The Chess Variant Pages

Symmetric Sissa

This chess variant was invented in 1998 by Carlos Cetina from Mexico.

See also:

  • Mate in two. A problem from an actual game of Symmetric Sissa.


On a 9x9 board, the starting position is as follows:

King e1; Sissa d1, f1; Cardinal c1, g1; Knight b1, h1; Rook a1, i1; Pawn a2, b2, c2, d2, e2, f2, g2, h2, i2.

King e9; Sissa d9, f9; Cardinal c9, g9; Knight b9, h9; Rook a9, i9; Pawn a8, b8, c8, d8, e8, f8, g8, h8, i8.


Each player has:

  • one king (K)
  • two sissa's (S)
  • two cardinals (C) = bishop + knight
  • two knights (N)
  • two rooks (R)
  • nine pawns (P)

Kings, knights, rooks and pawns are EXACTLY as in FIDE-chess.

When castling, the king moves three squares towards the rook, and the rook moves over the king to the next square. There is both pawn's promotion and en-passant capturing. Pawns can promote to sissa, cardinal, knight, or rook, to the choice of the player owning the pawn, when it moves to the last row.

A sissa moves in the following way: in one turn, first, the sissa moves one or more squares like a rook or a bishop, and then the sissa moves the same number of squares like the other of the two (bishop or rook.) So, the sissa has the following options:

  1. First, it moves a number of squares as a rook. Then it makes a corner of 45, 135, 225, or 315 degrees, and then moves the same number of squares as a bishop. All squares that are passed by must be empty, i.e., a sissa does not jump over pieces.
  2. First, it moves a number of squares as a bishop. Then, it makes a corner of 45, 135, 225, or 315 degrees, and then moves the same number of squares as a rook. Again, all squares passed by must be empty.

See below for an example. (The white sissa has the possibility to take the rook or the queen.)


My experience on this variant is that the game is very interesting because there are many posibilities to make surprising combinations.

Why are there two sissas? Simply, to enjoy them at most!

By the way, a traditional queen compared with a sissa seems to me a poor piece!

Sample Games

White: Carlos Cetina                       Villahermosa, Mexico
Black: Sergio Ramirez                      March 21, 1998

NOTE: After every sissa's move it's indicated between parenthesis the path by which the sissa is moved from one square to another. If there are more than one moving path, then they are separated by a period. If moreover the sissa gives some check, then first it's indicated the moving paths followed by the checking paths, separating them by a diagonal. That is: (moving paths / checking paths).

 1.e4      e6
 2.d4      f6
 3.Nc3     Ng7
 4.Cd3     Cf7
 5.Sdd2 (d1-c1-d2, d1-e2-d2)
 5. ...    Sfe7 (f9-f8-e7, f9-e8-e7)
 6.Kb1     Kh9
 7.f4      d6
 8.Ce3     c6
 9.g4      Cd7
10.Ng3     b6
11.e5      fxe5
12.dxe5    dxe5
13.fxe5    Cdxe5
14.Ca6     Sd8 (d9-c9-d8, d9-e9-d8, d9-c8-d8, d9-e8-d8)
15.Cxb6    Sde8 (d8-d7-e8, d8-d9-e8, d8-e9-e8)
16.Cb4     Cfd6
17.Cxd6    Cxd6
18.Nce4    Cb5
19.Sfb3 (f1-d3-b3)
19. ...    a7
20.Cc5     S7e5 (e7-c7-e5, e7-g5-e5)
21.Cd7     Ca4
22.Cxe8    Cxb3
23.Cxg7+   hxg7
24.Sxb3 (d2-c3-b3)
24. ...    Nc7
25.Rce1    Rab9
26.Sc5 (b3-b4-c5, b3-c4-c5)
26. ...    Sxg4 (e5-f5-g4, e5-f4-g4)
27.Sxg7+ (c5-e7-g7, c5-e5-g7 / g7-h8-h9)
27. ...    Ki9
28.Si7+ (g7-g5-i7, g7-i5-i7 / i7-g7-i9)
28. ...    Kh8
29.Nh5     Nd5
30.Rig1    Sd4 (g4-d1-d4, g4-g7-d4)
31.Si6+ (i7-h7-i6, i7-h6-i6 / i6-i7-h8, i6-h7-h8)
31. ...    Kh7
32.Ng5+    Kg6
33.Si7+ (i6-h7-i7, i6-h6-i7 / i7-h7-g6, i7-h6-g6)
33. ...    Kf5
34.Sg7# (i7-i5-g7 / g7-f6-f5, g7-g6-f5)

White: David Mora               Villahermosa, Mexico
Black: Carlos Cetina            March 27, 1998

 1.e4      e6
 2.f4      f6
 3.d4      d6
 4.Ch3     Cd7
 5.Cb3     Cf7
 6.Sf3 (f1-d3-f3)
 6. ...    Ng7
 7.Ng3     Sff8 (f9-g9-f8, f9-e8-f8)
 8.Nc3     Kh9
 9.Sdf2 (d1-e2-f2)
 9. ...    c6
10.Kh1     Nc7
11.Nce2    d5
12.e5      b6
13.Cd2     Re9
14.Sxf8+ (f3-a3-f8 / f8-g9-h9)
14. ...    Sxf8 (d9-e8-f8)
15.c4      dxc4
16.Cxc4    Nd5
17.f5      exf5
18.Nxf5    Cxf5
19.Cxf5    Sxf5 (f8-c8-f5)
20.Sxf5 (f2-i5-f5)
20. ...    Nxf5
21.Rgf1    Nfe3
22.Cxe3    Nxe3
23.Rxf6    Cd5
24.Rf2     Rf9
25.Rxf9+   Rxf9
26.Rg1     Rf2
27.Nc3     Cxg2+
28.Rxg2    Rxg2
29.b3      Rc2
30.Na4     Rc1#

Written by Carlos Cetina. Minor editing by Hans Bodlaender.
WWW page created: August 11, 1998.