The Chess Variant Pages

MEGACHESS

Copyright 1994, 1999 by Fred Lange

Megachess is usually played on 6 boards arranged in a 2 by 3 grid. Line up the boards with the same orientation for their coordinates and so that the squares all mesh together into one giant board of 384 squares.

Note the double row of pawns. The back row is set up as in normal chess, but the second row has been shifted over 4 spaces to the right. You can play games on a larger board, but I recommend playing on a 2 by n grid, making it easier for the players to reach across the board.

SPECIAL MOVES to compensate for the larger board. NONE OF THESE MOVES CAN BE USED FOR CAPTURE:

LONG PAWN moves: Any pawn that starts the turn on your half of the board can move forward any number of spaces through empty space. If there are no pieces in front of it on that file it can move all the way up the file to promotion.

KNIGHTS TELEPORT: A knight can move to a vacant square on another board that has the same coordinates of its current position.

CASTLING: This can be done with any king and rook of the same color that are aligned horizontally OR vertically and have no pieces between them and at least 2 empty squares between them. The king and rook must both move at least two spaces and may not move onto either of their starting squares. They must end up next to each other and in the reverse order. Even though 2 pieces are moved, it is considered one move and MAY be used to escape, pass through, or land in check.

PAWN PROMOTION has three parts:

    1. The pawn is converted into a piece (other than a pawn or king) that is in the Chuck Bucket (the bucket in which your opponent keeps all the pieces they have taken). If you have no such pieces available you may NOT promote.
    2. The pawn that was converted is placed in any of the 3 squares behind the promotion. If all these squares are occupied, put the pawn in the chuck bucket.
    3. Remove one piece of your opponent’s from anywhere on the board, except a king.

PUSH-PULL: Any piece a king’s move away from another piece may mimic that piece’s movement. The two pieces then move together as a pair. All spaces along both parallel paths must be vacant, including the destination, except for knights that are dragging another piece, in which case only the destinations need to be vacant. Pieces may push one piece in front of their direction of movement. Push-pull may be combined with teleporting, long pawns and promotion, but NOT with castling. Doing this push-pull only requires one move for both pieces, but you may NOT use this move for either of the pieces to capture an opponent’s piece.

NUMBER OR MOVES: You can make as many moves on your turn as you have kings. Chips are used to keep track of which pieces have been moved. One piece CANNOT move twice on the same turn. If you start the turn with 6 kings, you can move anywhere from 6 to 12 pieces, depending on the amount of push-pull you do. There is no CHECKMATE. If a king is taken, that team loses one of their moves. If your last king is taken, you lose.

TIME CONTROL: Players agree to a time control for each side, let us say 40 minutes. When one side runs out of time, the penalty is the loss of at least one king. The sides then count the number of kings remaining to determine a winner, or play on with a new time control. The side that did NOT run out of time takes their time remaining in minutes and divides by 5, rounding up. This is the exact number of kings that the side that ran out of time must forfeit.

MEGABUG is played by setting up two or more MEGACHESS boards side by side as in BUGHOUSE chess. Each side forms a team with both black and white pieces. If your white team captures a black piece, it is passed to your black team as part of their reserves, and vice versa. As in dragging, two reserves can be placed in adjacent, vacant squares with one chip. You may not place reserve pawns in your first two or last two rows.

Captured kings are NOT passed to your partner’s reserves. When you promote, your promotion must come from your existing reserves.

SOME STRATEGY TIPS: A common mistake for novices is to teleport a knight, dragging a rook, into the open space between the armies. These pieces look safe, if it were normal chess. But in MegaChess, the pawns can be moved out quickly with long pawns dragging other pawns, revealing bishops and queens that can take the knight and rook.


Written by Fred Lange. HTML conversion by David Howe.
WWW page created: August 11, 1999.