The Chess Variant Pages


Invented in 1998..

Tournoy belongs to a variant family where pieces should be oriented prior to move. There are two famous predecessors: Ploy (Frank Thibault, 1973- I do have a copy of the complete rules) and Rotary (Christian Freeling) (Mindsports Website). Note than the name Tournoy is somewhat explicit, it even has a fashionable old-French look (Tournoi is tournament) and finishes with a y.

From Ploy it inherited the choice between move or turn, the material colors and the inspiration for the initial arrangement. From Rotary it took the unlimited movement of the pieces and the renunciation of some uninteresting two-directions pieces.

Yes, I think that C. Freeling was right, the Shields in Ploy are too weak. On the opposite, the orthodox Pawn introduction and its promotion looks poorly inspired for a so innovating game. The Probe used in Tournoy, already existing in Ploy, make a Pawn much more accorded to the game. Here, the Hammer is a novelty for this category of game. Indeed, a jumper was missing. Last not the least, exceptions have been avoided, improving the homogeneity of move between pieces. Detailed rules follow.

Players: 2


One uses the 9 x 9 board with alternated squares in purple tints. Each side has 17 pieces orange or green: 1 Cross, 2 Tridents, 2 Forks, 2 Squares (tough name in English. I mean the tool for drawing, équerre in French, not a carré), 3 Hammers and 7 Probes.

Moves and Captures

The pieces are tokens bearing their allowed directions on the top face. There are two categories ; short-range pieces, Cross and Probe ; and long-range piece, Hammer, Square, Fork and Trident. For every turn, the players may choose between:

The specific characters of the pieces are:

All captures are by displacement.

End of the Game

Victory is got by checkmating or isolating the opposite Cross.

Pat does not exist since it is always possible to rotate his Cross to pass his turn.


Ploy is described in Modern Board Game by David Pritchard (London, W.Luscombe, 1975).


The rules have revised in July 1999. The possibility of moving 1 square and then rotating for long range pieces is no more valid. This rule added unecessary complexity.

There is a Zillions-of-games file available to play Tournoy (and Ploy as well).

Written by Jean-Louis Cazaux. HTML conversion by David Howe.

WWW page created: June 26, 1998. Last modified: September 13, 1999.