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This item is a miscellaneous item
It belongs to categories: Orthodox chess, 
It was last modified on: 2005-08-31
Recognized Chess Variants. Index page listing the variants we feel are most significant. (Recognized!)[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Fergus Duniho wrote on 2020-04-01 UTC

Is the fact that the recognised variants section wasn't updated from 2006 means that the administrators of chessvariants haven't found any new / recent variant worth to be added ?

No, it means that this project has been discontinued. This has nothing to do with the quality of Chess variants coming out since its discontinuation. It has been replaced with allowing members to designate their favorite Chess variants. This gives everyone who cares to participate an equal voice, which is more democratic than letting editors come up with a list. At present, 3 people have favorited Musketeer Chess.

Zied Haddad wrote on 2020-03-31 UTCGood ★★★★

Hi, thank you for your comment.

Raphael mentioned his comment to me. Loving / Preferences are individual choices.

I have a clear conflict of interest here. 

Is the fact that the recognised variants section wasn't updated from 2006 means that the administrators of chessvariants haven't found any new / recent variant worth to be added ?

Just to mention that recently, there was many things new concerning Musketeer Chess: Jocly website went down so your website, mine and HG Muller work are the only websites where it's possible to play this variant.

Many engine programmers become to have growing interest in it. The major one is for sure Stockfish that recently released Musketeer Stockfish. There are a total of 6 Programmers that already made engines for Musketeer Chess, which is not an easy variant to program due to the rules that concern the Piece selection and the "Gating Selection" = squares where the pieces will enter the game.

This growing interest is for sure for me a good thing. The majority of these programmers tried to play the game and loved it. 

Have you an idea if there are other variants that are currently commercial ?

I runned tens of thousands of engine games and played myself hundreds. 

My conclusions based on these tests are as follows: The game seems to be balanced as there are almost equal winning chances comparing black and white chances, and the draw percentage is low (less than 8%). Seirawan Chess that Inspired Musketeer Chess favors clearly White for example.


Thanks again for your comment: PS working on a wiki page and i mentioned your Game Courier in it. A really nice tool.

I hope also that Lichess will add it to their server.

Fergus Duniho wrote on 2020-03-30 UTC

Musketeer Chess is very young, and nothing has been added to this list since 2006. It has been replaced by the more democratic practice of letting users favorite games. You may play Musketeer Chess on this site with Game Courier.

Raphael Elie Kakou wrote on 2020-03-30 UTCGood ★★★★


My interest for chess variants is growing since i retired from the army two years ago. This website is outstanding and inspiring. I met with some funs of chess variants. A special mention to a certain Medical Doctor working in Paris who's name is Dr Zied Haddad and who's a nice and smart man. He invented Musketeer Chess and i got the chance to play with him a few games and he shared with me his great passion for chess and chess variants and why he got motivation to invent and spend much time and more in inventing chess variants and designing and creating new pieces.

I must say that Musketeer Chess is for me among the best variants (with Seirawan chess and a new variant named Shogun). This post is about recognized chess variants. I wonder why Musketeer Chess isn't among these variants.


Currently it's almost the only commercial chess variant i know. It offers many different fairy pieces that help play on the board (I prefer playing on the board even though with the current pandemics the only person I can play chess or chess variants with is myself). These pieces are also very interesting esthetically and I regularly use them to customise the classic chess set. My grandson loves for example when I replace the Rook with the Spider or the Fortress (the Rook is supposed to be more valuable in terms of relative strength than the Knight or Bishop, but it is usually much smaller in size than these pieces). I also love to use the Unicorns (either replacing the knights using unicorns, or just customising my pieces). When using unicorns instead of the Knights the games are very tactical and very short.


How it's possible to add musketeer chess to the list of recognised chess variants? 

I also wanted to praise the website of the inventor, nice looking, easy to use and with many free tools like the Board Painter tool allowing to build Diagrams for many chess variants.

Kevin Pacey wrote on 2018-07-25 UTC

Assuming that, by the passage of time since my last post on the subject, Seirawan Chess is not yet worthy to be placed on the Recognized Chess Variants list, I'd now suggest it might at least be worthy to be given 'Primary Item' status, i.e. in the CVP Main Alphabetical Index, under indicies 'Se' and 'S'.

Kevin Pacey wrote on 2018-06-28 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

I'd like to nominate Seirawan Chess for the Popular category (I'm hoping we can squeeze at least this one entry onto the list of Recognized Variants, after something of a long lull).

I think the wiki on this variant gives the idea here and there that it has become rather popular since its invention over 10 years ago. Notably, mentioned are a number of websites devoted to it:

I find this variant to be worth rating as Excellent, if only since it seems to me to be at least as good as Capablanca Chess, while remaining on an 8x8 board as used for chess.

Kevin Pacey wrote on 2018-04-12 UTC

I'm now significantly better liking the choices as a whole for the listed games on the Recognized Chess Variants index page. Have you thought more about commenting on any of the relatively recent comments from several people posting in this thread, Greg?

Greg Strong wrote on 2018-04-11 UTC

No objection having been raised, Capablanca's Chess is now Recognized in the Vintage category.

Kevin Pacey wrote on 2018-04-10 UTC

@ Greg:

About 10 days ago you posted you were thinking of adding Capablanca Chess to the Vintage category of Recognized Chess Variants. Has there been any objection to that specifically, and, if not, is the addition to be soon?

H. G. Muller wrote on 2018-04-06 UTC

I think Courier Chess became popular in the time that Shatranj was the dominant form of Chess. And I don't think it is more boring that Shatranj; the Commoner and Bishop are more interesting pieces than the Ferz and Alfil. In addition, the promotion rules seem to be completely unknown, and we just assume it was the same as in Shatranj. Which is about the most boring promotion rule you can imagine. If promotion was to Commoner, or to the piece starting in the file (not unheard of: Grant Acedrex had that rule), it would make the game far more interesting. And another plausible rule is promotion to any captured piece.

Kevin Pacey wrote on 2018-04-05 UTC

Fwiw, I personally haven't found Courier Chess always too boring to enjoy playing it, though I'm only in the middle of playing my second game of it now. The webpage for this game points out it was vogue in a region of Germany for many years (longer than the arguably more exciting Courier-Spiel was), so that may count for something, given that it wasn't too many centuries ago. Somewhere I read that the slower pace of the game may have appealed to more women in its day than faster-paced variant(s) that came later, too.

[edit: Note: I've edited my previous post in this thread a bit.]

Kevin Pacey wrote on 2018-04-05 UTC

@ H.G.:

The criteria CVP members use to choose their favourites on the CVP Favorites List is unknowable, especially given that more than one person is doing the selecting. Presumably a game is selected more often than not due to being enjoyable to play for that person, though some games on the list do not have Game Courier presets yet, I would note. I recall at one point (as now) the recommended (official!?) criteria for choosing a favourite variant was to select just a variant you actually play, but in practice it seemed to me CVP members didn't always follow that criteria.

Hence naturally any criteria Recognized Chess Variants officially ever uses would not ever knowably be always 'different' from that of the Favorites List (at least unofficially, or as far as CVP members are concerned), if you happened to think of 'different' in that sense. If as I think you may have meant (too or instead) by 'different', the criteria for Recognized Chess Variants officially should be changed, or at least be made more clear, yes I think we're all trying to help the editors decide on that issue with our discussions here, unless some of us have decisively given up on the idea of this list as useless. I'd note that though editor(s) made the final screening, CVP members originally nominated by ballot (maybe later sometimes by a formal nomination process) at least some of the variant(s) to be Recognized (I don't know how frequently members gave input though, e.g. in the case of something merely significant rather than enjoyable, like Shatranj).

I would note that at least Fergus' stated criteria for each Recognized Chess Variant 'Category' seem clear-cut enough, in most if not all cases. However, the original list of Recognized Chess Variants was not organized into categories this way, and as far as I know the re-organizing of a lot of the (earlier) admitted Recognized Chess Variants into these Categories (along with deciding that they met the stated criteria of the categories they were placed in) was done solely by Fergus.

bukovski wrote on 2018-04-05 UTC

@Fergus Duniho and @Greg Strong: Does your evaluation of Courier Chess include the 19th-century Kurierspiel described here on CVP?

Aurelian Florea wrote on 2018-04-05 UTC

I remember a while ago, maybe two weeks, having seen a list with how many times each game has been played, but now I'm not sure where. That one is an interesting one to mention. Anyone know where to find it? Even there there are some factors as larger board games are normal to be played rarer as they take more time to complete. But if we take this into acoount is a very good list :)!

H. G. Muller wrote on 2018-04-05 UTC

Well, I would say that editors who claim a game is great for playing while almost no one on this site wants to play it, are just plain wrong, rather than 'more knowledgeable'. It seems to me that a distinction 'only CVP editors like this' is not useful to anyone except the editors, and isn't really worth publishing.

To provide any added value for the general reader, the criteria according to which the variants in the list have been judged must officially be different.

Kevin Pacey wrote on 2018-04-04 UTC

I'd suggest again that it may be important that the Recognized Chess Variants list choices are screened by knowlegable editor(s), while the favorites list choices are not. That could make for an important difference in quality between the two lists, unless it can be argued that CVP members collectively know what makes a significant variant at least as well as editor(s). The Favorites list at the least might serve those looking for yet another opinion, perhaps as given mainly by those who primary play variants, so that list seems to have a right to exist, too.

P.S.: You could do worse than marrying an Australopithicus. :)

H. G. Muller wrote on 2018-04-04 UTC

Well, what was written was written before the 'favorites' concept had been implemented. And now that the latter has been implemented, what was written might not make much sense anymore. We definitely don't need a second program that does in a less transparent way what we already have in the 'favorites'.

That being said, 'significant' is indeed something different from 'recommended'. Since all forms of Chess are thought to be drived from Shatranj, I would think that Shatranj is the most significant of all. Just like the Australopithicus is a very significant hominid, even though I would not want to be married to one.

Furthermore, "what people on this site consider significant" is not at all the same as "what people consider significant on this site". That anything posted here reflects what we feel should be self-evident: we are the ones posting it.

Kevin Pacey wrote on 2018-04-04 UTC

The title sentence for the index page may reveal what the (original?) editor(s) felt most clearly summed up what "Recognized" Chess Variants were meant to be:

Index page listing the variants we feel are most significant

As far as what the word 'significant' means, there may be more room for flexibility, e.g. to include the various possible definitions of what the word 'recognized' means as far as the variants chosen to be listed. Courier Chess, Tamerlane Chess and Shatranj certainly seem 'significant', and are historical variants besides, even if not always recommendable to be played. Perhaps 'Most (or Very) Significant Chess Variants' would be the best title of all, though the practical drawbacks of making such a change have been pointed out by Greg.

I'm fine with the program of having contests for recognized variant of the month staying obsolete, since keeping that up may have taken a lot of effort. Making occasional (if not monthly) amendments to the 'Recognized Chess Variants' list, on the other hand, would seem to take far less effort on the part of editor(s) - I'd prefer a panel do it, but so far just one editor (Greg) seems to have handled some amendments to the list without generating much fuss about the actual changes made.

H. G. Muller wrote on 2018-04-04 UTC

Well, my stance from the beginning is that there is room, next to the favorites, for a listing of variants that now or at some earlier point in history have been successful, widely known and influential. Shatranj and Courier definitely belong on such a list, no matter how boring they are to play.

Another listing (next to the favorites) of variants the community on this website recommends for playing, seems redundant. If that is the idea of this 'recognized' title, than Fergus' original assessment that this is an obsolete program, not worth reviving, would hit the nail spot on.

Greg Strong wrote on 2018-04-04 UTC

Yeah, Courier Chess is pretty awful.

Fergus Duniho wrote on 2018-04-04 UTC

Now that I've attempted to play Courier Chess, I am definitely in favor of removing it. It is just about the worst, most boring variant I have ever played. Some of the historic variants have already been mentioned on The History of Chess Variants page. This page will probably do for listing historically noteworthy variants, and historically noteworthy games that haven't been mentioned on it yet might be added.

Greg Strong wrote on 2018-04-04 UTC

I think my quote and your quote are 100% compatible.  H.G.'s quote concerns what he feels the page should be, not what it is.  And Kevin's quote was a single sentense from is assertion that the Famous category should be ranked above the Acclaimed category.  I don't think it sums up Kevin's understanding of this page given all he has written on the subject.  So I don't think you've demonstrated any confusion, although there still could be.

And I'm fine with axing the Famous category.  Shatranj is the only one I would be hesitant to lose, but perhaps we could make a new page for historically noteworthy variants, such as Shatranj and Tamerlane.  Heck, I think we could move Courier Chess off the Recognized page and onto that page as well.

H. G. Muller wrote on 2018-04-04 UTC

Because he says 'literally' I don't think there was any confusion in Kevin's mind that 'recognized' in the context we use it doe not mean 'they know what it is when the see it'.

It seems to me that 'recommended' would just duplicate the functionality of 'favorites'.

Fergus Duniho wrote on 2018-04-04 UTC

I don't think the term 'recognized' could cause any confusion

We should not make any such assumption until we look at how people understand the term.

Kevin Pacey has said, "most or all of these Famous variants are more or less literally 'recognized' (by mere mention) by the whole chess variants world."

You have said, "The way I see it is that the 'recognized' concept should mean 'embraced by the World.'"

Greg Strong has said, "These are not variants recognized by the world at large, they are variants called out for recognition by us - the CVP community."

I have said on this page, "A recognized variant is one that we have selected, either by ballot or editorial decision, as one that is worth trying out, or at least worth knowing about."

Since these do not all express the same understanding of what is meant, it appears that someone is confused.

and I don;t think it is a good idea to change it. Certainly not into 'recommended'. I would never recommend Shatranj...

In case you missed it, I was recommending removing Shatranj from the list. As long as we do that, Shatranj wouldn't continue to be an objection to renaming Recognized variants to the less confusing Recommended variants.

Greg Strong wrote on 2018-04-03 UTC

I personally do not think changing the name would be an improvement.  These are not variants recognized by the world at large, they are variants called out for recognition by us - the CVP community.  I never found that to be unclear, but the text of this page needs to be updated anyway, so it could certainly be made clear.  And even if "Recommended" was considered slightly better, I still wouldn't be in favor of the change because (A) it has been the 'Recognized' variants page for probably 20 years and (B) it would be a significant amount of work to make the change - editing the HTML of dozens of game pages plus tracking down all the places in the PHP code where items with the Recognized flag triggers display of the 'Recognized' text.  And we'd either need to change the name of the column in the SQL table, and deal with all the ramificaitons of that, or else live with that discontinuity probably forever.

I am certainly in favor of some changes to the game list, and soon I will weigh in a little more on the ideas posted recently.  But if we are going to put in significant effort, I think there are other things on the site where our time could be better spent.

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