The Chess Variant Pages

Tank Chess

Autumn 1998, Andy Kurnia watched two people playing chess. Each player had one inverted rook. Then he saw one of them moved a rook one square diagonally. Interested in knowing further, he asked them what they were playing.

Tank Chess

This variant starts with the normal chess configuration on a normal chessboard, with the h-rooks inverted.

      a   b   c   d   e   f   g   h
    +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
  8 |*M*|*N*|*B*|*A*|*K*|*B*|*N*|*T*|  8    Black
    +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
  7 |*P*|*P*|*P*|*P*|*P*|*P*|*P*|*P*|  7
    +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
  6 |   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|  6
    +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
  5 |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |  5
    +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
  4 |   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|  4
    +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
  3 |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |  3
    +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
  2 | P |:P:| P |:P:| P |:P:| P |:P:|  2
    +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
  1 |:M:| N |:B:| A |:K:| B |:N:| T |  1    White
    +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
      a   b   c   d   e   f   g   h

The pieces

Both players have the normal chess set army, with the h-rooks inverted. While pawns, knights, bishops and the kings are as usual, instead of the normal two rooks and a queen we have:

The bombs (of either type) only explode when their owners decide them to, and this uses up a move. In particular, there is no chain reaction when a bomb explodes and takes out another bomb, when a bomb is pushed off the board by a tank, or when the bomb is captured.

The game is played as if it were normal chess, except for the modifications mentioned in this text.

Other rules

Those are the surely-implemented rules. Some clarifications, which may or may not be true:
  1. Pawns pushed to the first rank can move one space forward only. Pawns at the second rank can always move two spaces forward, without the ability to jump. Pawns pushed to the eighth rank promotes as per normal, the pusher (or perhaps this should be the owner) decides its new rank.
  2. Pawns may promote, instead of to a knight or a bishop, to a bomb, an atomic bomb, or a tank. There is no normal queens or rooks in this game.
  3. There is no castling.
  4. If tanks keep pushing each other, declare a draw. This is derived from the three-moves draw rule in normal chess.
  5. If one king disappears, either because of a bomb explosion or a tank push, the owner loses. If both kings explode at the same time, the game is a draw.
  6. Checks and checkmates are as per normal. Mention check when it is possible to eliminate the opponent's king at the next move. Mention checkmate when it is check and it is impossible for the opponent to parry it.

A sample position

White: Ke1
Black: Md3, Pf3, Kd7

Black can move Me2, checkmate. Because wherever the White King moves to, the Black Bomb will simply explode.

Another sample position

White: Te5, Nf6, Ke4
Black: Kh8

White moves Tf6(Nf6-g7), check. Because after that White can move Tf6-g7, pushing the Black King off the board. This is not a good move, since Kxg7 wins the White Knight.

Play It!

Use Zillions of Games to play this game! If you have Zillions of Games installed, you can download this game and play it.
Written by Andy Kurnia. Minor editing by Hans Bodlaender.
WWW page created: November 6, 1998. Last modified: July 10, 2000.