The Chess Variant Pages

This page is written by the game's inventor, Charles Gilman.


This family of variants are based on FIDE Chess and various forms of Chess enhanced by additional pieces, but without the King or King's Pawn. As the name Chess derives from a word for king, I negate it for these variants. I replace Checkmate with victory by extinguishing one of the opponent's move types. This is a softening of the Extinction Chess rule of victory by extinguishing a piece type, and as far as I know first appeared in my modest variant Movewise Extinction Chess, as an alternative to Checkmate. In that variant and those here, Pawns are not included in the extinction process.

I have drawn from a range of variants alongside FIDE Chess, but kept to ones that use the basic pieces with some logical extensions. I have avoided historic and exotic variants with pieces such as Elephants, for example. Such pieces laid out similarly to those of variants I have used can theoretically be substituted, but in such cases removing the King (or General) file would change the way in which they interact more dramatically than it does pieces used here. Note that it is just arrays that I derive from King-using variants. Promotion and Pawn moves are tailored only to the number of ranks. Notchess 90 is inspired by comments by an anonymous contributor.


Notchess 42 (derived from FIDE Chess but influenced by Bachelor Chess)

Notchess 64 (derived from Wildebeest Chess via my own Wildebishogi and Gnu Qi)

Notchess 72 (derived from Bird/Capablanca/Carrera family)

Notchess 80 (derived from Yang Qi but with no King Swap)

Notchess 90 (derived from Wildeurasian Qi)

Notchess 100
(derived from Wildebeest Chess directly but with the Pawn rank moved forward)


Pieces fall into five groups:

the FIDE Pawn, Rook, Knight, Bishop, and Queen (R+B compound), common to all variants;
the "missing compounds" the Marshal (R+N) and Cardinal (B+N), added in Notchess 72;
the pieces that are to the Knight what the Bishop and Queen are to the Rook, the Camel and Gnu, added in Notchess 64 and Notchess 100;
the Cannon and Arrow added in Notchess 80 and Notchess 90, and the Tank added in just Notchess 90;
the Wazir, which is an intermediate promotee in Notchess 90.


Pawns in Notchess 72 and Notchess 100, and the further-back Pawns in Notchess 80, have an optional initial double-step move. Enemy Pawns may immediately capture them En Passant as if they had made only the single step.

There is no Castling for want of a King. Likewise Notchess 80 has no Yang Qi King Swap, but needs none anyway as removing the King file puts a Bishop and Arrow of each army on each binding.

Pawns reaching the far rank must be promoted to another array piece. Pawns reaching the penultimate rank in Notchess 80 and Notchess 100 can optionally be promoted to simple pieces (not Queen or Gnu) but once promoted cannot be promoted further.

The border betwen the middle 2 ranks in Notchess 90 is a River that Kings, Queens, Tanks, and Gnus cannot cross. Pawns crossing it are promoted to Wazirs. Wazirs reaching the far rank are promotable to any simple array piece, and Wazirs retreating to their own playter's back rank are promotable to any capturable array piece.

Victory is by capturing all enemy Rooks Cannons and their compounds, or all enemy Bishops Arrows and their compounds, or all enemy Knights and Knight compounds. Variants with Camels also have victory by capturing all enemy Camels and Camel compounds.

This 'user submitted' page is a collaboration between the posting user and the Chess Variant Pages. Registered contributors to the Chess Variant Pages have the ability to post their own works, subject to review and editing by the Chess Variant Pages Editorial Staff.

By Charles Gilman.
Web page created: 2006-07-15. Web page last updated: 2016-03-22