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The Chess Variant Pages

This page is written by one of the game's inventor, Nemo Thorx.

Pawn Blackhole Chess

This variant was concieved from the logic of "what if all movement rules were rotated by 45 degrees?". The movement rules were then polished and grouping pieces into the corners for starting. Pawns now naturally move towards the center, hence the name.


Using a standard board and pieces, the setup is as shown below

King a1; Queen h1; Knight a2, g1; Bishop b1, h2; Rook b2, g2; Pawn a3, b3, c1, c2, f1, f2, g3, h3.

King h8; Queen a8; Knight b8, h7; Bishop a7, g8; Rook b7, g7; Pawn a6, b6, c7, c8, f7, f8, g6, h6.

Initial Setup:


Standard pieces have standard powers. Only their movement differs.


In traditional chess, pawns can only move forward - towards the enemy line. In Pawn Blackhole Chess, pawns instead move "forward" towards the center - travelling along the diagonal (two for opening). As they cross into an enemy quadrant, their forward diagonal alters to continue towards the center. Due to this, pawns are also colour-locked - except when they attack, which is now on traditional grid, and valid in all FOUR directions. This is the only way a pawn can move "backwards" - away from the center. A pawn that reaches ANY edge of an opponents quadrant (14 total target squares) is promoted. Note that it has to battle every outward step of the way to earn it! Each player has two pawns which can theoretically be promoted in as little as two moves (the pawns on the players own edge, taking sideways twice towards the enemy). Other pawns have a longer fastest-theoretical path to promotion, depending on their starting position.

Knights still move "forward two and across one" but now also as counted along the diagonal, meaning each knight is now colour-locked, and moves further at a time. For convenience, I note that "forward two and one across on the diagonal" is equivalent to "three and one on the grid" (compared to regular chess being "two and one on the grid")

Royalty, rooks and bishops move as per traditional chess,

There is no "castling" or en passant.

Check and Checkmate follow traditional chess logic, keeping movement differences in mind.


Originally written up online at

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.

Author: Nemo Thorx. Inventor: Nemo Thorx and Adam Corbally.

Last revised by Greg Strong.

Web page created: 2021-02-02. Web page last updated: 2021-02-23