The Chess Variant Pages




Rules of Omega Chess

Omega Chess is played with two players. As in Standard Chess, before the start of the game, the players must decide which color pieces they will play, white or black. Just like chess, white makes the first move followed by black. Omega Chess is played with the same rules as chess, except for the Pawns.

Omega Chess BoardSetting up the OMEGA CHESS board. The Omega Chess board has 104 squares with a 10 x 10 square playing field and four Wizard squares at each corner. It is important to realize that in the course of the game these Wizard squares are part of the board and can be occupied by any piece (except for pawns and rooks, which have no way of getting there).
Following the diagram, position the board so that a dark corner square is on the right-hand side of each player. Each of the player's Wizards are placed on the diagonal corner squares that extend beyond the 10 x 10 playing field. Next place the Champions on the corner squares of the 10 x 10 playing field, followed by the Rooks, Knights and Bishops. Then the Queen is placed on the square matching her own colour and the King is placed beside the Queen. One Pawn is placed on the row of squares in front of each piece excluding the Wizard.
Note: For notation purposes, the ranks and files are as indicated in the diagram above and the squares for the Wizards are designated w1 to w4, beginning at White's Queen Wizard's square and proceeding counter-clockwise.


The Object of the Game

The object of the game remains the same as in Standard Chess; to checkmate the opposing King. When a King is directly threatened by an opponent's piece, the King is in check. The player in check must respond in one of three ways. He must either;
  1. Capture the threatening piece
  2. Block the path of the threatening piece or,
  3. Move the King to an unthreatened square

Checkmate occurs when a player's King is in check and the player has no way to get out of check on the next move. This ends the game with the capturing player as the clear winner.

A game of chess can also end in a draw in which there is no clear winner. A draw may occur one of four ways:

  1. Stalemate: A stalemate occurs if a player who is not in check cannot move any piece, including the King, without placing their King in check.
  2. Insufficient Mating Material: When neither player has the pieces needed to checkmate the other player. eg. Bishop and King vs. King.
  3. Threefold Repetition of Position: The game is drawn if the same position (with the same person on move) has appeared on the chessboard three times.
  4. 50 Moves Rule: If there have been 50 consecutive moves of White and Black without any piece capture or any pawn move.

If a player feels that their position is hopeless, the player may end the game by conceding to the other player. Alternatively, if the players feel that neither side can win, they may agree to a draw.


How The Pieces Move and Capture

All Chess pieces (including the Omega Chess pieces) capture an opponent's piece by landing on the square occupied by the opponent's piece.

The King, Queen, Bishop, Knight and Rook move and capture in the same way as Standard Chess. Virtually nothing about chess has changed with Omega Chess.

The King's MoveThe King can move one square in any direction, except when castling. Castling is a defensive move using the King and either Rook. A player can castle provided that:

  1. The King is not in check.
  2. The King and the castling Rook have not been moved during the game.
  3. All the squares between the King and the castling Rook are unoccuppied.
  4. The King would not be moving through or landing on a square under threat.
When castling, the King either moves two squares towards the King's Rook, or the King move two squares towards the Queen's Rook. The King's Rook or Queen's Rook then moves to the square the King moved through.

Bishop and Rook MoveThe Bishop is a line piece which moves in an unobstructed path any number of squares diagonally. As can be seen in the diagram, a Bishop only occupies squares of its starting color.

The Rook is also a line piece. It moves in an unobstructed path any number of squares orthogonally (horizontally or vertically).

Queen and Knight MoveThe Queen is the most powerful chess piece, combining the powers of the Bishop and the Rook. It moves along an unobstructed path any number of squares diagonally or orthogonally.

The Knight is a leaper. Unlike a line piece it doesn't require an unobstructed path to move along and it can jump over other pieces. The Knight can move two squares horizontally or vertically and then one square to either side. Refer to the diagram for a clearer illustration of the Knight's move.


How The Omega Chess Pieces Move

The Champion's MoveThe Champion, like the Knight, is classified as a leaper. It can move one square orthogonally, forward, backward or to either side. Or the Champion can jump two squares forward or backward or to either side, or jump two squares diagonally in all four directions. The Champion can jump over pieces and it can control up to twelve squares. (See diagram).The Champion cannot move one square diagonally.
From the opening position, the Champion can immediately enter a game by jumping to squares a2 - c2, h2 - j2, j7 - h7, a7 - c7.

The Wizard's MoveThe Wizard is also classified as a leaper. It can move one square diagonally in all four directions. Or, like an exaggerated Knight move, the Wizard can jump three squares horizontally or vertically and then one square to either side. The Wizard is bound to the color of its starting square. The Wizard can jump over pieces to also control up to twelve squares.(See diagram).
From the opening position, the Wizard can immediately enter a game by jumping to squares: a2, j2 -- j7, a7.


How Pawns Move in Omega Chess

The Pawn can only move forward. From its initial position, a Pawn in Omega Chess can move one, two or three squares forward and after that, only one square at a time. A Pawn cannot move one square initially and then two squares afterward. When making an initial double or triple move a Pawn cannot jump over other pieces. While Pawns move directly forward, they can only capture an opposing piece by moving one square forward diagonally.

How Pawns Move in Omega Chess Pawn Promotion: The diagram shows a Pawn reaching the other side of the board. When a Pawn reaches the far side of the board (the 10th rank) it is immediately promoted to any piece except a King (generally to a Queen).

En Passant: The principle for capturing an opposing Pawn en passant in Omega Chess remains the same as in Standard Chess. If a Pawn moves two or three squares initially and passes an opposing Pawn on the fourth or fifth rank, the Pawn may be captured en passant. The opposing Pawn moves onto the square through which the Pawn moved. Note that in the diagram the Black Pawns which are capturing en passant are on White's fourth and fifth rank, not on the third. Capturing en passant is optional unless it is the only legal move available. The capture must be made on the next move.


Text and images Copyright (c) 1998, Somac Inc. Used here with permission from inventor Daniel C. Macdonald.
For more information, follow the links on: Omega Chess (link page), including a link to the publishers site of this game.
This variant is an entry in the 1999 Large Variant contest.
WWW page (copy) made: March 22, 1999. Last modified: May 8, 1999.