Check out Glinski's Hexagonal Chess, our featured variant for May, 2024.

This page is written by the game's inventor, Benjamin Clarke.

English Random Chess

By Benjamin Clarke



I have been playing a chess variation that I came up with for a while now. The people I play against like it too. I have looked on your site but can't find an exact match (but I am more likely to have missed it).

I cannot find a match to this variant but someone must have thought of it before me. If it does already exist could you tell me the name of it please?


The board is 10 by 10. 

The pawns are positioned where they would usually form on a conventional board, so in this case from B3 - I3 (white) and B8 - I8 (black). 

The higher value pieces fall in right behind the pawns along the second row (white) and the ninth row (black). 

The order of these pieces (both black and white) are randomly generated, whether it be pulling them from a hat or pieces of paper with their names on from a hat ...etc., and assembled from left to right. 


Standard Chess pieces are used.


Standard Chess rules apply, except as follows:

Castling is permitted just as long as the king and a rook are in legal positions from the initial random positioning.

Playing Tips

This true randomization leads to little or no set opening plays. From the off each player has to think logically on the merits of their initial position. 

As you might have guessed, castling in this variant could land you at a disadvantage. 

With A and J files free, attacking flanking moves are encouraged. Along with rows 1 and 10 clear, a player's first move might be back!


The randomization of the pieces can lead to interesting scenarios whereby a player might have both bishops on black squares, both knights on white squares, the king maybe right at the end of the line...etc.

Computer Play

You can also play this game by email, using the web-based Game Courier system on this site. See the link to the preset, below.


A 10 x 10 board with standard Chess Pieces.