The Chess Variant Pages

Cursed Chess

In January 1999, Jeremy Dunn sent me an email, that started as follows:
Dear Mr. Bodlaender,

I have found your Chess Variants page and am in heaven! A friend of mine and I used to make up our own versions of Chess as entertainment and I look forward to trying out some of the variations I haven't heard about, on your site. I thought that I would write you with a variation of my own that I have come up with that I haven't seen tried yet. The basic principle can be applied to most any of the variations that are on your site but I have only tried it with conventional 8x8 chess. I have named this chess variant CURSED CHESS and it works as follows:


The manner of play is the same as the conventional game with the exception in the manner of how capturing a piece proceeds. Cursed Chess requires a set of square tiles that are slightly smaller than the squares on the board so that you can see the underlying color. There is a set of white tiles for white, black tiles for black and a set of grey tiles to represent neutrality. Ideally the board squares should be colors other than black, white or grey so that the tiles stand out visually when you place them on the board. What are these tiles for? Let us say that you are black and you are moving so as to capture one of white's pieces. When you take white's piece, his soldier with his dieing breath "curses" the square upon which he dies. White puts a white square underneath black's piece to represent the cursed spot. The result of the curse is that after black moves his piece off the square the square is then forbidden for any of black's men to cross. Even a knight may not jump over a cursed square if his L-shaped move includes the cursed square somewhere in the path. White however may move any of his men over the cursed square with impunity! The reverse is of course true if white captures a black piece. If black captures a white piece and white immediately captures black's piece (exchange of pieces) then a grey tile goes down and neither side can cross the "doubly-cursed" square. If there is a third capture in the exchange then the tile color is determined by who has the majority of captures, if the number of captures is equal a grey tile goes down. Black or White can "uncurse" a square (regardless of color) by moving their man on the square, forfeiting their man to their opponent and removing the tile.

I guarantee you this makes for an interesting game. I developed this idea for a Chess variant of my own that I hope to send you details of when I get some more time to do so. But as I say, the idea will work with most any Chess variant.

Jeremy Dunn
2514 Saint Clair Street
Bellingham WA 98226 USA

Written by Jeremy Dunn.
WWW page created: February 9, 1999.