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This page is written by the game's inventor, Rich Hutnik.

Kibitzing Vox Populi Chess variant

The purpose of these rules is to provide a framework by which to integrate kibitzing (spectators suggesting moves to players) into chess, chess variants, and other games.  This approach is to take a natural activity people do, that of kibitzing, and turn it into a game.


The set up is exactly the same as in whatever game will be run with these kibitzing rules.  It is recommended that Simplified Chess be used as a basic chess game for this, when starting out.  Its streamlined rules make it easier for spectators to learn.  The spacing between the pawns also provides a twist, and causes players used to normal chess to rethink opening lines of play.

The rules for Simplified Chess can be found here:


The pieces used are identical as those used for whatever game using these Kibitzing rules.


The basic rules flow is below.  Basically, as the games is played, players can join into the game and "Kibitz" (kibitz suggestions would be voted on). The people kibitzing can switch sides in the game (defect). 

Voting works as follow: In event of a tie, the player on a side who can't switch gets a tie-breaker. This allows the crowd to overrule his move if they more in favor of a given move. During a turn, there are two rounds of voting for a side.  One vote would consist of a space on the board to signify which piece is to be moved, and then a second vote for where it moves to.  After this, players would then be able to defect.

The basic rules flow:
1. Pick a chess variant desired to be played. Simplified Chess is recommended as the game to start with to get familiar with the kibitzing rules.  FIDE Chess can also work.

2. Flow of turns works as follows:
a. White side determines piece to move.
b. White side determines where piece will move to.
c. Black side determines piece to move.
d. Black side determines where piece will move to.
e. Players decide what team they will play on.
One option suggested to speed the game along, would be that kibitzing players, once they register their suggestion as a vote, are unable to change their vote. The players who can't defect, and anchor their vote, may end up switching their vote ONCE.  Players have the option to have what is voted on be a complete set of moves for a turn, if players agree that what is voted on is not to cumbersome to track.

3. New players may (players not anchoring down the sides) join in and leave at any time. If a new player join in, they join the side that currently has the least amount of players on it. If both sides have the same amount of players, a new player may pick either side. Once a player leaves the game, they aren't permitted to come back in.

4. It is run kibitzing style, with two players to anchor down the game can't switch sides, but everyone else can. However, the players who can switch sides end up having a vote that is worth more than other players, which results in a tie-breaker. These players are meant to be a mechanism to keep game going forward. While not pure Vox, at least it gives one an initial approximation to how the crowd will impact things.

5. Because of the players who can't defect anchoring down the game, meddling won't be used (meddling is when a player from the other side suggests a move for the other team).  See below for description of meddling and

6. Once everyone has entered a move in and determined legal (players can only vote once for a move), then the results are tallied, and the top move voted for will be the one suggested.

On defecting and meddling:
In Kibitzing normally, players are allowed to defect, but can't meddle with the other team.  However, a game may be run with neither, either, or both of these options.  In defecting, players in the crowd may switch sides.  Defecting is meant to give players who aren't actively involved the chance to move to a winning side, if they feel they can't win.  Meddling allows players from the other team to suggest a move to be voted on, in order to get the game moving and force a side to reach some agreement on moves.  Meddling was suggested in Vox Populi for games where a side only had two players, in order to encourage collaboration and limited inaction by a side with two players.


The kibitzing rules came about attempting to adopt Vox Populi to work on the website discussion forum, where new chess variants are often tested.  In order to insure the game working there, the idea of having both sides have one player who couldn't defect.  This ended up resembling kibitzing, so thus the name Kibitzing Vox Populi.  The rules to Vox Populi Chess can be found here:

Kibitzing Vox Populi was created by Richard Hutnik August 2008 (Copyright 2008).  Players are free to play and try this and provide feedback.  Please contact Richard Hutnik before implement Kibitzing Vox Populi in any form for commercial (for profit) purposes.

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 Rich Hutnik.
Web page created: 2008-08-05. Web page last updated: 2008-08-05