etc.
  4. If you submit a game, you should send the description of the game (either in html, word, or text-format, with or without added pictures), i.e., it is insufficient to have the game on your own website and send the URL.
  5. Hans Bodlaender is `first round judge'. Submissions to the contest that are not a chess variant, not a game, not played on a board with 41 squares (or other types of `cells'), or are deemed unsuitable for publication on the Chess Variant Pages for other reasons will be rejected in this first round. Other submissions will be published on The Chess Variant Pages.
  6. A participant may submit at most two entries. If you submit two designs, please make them very different from each other.
  7. The winning game will be decided by a qualified judge: David B Pritchard (see below.)

    Mention games that have inspired you. Write correct English, and be clear and complete in giving rules, but you may assume familiarity with the rules of standard chess. (For instance, you can write sentences like: Knights move like in orthodox chess. The purpose of the game is to mate the opponent's General. Stalemated players lose the game.)

  8. See also the additional rules below.


The contest will be judged by David B. Prichard, the well known author of several books on chess, chess variants, and board games, including the Encyclopedia of Chess Variants.


There are five prizes that will be given to the five games that are liked most by the judge. The participant that wins the first prize may pick his prize first; then the participant that wins the second prize, etc.
  1. A set of CHESSapeak Tourney. This is a four-player chess variant, on an impressive one-square meter board. This prize is kindly donated by Chessapeak Games Company.
  2. The book `A Guide to Fairy Chess' by A. M. Dickens. This is a second hand copy purchased by the Chess Variant Pages of a classic book on Fairy Chess. Donated by The Chess Variant Pages.
  3. A set of Chessapeak Porta-Challenge. Magnetic travel set of four-player chess variant. This prize is kindly donated by Chessapeak Games Company.
  4. A copy of Robert Abbott's book: New Card Games. (This book includes a description of Ultima.)
  5. To be announced.

Additional rules

  • Send the rules in HTML, text, Word, or Wordperfect format. HTML or `plain ASCII text' are preferred: if you use Word or WP, see if your version allows you to save your file in such a format.
  • Send the rules: do not just email the url of your own homepage!
  • CorelDraw! files used to draw the Chess Variant Pages boards can be obtained from Hans Bodlaender and used to draw your boards. Alternatively, you can use other methods to draw them, possibly using ASCII. Pictures may be sent as GIF or JPG, or on paper to be scanned. You might want to try to use the FFEN2HTM converter to make your diagrams.
  • Changes or updates to your entries are allowed. However, in such a case you should edit the html-file yourself, and send again the updated version to Hans. No changes are allowed after the date of March 31, 2001.
  • With participating, you give us an unrevokable permission to publish what you send (or in edited form) on The Chess Variant Pages and its offline versions. Copyright remains with the author, and you keep the right for publication elsewhere. However, you cannot request to remove your game from our website, and requests to remove your game will not be granted, even when you did not win a prize in the contest.
  • An entry having its own variants will have only its 'main variant' judged.

What else?

If you have questions or concerns, write to Hans Bodlaender (see the feedback page).

Written by Hans Bodlaender.
WWW page created: October 12, 2000.