The Chess Variant Pages Menu

NOTICE: This site has moved to a new server. If you are reading this, you are on the site through the new server.


This game has been invented in 1899, by Henry Michael Temple, in South-Africa. Members of the chess club Knights Lights Club proposed to play a war game, and Temple suggested to play this game with chess pieces. The game spread around the world quickly, and was played by several famous chess players, including Lasker. Its early popularity is in our times diminished, but the game still has its enthusiastic followers. Currently, the game is occasionally played by chess players, and can also be played on the Internet.

See also:


Kriegspiel is a battle between two players. However, a third person is necessary to act as a referee.

One needs three boards for the game. The main idea of Kriegspiel is that players only get to see their own pieces, but do not see the pieces of their opponent, and do not know what moves the opponent has made - they only have some partial information (see below) that allows them to guess where the opponents pieces are. Only the referee knows exactly the real position of both sets of pieces.

Players move turn-wise, just as in normal chess. Each turn, a player attempts a move. When this move is legal, the referee announces that the player has moved, and the turn is done. When the move is not legal, the referee also announces that the player attempted an illegal move, and the player must make a new attempt to move, until he makes a legal move.

All announcements by the referee are heard by both players.

When a move gives check, the referee announces this, and also announces the direction in which check is given: either on the row, on the column, on the small diagonal, on the large diagonal, or by a knight. However, the place of the checking piece is not told (but sometimes can be guessed or deduced correctly.)

When a piece captures another piece, the referee announces this, and also the field where the capture has taken place. For instance, the referee could announce: White has captured on d3. The referee does not announce with which type of piece the capture has been taken place, or which type of piece is taken. There is one exception to this latter rule, namely en-passant capture is announced, for instance, the referee could announce: Black has taken en-passant on f3.

To avoid that players have to make long series of wrong guesses of pawn captures each turn, a player may ask: Are their any pawn captures?, usually abbreviated to Any?. The referee either answers No, if the player cannot capture a piece with a pawn, or Try!, if there are one or more possible capturing moves with a pawn of the player. In the latter case, the player must make at least one attempt to capture with a pawn (if unsuccessful, the player may continue such attempts or attempt other moves at will).

In case that a player makes moves of which he knows that are illegal (for instance, asking Any when he has no pawns left), (which he might do to confuse the opponent; this is considered `bad manners'), the referee says Impossible, such that the opponent is not confused by this.


The game is a game of great skill and deduction, and less luck than one would expect at first from the rules.


The information above is based on the books of Gollon and Pritchard, and on a hopefully right interpretation of something written in Italian in Eteroscacco, the magazine of AISE.
Written by: Hans L. Bodlaender.
WWW page created: 1995 or 1996.