The Chess Variant Pages

Counsellor Chess

John Gollon, author of Chess Variations: Ancient, Regional, and Modern collected materials for a second book on chess variants, that was unfortunately never published. Part of his draft for his second book was sent to Eric Greenwood in 1976; Eric wrote in 1997 to me about what he received from Gollon. This variant was sent to Gollon by R. Douglas Wells from College Park, Maryland.


The game is played by two players on a board with eight rows and twelve columns. Each player has a King, two Rooks, two Bishops, two Knights, two Elephants, two Counsellors, one Queen, and twelve Pawns.

The opening setup is as follows.

King g1; Queen f1; Rook a1, l1; Knight b1, k1; Bishop c1, j1; Elephant d1, i1; Councellor e1, h1, Pawn a2, b2, c2, d2, e2, f2, g2, h2, i2, j2, k2, l2.

King g8; Queen f8; Rook a8, l8; Knight b8, k8; Bishop c8, j8; Elephant d8, i8; Councellor e8, h8; Pawn a7, b7, c7, d7, e7, f7, g7, h7, i7, j7, k7, l7.

Movement of pieces and other rules

Elephants move one or two squares diagonally - they cannot jump. Counsellors move one square in an arbitrary direction, i.e., as a King but without being affected by check etc (this piece is also known as the Commoner). . All other pieces move as in usual chess, except that pawns always promote to Counsellor or Bishop when they reach the last row.

For castling there are the following two possibilities:

  1. In some move, the King is moved to h1 (h8). Then, in a later (not necessarily the next) move, the King is moved to j1 (j8), and simultaneously, the Rook is moved to i1 (i8).
  2. In some move, the Rook is moved to k1 (k8). Then, in a later (not necessarily the next) move, the King is moved to i1 (i8), and simultaneously, the Rook is moved to j1 (j8).

Play It!

Use Zillions of Games to play this game! If you have Zillions of Games installed, you can download this game and play it.

Written by Hans Bodlaender, based on materials from John Gollon, sent by Gollon to Eric Greenwood in 1976, and send by Eric Greenwood to me in 1997. Additional material from John Ayer.
WWW page created: October 15, 1997.
WWW page revised: January 29, 2003.