Glinski's Hexagonal Chess
Recognized Variant of the Month for January 2002. Twelve times per year we will select a Recognized Variant for special consideration. Its web page will be reworked and improved and a connecting link displayed on all of our CV Pages. We hope to encourage CVPhiles to read about, play and explore this featured variant.
IntroductionOver the years a number of variants have been proposed for boards featuring hexagonally shaped cells (commonly called hexes). The most popular of these is Hexagonal Chess which was invented in 1936 by Wladyslaw Glinksi of Poland.
David Pritchard tells us, in the Encyclopedia of Chess Variants, that Glinski's game is played by over half-a-million people, mostly in Eastern Europe. Prichard also describes other notable variants such as Dave McCooney's hexagonal chess.
SetupThe board has 91 hexes which incorporate three different colors. It is best if one of the colors is white. The array is as follows:
PiecesThe Orthodox Chess pieces (with an extra Bishop and Pawn for each player) are used. "Hex pieces" move differently than those of Orthodox Chess, but their moves are arguably similar.
diagonal move - A move wherein a line piece exits one hex and enters another by following the line which connects their nearest corners.* Diagonal moves are always colorbound.
*This move is not incumbered by pieces lying to the right or the left of the thin line of travel. Pieces crowding the line are simply passed over.
Unlike Orthodox Chess, the HC Pawn has no diagonal moves - only orthogonal moves - although two are at an angle. The Pawn can move passively straight forward, or move to capture 60° to the right or left of straight forward. (See illustration above.)
- Pawns have an initial two-step move option
- En passant captures are allowed.
- A capturing Pawn, which arrives on a friendly Pawn's starting square, regains its initial two-step move option.**
- Pawns promote when they arrive on one of the eleven hexes that define the opposite borders of the board.
- There is no castling.
- Stalemate earns 3/4 points for the player delivering it and 1/4 point for the player stalemated.
NotesThere is a lively organization called the International Hexagonal Chess Federation (IHCF) which sponsors European and World championships. Hans Bodlaender received a letter from Sergey Korchitsky, vice president of the IHCF, and International grandmaster of Hexagonal chess, from Minsk (the capital of Belarus, one of the republics of the former Soviet Union.) Here are exerpts from that letter:
After Vladislav Glinski, the man who had invented hexagonal chess, died in February 1990 the hexagonal movement fell into decay which lasted until 1996 when IHCF was reorganized and the centre of hexagonal life moved from Great Brittain (the place where Glinski lived) to Hungary. Today hexachess is played in Italy, Hungary, Poland, Yugoslavia, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Asia, Near East and Baltic countries. I know about official federation which exists in USA and about the competitions which are held in Scotland. However the trials to popularize this game often run into serious obstactle - lack of influential sponsors. We wish we had Vladislav Glinski in our ranks today...
The most obvious significant event in hexagonal life will be the 5th European championship which will take place in Tatabanya (Hungary) in August 1998 and will get together 12 leading hexagonal players of this continent.
Computer PlayIf you have Zillions of Games installed on your computer, you can play this game. Download file: hexchess.zip.
You can also play this game by email, using the web-based Play by Mail system on this site.
You can also download a freeware program called Hexodus that plays hex chess.
This game uses two full Chess sets plus an extra Pawn and Bishop for each side. To create your own hexagonal board like the one shown in the photo, see Fergus Duniho's Make Your Own 91-Space Hexagonal Board page.
Sample GameHalf-finals European Championship Hexagonal Chess. With three sample games.
ContactIHCF. Leadership of the International Hexagonal Chess Federation.
Originally written by Hans Bodlaender. John William Brown edited the text of this page when it was selected as Recognized Chess Variant of the Month.
WWW page created: 1995 or 1996. Last modified: 4 January 2002.