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Contest to design a chess variant on 44 squares

Latest news: Winners are known.


A contest has been be held, in which you could participate. The aim of the contest was to design a chess variant on a board with exactly 44 squares. Read here more about the history, the rules, and the winners.

We have hosted more than 10 previous variant design contests. Our first was held from October 1997 until April 1998: the task was to design a chess variant on a board with 38 squares. That contest was inspired by chess variants designed for Hans Bodlaender's 37th birthday, and an early one for his 38th birthday by Eric Greenwood.

In 1998-1999, there was a follow-up contest for designs on a 39 square board, and an annual tradition was born. We have also irregularly held contests on other themes.

The original tradition continues...hence now we have a contest to design a chess variant on a board with exactly 44 squares.

The challenge

Design a chess variant on a board of exactly 44 squares.

Skip to rules

Competing entries - Main category

  1. Hole Chess, by Gary K. Gifford. Finalist!
  2. Hexetera, by Roberto Lavieri. Finalist!
  3. Sankaku Shogi, by L. Lynn Smith.
  4. Leap Chess, by Ken Franklin.
  5. Symmetron! 44, by Antoine Fourrière and Roberto Lavieri.
  6. Prisoner's escape. By Peter Aronson. 1st place!
  7. Horus. By Peter Aronson. 4th place!
  8. Med Chess. By Erez Schatz.
  9. Inside-outside Chess. By Maarten P. Bodlaender.
  10. Pawn Less Chess. By Uri Bruck.
  11. Oblong Chess 44. By Erez Schatz. Finalist!
  12. SpaceWarp44. By Jeff Rients. 2nd place!
  13. Border Wars II. By Jared B. McComb.
  14. Mini Slanted Escalator Chess. By David Short.
  15. PiRaTeKnIcS. By David Jagger. Finalist!
  16. Slide-chess. By Joao Pedro Neto. 3rd place!
  17. Los Alamos Extinction Chess With Bunkers. By Doug Chatham.
  18. Palace Revolution. By Peter Leyva.
  19. Chogo44. By David Jagger.
  20. Monkey King Chess. By Peter Gelman.
  21. Canyon Chess. By Andrew Blechinger and Jarry Vega.

Competing entries - Extra category

  1. Regenbogen. By Jared B. McComb.

Non-competing entries

  1. Cascudo. By David Jagger.
  2. Epsilon Eridani. By Roberto Lavieri.


The winners

Main category

Two rounds of voting gave the following four games as winners, in this order:
  1. Prisoner's escape. By Peter Aronson.
  2. SpaceWarp44. By Jeff Rients.
  3. Slide-chess. By Joao Pedro Neto.
  4. Horus. By Peter Aronson.

Extra category

There was only one game in the extra category. The jury (Hans Bodlaender) decided to award this game the prize to be won in the category.
  1. Regenbogen. By Jared B. McComb.
Congratulations to all winners!

The Rules of the Metagame

before April 21, 2004.

You can also send entries on paper to Hans Bodlaender, Nedercamp 26, 3992 RP Houten, the Netherlands.

  1. 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.
  2. In order to facilitate playing the games, we have two categories: the Main Category and the Extra Category.
    1. In order to be elegible for the Main Category, there should be a way to play the game by computer, either with Game Courier, Zillions of Games, or with a computer program provided by the inventor. The latter program should be free to use and run on at least some versions of Windows, and be less than 3 Megabytes in size.
    2. Please note that it is not necessary that you create the program yourself: there are main people that can help to make your game fit in either Zilliosn of Games or Game Courier, including the people who run
    3. Also please note that our Game Courier system is very flexibe: there are only a few things it cannot do well, e.g., secret information. It can for instance also work well with boards with strange shapes. See the Game Courier webpages for more information.
    4. Games are only elegible in the Extra Category when they do not fit in the Main category.
    5. You can submit your game without specifying which category it should enter.
  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, MS 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 preliminary judge. Submissions to the contest that are not a chess variant, not a game, not played on a board with 44 squares (or other types of `cells'), or are deemed unsuitable for publication on the Chess Variant Pages for other reasons will be rejected in a preliminary round. Other submissions will be published on The Chess Variant Pages.
  6. A participant may submit at most two competing entries for both categories together. At most one of these may be in the Extra category. I.e., you can either submit two games to the Main category, or one game to the Main category and one game to the Extra category. If you submit two designs, please make them very different from each other.
  7. The winners of the Main Category will be selected by a two round poll of Chess Variant Pages readers. See Polling below. The winners of the Extra Category will be selected by a judge.
  8. By participating, you give us an unrevokable permission to publish what you send, in original or edited form, on The Chess Variant Pages and its offline versions. Copyright remains with the author, and you keep the right for publication elsewhere. However, you cannot request to remove your game from our website, and requests to remove your game will not be granted, even when you did not win a prize in the contest.
  9. An entry having its own variants will have only its 'main variant' judged.
  10. We offer the following tips: Mention games that have inspired you. Write correct English, and be clear and complete in giving rules. 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.)


  1. The first round of voting will take place from June 1, 2004 through August 1, 2004. (These changed dates are final!) All readers of The Chess Variant Pages may vote.
  2. Your vote should be emailed to:
  3. Voters may vote for up to 15 games from the Main Category, in order of merit. Put the best game on top, and the second best directly after it, etc., etc. Voters may also vote for just one game, or for any number in between. (But see the next two rules.)
  4. Any entrant who does not vote for at least ten games in round one will have his or her own entries eliminated from further consideration.
  5. Entrants shall not vote for their own games.
  6. Any ballot which does not provide the name and a verifiable email address for the voter, or which shows other evidence of attempted fraud, will be discarded.
  7. A multi-round Transferable Vote system will be used to count the ballots and name eight games as finalists.

Second Round Poll

  1. The second round of voting will take place from Augustus 20 through October 31, 2004, in the same fashion except:
    1. Voters will vote for up to six games from the eight finalists.
    2. A multi-round Condorcet counting process will select the winners.
    3. Finalists should vote, and when they haven't voted before the date of October 31, they will be reminded by me (HLB) to do so. They should not vote for their own games.
  2. The top four games in the second round will be awarded prizes, which will be announced in November 2004.


The entries in the Extra Category will be judged by Hans Bodlaender. Criteria are in this category:

The judge may decide not to award a prize in this category.


To be announced on October 1, 2004 or sooner. Category A will have four prizes; category B has one prize.

Submission format

What else?

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

Written by Hans Bodlaender. Webpage posted: November 24, 2003. Last modified: February 6, 2005.