The Chess Variant Pages Menu

NOTICE: This site is moving to a new server. So long as you see this notice, you are still using the site on the old server. There may be a short period of time when the site will be down or not functioning correctly, but it will be back up and running again in due time.

Baseline chess with Fischer rules

Baseline chess is a variant where the game starts with only pawns, and then players drop the first eight turns a major piece on a square on their start row. Fischer Random Chess is a variant where one starts with a random setup on the opening row. It has some specific provisions for castling and allows only certain placements. Ken Regan suggests to combine the two. Note that the castling rule of this variant is taken from Fischer Random Chess.


The game starts with only the pawns on their respective opening squares.



Then, players put turnwise one of their eight major pieces on an empty square at the first row at their side of the board. They should place their pieces such that:

  1. Bishops are placed on squares of different colors.
  2. The king is placed between the rooks, e.g., one could have a white rook on b1, a white king on d1 and a white rook on h1.
When all pieces are placed, the game starts. One plays using the usual rules of chess, but with the following castling rule. Under the usual provisions: (the king must not be checked, the king and rook have not moved, the king does not move over a square that is checked while castling, there is no piece on any square over which the king and rook move), the player can castle. When castling with the `left' rook, the king moves to c1 for white, c8 for black, and the rook moves to d1 for white, d8 for black. When castling with the `right' rook, the king moves to g1 (g8), and the rook moves to f1 (f8).


Ken Regan suggested the variant, commenting:

The idea of the rule that the king is placed between the rooks is to prevent people from automatically putting the rooks on the d and e files. This may have the problem of Bishops in the corners being automatically strongest, especially since they don't interfere with Fischer castling. On the other hand, "King at g1 and Rooks on h1 and d1" is also attractive. Overall:

  • it's nice not to be "random",
  • the rules contain standard chess as a reasonable option,
  • they also preserve the fluidity and King danger of the opening stage to some extent, and
  • maybe it equalizes Black a little more---and certainly makes it easier for Black to play to win.
Plus one can joke about spending time pondering Move 8. Also, note that unlike for Fischer Random Chess, the setup after piece placement is not necessarily symmetric.

See also:

Written by: Hans Bodlaender and Ken Regan.
WWW page created: October 31, 2000.