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This page is written by the game's inventor, João Neto.

Finding ways to spin your games
The stable King and his revolving servants

by João Pedro Neto and Bill Taylor


We (Bill Taylor and Joao Neto) have invented and started to play some games with a common rule theme: if some condition is met, the moved piece changes its powers. Like a game with rotating officials. This, if done well, can result in very dynamic games, where some pieces lead very wild lives.

Joao invented a game based on a simple idea: depending whether the turn number is even/odd, the moved piece is promoted/demoted. This basic change makes (in Joao's opinion) a very good chess variant, called Promotions and Demotions, or just ProDem. But, is this the only possible way to use this dynamic idea?

Revolving Games

There is an old chess variant, named Revolving Chess (whose origins we don't know), whose rules are:


  1. Same as FIDE, except:
  2. Each moved non-king piece, changes its status in the following order:
  1. Knight to Bishop,
  2. Bishop to Rook
  3. Rook to Queen
  4. Queen to Knight

note: The original game was fully "royal", but we play with stalemate = win for stalemater, though still with castling (R changing to Q).


1. d4      d5      11. R:c8(Q) Qa:c8(N) 21. Q:f6(N)+ g:f6
2. c4      d:c4    12. B:a5(R) e:d4     22. Ba6(R)   Kg7
3. Nc3(B)  b5      13. Rb5(Q)+ Nc6(B)   23. Rha1(Q)  Qe8(N)
4. a4      c6      14. Q:c6(N) R:c6(Q)  24. Ke3      Ncd6(B)
5. a:b5    c:b5    15. Q:d4(N) Q:d4(N)  25: R:d6(Q)  N:d6(B)
6. b3      a5      16. e:d4    Nf6(B)   26. h3       Be5(R)+
7. b:c4    b:c4    17. Bf4(R)  O-O(Q)   27. Q:e5(N)  f:e5
8. e3      R:a6(Q) 18. Ra6(Q)  Qc2(N)+  28. Ke4      f3
9. Ne2(B)  e5      19. Kd2     N:d4(B)  29. Kf5      Kf7
10 B:c4(R) Bd6(R)  20. R:f6(Q) B:f6(R)  30. g4       1-0 [if Ke7 or Kf7 then h4]

Final Position:

Since Revolving Chess is the older game, we may think of it as the standard revolving positional game in this text, despite the fact that Promotions and Demotions was an independent discovery. In fact, ProDem was the first game we played, and it was then that many different and yet related ideas appeared. Firstly, the rules of ProDem:

PROMOTIONS & DEMOTIONS [aka "even-up, odd-down"]

  1. The FIDE rules apply except in the following:
  2. On even turns, a moved (non king) man is promoted after move completion.
  3. On odd turns, a moved (non king) man is demoted after move completion.
  4. The Promotion/Demotion system has this ordering: P < N or B < R < Q.
  5. Pawns on the 1st rank may move 1 or 2 squares.
  6. Pawns on the 8th rank cannot move, but may be captured.
  7. There is no En-Passant, Mate, Check or Castling.
  8. The winner is whoever first captures the opponent's King.9. White does not play on turn 1.



Here goes two sample games:

1. --      Nf6(P)  11. Rc5(B)  Rh4(N)  21. B:e6(p)+  Kd7
2. c4(B)   e6(B)   12. Nc3(R)  N:g2(R) 22. R:c5(Q)+  K:e6
3. B:e6(P) Qe7(R)  13. Rb1(B)  B:a2(P) 23. Rf5(B)+   Kf7
4. e:f7(B) R:B(Q)  14. Bh7(R)  Bc6(R)  24. Rf8(Q)+   1-0
5. Qc2(R)  Nc6(P)  15. Rhf1(B) Rg6(N)
6. g3(B)   h5(N)   16. Bg2(R)  a6(N)
7. Bg2(P)  N:g3(P) 17. R:g6(B) Q:g6(R)
8. f:g3(B) d6(B)   18. Rh8(Q)+ Kf7
9. B:d6(P) B:d6(P) 19. Qxa8(R) Nxc5(P)
10 Nf3(R)  d5(B)   20. b3(B)   b5(B)

Final Position:

note: even if these games have non royal Kings, we still use the + symbol which means some piece is attacking the King

1. --       Nc3(P)   11. g6:f7(B)+ K:f7       21. Be8(R)+ Kd7
2. b3(B)    d5(B)    12. Rh5(B)+   Ke7        22. Re8e5(N)+ Ke6
3. Bb2(P)   Bf5(P)   13. d3(N)     a5(B)      23. Bh3(R) a1(B)
4. c4(B)    e6(B)    14. Kd2       Ba:Rc3(P)+ 24. Kf1 B:e5(P)
5. Ne3(P)   Bc4:B(P) 15. b2:c3(B)  Nf6(R)     25. resigns 0-1
6. h4(B)    c4:B(B)  16. Ke1       Rg8(B)
7. Bh4:Q(P) Bb3:Q(P) 17. g4(N)     Rf5(Q)
8. Nc3(R)   Ra8:P(Q) 18. Bf6(P)+   Qxf6(R)
9. Rb1(B)   g6(B)    19. Ne5(R)+   Re6(Q)
10.Bb1xB(P) Be6:P(P) 20. R:Qe6(N)  K:e6

Final Position:

Other remarks:

Well, taking different behavior given a turn number is one possibility, others exist:

These options can be divided into two groups, where the game is completely defined by presenting:

Notice that in this classification, FIDE Chess belongs to group b), as it may be necessary to state that a King is moved (for castling) or if some pawn was moved (to make en passant capturing). We both feel that group a) games are more elegant, (but that does not mean dropping the others!! :)

With that last point as motivation, Bill invented the next game:


  1. All men move as in chess, except there is no castling or en passant.
  2. Movement is compulsory, and once his king is captured a player loses.
  3. Once a move is made, that piece immediately changes into the next one up this cycle - P to N to B to R to Q to P; except if it was a capture, then the order is the opposite.
  4. A pawn on the 1st rank may move 1 or 2 spaces if not capturing.A pawn on the 8th rank may never move again, but can be captured.
  5. If there are no pawns on the board before a move is to be made, the order changes to N B R Q N, (or its reverse for captures).

We would like you to specially notice rule 5. Its motivation was to ensure that a board with no pawns would no longer require knowledge of its *orientation*, similar to the "no-external-info" mentioned above. However, it has resulted in a new idea:- that when a certain condition is true (no pawns), the game dynamics changes. This is not a common feature in Chess Variants, but may be an excellent concept to extend.

And here goes a sample game:

1. g4(N)   d5(N)   11. B:a1(N) B:a1(N) 21. Ke2     Re8(Q)+ 31. Q:a1(R) Ng4(B)+
2. e3(N)   f6(N)   12. R:e7(B) K:e7    22. Kd1     Na6(B)  32. Kc2 R:d2(B)
3. Ne:N(P) Q:d5(R) 13. Ba3(R)  Bd7(R)  23. Rf1(Q)  B:d3(N) 33. K:d2 Qe4(N)+
4. b4(N)   b6(N)   14. Nf3(B)  Rd6(Q)  24. Q:d3(R) g5(N)   34. Kd3 Nd6(B)?
5. c4(N)   a6(N)   15. Rd3(Q)  Nc5(B)  25. h4(N)   Ne4(B)  35. Bg8(R)+ Bf8(R)
6. N:f6(P) e:f6(Q) 16. Be4(R)+ Kd8     26. Rc3(Q)+ Kd8     36. R:g4(B) Rf6(Q)
7. N:b6(P) c:b6(Q) 17. Rh4(Q)+ Kc7     27. Nf3(B)  B:d5(N) 37. Ra5(Q)+ 1-0
8. Be2(R)+ Be7(R)  18. Q:a1(R) B:f2(N) 28. B:d5(N) Q:d5(R)
9. N:d5(P) Q:a1(R) 19. Q:f2(R) Q:f2(R) 29. a3(N)   h6(N)
10 Nc3(B)  Nf6(B)  20. K:f2    Ra7(Q)+ 30. Nc4(B)  Q:a1(R)+

Final Position:


written at Variantstown on the last sunny December day, 2000


Written by Joao Pedro Neto and Bill Taylor.
WWW page created: April 25, 2001.