The Chess Variant Pages Menu

Assassin Kriegspiel

Assassin Kriegspiel is a variant of Kriegspiel. It was invented by Hubert Philips, possibly around 1930. The rules below only tell the differences with Kriegspiel: for the rules of Kriegspiel, see the description of Kriegspiel. The game is a further modification of Welbeck Kriegspiel, an earlier Kriegspiel variant of the same inventor. (Thus, this game is a variant of a variant of a variant of chess.)


Similar to Kriegspiel, the game is played by two players, with help of a third person: the referee.

At the start of the game, the players set their pieces secretly on the first four rows of the board, i.e., white deploys his pieces on rows 1, 2, 3, and 4, and black deploys his pieces on rows 5, 6, 7, and 8. These setups are shown to the referee. In this deployment, a player must put his bishops on differently colored squares, but may place his pawns on the first row. (Pawns on the first row make single step to the second row from which they can doublestep.)

Then, the referee tells both players the position of the king of the opponent.

After that, the game proceeds like kriegspiel, with the following differences:

  1. When a player mates the opponent with the queen (who is called assassin in this game), then he wins the game.
  2. When a player mates his opponent with a piece, different from the queen (assassin), then he loses the game.
  3. Knights are called spies. A knight cannot capture a piece, and a knight does not give check. (So, when a player tries a capturing move with a knight/spy, then the referee tells him this move is illegal.) After a knight move, the referee tells the player the contents of each of the (at most 8) adjacent squares. So, after white moves his knight to a4, the referee tells him what pieces are on a3, a5, b3, b4, and b5. The referee does this in such a way, that the opponent is not aware of the fact that the other player made a knight move.
  4. Knights/spies can be captured, but cannot capture themselves.
  5. When both assassins are captured, the game is a draw.
The promotion rules for pawns are not clear. The last rule above seems to indicate that pawns cannot promote to assassins/queens - such a rule seems reasonable, given the additional importance to the queen piece in this variant.
Information based on The Encyclopedia of Chess Variants.
Written by Hans Bodlaender.
WWW page created: September 8, 1997. Last modified: September 15, 1997.