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Mortal Chessgi

by Fergus Duniho


In most Chessgi and Shogi variants, the total material in the game remains constant. Although promotions cause the material to fluxuate slightly, the total number of pieces always remains constant. In contrast, the material in Chess is regularly diminished by captures. In Mortal Chessgi, you can drop captured pieces, as you do in Chessgi, but every capture also diminishes the material in the game.

Created by Fergus Duniho on March 13, 2001, Mortal Chessgi was inspired by Fergus Duniho's Demotion Chessgi and Karl Scherer's Hydra Chess. I conceived of Mortal Chessgi after playing Hydra Chess, which is very much like Mortal Chessgi, except that captured pieces do not change sides. It occurred to me that the Hydra Chess rules were well suited for a Chessgi game that allows material to be diminished.

Setup & Equipment

The setup and equipment are just the same as in Chess. But it will be helpful to have extra sets on hand, because the demotions in the game will sometimes cause there to be more of some type of piece than there are in a single Chess set. Three Chess sets will cover all possible combinations. Two sets should suffice for most games.


Demotion Chessgi is played like regular Chess with the following exceptions:

  • Capturing
    • Whenever a piece is captured, it changes sides, demotes to the next lowest rank, and the player who captures it gets to keep it in hand.
      • A captured Queen becomes a Rook.
      • A captured Rook becomes a Bishop.
      • A captured Bishop becomes a Knight.
      • A captured Knight becomes a Pawn.
      • A captured Pawn is removed from the game.
  • Dropping
    • With one exception for Pawns, a player may use his turn to drop a piece held in hand onto any empty space.
      • A Pawn may not be dropped on the last rank.


orthodox chessgi notation should do. Use * to represent the a player's off-board hand.

Zillions of Games

You may download a ZRF for playing Mortal Chessgi with Zillions of Games.

This ZRF requires Zillions 1.1.1 or better, because it makes use of multiple piece sets. You can choose from abstract, magnetic, motif, and zillions Chess pieces.

On March 19, 2001, the ZRF was updated to include the marble board pictured here.

Written by Fergus Duniho
WWW Page Created: Tue Mar 13, 2001; Last Updated: Mon Mar 19, 2001