The Chess Variant Pages

OverKnight Chess

By Paul DeWitte



This game was developed for use with the Intermediate Chess Club at Notre Dame School in Kitchener, Ontario.  The game uses the same pieces and the same rules as regular chess except for these differences.


There are no pawns.  Instead, the row normally occupied by pawns is occupied entirely by knights.  Therefore, each side starts with ten knights in total.


Because there are no pawns, obviously there are no initial double moves allowed by any of the pieces, including the knights occupying the squares that are normally occupied by pawns.   En passant capture rules are, of course, not applicable.


The game is played in much the same manner as a regular chess game.  Castling is permitted.  The most notable difference in this game is that knights are promoted when they reach the opponent's king's row.


This game helps students develop facility in using the knight, in that knight forks become especially important in this game.  However, the game also demands different strategies. For instance, ground is often made by the judicious use of sacrifice, especially when the sacrifice leads to the promotion of a knight.


Standard chess equipment can be used.  Each side requires a total of ten knights to begin play.  No pawns are used.