The Chess Variant Pages

Modest Proposals - PAWN Variants

Modest chess variants meet a specific set of criteria:

It is understood that the CV should be previously unpublished, playable and in some significant way original (standards that do allow some wiggle room). I suspect that the type of CVs of interest to members might be those involving thematic ideas that can be adopted in other chess variants.

Unless otherwise noted, the rules for the following variants are assumed to be FIDE rules with the specified exceptions or additions.

The following variants were all invented by Tony Paletta.





PAWN Variants

Acolyte Chess

Pawns move either one or two spaces diagonally in any direction and capture one space along the rank or file in any direction. Immediately after any diagonal two-space move a pawn is subject to en passant capture (as if the pawn had been moved a single space diagonally) by an opposing pawn.

Pawns promote to Queens, Rooks, Bishops or Knights, but only upon reaching the starting square of an opposing Bishop.

Advancement Chess

Pawns reaching the opponent’s third rank are promoted to Knights but may not move backward. Upon reaching the opponent’s back rank a Knight (promoted or otherwise) promotes unconditionally to a Rook.

Appointment Chess

Rooks and Queens are absent from the conventional starting array. Pawns do not have an initial double-step option and they promote only to Rooks, Bishops or Knights, but promotion occurs when a pawn reaches its owner’s fifth rank.

A player is permitted a maximum of two Rooks, two Knights and two Bishops at one time, and advancing a pawn to the fifth rank is not permitted if all promotions would exceed the maximum.

Booster Chess

Pawns moving a single space straight forward may advance a friendly unit already occupying the square one space forward, to a square that is either occupied by an opponent's chessman (capturing) or vacant.

Example: After 1 Nc3 e5 2 c3/Nc4.

Commando Pawn Chess

Pawn move and capture like a standard pawn when located on the player's side of the board, but move like Berolina pawns (diagonally one space forward when not capturing, straight forward one space when capturing) after reaching the opponent's half of the board. En passant captures are therefore impossible.

Dragoon Chess

In addition to their standard chess moves and captures, pawns may leap forward two ranks to an adjacent file like a Knight (forward vertical Knight’s move) or capture by leaping forward one rank like a Knight (forward horizontal Knight’s capture).

Example: White pawn at d2 may move as in standard chess to d3 or d4 and capture on c3 or e3; it may also move to c4 or e4 and capture on b3 or e3. After d2-d4 (only) the pawn may be captured en passant by a Black pawn moving to d3 from c4, e4, b4 or f4.

Dyadic Pawn Chess

Pawns occupy both the square on which they stand and the next square in a forward direction along the file. A friendly chessman may move to occupy the forward square.

Pawns: (a) move forward one space at all times, (b) are immobilized if the forward square is occupied by a friendly chessman, (c) may not move to stand on a square where its new square or the forward square is occupied by a friendly chessman, (d) capture one or two opposing units by moving a single space diagonally, provided either its new square or new forward square or both are occupied by an opposing chessman, (e) are captured when either of their squares is occupied by an opposing chessman and (f) promote when they stand on the rank immediately before the opponent's back rank, with the promoted chessman placed on the square where the pawn formerly stood. Friendly or opposing units other than pawns may pass over the forward square of a pawn.

Field Promotion Chess

Pawns promote only to Rooks, but do so upon reaching their owner’s sixth rank.

Friar Chess

Pawns move one space straight forward or one space sideways when not capturing and capture in a forward direction by leaping over an opposing chessman standing on a diagonally adjacent square to the next square beyond, provided that the destination square is either vacant or opponent-occupied. If the square beyond the first captured unit is also occupied by an opposing chessman, that unit is also removed.

Pawns have a double-step option when moving straight forward from their owner’s second rank, and a pawn may be captured en passant if the double-step involved passing over a square where the pawn might have been hopped over and captured by an opposing pawn.

Example: After 1 e4 d5 White may capture with 2 e4-c6; After 1 d4 c5; 2 d5 White may capture two pawns after either 2 ... e7-e5? or 2 ... e7-e6? with 3 d5-f7.

Interceptor Chess

Pawns may capture pieces as well as pawns en passant: any opposing chessman that passes over a square where it would have been subject to a pawn capture may be captured, on the player’s next turn only, as if it had moved to such a square. A Knight’s leap is presumed to involve a one space move along a rank or file followed by one space diagonally, and the Knight is subject to en passant capture on the square passed over.

Examples: White pawns on b4 and d4 and Black Bishop at d6 and Knight at c6: after ... Nxd4 White can recapture en passant by b4xc5, after either Nxb4 or Bxb4 White can recapture en passant by d4xc5, and after Bg3 White can capture en passant by d4xe5.

Minion Chess

The move and capture power of a pawn depends on the file it occupies.

From the a- or h-file, pawns move and capture as in standard chess (but without a double step option from their starting rank). From the b- or g-files, pawns move forward two ranks like a Knight to move or forward one rank like a Knight to capture.

From the c- or f-file, pawns move forward diagonally one space to move and capture by moving one space straight forward along the file. From the d- or e-files, pawns move a single space forward in any direction and capture by moving forward like a Knight.

Partisan Chess

Pawns may move and capture as in standard chess, but may then continue with a second move or capture. En passant capture is permitted after any double-step pawn move or double move of a pawn, with the capture (by either the standard or continuation move) occurring on any square passed over by the opposing pawn.

Example: After 1 d2-d4/d5 the White’s pawn may be captured by e7-e6xd5, c7-c6xd5, e7-e5xd4 ep or c7-c5xd4 ep. After 1 a2-a4/a5 there could follow seven consecutive en passant captures: 1 ... b7-b5xa4; 2 c2-c4xb5 d7-d5xc4; 3 e2-e4xd5 f7-f5xe4; 4 g2-g4xf5 h7-h5xg4.

Pawn Pusher Chess

Pawns do not move independently until they have left the player's half of the board; instead, they are pushed straight forward, diagonally forward or sideways one or two spaces ahead of a non-pawn moving to (one space push) or through (two space push) the square they occupied.

Knights are assumed to leap one square straight followed by one square diagonally and push pawns (only on the Knight's destination square) one space diagonally. A pushed pawn may not push a friendly chessman. A pawn pushed to a square occupied by an opponent's chessman captures that unit but does not move or capture further during the same turn.

A pawn may only be pushed as far as the player's fifth rank. As soon as a pawn reaches the opponent's half of the board it moves and captures like a conventional chess pawn.

Examples: From the starting position White has 21 pawn push moves: Ra2/a3, Ra3/a4, Bb2/a3, Bd2/e3, Be3/f4, Nd2/e3, Qc2/b3, Qb3/a4, Qd2/d3, Qd3/d4, Qe2/f3, Qf3/g4, Kd2/c3, Ke2/e3, Kf2/g3, Be2/d3, Bd3/c4, Bg2/h3, Ne2/d3, Rh2/h3 or Rh3/h4.

Phalanx Chess

Two or more pawns that stand adjacent on the rank, file or diagonal may move simultaneously a single space forward or sideways in the direction of the line, provided all of the pawns have advanced beyond the starting pawn rank. The move by the group may result in the capture of an opposing chessman.

Example: After 1 c3 Nf6 2 d4 d5 White may play 3 c3-d4e5.

Rabble Chess

Pawns located on the outer four files (a-, b-, g- and h-files) move diagonally forward (including a double step option from their starting square) and capture straight forward a single space along the file. Pawns located on the c-, d-, e- or f-files move and capture as in standard chess.

En passant captures are permitted (after a double-step pawn move) with any pawn that could have captured the pawn if it had advanced only one space.

Recruit Chess

Pawns may move (without capturing) forward along the file as in standard chess and may also advance diagonally forward to an adjacent file as either a capturing or a non-capturing move. A pawn may only change files, however, if there is already a friendly chessman located on the new file.

Rogue Pawn Chess

Pawns move straight forward and captures diagonally forward like a standard chess pawn, but (a) may only move one space from their starting rank, (b) may move either one or two spaces from any other rank and (c) may capture an opponent's pawn en passant immediately following the pawn’s double-step move.

Examples: (a) a White pawn at c2 may only move to c3; (b) a White pawn at d3 may move to either d4 or d5; (c) White pawn at d4, Black pawns at c7 and e6; if White plays d4-d6, Black may capture normally with c7-d6 or en passant with e6-d6.

Squire Chess

Pawns move diagonally forward when not capturing and capture in a straight forward or sideways direction by leaping over an adjacent opposing chessman to the next square beyond, provided that the destination square is either vacant or opponent-occupied. If the square beyond the first captured unit is also occupied by an opposing chessman, that unit is also removed.

Pawns have a double-step option when moving diagonally forward from their owner’s second rank. En passant captures are permitted immediately after an opposing pawn makes a double-step move, provided the pawn had passed over a square where it could have been captured by a pawn.

Example: After 1 c2-e4 c7-e5 White may capture with 2 e4-e6; if instead 2 e4-d5 White may capture two pawns after either 2 ... e7-c5? Or 2 ... e7-d6? with 3 d5-d7.

Teamster Chess

A pawn that moves or captures automatically pulls, in the same direction, any single chessman of either color occupying the square immediately behind and in the opposite direction. If the transported chessmen cannot be moved (i.e., would place the player's own King in check or would, after a pawn capture, involve attempting to capture one of the player's own chessmen) then moving the pawn is not allowed.

Example: 1 c4/Bc3 d5/Qd6 2 cd/Bd4.

Trooper Chess

Pawns move and capture a single space, either forward along the file or sideways along the rank. They may make a double-step move (including a capture) whenever the first square is vacant, but may be immediately captured en passant by a pawn that could have captured on the square skipped over.

Example: White Pawn at d3 and Black Pawns at c4, f4, e5 and d6 are not attacking each other. White may play (a) d3-c3 and be captured by c4xc3; (b) d3-b3 and be captured by c4xc3 ep; (c) d3-d4 and be captured by c4xd4, f4xd4 or d6xd4; (d) d3-d5 and be captured by c4xd4ep, f4xd4ep, d6xd4ep, d6xd5 or e5xd5; (e) d3-e3 and be captured e5xe3; or (f) d3-f3 and be captured by e5xe3ep or f4xf3.

Underling Chess

In addition to standard chess moves and captures, (a) a pawn defended by a friendly Bishop or Queen may move one space diagonally forward without capturing, and (b) a pawn defended by a friendly Rook or Knight may capture one space straight forward on the file.

Watchman Chess

Pawns move forward diagonally and capture straight forward on the file; they may also move straight backward and capture diagonally backward.

A pawn may not move to a player’s own back rank, and pawns have a forward double-step option (and are subject to possible en passant capture) whenever moving from their owner’s second rank.

Yeoman Chess

Pawns may move and capture forward as in standard chess, but may also move backward one space diagonally and capture straight backward a single space on the file. A pawn may not move to a player's own back rank, and pawns have a forward double-step option (and are subject to possible en passant capture) when from the player's second rank.


Written by Tony Paletta. HTML conversion by David Howe. The idea for Modest Chess Variant Proposals was conceived by Tony Paletta.
WWW page created: 6 May 2001.