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Big Board Chess

By Prof. Alfred Schönfelder

Big Board Chess (BBChess) is played on a 10 by 10 board with 25 conventional pieces for each player. During an inital setup phase the players put their pieces alternately on the empty board. The rules for the following moving phase are only slightly different from conventional chess. Pawns is given more power.

Big Board Chess (in German: Großfeldschach) was invented in 1974 by Prof. Alfred Schönfelder in Leipzig, Germany. It offers the keen and enterprising player with fighting spirit the possibility to chose his own individual and most favorable setup and plentiful excellent combinations.

Big Board Chess was published in ROCHADE Sachsen No. 6 (June 2000). Big Board Chess sets are sold for 64.90 DM by EURO SCHACH Dresden, Oskar-Mai-Str. 19, D-01159 Dresden, Germany.

Example of an opening setup


Each player has:     King
10 Pawns

The game starts with an empty board. Both players begin to put their pieces alternately and in a free sequence on empty squares according to the following rules:

  • Setting is allowed only within the own half of the board i. e. row 1 to 5 for white and row 6 to 10 for black.
  • Pawns of same color must be placed on separate lines. Double Pawns, treble Pawns (and so on) are not allowed. Setting a white Pawn on the first row or a black one on the last row is not forbidden but it is not recommended.
  • Each player has to distribute his 4 Bishops on 2 white and 2 black squares.
  • At the end of the setup the black king must not be "in check".

During the setup phase moving of the pieces is not allowed. When all pieces are set they have to be moved according to the conventional chess rules modified as follows:

  • Pawns are always allowed to move either one or two steps forward and not only for the first move.
  • En passant capture is possible in every applicable situation according to the well known rule.
  • Casteling is not possible.

Playing tips

Set the Pawns first and let them often shield each other. Set the King late.


A sample game commented in german.

Written by Prof. Alfred Schönfelder, Dr. Wolfgang Beyer and Tilman Buntz.
WWW page created: January 20, 2001.