The Chess Variant Pages

Chess on an Infinite Plane


"Chess on an Infinite Plane" is a chess variant played on a chessboard of infinite size. Additional pieces are included in the starting position not just for variety, but to help make enough material available in the endgame so that one player can force a win. Since there are no borders, pieces (in particular the king) cannot be trapped at the edges or in corners. The chancellors (R + N) provide immediate ability to create long distance attacks. Additional pawns, some in rearward formations (called jäger units) can enter into play and create threats of additional promoted pieces. The rearmost pawns are protected by hawks. Each player also has two guards, which can be used as king defenders, or for other strategic play.


A red bracket indicates the a1 (1,1) square.


Chancellor(C): Moves and captures as a rook + knight.

Guard(G): Moves and captures the same as a king but is not affected by check.

Hawk(H): Leaps exactly 2 or 3 squares in any orthogonal or diagonal direction. The leaping move means it can jump over other pieces.


Pawns play the same and promote at the same rank as in classical chess. White pawns promote at rank 8, and black pawns promote at rank 1. Pawns can promote to chancellor, hawk, or guard in addition to queen, rook, bishop, or knight. Pawns may capture and be captured en passant with the same rules as in classical chess.
There is no castling.
There is no fifty-move rule. Draws can only occur from stalemate, threefold repetition, agreement, or a proven case of insufficient material to force checkmate.
All other rules are the same as in classical (FIDE) chess.
The Chessboard:
1. Board for OTB Play:
A playing area should be setup with at least 22 ranks and 20 files. Ensure provisions are available to expand the board if play requires. If this becomes inconvenient due to far-away pieces, a display board is used to indicate the location of remote pieces. If there is interesting play in small but remote areas, other playing areas can be labeled and used separately from the main board.
  2. Diagram for Online Play:
A chess diagram is used to indicate the position of pieces either after each move by white, or each move by black. The diagram should include 22 ranks and 20 files. If any pieces are moved outside of this area, the diagram is expanded or notes are shared to indicate the location of far-away pieces.  If there is interesting play in small but remote areas, other diagrams can be used to show piece positions separately from the main diagram.
Move Notation:
Numeric coordinates are used to identify piece locations as (file#, rank#). The "a1" square is (1,1) and is marked on the chess diagram with a small red bracket. Increasing files are to the right, and increasing ranks are toward the back.
  Parenthesis are used around each coordinate. Three examples of a move notation:
1) A rook moving from (8,4) to (1,4):
      R(8,4)-(1,4) or R(1,4)
2) A rook moving from (1,4) and capturing a piece on (0,4):
      R(1,4)x(0,4) or Rx(0,4)
3) A pawn advancing from (-1,7) to (-1,6):
      (-1,7)-(-1,6) or (-1,6)


Other sub-variants exist including:
1) Trappist-1 - Adds the huygens chess piece. The huygens leaps 5, 7, 11, 13, and all larger prime numbers of squares in orthogonal directions. They are initially located to protect one of the pawns in the jäger units, thus, making it safer for the hawks to leave their positions and join other battles. (as a side effect, the huygens may ensure that this variant of chess will never be "solved" by computers, as the complete set of prime numbers is itself unknown).
A link to Trappist-1 is here:
2) Formation Chess/Infinite Plane - Each player starts with a large number of knight (usually twelve or more). The knights can join into 2x2 formations, gaining the ability to move together as a queen. The group must stop moving when at least one of the members encounters an occupied square. A group can capture an opponent’s piece, but only one and not more than one per move. If the group falls apart, or one member is captured, the remainder play again as knights. (A hybrid game by EvertVB and Vickalan).

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By V. Reinhart.
Web page created: 2017-02-16. Web page last updated: 2017-02-16