The Chess Variant Pages

Circe Chess

Circe Chess was invented in 1967 by Pierre Montreal. The name is after the enchantress from the Greek mythology with this name.

Circe Chess is mainly popular as a theme in fairy chess problems, but it can also be played as a normal game. However, as the game is rather slow, it is not very popular in its standard form, but when played in a progressive manner, it is quite popular, and one can regular find tournaments of Progressive Circe in AISE or NOST.

See also:


The rules of orthodox chess are followed, with the following exceptions.
  1. When a piece is taken, then this piece is directly put back on a square on the board - this square is more or less its square in the opening setup (see below.)
  2. When a piece should be put back on an occupied square, then the piece is removed instead.
  3. Taken queens go to d1 (white) or d8 (black).
  4. Taken rooks, bishops, and knights go to the square where such a piece was placed in the opening setup: this is done is such a way that the piece stays on a square of the same color as the piece was on when it was taken. For instance, when a white rook on e5 is taken, the rook goes to a1, because both a1 and e5 are black squares. Similarly, a black knight on d5 goes to g8, etc.
  5. A taken pawn goes to the square on the second row in the same column as where the pawn was when it was taken. For instance, a black pawn that is taken on e5 goes to e7.
  6. Promoted pieces are considered pieces, not pawns, for the `put-back' rule.
  7. Pawns that were put back can again make a double step from the second row.
  8. A rook that is put back is considered not to have moved, and hence can castle, assuming the other conditions for castling are fulfilled.
  9. One may not capture a piece when the piece gives check from the position where it is put back.

Circe Progressive Chess

Circe progressive chess (or: Progressive Circe Chess) is the combination of Circe and Progressive Chess. One can use either the Italian or Scottisch rules for progressive chess: here we take the often used choice for Italian rules.
  1. White starts moving once, then black moves twice, then white three times, etc.
  2. A piece that is captured is immediately put back, on the square where it started the game; if the position is occupied, the piece is removed instead. (Note that this is different from standard Circe chess: for instance, when the rook from a1 moves to a4 and is taken there, it goes in Circe Progressive Chess to a1, and it would go to h1 in standard Circe chess.
  3. Promoted pawns that are captured become a pawn again, and are put back as a pawn on the square where the pawn started the game. (Note that this is different from the rule in standard Circe chess. It may be because otherwise too many strong pieces arrive on the board.)
  4. One may not give check before the last move of a turn; e.g., when white may move five times, he may not give check with one of his first four turns.

WWW page created: November 4, 1996. Last modified: January 7, 1997.