Modest chess variants meet a specific set of criteria:

- Can be played on a standard 8x8 board
- Can be played with standard 32-piece (Staunton) set
- Does not involve extraneous equipment (dice, etc.)
- Rules can be described adequately and accurately in 400 words or less
- CV name is considered a suggestion
- Description et al are considered in public domain

It is understood that the CV should be previously unpublished, playable and in some significant way original (standards that do allow some wiggle room).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.

Archer Chess Kings, Knights and pawns move as in standard chess. The Bishop ("Archer") may either move one space orthogonally (along the rank or the file) or leap exactly two spaces diagonally. The Rook may not move to an adjacent square, but otherwise moves along standard Rook lines. The Queen moves as either a (standard) Knight or a (modified) Rook. |

Archetype Chess Kings move as in standard chess and all other chessmen move forward or sideways as in standard chess, but move backward like the original back rank piece of the file (a-h files: RNBQKBNR) occupied at the time of the move. Pawns located on the second rank always have a double-step option for a forward move, and pawns located on the first rank (as a result of a backward move) always have both a double- or a triple-step option for a forward move. Immediately after a double- or a triple-step pawn move, a pawn may be captured en passant by an opposing pawn (as if the captured pawn had stopped on a square that was passed over). Examples: A Rook on the b-file moves forward or sideways like a standard Rook, and backward like a standard Knight; a Queen on the e-file moves forward or sideways like a standard Queen and backward like a standard King (but may be exposed captured). A White pawn moving c1-c4 may be captured en passant at either c2 (by a Black pawn at b3 or d3) or c3 (by a Black pawn at b4 or d4). |

Baroness Chess A Knight moves like a Queen when it is neither attacked nor defended by a Queen, Rook or Bishop; if either attacked or defended (a) by a Queen, it is unable to move; (b) by a Rook, it is unable to move like a Rook; (c) by a Bishop, it is unable to move like a Bishop. |

The "border" is the imaginary line between the 4th- and 5th-rank that separates White's half of the board from Black's. Pieces (but not pawns or Kings) have powers of movement that depend on whether they move toward the border (condition-A) or away from the border (condition-B). Under condition-A a Queen moves like either a Bishop or a Knight, while Rooks, Knights and Bishops move as in standard chess. Under condition-B Knights moves like standard Bishops, Bishops move like standard Knights, Queens move like standard Rooks and Rooks moves like either a standard Knight or a standard Bishop. Both Queens and Rooks may move horizontally along the rank like standard Rooks. |

Countess Chess Rooks slide along the rank, file or diagonal like a standard Queen, but can move no further than the number of chessmen (itself included) in its direction of movement. Queens move like either a standard Bishop or a standard Knight. |

Queens move as in standard chess but do not capture, do not check and may not be captured. A chessman that "threatens" (i.e., is one move away from) the opposing Queen is unable to make any capture, unless it also "guards" (i.e., is one move away from) the friendly Queen. Checks against an opposing King by chessmen other than the Queen, however, are valid checks. Pawns promote only to Rooks, Bishops or Knights. |

Disruptor Chess White's Queen starts at d8, Black's at d1. A Queen moves in the same directions as a standard chess Queen but does not check, does not capture and cannot be captured. A Queen may move to a square occupied by any friendly or opposing chessman other than a King, with the former occupant displaced one square toward the Queen's prior location. A player may make either a Queen move or a non-Queen move on each turn, but may not make Queen moves on consecutive turns. Pawns have a double-step option whenever they occupy their owner's first or second rank and may be captured en passant immediately after either double-step move. A pawn may promote only to a Rook, Knight or Bishop. |

Rooks, Knights, Bishops and Queens all move as either a standard Rook or a combination of a standard Bishop and a standard Knight (B+N), depending on where the chessman is located at the time of the move. Rooks move like a B+N from a central (4th-5th) rank or a central (d-e) file, Knights move like a B+N from the player's half of the board, Bishops move like a B+N from any of the 40 squares on a diagonal that passes through the center of the board, and Queens move like a B+N from an edge (a- or h-) file or an edge (1st or 8th) rank. |

Duchess Chess Black begins with Qe8 and Kd8, and the starting array is otherwise the same as in standard chess. Pawns move as in standard chess, (including double-step options and en passant captures); Kings also move conventionally, but White may castle normally while Black castles long toward h8 (King to f8, Rook to e8) and castles short toward a8 (King to b8, Rook to c8). Rooks, Queens, Knights and Bishops are all standard Rook + standard Bishop combinations, with each type lacking one of the directions of a standard chess Queen: (a) Rooks do not move in standard Bishop directions parallel to the a8-h1 (light-colored) long diagonal; (b) Queens do not move in standard Bishop directions parallel to the a1-h8 (dark-colored) long diagonal; (c) Knights do not move along the file like a standard Rook and (d) Bishops do not move along the rank like a standard Rook. On reaching the opponent’s back rank, pawns promote to any of the modified chessmen. |

The Rooks occupy the array squares taken by Knights in standard chess, and each player has only 14 chessmen. Rooks move like standard Rooks or standard Knights. Bishops move like standard Bishops or standard Knights. Queens, Kings and pawns move as in standard chess, but pawns promote only to Rooks, Bishops or Queens. Castling is allowed under the usual conditions (and is played as if the Rook stood in the corner). |

Empress Chess Bishops and Knights both have a two-part move — first to the corner of a square (vertex), then continuing away from the vertex like a Bishop. The Bishop’s starting vertices are those that run parallel to the nearest long diagonal, while the Knight’s are those that do not. The Rook slides two or more spaces like a standard Rook, and the Queen moves like either a standard Rook or a standard Knight. Example: A Bishop at d4 may move along the e5-f6-g7-h8, d5-c6-b7-a8, e4-f3-g2-h1, c3-b2-a1, d3-e2-f1 or c4-b5-a6 diagonal paths. A Knight at d4 may move along the c5-b6-a7, c4-b3-a2, d5-e6-f7-g8, e3-f2-g1, e4-f5-g6-h7 or d3-c2-b1 diagonal paths. |

Enumeration Chess The maximum number of spaces a Queen, Rook or Bishop may move is either (a) two spaces or (b) the number of Queens, Rooks, Bishops or Knights the opponent has on the board, whichever is greater. |

Escort Chess Queens normally move as either standard Bishops or standard Knights. Except for Kings or pawns, chessmen move differently when they stand on a square adjacent to a friendly chessman along the rank or the file. When adjacent to a friendly unit, Queens move like standard Rooks, Rooks move like either standard Bishops or standard Knights, Bishops move like standard Knights and Knights move like standard Bishops. |

Gargoyle Chess Kings and pawns move as in standard chess; Rooks slide along ranks or files, but must move at least two spaces (they may not move to an adjacent square), while Queens move like either a standard Bishop or one space along the rank or file. Both Knights and Bishops leap to their destination squares, with the Knight moving either two spaces along the rank or file and then turning 90 degrees clockwise and continuing one space (half a standard Knight’s moves) or three spaces along the rank or file and then turning 90 degrees anticlockwise and continuing either one space or two spaces (half a Zebra’s or [3,2]-leaper’s moves and half a Camel’s or [3,1]-leaper’s moves. From d4 the Knight may leap to e6, f3, c2 or b5 like a standard Knight, or to b7, g6, f1 or a2 like a Zebra or to c7, g5, e1 or h3 like a Camel. The Bishop’s leap is the mirror image of the Knight’s — clockwise like a Zebra or Camel and anticlockwise like a standard Knight. From d4 the Bishop may leap clockwise to e7, f7, g3, g2, c1, b1, h5, h6 or anticlockwise to c6, b3, e2 or f5. |

Hexoid Chess Back rank array (a-h) is RNQBBKNR for White and RNKBBQNR for Black; pawns are placed as in standard chess. Before play begins, the board is rotated 45 degrees so that a1 is the closest square to White, h8 the closest square to Black; vertical moves on chess diagonals are therefore parallel to the a1-h8 diagonal main and horizontal moves are parallel to a8-h1 main diagonal. Kings and pawns move as in standard chess, but the other chessmen are based on Rooks, Knights and Bishops from Glinski’s "Hexagonal Chess", with each player’s Queen serving as a third Bishop. Rooks move along orthodox chess ranks and files or horizontally (parallel to light-colored a8-h1 main diagonal). Bishops and Queens move vertically (parallel to dark-colored a1-h8 main diagonal) or make one or more standard chess Knight leaps in the same direction, the first step always horizontally and the second along the standard chess rank or file. Knights always leap to destination squares and are half-Knight (one vertically then one along rank or file to a standard chess Knight’s destination square) or half-Camel (two squares horizontally, then one vertically) or half-Zebra (two-squares horizontally, then continuing one square through a side adjacent to the opposite corner). Pawns ignore the rotated board and advance forward one chess rank at a time (one or two ranks from a starting square) toward the opponent’s starting edge, exactly as in standard chess (including en passant captures): they promote to Rook, Knight or Bishop upon reaching the eighth rank. Castling is not allowed, and the objective is to checkmate the opposing King |

Hydrant Chess The board is imagined to be divided into four quadrants, each a 4x4 area containing one of the corners — White's Queenside (a1-a4-d4-d1), White's Kingside, Black's Queenside and Black's Kingside. Pawns and Kings move as in standard chess. A Rook, Knight, Bishop or Queen has its standard chess moves within each quadrant, but moves between quadrants only to a quadrant on the same half (White's half, Black's half, Queenside half or Kingside half) as follows: (a) Rooks leap four spaces orthogonally (along the rank or file), (b) Bishops leap four spaces orthogonally followed by one space diagonally within the new quadrant, (c) Queens leap four spaces orthogonally or four spaces orthogonally followed by one space orthogonally within the new quadrant, and (d) Knights leap four spaces orthogonally to a vacant square, followed by a leap of two spaces orthogonally within the new quadrant. White's middle pawns begin at c3-d3-e3-f3, Black's at c6-d6-e6-f6, and the middle pawns do not have a double-step option on their first move; all other chessmen are initially positioned as in standard chess. Examples: A Knight at b2 may potentially move to d3, c4, or (via b6) to d6, b8, or (via f2) to f4 or h2; Bishop at f2 may move to e1, e3, g1, g3, h4, or to e5, e7, g5, g7, or to b1, b3, d3, d1. Note: Rooks, Knights, Bishops and Queens move, in effect, as three-dimensional chess pieces on a (4x4x2x2) four-dimensional board. |

Hyper Chess Kings and pawns move as in standard chess, but Bishops, Knights, Rooks and Queens have different forward and backward moves as well as different non-capturing and capturing moves. Bishops move forward like standard Bishops and capture forward like standard Knights, but move backward like standard Knights and capture backward like standard Bishops. Knights have the reverse pattern — they move forward like standard Knights and capture forward like standard Bishops but move backward like standard Bishops and capture backward like standard Knights. Rooks move forward like standard Rooks and capture forward like either standard Bishops or standard Knights, but move backward like either standard Bishops or standard Knights and capture backward like standard Rooks. Rooks also move or capture along the rank like standard Rooks. Queens move forward like either standard Bishops or standard Knights and capture forward like standard Rooks, but move backward like standard Rooks and capture backward like either standard Bishops or standard Knights. Queens also move or capture along the rank like standard Rooks. |

Inhibitor Chess In addition to their standard chess moves, Rooks move like Bishops (R+B), Knights move like Rooks (R+N) and Bishops move like Knights (B+N). The Queen is a non-captureable, non-capturing piece which moves like a standard Rook, Knight or Bishop and limits any Rook, Knight or Bishop (of either color) on a square one move away from the Queen to the piece’s standard chess move. Pawns promote only to (modified) Rooks, Knights or Bishops. |

Marauder Chess Rooks slide an odd number of spaces (to a different colored square) along standard Rook lines or move one space diagonally. Knights slide first one space diagonally (without stopping), then continue away from the starting square one or more spaces along the rank or the file. Bishops slide two or more spaces along standard Queen lines, but always to a square of the same color. Queens leap either one or two spaces along the rank, file, or diagonal. |

The "median" is the imaginary line between the d- and e-file that separates the Queenside and the Kingside. Pieces (but not pawns or Kings) have powers of movement that depend on whether they move toward the median (condition-A) or away from the median (condition-B). Under condition-A the Queen moves like either a Bishop or a Knight, while the Rook, Knight and Bishop move as in standard chess. Under condition-B the Knight moves like a standard Bishop, the Bishop moves like a standard Knight, the Queen moves like a standard Rook and the Rook moves like either a standard Knight or a standard Bishop. Queens and Rooks may move vertically along the file like standard Rooks. |

Oblique Chess Queens normally move as either a standard Bishop or a standard Knight; the other chessmen normally move as in standard. Except for Kings or pawns, chessmen move differently when they stand on a diagonal that passes through one of the four central squares (i.e., on one of the 40 squares along the a2-g8, a1-h8, b1-h7, g1-a7, h1-a8 or h2-b8 diagonal) — from those squares Queens move like standard Rooks, Rooks move like either standard Bishops or a standard Knights, Bishops move like standard Knights and Knights move like standard Bishops. |

Perimeter Chess The moves of pieces (but not pawns or Kings) are different when moving either from or to a square on the board's edge (the a-file, h-file, first rank or eighth rank) When moving from or to an edge: (a) Bishops moves like chess Knights (b) Knights move like chess Bishops (c) Rooks move like either chess Bishops or chess Knights and (d) Queens move like chess Rooks. When not moving from or to an edge, Queen move like either chess Bishops or chess Knights, but Rooks, Knights and Bishops move as in standard chess. |

Princess Chess Rooks slide two or more spaces like a standard Rook. Queens move like either a standard Bishop or a standard Knight. Knights move like standard Knights or slide like standard Rooks to a square of the same color (i.e., an even number of spaces). Bishops move like standard Bishops or slide like standard Rooks to squares of a different color (i.e., an odd number of spaces). |

Raider Chess Except for Kings and pawns (which move as in standard chess), the moves of the chessmen consist of one or more single-space moves in a series, with multiple captures permitted as part of one move. Rooks may make up to three single-space moves along a rank, a file, or a combination of ranks and files. Bishops may make up to three single-space moves along a diagonal or a combination of diagonals. Queens may make up to three single-space moves as a Rook or up to three single-space moves as a Bishop. Knights may make up to two single-space moves: if the first move is diagonal, the second can only be along the rank or file, but if the first move is along the rank or file, the second can only be diagonal. Rooks, Bishops and Queens may not visit the same square twice during a move or return to their starting square. If a Rook, Bishop, Queen or Knight could capture the opposing King without first capturing a different opposing chessman, the opposing King is in check; if, however, a capture exposes the opposing King to potential capture during the same turn, the turn ends. |

Rooks, Knights, Bishops and Queens all move as either a standard Rook or a combination of a standard Bishop and a standard Knight (B+N), depending on their destination at the end of the move. Rooks move like a B+N to a new quadrant (the four quadrants are White's Queenside, Black's Queenside, White's Kingside and Black's Kingside), Knights move like a B+N to the opponent's half of the board, Bishops move like a B+N to the opposite wing (from Kingside to Queenside or vice versa) and Queens move like a B+N to a side edge (a- or h-files) or to a back edge (1st or 8th rank). |

Rex Chess A game involving chessmen from both regular chess and hexagonal chess. The chessboard is rotated 45 degrees so the square a1 directly in front of White and h8 is directly in front of Black. With White’s location considered "South", the chessboard’s diagonals are N-S (vertical) and E-W (horizontal), files are in SE-NW lines and ranks are in SW-NE lines. A single step (a) northward is N, NE or NW, (b) southward is S, SE or SW, (c) westward is W, NW or SW and (d) eastward is E, NE or SE. Each player starts with 15 chessmen. White initially has Rooks at a4 and d1, Knights at a2 and c1, Bishops at a3 and b1, Queen at a1, King at b2 and Pawns at a5, b4, b3, c3, c2, d2 and e1. Black’s set-up is similar to White’s with like chessmen facing each other on the vertical diagonal (e.g., Bishops at f8 and h7). Rooks, Bishops and Kings move as in standard chess. Pawns move a single step like a Rook toward the opponent’s back edges when not capturing, and capture either one square vertically toward the opponent or by leaping left or right two steps — first horizontally then toward the opponent one step to a square a standard chess Knight might reach. Queens move like a Rook or Bishop or consistently (all northward or all southward) in a series of one or more standard Knight leaps in the same direction, each leap consisting of a vertical step and a non-vertical step (i.e., resembling a "Nightrider"). Knights leap either (a) either consistently eastward or consistently westward exactly three steps , first horizontally then non-horizontally then repeating either the horizontal or non-horizontal step to the destination square or (b) two steps northward or southward — first one step vertically, then continuing one space to destination squares a standard chess Knight might reach. Pawns promote to the game’s Queens, Rooks, Knights or Bishops on any of the seven edge squares closest to the opposing corner (e8-h8-h5 for White, a4-a1-d1 for Black).There is no castling, no initial double-step pawn move and no en passant capture. |

Kings and pawns move and capture as in standard chess. The other pieces capture like the next highest ranking piece, and move without capturing like the next lowest ranking piece, in the cyclic sequence King-Queen-Rook-Bishop-Knight-King. Therefore: (a) Queens capture using a standard (but unrestricted) King's move and move without capturing like a standard Rook; (b) Rooks capture like standard Queens but otherwise move like standard Bishops; (c). Bishops capture like standard Rooks but otherwise move like standard Knights and (d) Knights capture like standard Bishops but otherwise move like (unrestricted) standard Kings. Threats to capture the opposing King are based solely on a chessman's capturing move. |

Sector Chess SECTORS: For each square on the chessboard the other 63 squares may be grouped into four "sectors" (some of which may contain zero squares). The major sector (always with the most squares) is the area between the defining square and the corner which is farthest away (from c3, the rectangular region c3-c8-h8-h3, excluding c3). The minor sector is the area between the square and the nearest corner (from c3, the region c3-c1-a1-a3, excluding c3). The two side sectors (from c3, the regions a8-b8-b3-a3 and d2-h2-h1-d1) contain the remaining squares. MOVEMENT: The Rook moves like a standard Queen, but only into the major or minor sector. The Bishop moves like a "Nightrider" (one or more standard Knight leaps in the same direction) into the major or minor sector and like a standard Bishop into the side sectors. The Knight has three different leaps — like a Camel (3 horizontally then 1 vertically, or 3 vertically then 1 horizontally ) or Zebra (3 horizontally then 2 vertically, or 3 vertically then 2 horizontally) into the major or minor sectors and like a standard Knight into the side sectors. The Queen and King both move one space at a time like a standard chess King. The pawns move like standard pawns, but without a double-step option from their starting position. OTHER RULES: White's middle pawns begin at c3-d3-e3-f3, Black's at c6-d6-e6-f6, and the other chessmen are initially positioned as in standard chess. The objective is to checkmate the opposing King. NOTE: The moves of the Rook, Knight and Bishop are inspired by Glinski’s game of "Hexagonal Chess". |

Serif Chess Knights and Kings move as in standard chess. Rooks move one or two spaces orthogonally (along a rank or a file) or two spaces orthogonally followed by one space diagonally in a direction away from the starting square. Bishops move one or two spaces diagonally or two spaces diagonally followed by one space along the rank or file in a direction away from the starting square. Queens move like either a Rook or a Bishop. Rooks, Bishops and Queens may not leap over occupied spaces. Pawns have their usual standard chess moves, but do not have a double-step option from their starting position and cannot be captured en passant. A pawn may, however, (a) immediately move one space straight forward after a capturing move or (b) capture one space diagonally forward immediately after a non-capturing move. Examples: From d4 a Rook may potentially move to d5-d6-c7 or e7; to e4-f4-g5 or g3; to d3-d2-e1 or f1; to c4-b4-a5 or a3. A Bishop at d4 may potentially move to e5-f6-f7 or g6; to e3-f2-f1 or g2; to c3-b2-b1 or a2; to c5-b6-b7 or a6. A White pawn at d4 may capture on c5 then optionally move to c6, capture on e5 then optionally move to e6, or move to d5 and then optionally capture on either e6 or c6. |

Sorcerer Chess When located on a rank, file or diagonal that contains a single King of either color (a) Queens move like standard Rooks, (b) Rooks move like standard Bishops or standard Knights, (c) Bishops move like standard Knights and (d) Knights move like standard Bishops. When either no Kings or both Kings are all of a piece’s ranks, files or diagonals, a Queen moves like either a standard Bishop or a standard Knight, and Rooks, Bishops or Knights move as in standard chess. |

Tetragonal Chess The starting array is the same as in standard chess. Pawns move and capture (including en passant capture) as in standard chess, but the other chessmen have modified moves : (a) Bishops move like a standard Bishop or horizontally like a standard Rook; (b) Rooks moves vertically (along a file) like a standard Rook or leap one or more times in the same direction horizontally like a standard Knight or a Nightrider (i.e., shifting one rank and two files at a time); (c) Knights leap vertically like a standard Knight (i.e., shifting two ranks at a time) and horizontally like either a Camel (two steps along a rank followed by one step diagonally away from the starting square) or a Zebra (one step along a rank followed by two steps diagonally away from the starting square; (d) Queens move as either a modified Rook or a modified Bishop; and (e) Kings either move like a standard King or leap horizontally like a standard Knight. Pawns promote to modified Queens, Rooks, Knights or Bishops. Kingside castling is as in standard chess, but in queenside castling the King is moved to the b-file and the Rook to the c-file. |

Knights slide (but do not leap) at least two squares: one square along the rank or file to a vacant square, followed by one or more square diagonally in a direction away from its starting location. Queens move as either (standard) Bishops or (modified) Knights. In the initial array, the standard chess starting positons of Knights and Bishops are reversed (White Bb1, Nc1, Nf1, Bg1; Black Bb8, Nc8, Nf8, Bg8). |

Whirlwind Chess The board is divided into four rings: the first or outer ring (28 spaces on the perimeter of the square a1-a8-h8-h1), the second ring (20 spaces on the perimeter of the square b2-b7-g7-g2), the third ring (12 spaces on the perimeter of the square c3-c6-f6-f3) and the fourth or center ring (four spaces d4-d5-e5-e4). Kings and pawns move as in standard chess.The cyclic sequence Knight-Bishop-Rook-Queen governs the movement of the other pieces, with each piece moving as in standard chess from the first ring. From the 2nd-3rd-4th ring, (a) the Knight moves like a standard Bishop-Rook-Queen, (b) the Bishop moves like a standard Rook-Queen-Knight, (c) the Rook moves like a standard Queen-Knight-Bishop and (d) the Queen moves like a standard Knight-Bishop-Rook. Examples: Nb1, Qd2, Rf3 and Bd4 all move like standard Knights; Ne4, Qh1, Rg5 and Bc4 all move like standard Queens. |

Zealot Chess Kings and pawns move as in standard chess; Rooks slide along ranks or files, but must move at least two spaces (they may not move to an adjacent square), while Queens move like either a standard Bishop or one space along the rank or file. Knights and Bishops both blend a standard Knight’s and standard Bishop’s move pattern, leaping first like a standard Knight (one straight followed by one diagonal space) and then optionally continuing like a standard Bishop in the same diagonal direction. The Bishop’s diagonal continuation move is always a clockwise arc from its starting square, while the Knight’s diagonal continuation is always an anticlockwise arc from its starting square. A Bishop at d4 can move to e6-f7-g8, to f3-g2-h1, to c2-b1 or to b5-a6, with the first step (e6, f3, c2 or b5) a direct leap; a Knight at d4 can move c6-b7-a8, to f5-g6-h7, to e2-f1 or to b3-a2, with the first step (c6, f5, e2 or b3) a direct leap. |

Zorse Chess Rooks, Kings and pawns move as in standard chess. Knights leap either (a) forward like a Knight, (b) backward three spaces along the file followed by two spaces along the rank, or (c) three spaces along the rank followed by two spaces backward along the file. The Knight therefore combines half of a standard chess Knight’s move with half of a Zebra’s ([3,2] leaper’s) move. Bishops leap either (a) three spaces forward along the file followed by one space along the rank, (b) three spaces along the rank followed by one space forward along the file or (c) backward like a standard chess Knight. Queens move like "Nightriders", making one or more consecutive standard chess Knight leaps in the same direction (e.g., Qd1-c3-b5-a7) provided all but possibly the last leap is to an unoccupied space. |

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.