Check out Glinski's Hexagonal Chess, our featured variant for May, 2024.

This page is written by the game's inventor, David Short.


I have updated my game SPINAL TAP CHESS by including some extra pieces and increasing the initial step move of the pawns and crabs. Many of the pieces I have added come from my game EXISTENTIALIST CHESS. I believe I have brought some of the best pieces from that game which can work in this game without creating the confusion that the complications of EXISTENTIALIST CHESS can cause in the mind of the reader. I have also augmented the BATTLE MOVE by allowing one of the multiple moves in this turn to capture an enemy piece.
              a   b   c   d   e   f   g   h   i   j   k
        11  |*R*|*S*|*W*|*V*|*Q*|*K*|*M*|*W*|*V*|*S*|*R*| 11
        10  |*Y*|*T*|*CN|*H*|:::|   |:::|*CN|*D*|*T*|*Y*| 10
         9  |*P*|*P*|*P*|*P*|*Cr|*Cr|*Cr|*P*|*P*|*P*|*P*|  9
         8  |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|  8
         7  |   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |  7
         6  |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|  6
         5  |   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |  5
         4  |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|   |:::|  4
         3  | P |:P:| P |:P:| Cr|:Cr| Cr|:P:| P |:P:| P |  3
         2  |:Y:| T |:CN| H |:::|   |:::| CN|:D:| T |:Y:|  2
         1  | R |:S:| W |:V:| Q |:K:| M |:W:| V |:S:| R |  1
              a   b   c   d   e   f   g   h   i   j   k

The Pieces

Unless otherwise noted, all pieces capture the same way that they move.

ROOK (R) = moves as a standard chess Rook, any number of squares horizontally or vertically.

SQUIRE (S) = moves as a standard chess Rook, any number of squares horizontally or vertically, or like a Ferz, one square diagonally. This is the same piece as the Dragon-King from Shogi, where it is the promoted form of the Rook.

WIZZEN (W) = moves like the Wizard from Omega Chess, combining the moves of a Camel (like an extended knight in a 1-3 pattern) and a Ferz (one square diagonally). The Wizzen may also move like a standard chess knight.

VICEROY (V) = moves as a standard chess Bishop, any number of squares diagonally, or like a Wazir, one square horizontally or vertically. This is the same piece as the Dragon-Horse from Shogi, where it is the promoted form of the Bishop.

QUEEN (Q) = moves as a standard chess Queen, any number of squares horizontally, vertically or diagonally.

KING (K) = moves as a standard chess King, one square in any direction. The object of this game is to checkmate the enemy king.

MINISTER (M) = moves like the Wizard or a Rook; that is, in a (1,3) jump, one step diagonally, or any number of squares vertically or horizontally. The Minister can NOT move like a knight.

PAWN (P) = moves and captures like a standard chess Pawn, except that it may move one, two, three, or four squares on its initial move. They may be captured en passant by other Pawns or by Crabs after moving two, three, or four squares.

CRAB (CR) = moves captures like the Pawn (one square diagonally forwards, initial move of one, two, three, or four) but in addition to being able to move one square forwards like a standard chess pawn, may also move one square forwards diagonally in either direction on any move. This is similar to the Crab from Cannons and Crabs.

(In the above diagram a black dot indicates a square to which either a capturing or non-capturing move may be made, and a green dot a square to which only a non-capturing move may be made.)

CROWNED KNIGHT (CN) - Moves as an orthodox chess knight or king.

YANZEE (Y) - A piece which is seemingly worthless at first, it moves one square in any direction, but may never capture nor be captured. It may be frozen by a hyena or immobilized by a dazzler. However, upon reaching the last rank of the board, it may be promoted to a queen, rook, bishop or knight.

TELEPORTER (T) - moves to any unoccupied square on the board which is of the opposite color from which it began (from a light square to a dark square, or from a dark square to a light square). The teleporter moves like this when making a non-capturing move. However, when capturing it may move one square in any direction. A teleporter which has been dazzled by an enemy dazzler may not make a capturing one-square move but may still teleport to any unoccupied square of the opposite color.

DAZZLER (D) - A DAZZLER moves one or two squares in any direction (either in a capturing or non-capturing way) and may also jump pieces of either color when it moves two squares (in either a capturing or non-capturing way). Additionally, any piece it jumps is affected in the following way: if it jumps a friendly piece, that piece is invulnerable to capture on the opponent's next move, or if it jumps an enemy piece, that piece may not move on the opponent's next turn. Also, a dazzler may capture like a CANNON from AL-CES*: that is, it may capture an enemy piece by moving in a straight line and jumping one piece of either color between it and the enemy piece which it is capturing. The jumped piece is also affected the same way: invulnerability for friendly pieces, immobility for enemy pieces.

HYENA (H) - The HYENA is an annoying piece. It moves up to three squares in any direction, but it can never capture anything, nor can it ever be captured.

Enemy pieces which are 1 square away from a hyena in any direction are immobilized and cannot move. If a hyena is jumped by an enemy dazzler, rather than being immobilized, the effect is just the opposite: it MUST move away on the player's next turn, unless the hyena has no legal move because the player is in check. (But if the hyena can interpose check it must move and do so.) There is no piece that is immune from a hyena's effects, and two hyena's can trap each other, and all pieces of both colors within 1 square in any direction of each particular hyenas are also immobilized. A hyena which is jumped by a dazzler must move away on its next turn, and when the hyena moves away the spell it had cast on enemy pieces is removed-- of course it will still immobilize the pieces it moves to on its next move. When two hyenas are immobilizing each other and one of them is jumped by a dazzler, the dazzler's influence takes precedence. The hyena must move, unless doing so would result in the player exposing his own king to check.

Special Moves

PROMOTION: Upon reaching the last rank, a Pawn or Crab may promote to any piece (other than Pawn or Crab or King) which that player previously had captured by his opponent. Therefore the choice of what a player may promote a pawn or crab to will be limitted to the number of pieces already previously captured.

CASTLING: The King may castle with either Rook or either Squire. All intervening squares between the King and the piece it is castling with must be vacant, neither piece may have previously moved, the King may not castle while in check nor may move on to or over a square controlled by an enemy piece. If the King is castling with a Squire, it may do so regardless of whether the Rook next to the Squire has moved yet or not, or regardless of whether any other piece of either color is in the Rook's starting square. When castling with the Rooks, the King will move four squares towards the Rook and the Rook "jumps" to the other side of the King. When castling with the Squires, the King moves three squares towards the Squire and the Squire "jumps" to the other side of the King. So for instance, when castling kingside with the Squire, the King would move to i1/i11, and the Squire would move to h1/h11. When castling queenside with the Squire, the King would move to c1/c11, and the Squire would move to d1/d11. When castling kingside with the Rook, the King would move to j1/j11, and the Rook would move to i1/i11. When castling queenside with the Rook, the King would move to b1/b11, and the Rook would move to c1/c11.

THE BATTLE MOVE: Once during the game, at any point during the game, each side may make the "BATTLE MOVE"! The BATTLE MOVE involves moving two or more that player's Pawns and/or Crabs one square forwards (for Pawns) or one square forward or diagonally forwards (for Crabs). A player may not make the battle move while in check unless doing so places one (or more) of their Pawns or Crabs in a position where it interposes the opposing piece's check.

The BATTLE MOVE may be used to promote not more than one Pawn or Crab to a new piece by moving it to the last rank. Obviously, only Pawns or Crabs which can make a legal move may be moved during the BATTLE MOVE. Although it is legal to move two or more pawns and/or crabs with the BATTLE MOVE, only ONE of the moves completed may be a capture. The rest must all be non-capturing.