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Double Skak

Double Skak is a chess variant for four players, invented by Soren and Christian Kirk around 1970. It was featured in David Pritchard's column in Variant Chess, issue 21, (Autumn 1996).


The game is played on a normal 8 by 8 chess board, with four players that play in two teams. In the diagram below, white and yellow form a team, and red and green form a team. One player of a team has a king, a rook, a knight, a bishop, and four pawns, while the other has a queen, a rook, a knight, a bishop, and four pawns. The opening setup is as follows:

White (Team 1):
King a8; Rook b8; Knight a7; Bishop b7; Pawn a6, b6, c7, c8.

Yellow (Team 1):
Queen h1; Rook g2; Knight h2; Bishop g1; Pawn f1, f2, g3, h3.

Red (Team 2):
King a1; Rook b1; Knight a2; Bishop b2; Pawn a3, b3, c1, c2.

Green (Team 2):
Queen h8; Rook g7; Knight h7; Bishop g8; Pawn f7, f8, g6, h6.

Instead, one can use one chess set, and mark the pieces of the different players.

Pawns have a marker or `nose', to denote their direction. The pawns on a3, a6, c1, c8, f1, f8, h3, and h6 always go in the direction of their closest opponent, e.g, the pawn on a3 goes to a4, and further in upwards direction. The other pawns (on the inside positions) first have their nose pointed in the same direction, e.g., the pawn on b3 points towards b4. However, one can also move such a pawn in the other direction, so the pawn on b3 can also move to c3. When moving in this way, the nose changes to the direction in which the pawn moved. When a pawn has moved once, his nose cannot change direction anymore.

Pawns do not have an initial double step. Hence, there is no en-passant capture, and their is also no castling.

The player in the lower right corner (yellow in the figure, i.e., a player with a queen) starts the game. Then players move turnwise, in counter-clockwise direction: yellow, green, white, red, yellow, etc.

Purpose of the game is to mate a king. A king is mated when the player that owns the king piece must move and cannot lift a check by pieces of the opponent.

Written by Hans Bodlaender.
WWW page created: October 3, 1996.