The Chess Variant Pages

This page is written by the game's inventor, Jim Aikin.



In Late November, Jim Aikin sent us the following email:

Here are two entries for your 38-square competition -- AMOEBA and CUBE+. Neither of them has been tested in play, but I tried to make them both playable. Each has a couple of variants of its own.

If anybody tries out either game, I'd appreciate receiving a copy of the game so I can study it. Also, if anybody wants to try playing either of them with me by email, I'd be happy to give it a try.

--Jim Aikin

The Board

The board for Amoeba consists of 38 movable squares on an underlying 7x7 matrix of locations. The locations, using standard notation, are files (columns) a through g and ranks (rows) 1 through 7. At the start of the game, there are NO squares on the following 11 locations: a1, a2, a6, a7, c4, d4, e4, g1, g2, g6, and g7. The empty board looks like this (the empty locations are shown as dots):

. - - - - - .
. - - - - - .
- - - - - - -
- - . . . - -
- - - - - - -
. - - - - - .
. - - - - - .

Each player begins with 10 pieces -- a king, two knights, and two rooks, plus five pawns. These are arrayed in the player's rear two rows. The arrangement is basically the familiar one: The king is in the center of the rear row (d1 or d7), flanked by the knights, with the rooks on the ends of the row and the five pawns in the second row. It looks like this:

(graphical version of board)
. r n k n r .
. p p p p p .
- - - - - - -
- - . . . - -
- - - - - - -
. P P P P P .
. R N K N R .

Text version of board



  1. A square may be slid into a vacant location in the normal way, even if the square is occupied at the time by a piece (either one's own piece or the opponent's).
  2. A promoted pawn may become a bishop, if desired.
  3. The locations to which a square may be slid are not limited to a 7x7 matrix. The board can be extruded by the players arbitrarily in any direction, with the proviso that no section of it can become completely detached. (A diagonal connection is considered a legal attachment.) Note that in the normal version of the game, it IS possible for one section to become completely detached from another.

(c) 1997 Jim Aikin

Written by Jim Aikin. HTML conversion and graphic by David Howe.
This is an entry in the Contest to make a chess variant on a board with 38 squares.
WWW page created: November 30, 1997.