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This page is written by the game's inventor, John Brown.


by John William Brown

Millennial Chess is a variant of Centennial Chess expanded to a 12x12 board. Eight of the original pieces remain, along with two which are upgrades of the old. One entirely new piece--the Hawk--was added for novelty. If you liked Centennial Chess, you will no doubt enjoy Millennial Chess. It is a much hotter variant with a greater potential for surprise and paradox. It is not uncommon for fortunes to reverse twice in a game.

The Pieces

Millennial Chess uses eight of the Centennial Chess pieces: the King, the Rook, the Murray Lion, the Bishop, the Rotating Spearman, the Camel, the Knight and the Pawn; plus three new pieces which are described below.

The Guard is an orthogonal extension of the Steward. The Guard may move two squares orthogonally--without capturing, or one square diagonally--only to capture. The icon for the Guard is a man holding crossed swords. As with Stewards, Guards on adjacent diagonals provide mutual coverage. But unlike Stewards, Guards may advance in alternate steps without disrupting their coverage.

The Empress is a Queen that may also move as a Knight. Combining the Queen and Knight move yields a piece that is greater than the sum of its parts. It is not uncommon for an Empress to perform an unassisted checkmate. She was chosen to supplant the Queen in Millennial Chess in order to shorten a rather long game. Thanks to her assistance, this ample variant now runs about 90 minutes.

The Hawk is a Rook that may move only if a single piece obstructs the path between its starting and destination squares. This single intervening piece--called a screen--must be passed over in order for the Hawk to move or capture. Hawks may not pass over or capture other Hawks. This rule will give rise to a number of amusing situations during the course of play. The Hawk is taken from Korean Chess wherein it is called the Hpo.

The Rules

The rules for Centennial Chess are the same as for FIDE Chess, except for the following amendments:

  1. Each player moves two consecutive pieces until capturing. Upon capturing, a player loses his two-move privilege for the duration of the game. A capture must be made on the first and only move of a turn.
  2. En passant captures are not allowed.
  3. When castling, the King will always move three squares to the right or to the left of his home square. The Rook will move to the opposite side of the King.
  4. A Pawn reaching the 9th rank may promote to a Guard. A Pawn reaching the 12th rank may promote to any piece.

The Board

The 12x12 square Millennial Chess array is shown below.

Click here for cut-out piece patterns.

Click here to download Millennial Chess for Zillions of Games.

Piece Values

(adjusted for a 12x12 board)

Pawn= 0.5 Hawk= 3.1
Guard= 1.5 Murray Lion= 3.8
Knight= 2.2 Rook= 5.0
Camel= 2.3 Empress= 13.7
Rotating Spearman= 2.6 King= 1.8 (valued as fighting piece)
Bishop= 3.1

Playing Tips

  1. Try to form a pawn wedge up the center of the board while preventing your opponent from doing the same.
  2. Develop your pieces in the reverse order of their relative values.
  3. Place your Guards on adjacent diagonals so that they are mutually protected.
  4. Rotating Spearmen are easily trapped. Do not develop them beyond the 4th or 5th rank unless you can foresee a profitable exchange.
  5. Lions lack maneuverability but have excellent capture density. A Lion in the vicinity of a King is a force to be reckoned with.
  6. Move your Hawks to positions opposite your opponent’s King and Empress. Try to create check or discovered prise by removing or inserting a piece to establish a single screen.
  7. Develop your Empress sooner than you would a Queen. Due to her exceptional maneuverability, the Empress is less likely to be trapped.
  8. Pay special attention to the safety of your King. The combined forces of the Hawks and Empress pose an unusually harsh threat.
  9. Vacate your 1st rank--except for King and Rooks--but delay castling until you have determined the safest place for your King. If you decide not to castle, move the King one square forward so that your Rooks may connect.
  10. Do not forfeit your two-move privilege without a good reason. Initiate capturing only if (1) your pieces are fully developed, (2) you can win appreciable material or (3) your opponent presents a serious threat.

Click here for Centennial Chess.

Click here to download Millennial Chess for Zillions of Games.

John William Brown is the author of Meta-Chess

John's e-mail address is (email removed contact us for address)

Written by John William Brown. HTML conversion by David Howe.
WWW page created: February 24, 1999. Last modified: April 14, 1999.