Corner Chess with Meta variant
(for 2 or 4 players)
(c) 1995 by Richard Hutnik
Object of the game
In 2 player game, to checkmate opponent. In 4 player game, to capture
an opponent's king.
(4 Player game)
? a1, a2, b1, b2; Pawn a3, b3, c1, c2, c3.
? g1, g2, h1, h2; Pawn f1, f2, f3, g3, h3.
? a7, a8, b7, b8; Pawn a6, b6, c6, c7, c8.
? g7, g8, h7, h8; Pawn f6, f7, f8, g6, h6.
Players are numbered clockwise 1, 2, 4, 3.The `?'-symbols denote squares
to put pieces on. Note: In 2 player game, player 2's pieces would go where
player 4's pieces go in 4 player game. Of course, player 3 and player 4's
pieces would not be on board in 2 player game.
P# - Pawn. Moves one space vertically or horizontally. Captures one
space diagonally in any direction.
B# - Bishop. Moves like either a bishop or knight during a turn.
R# - Rook. Moves like either a rook or knight during turn.
Q# - Queen. Moves like a queen in chess during turn.
K# - King. Moves like a chess king during turn.
Each player gets 5 Pawns, 2 Rooks, 2 Bishops, a Queen and a King. Each
player's pieces should either be a different color or style than those
of the other players.
- During first four turns, players alternate placing one of their remaining
pieces on the board. Players will have extra pieces when they are done.
These pieces are used later for pawn promotion. Before a player begins
their first turn, they have a Queen, King, 2 Bishops and 2 Rooks.
- Players place their pieces in a vacant space. In the diagram above,
the vacant spaces are marked #?. The number on the space represents which
space the player can put their pieces on.
- Player 1 puts their pieces on A8, B8, A7, B7.
- Player 2, in 2 player game, puts their pieces on G2, H2, G1, H1.
In 4 player game, player 2 puts their pieces on G8, H8, G7, H7.
- Player 3 puts their pieces on A2, B2, A1, B1.
- Player 4 puts their pieces on G2, H2, G1, H1.
- During their first 4 turns, a player must put their King on the board
on one of their spaces.
- Only one piece may occupy a space during the game. If player 3 put
a piece on A2, for example, then player 3 may not put another piece there.
- Once the placement phase (first 4 turns) is over, the only way a player
can get new pieces on the board is by means of pawn promotion only.
- Play goes in order of player 1, player 2, player 3, then player 4.
Player 1 then goes again and order of play continues until one player wins.
A player's move consists of moving one piece.
- A piece that is captured is permanently removed from the game and may
not be used for pawn promotion.
- In two player game, conditions for checkmate or stalemate are the same
as in regular chess. In 4 player game, a player may face a stalemate condition.
However, in four player game, since the objective is to capture and not
just checkmate an opponent's piece, a player in a stalemate condition must
still make a move.
- A pawn that reaches a square in which it can be promoted, may do so.
Promotion is not required. A pawn that promotes, however, is permanently
removed from the game.
- A pawn that promotes may not promote to a piece that has been captured.
This means that if a player has had one of his or her pieces captured,
that piece may not be used for promotion by a pawn.
- Squares a pawn may promote on:
- For player 1: H8 , H7, H6, H5, H4, H3, H2, H1, A1, B1, C1, D1, E1,
F1, G1. (H8-H1, A1-G1).
- For player 2 (in 2 player game): A8, A7, A6, A5, A4, A3, A2, A1,
B8, C8, D8, E8, G8, H8. (A8-A1, B8-H8)
- For player 2 (in 4 player game): A8, A7, A6, A5, A4, A3, A2, A1,
B1, C1, D1, E1, F1, G1, H1. (A8-A1, B1-H1)
- For player 3: A8, B8, C8, D8, E8, G8, H8, H7, H6, H5, H4, H3, H2,
H1. (A8-H8, H7-H1)
- For player 4: A8, A7, A6, A5, A4, A3, A2, A1, B8, C8, D8, E8, G8,
H8. (A8-A1, B8-H8)
- The bishop single handily can checkmate an opponent's king. Keep this
in mind when defending your pawn structure and protecting your king. A
bishop on C6, F6, C3, or F3 can checkmate an opponent's king, if the bishop
can't be captured.
- Remember a piece that is captured is permanently removed from the game.
Be careful in deciding to do exchanges. In a 4 player game, you can, very
easily, lose an exchange.
- Watch your pawn structure. While it is tempting to push pawns to get
a promotion, such a push is a gamble. If you don't manage to get the promotion,
your pawn structure can get weakened greatly.
- What pieces you choose to use in placement sets the tone for the type
of game you will play.
- Experiment, experiment, experiment....
- In four player game, negotiation plays an important part. If possible,
try to negotiate so you only have to deal with one opponent, instead of
3. Many nations have lost 2 front wars.
- Have pawns move like kings, instead of how they move in current rules.
- Eliminate pawn promotion.
- Have the pieces move like regular chess pieces (except the pawns).
- A second way to win game: If a player is the first to get their king
to a square used to promote their pawn, they also win the game. For example,
player 1 wins the game if they are first to get their king to either H8,
H7, H6, H5, H4, H3, H2, H1, A1, B1, C1, D1, E1, F1, or G1. (H8-H1, A1-G1),
before an opponent gets their king to one of their promotion squares, player
1 would win the game.
Meta variant (Players choose how their own pieces move)
- Players also get to use their knight pieces in this variant. In this
variant, knights may be placed on board initially or be used for promotion
material. This variant increases the number of pieces in the game a player
has by 2.
- Before play begins, players choose a list of a set of moves that any
player in the game can have one of their pieces move. For example, one
set of moves may be rook movements. Another set of moves may be a knight/rook
option. The list of set of moves is used by all player. For example, if
a player states that one set of moves will be a knight/rook combination,
any other player may also assign one of their types of pieces that set
Determine, before assigning moves, maximum number of different set of
moves each player will add to list. The normal number of proposed sets
of moves a player will propose is 6: one for rook, one for knight, one
for bishop, one for king, one for queen, and one for pawn.
Players may propose less than the maximum number, in event another player
propose a set of moves for a piece the player also wished to propose.
Disagreements on allowing a certain set of moves among the list of moves
may be handled several different ways. One way it may be handled is by
having a vote. In event of a tie, that set of moves is rejected. Another
possible way to handle disagreements is to allow them anyway. It is expected
that players be able to work out an agreement in this.
- Once players agree to what different sets of moves each type of piece
can have in play, each player then tells the other players which set of
moves one of their pieces may move. The next player then does the same.
Play continues in this matter until each player has assigned a set of moves
to each of his/her own pieces. For example, one player may assign his rooks
to be a set of moves being a rook/knight combination. Another player may
then assign such a set of moves to his knights. Another player then may
assign the move of a queen in regular chess to his rooks.
Disagreements on which pieces are assigned which moves can be handled
in a similar manner as disagreements of which set of moves are allowed
For convenience sake, try to have the set of moves somewhat resemble
the type of pieces they are assigned to. For example, assigning regular
rooks moves to a bishop and regular bishop moves to a rook does get confusing.
Also, players should try to not have pawns, for example, be more powerful
than the queen in the game. Ideally, one wants the pawns to be weakest
in the game, followed by knight, bishop and rook, with the queen being
equal to or superior to all other pieces.
- Play then continues as follows in regular Corner Chess, with placement
phase then movement phase following, in that order.
- A variant on the Meta Variant is to have all the pieces of one type,
for all players, move identically. For example, each players rooks in the
game would move like rook and knight. Decide by either vote, bidding, or
some other method that is fair.
I came up with this game when I was kicking around the idea of how to
do a 4 player game of chess on an 8 by 8 board. The game kind of fell into
place. One feature I did add later to the game was the open placement of
pieces during the first 4 turns, which makes the game much more dynamic
and gives the game interesting beginning play.
All I can say is try the game and play around with some variations.
Let me know what you think of it. Send me any questions, comments or suggestions
you might have for it. Feel free to make any changes you like to the game
and share this game and the changes with others. All I ask is that you
don't hog all the glory and mention my name if you do this. Of course,
if you want to go commercial with it (if this game ever gets to that point),
include me in on your plans (it would be nice to get a few bucks from it,
if it is possible).
In order to preserve your regular chess playing, it might be a good
idea to use pieces shaped differently than those used for regular chess.
The Meta Variant is a recent addition I haven't playtested yet. Try
it out and let me know what you think. If the name is not taken, the name
Meta Chess would be a good name for this variant.
My current e-mail address is:
(email removed contact us for address) istb.marist.edu
Written by Richard Hutnik.
WWW page created: 1995. Last modified: February 9, 1998.