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Capture the Flag Chess

By Thomas Cameron


Capture the Flag Chess is a translation to the chessboard of the traditional children's game of Cpature the Flag, where the goal is to sieze the opposing side's flag and carry it to your side of the playing area. A player wins Capture the Flag Chess by capturing their opponent's Flag piece with one of their pieces, and moving that piece back across the middle of the board with the Flag piece to their own side.

Opening Position

Capture the Flag Chess is played on a 7 by 6 board, with a bar dividing the board in half. The bar is not actually part of the board.

6   r  n  b  f  b  n  r
5   p  p  p  p  p  p  p
4   .  .  .  .  .  .  .
3   .  .  .  .  .  .  .
2   P  P  P  P  P  P  P 
1   R  N  B  F  B  N  R

    a  b  c  d  e  f  g

White: Flag: d1, Rooks: a1 g1, Bishops: c1 e1,
       Knights: b1 f1, Pawns a2 b2 c2 d2 e2 f2 g2

Black: Flag: d6, Rooks: a6 g6, Bishops: c6 e6,
       Knights: b6 f6, Pawns a5 b5 c5 d5 e5 f5 g5
Capital letters indicate white pieces.



Capture the Flag Chess is played like F.I.D.E. Chess, except where specified otherwise. The major difference is the size of the board and manner of victory.

The Flag

Flags may not be moved by their owning player, nor may the owning player's pieces ever move into the same square as the flag. Flags may be captured by a piece of the opposing side by making a normal capturing move, at which point the capturing piece is considered to be carrying the flag. The piece carrying the flag may neither capture, nor can it be captured -- the defender is limited to blocking it. The piece carrying the Flag may drop it and move, leaving the flag on the square they moved away from.

The Pieces

Pawn: The Pawn moves one square forward without capturing, or captures one square forward or one square diagonally forward.

Upon reaching the sixth rank, a Pawn promotes to a Queen, Rook, Bishop or Knight. A Pawn may simultaneously capture the Flag and promote.

Knight: The Knight moves and captures as does its FIDE equivalent, with the exception that it may not leap over pieces that are on the opponent's side of the board. For purpose of determining which pieces the Knight is moving over, the Knight is considered to move one square orthogonally, then two squares at right angles to the first square. For example:

The above white Knight could move to the green circle the black Pawn is on white's half of the board, but not if it the black Pawn was on black's side of the board.

Bishop: The Bishop moves and captures as does its FIDE equivalent.

Rook: The Rook moves and captures as does its FIDE equivalent.

Queen: The Queen moves and captures as does its FIDE equivalent.


Capture the Flag Chess uses the normal notation for Chess with a few differences. The piece with Flag has an "wf" after it (Bwfc3 or Nwfc3 or Rwfc3 or Qwfc3). A flag drop is marked by -f at the end with a semicolen, then the move (B-f;e3). Instead of # meaning checkmate, it means you took your opponent's flag and crossed the bar (Bwfd5#).


Point values for pieces and for trading odds:

Flag 100+  
Queen 11 Very useful for escaping to the other side of the bar when it has the flag.
Rook 5  
Bishop 3  
Knight 2 Not 3 since it can't "jump" on the other side of the bar.

Zillions of Games

There is an implementation of Capture the Flag Chess for Zillions of games. You can download it here:

Written by Thomas Cameron. HTML Conversion by Peter Aronson.
WWW page created: August 19th, 2001.