The Chess Variant Pages

Polymorph Chess

by Gregory Strong

The standard rules of Orthodox Chess apply, with the following exceptions:

I. Polymorphs

The Knights and Bishops are Polymorphs.

Polymorphs move like a Knight when they are in the form of a Knight, and like a Bishop when in the form of a Bishop.

On a turn, instead of making a normal move, a player may transform one of his own Polymorphs that is in the form of a Bishop into that of a Knight, or vice versa.

Additionally, a Polymorph may also take the form of a Knishop or a Bishight with such a transformation move. The Knishop moves forwards like a Knight, and backwards like a Bishop; the Bishight is the other way around.

II. Opening Setup

White always starts with the standard Chess setup, but as a consolation for moving second, Black gets the benefit of selecting his setup from the following four options:

  • the standard Chess setup
  • all four of Black's Polymorphs are Knights
  • all four of Black's Polymorphs are Bishops
  • Black's Bishops are Bishights, and Knights are Knishops

III. Pawn Promotion

A pawn, upon reaching the eigth rank, promotes to either a Queen, a Rook, or a Polymorph in any of the four forms, at the owner's discression.

Computer Play

ChessV, a freeware program for playing Chess variants, plays this game with a fairly high level of skill. Also see the link below.

You can also play this game if you have [an error occurred while processing this directive] Zillions of Games installed on your computer. See the link below.

You can also play this game by email, using the web-based Play by Mail system on this site. See the link below.


Greg Strong's website