The Chess Variant 

Perfect 12


Jean-Louis Cazaux (April 1999, revised June 2000)


For the Ancients 12 was a perfect number. Much more than 10, since it can be divided by 2, 3 and 4.

This game is simply a chess variant on a 12 x 12 board with 12 different pieces. The balance doesn't stop here, just consider this:

Among the 12 kinds of pieces, 6 are the orthodoxe ones. The remaining 6 are like a best of very famous historic and asian variants: Camel is from Tamerlane's Chess , Gryphon is from Grande Acedrex, Prince is from Courier and other medieval Chess, Cannon is from Xiang-Qi, Lion is inspired by Chu Shogi and Elephant is a slight modernization of the piece found in Shatranj.



Initial Setup


The board is a 12 x 12 checkered squares with a white one at the right end of each player. For convenience, it can be divided into 16 sub-square showing halves and quarters of this large battlefield: 12 is really a nice number for a board.

There are 36 pieces per side: 1 King, 1 Queen, 1 Gryphon, 1 Lion, 2 Princes, 2 Bishops, 2 Knights, 2 Rooks, 2 Elephants, 2 Cannons, 2 Camels and 18 Pawns.

The white King is placed on the center of the second row on a black square, the black King beeing on a white square. The Queen is placed beside of the King. The Lion and the Gryphon are on the center of the first row, the Lion just behind the King.

Moves And Captures

King, Queen, Bishop, Knight and Rook are orthodox.

Castling: the King may `castle` with the Rook if neither the Rook nor King has moved yet and there is nothing in between them. In castling the King slides 3 squares to the Rook and the Rook leaps to the far side of the King. You may not castle out of or through check, or if the King or Rook involved has previously moved.

End Of Game

Victory is obtained when the opposite King is checkmated.

All other types of endgame (pat, perpetual check,...) are classic.

Pieces Value

Zillions gives these average values, normalized to 5 for the the Rook:

Pawn: 0.8, Camel: 2.2, Knight: 2.5, Elephant: 2.5,
Prince: 2.8, Bishop: 3.4, Cannon: 4.9, Rook: 5,
Lion: 7.3, Gryphon: 7.8, Queen: 8.3.


The reader would certainly think that I am not modest, but I love this game. I like it because it is really large, balanced, and because each one of the new pieces have they own "character".

I had it in my mind for several months, I should say years ! The key to set it up definitely has been the wonderful Zillions-of-games program. Without such a tool, it would have been impossible for me to try all the so many configurations I have tested.

I came to this final implementation at the end of April 99. It was not too late to submit it to the Large Chess Variant Contest organized by David Howe yet. However, I didn't do it since I had engaged Shako and Tamerlane II already.

Perfect 12 belongs to a series:
10 x 10 board: Shako
11 x 11 board: Tamerlane II
12 x 12 board: Perfect 12
14 x 14 board: Gigachess

My dream would be to find a game editor willing to commercialize such a material for Perfect 12. With such a big board and 72 pieces, many other chess variants could be played.

The zrf for Perfect 12 is available from here.

Any Comments?

Mail me at: (email removed contact us for address)

Written by Jean-Louis Cazaux.

WWW page created: June 2, 1999. Last modified: April 03, 2001. Thanks to Ivan A Derzhanski for corrections.