The Chess Variant Pages

Grotesque Chess


Grotesque Chess is offered as a new member of the family of games that includes Carrera's Chess, Bird's Chess, and Capablanca's Chess. Unlike these games, it leaves no Pawn unprotected by a piece when the game starts.


8  | r |:b:| q |:n:| k |:g:| n |:e:| b |:r:|  
7  |:p:| p |:p:| p |:p:| p |:p:| p |:p:| p |  
6  |   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|  
5  |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |  
4  |   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|  
3  |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |  
2  | P |:P:| P |:P:| P |:P:| P |:P:| P |:P:|  
1  |:R:| B |:Q:| N |:K:| G |:N:| E |:B:| R |  
     a   b   c   d   e   f   g   h   i   j    

E/e = Equerry, G/g = Guard










Grotesque Chess uses all the pieces of Chess plus two more, known as the Equerry and Guard. All pieces from Chess move as in Chess, except that flexible castling is allowed and Pawns have two more promotion options. Just as the Queen is a compound of Rook and Bishop, the Guard is a compound of Rook and Knight, and the Equerry is a compound of Bishop and Knight. Together, these three pieces comprise all the compounds of two minor pieces.


Aside from differences in board, pieces, and setup, Grotesque Chess is played like FIDE Chess with the following differences:

  1. When a King castles, it may move two or more spaces toward the Rook, and the Rook leaps over the King to the closest space the King has just passed over, so that King and Rook end up adjacent to each other. The usual castling conditions from Chess apply. A King may not castle from or through check, all spaces between the Rook and King must be empty, and neither piece may have moved before.
  2. When a Pawn promotes, it may promote to a Knight, Bishop, Rook, Queen, Equerry, or Guard.

Computer Play

If you have version 2.0 of Zillions of Games installed on your computer, you can play this game. Download file:


You can use some kind of Chess variant contruction set that will let you make boards of different shapes and sizes. You might use a Rook and a Bishop from a larger Chess set to represent the Guard and Equerry.

Written by Fergus Duniho.
WWW page created: September 20, 2004