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Double King Chess

David Moeser from Cincinnatti, USA, invented this variant in 1970. The new piece Squirk was invented by David Moeser. The Squirk is a combination of the rook and the Squirrel, a piece that was invented by Kovacs.


The game is played on a ten by eigth board. Players have two kings (one can be called Prime Minister), a Squirk, ten pawns, and the other usual pieces.

The setup is as follows:

King d1, g1; Queen e1; Squirk f1; Rook a1, j1; Knight b1, i1; Bishop c1, j1; Pawn a2, b2, c2, d2, e2, f2, g2, h2, i2, j2.

King d8, g8; Queen e8; Squirk f8; Rook a8, j8; Knight b8, i8; Bishop c8, j8; Pawn a7, b7, c7, d7, e7, f7, g7, h7, i7, j7.

The squirk has the combined moves of a rook, a knight, and a piece that jumps two spaces diagonally or straight. So, a squirk on e4 can jump to c2, c3, c4, c5, c6, d2, d6, e2, e6, f2, f6, g2, g3, g4, g5, and g6. (Jumping means that the squirk can move to the square, regardless whether there is a piece on the square that is passed by.) And the squirk on e4 can instead make a move like a rook.

The object of the game is to first take a king, and then to mate the second king. When a player has two kings, he may have one (or even both of them) in check. However, as soon as he has lost one king, the other may not be moved in check. When this king is mated, his opponent has won.

Pawns can promote to queen, squirk, rook, knight, and bishop. All other rules are as in orthodox chess.


The squirk is probably slightly stronger than a queen.

David Moeser, the inventor of the game, sent me more information on his game. Read what he wrote below:

   _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
  |r|n|b|k|q|s|k|b|n|r|            DOUBLE KING CHESS
  |p|p|p|p|p|p|p|p|p|p|         invented by david moeser
  |_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|            erasmus at one net
  |_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|          Censornati, Ohio - USA
  |_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|_|   Prime Minister (K) moves like a King.
  |P|P|P|P|P|P|P|P|P|P|   Both K and P.M. are "royal."  A play-
  |R|N|B|K|Q|S|K|B|N|R|   er must keep only one "royal" piece.
    Squirk (S) combines moves of Rook and Squirrel (invented by
  Kovacs), a two-square leaper plus Knight.



A player must always have a "royal" piece as leader of his/her forces, but needs only one; the other can be given up. When a player has both "kings" a "check" usually isn't dangerous, but "checking" becomes real (like regular chess) when a player has only one royal piece.

A move that "checks" both kings simultaneously is a half-empty threat because on the next move only one of the royals can be captured. (*) The player can sac one royal in order to save the other.

The only sense in which a "2K checkmate" can occur with both royals on the board is if a move checks both "kings" and FORCES both the capture of one "king" and checkmate of the other on successive moves. (Scores 1 1/2 points.)

Each royal piece can castle with its own rook or castle long (denoted O-O-O-O). As in castling long in regular chess, the king moves to the bishop file and the far rook moves around it to the adjacent square.

Otherwise, usual castling rules apply. Pawn moves are as in regular chess, and pawns may be promoted only to non-royal pieces. In the initial position queens are placed on squares of their own color, so the right-corner square is dark, not light. (If a board with the "right" colors isn't available, then the White queen goes to the left of the Squirk, and the Black queen goes to the right.)

The Squirk combines moves of alfil, dabbaba, and knight. It cannot be blocked from squares a squirrel would leap to, but it can be blocked from moving to squares it would reach by moving as a rook. Its relative value is between 8 and 9 points.

                                     _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
     A Squirk on the square e4    8 |_|_|_|_|+|_|_|_|_|_|
  can move like a rook to the     7 |_|_|_|_|+|_|_|_|_|_|
  squares marked "+" and leap     6 |_|_|*|*|*|*|*|_|_|_|
  like a squirrel to the          5 |_|_|*|_|+|_|*|_|_|_|
  squares marked "*" in the       4 |+|+|*|+|S|+|*|+|+|+|
  diagram at the right.           3 |_|_|*|_|+|_|*|_|_|_|
                                  2 |_|_|*|*|*|*|*|_|_|_|
                                  1 |_|_|_|_|+|_|_|_|_|_|
                                     a b c d e f g h i j

  • Note: 2K Chess uses "regular" rules and "regular" chess pieces, which make only one move during a player's turn, occupy only one square, can capture only on one square, and so on. However, in the realm of chess variants there exist concepts (games, rules, pieces, etc.) different from regular chess. Only if players were using "fairy" pieces that, for example, could capture on two squares simultaneously would a "check" or checkmate of both royal pieces be possible in one turn to move.

This version of Double King Chess dates to 1970. An information sheet on the game is included in NEUE CHESS: THE BOOK, a compilation of articles published in Cincinnati chess periodicals on the subject of chess variants. This compilation is available for US $5 to addresses in the U.S. only. (Variants enthusiasts outside the U.S. should contact the publisher for snailmail shipping cost.) Inform by email to David Moeser, erasmus at iglou dot com.

First part written by Hans Bodlaender, based on an email by David Moeser, and information from The Encyclopedia of Chess Variants; second part written by David Moeser.
WWW page created: June 3, 1997. Last modified: June 29, 1998.