The Chess Variant Pages

The 40-squares chess variant design contest


A contest will be held, in which you can participate. The aim of the contest is to design a chess variant on a board with exactly 40 squares. Read here more about the history, the rules, and the prizes to win.

Already three contests to design a chess variant were held. From October 1997 till April 1998, a successful contest was held, to design a chess variant on a board with 38 squares. That contest was inspired by chess variants, that people designed for Hans Bodlaender's 37th birthday, and an early one for his 38th birthday by Eric Greenwood. Then, in May 1998 till June 1999, a contest was held to design a chess variant on a board with 39 squares. We also had a contest to design a large chess variant.

A good tradition should not be broken. Thus, we now have a contest to design a chess variant on a board with 40 squares.

The challenge

Design a chess variant on a board of exactly 40 squares.

The Rules of the Metagame

  1. To participate, design a game that is a chess variant and that is played on a board of exactly 40 squares, and send the rules to the Chess Variant Pages (see the feedback page how to send them: email to (email removed contact us for address) before January 15, 2000. (January 15, 2000 marks the fifth anniversary of the Chess Variant pages website.) You can also send them on paper to: Hans Bodlaender, Nedercamp 26, 3992 RP Houten, the Netherlands.
  2. The notion of square can be interpreted broadly, and is meant to denote any cell that can contain a piece. So, e.g., variants with hexagonal cells are acceptable.
  3. In your entry, you may, if you want, also include a few sample games, comments, etc.
  4. If you submit a game, you should send the description of the game (either in html, word, or text-format, with or without added pictures), i.e., it is insufficient to have the game on your own website and send the URL.
  5. Hans Bodlaender is `first round judge'. Submissions to the contest that are not a chess variant, not a game, not played on a board with 40 squares (or other types of `cells'), or are deemed unsuitable for publication on the Chess Variant Pages for other reasons will be rejected in this first round. Other submissions will be published on The Chess Variant Pages.
  6. A participant may submit at most two entries. If you submit two designs, please make them very different from each other.
  7. With participating, you allow me to publish what you send (or in edited form) on The Chess Variant Pages and its offline versions. Copyright remains with the author, and you keep the right for publication elsewhere.
  8. The winning game will be decided by two qualified judges:
    • Ben Good, winner of the first contest to design a chess variant on 38 squares and a regular contributor to the Chess Variant Pages website, and editor for the Piececlopedia section.
    • Ralph Betza, FIDE chess master, and one of the most well known inventors of chess variants. Many of his numerous chess variant designs find their place on the Chess Variant Pages website.
    • In addition, games will be judged for `enjoyability by children' by a special jury (Marijke and Wim Bodlaender, who will be then 11 and 9). The game liked most by this jury will receive an additional prize. You may state not to have your entry judged in this category.

      Mention games that have inspired you. Write correct English, and be clear and complete in giving rules, but you may assume familiarity with the rules of standard chess. (For instance, you can write sentences like: Knights move like in orthodox chess. The purpose of the game is to mate the opponent's General. Stalemated players lose the game.)


The following prizes can be won. The participant that wins the first prize may pick his prize first; then the participant that wins the second prize, etc.
  1. A copy of The Encyclopedia of Chess Variants, kindly donated by the author David Pritchard. (I'll also ask Pritchard to sign the copy.) The must-have book for every chess variants enthusiast!
  2. A copy of a set of Omega Chess. The chess variant nowadays played by famous chess grandmasters and others! Kindly donated by Daniel Macdonald.
  3. Your choice from one of the following chess based puzzle programs: Alterway, Blindfold, Chess Mazes, Chess Miner, Crazy Chess or Last Move.
  4. A copy of David Moeser's Neue Chess. Kindly donated by David Moeser.
  5. A copy of David Moeser's Lotus Chess. Kindly donated by David Moeser.

The prize for the variant most enjoyable for children will be a `Chess Variant Pages Offline' CD-ROM, donated by Hans Bodlaender. This CDrom contains all the files of the website, for easy browsing at home.

Additional rules

What else?

If you have questions or concerns, write to Hans Bodlaender (see the feedback page).

Written by Hans Bodlaender.
WWW page created: June 29, 1999. Last modified: September 6, 1999.