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Sirlin's Chess


This document is an alternative presentation of David Sirlin's Chess 2 - The Sequel. It is the same game; the reason for this page is to present the rules in a different (far more concise) format. It can (probably) fit on one page, easier to copy and read (if you prefer HTML over PDF, or just if you don't have enough speed for the PDF), etc.

If you wish to leave a tip, download the PDF (it is free, unless you want to pay; it also includes some diagrams, and may be easier for people who are not used to chess variants), receive updates by email, etc then look at for more information.

David Sirlin plays Street Fighter and also invented many other games (which are pretty good!), and if you like those kind of games then this might interest you too.


There are six possible armies:

  1. Classic: The FIDE pieces are used. Castling is allowed, using the same rules of FIDE chess.
  2. Nemesis: The changes from FIDE are as follows:
    • Queen: Cannot capture/be captured except kings.
    • Pawn: Lacks ability to move two spaces. However, it gains the ability to make a non-capturing move toward opponent's king, i.e. one space in any direction as long as it does not move away from the king on either axis.
  3. Empowered: The changes from FIDE are as follows:
    • Queen: Can move only one space.
    • Rook/Knight/Bishop: When orthogonally adjacent to any other of your own Rook/Knight/Bishop, gains that piece's normal movement ability in addition to this piece's own normal movement ability.
  4. Reaper: The changes from FIDE are as follows:
    • Queen: Can move (including capturing) to any position except opponent's first row. Cannot capture/check/mate kings.
    • Rook: Can move to any vacant cell. Cannot capture or be captured (cannot even be removed by whirlwinds).
  5. Two Kings: The changes from FIDE are as follows:
    • The queen is replaced by a second king.
    • You lose if either one king is checkmated.
    • To win by crossing the midline you need to move both kings across.
    • A king has a special "whirlwind" move (which cannot be used if adjacent to another your king): Stay in place, but remove all adjacent pieces from the board (regardless of colors), except for uncapturable pieces.
    • After your move, you can optionally make another move, which must be made with a king. If you just moved a king, you are allowed to move the same king again, and special moves are also allowed. You still have to move out of check on your first move during your turn, and you lose even if you end your first move in check (even if a duel is what leaves you in check).
    • Pawns cannot promote to queens.
  6. Animals: The changes from FIDE are as follows:
    • Knight: Can capture pieces of any color.
    • Bishop: Cannot move/capture more than two spaces. When capturing an opponent's piece, it remains in its original position instead of taking the position of the captured piece.
    • Rook: Cannot move more than three spaces. Cannot be captured by pieces more than two spaces away (king's distance). If it captures, it must continue moving exactly three spaces from the position it is moving from, destroying everything (of any color) in its path, unless it is destroyed through a duel (in which case, only the first piece it captures is captured). It cannot capture anything if it is unable to move three spaces (due to either the edge of the board or an uncapturable piece being in the way).
    • Queen: Moves as a FIDE rook or FIDE knight (not as a FIDE bishop).


Rules (as differing from FIDE):

  • Each player selects one of the six armies. These may be selected by any agreed method, such as double-blind, dice, etc.
  • Each player starts with three dueling stones.
  • If you capture an opponent's pawn (losing a pawn due to a duel does not count as "capturing") while you don't have six stones, you gain one stone. In case of a duel initiated upon capturing the pawn, this is done after the duel is finished.
  • When you capture an opponent's piece, if your piece doing capturing isn't a king, your opponent may initiate a duel if he has any stones. First, he must pay one stone (which isn't part of the duel) if your piece is a higher rank (queen is highest, pawn is lowest, knight and bishop are equal and above pawn, and rook is just below the queen). Each player then secretly hides zero, one, or two stones in his hand, and then simultaneously reveal them. If the defender (he whose piece is being captured) revealed more stones, then the attacking piece is also removed from the board. If both players revealed zero, the attacker may choose to gain 1 stone (if he has less than six) or to cause the defender to lose 1 stone. Regardless, any stones paid/revealed are placed back into the bank.
  • If your king moves from your fourth rank to your fifth rank, without moving into check, then you win the game (you can still win by checkmate, too).
  • A player with no legal moves loses, even if he isn't in check.
  • Pawns must promote on the last rank (even if they are allowed to move backwards), and can promote to knight, bishop, rook, or queen. They move in the same way that your original pieces of that kind would move.
  • Castling is not allowed unless you are using army I.
  • En passant is still possible, regardless of pawns.

Some clarifications:

  • Dueling is not considered when determining whether or not it is check (however, duelling must be considered when determining checkmate). This rule is actually unclear (and the clarifications people made are equally unclear); you can play with or without this rule.
  • It is not check to be threatened only by your own pieces.
  • In the circumstance that your king actually is captured, you lose.


The reason for the title "Sirlin's Chess" is that is the title some people (including myself) prefer to use for this game; many people don't like the title "Chess 2", so "Sirlin's Chess" is a substitute which should not cause confusion.

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: (zzo38) A. Black. Inventor: David Sirlin.
Web page created: 2014-02-25. Web page last updated: 2014-03-31