The Chess Variant Pages

Nine Square Chess

Nine Square Chess was described late 1971/early 1972 by John Mantle Green, wro wrote to John Gollon (author of Chess Variants: Ancient, Regional, and Modern). Gollon send parts of a draft of a followup of his book to Eric Greenwood in 1976; Eric communicated this information to me in 1997.

This game was played in Santa Cruz County in California.

Rules

The game is played by two players on a board of nine by nine squares. Players have in addition to the usual set of pieces a joker and an additional pawn. There are three opening setups, where the joker is either placed right of the queen, right of the king, or in the corner at the 9th column. Thus, the possible setups are:

White:
King f1; Queen d1; Rook a1, i1; Knight b1, h1; Bishop c1, g1; Joker e1; Pawn a2, b2, c2, d2, e2, f2, g2, h2, i2.

Black:
King f9; Queen d9; Rook a9, i9; Knight b9, h9; Bishop c9, g9; Joker e9; Pawn a8, b8, c8, d8, e8, f8, g8, h8, i8.

White:
King e1; Queen d1; Rook a1, i1; Knight b1, h1; Bishop c1, g1; Joker f1; Pawn a2, b2, c2, d2, e2, f2, g2, h2, i2.

Black:
King e9; Queen d9; Rook a9, i9; Knight b9, h9; Bishop c9, g9; Joker f9; Pawn a8, b8, c8, d8, e8, f8, g8, h8, i8.

White:
King e1; Queen d1; Rook a1, h1; Knight b1, g1; Bishop c1, f1; Joker i1; Pawn a2, b2, c2, d2, e2, f2, g2, h2, i2.

Black:
King e9; Queen d9; Rook a9, h9; Knight b9, g9; Bishop c9, f9; Joker i9; Pawn a8, b8, c8, d8, e8, f8, g8, h8, i8.

The Joker has the combined moves of a knight and a queen that can move at most five squares, i.e., the joker can either move as a knight, or can move one, two, three, four, or five squares horizontally, vertically or diagonally. When moving as a knight, it may jump over pieces, otherwise not.

No specific rules on castling or a possible faster development of pawns are known. Play e.g., that the king always two squares in the direction of a rook when castling, under usual conditions, and with the usual double-step option for pawns (but no triple step.) Pawns can promote to queen, joker, knight, rook, or bishop when reaching the nineth row.

Other rules are as in orthodox chess.

Comment

A disadvantage of the first two setups is that all four bishops are on squares of the same color.


Written by Hans Bodlaender, based upon information from a manuscript of John Gollon from 1976. Thanks to Eric Greenwood, who received this manuscript in 1976 for sending this information to me.
WWW page created: October 9, 1997.