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This page is written by the game's inventor, John Smith.

Peg Chess

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Stack illustration:

Stack A is termed Bishop-Pawn-Rook whereas Stack B is termed Queen-Knight.

This is a terrain-based Chess variant. It is not, however, a wargame.

The most important rule is: Pieces must fit into their square.

To be more specific: Pieces may only occupy spaces with symbols that match their bottom symbol.
When this is represented physically, the easiest rule enforcement is to make the pieces have symbols either concave or convex on a flat top or bottom, so that they fit like pegs and holes.

Standard Variants


The following equipment is required:

For all variants: A set of pieces with a flat top and bottom, with at least the bottom marked (inked thick cardboard is recommended), numbering 1/2 to 3/4 the spaces on the board.

For random board variants: Two sets of tiles marked with various symbols (cardboard with inkings representing the pieces is recommended), numbering at least 3/4 of the amount of spaces on the board.

For independent setup variants: A chessboard with an even amount of spaces (standard is recommended).


For all variants: A piece may move onto another piece, friendly or enemy, as if its top were a square. This creates a stack. A piece may only move onto the top of the stack and not the middle or bottom, except if capturing. If a piece is capturing, it can replace a piece anywhere in the stack. A piece may move only off the top of the stack, or carry all pieces above it with it when it moves. For random board variants: Tiles are placed in a sealed container or bag. The first player calls a square, and the second player randomly draws a tile from the bag and places it there. Then they switch roles. This continues until all tiles are placed.

For independent setup variants: Before playing, each player receives his pieces and tiles. Players secretly drop tiles on their half of the board, then do the same with their pieces. After both players are finished setting up their pieces, the board halves are rejoined, revealing their contents. The first five moves for each side may not be captures.

Loony Variant

You can play this variant, based off of Christian Freeling's Loonybird, here.

Technical Instructions

The Loony variant operates on the same basic idea as standard Peg Chess. It is however adapted for practical Internet play.

In order to do that, it has only two levels of piece stacking allowed. Also, instead of using textured pieces each piece has a colored mirror on the upper board. The mirror represents which piece can stack on it. Whenever a bottom board piece moves, you have to move the corresponding top board piece also.

In order to stack pieces, move a piece on the bottom board to the top board square corresponding to the bottom board square of the carrying piece. This is easy to do since the notation always matches except for the case of the file's letter.

To unstack, move an uncolored piece off the top board onto the bottom board to a square it could move to and put a colored piece of the same type in its previous square. Though the preset does not let you store which colored piece a stacked piece had, you can infer it since there is only one of each type of piece per player, except Pawns. Pawns of course only stack with Pawns. In addition, all pieces except Pawns are preserved in the game for reference because of drops.

Kings are one piece in this game. There are two pieces shown only to make you more aware of how capturing a King on the top board is the same as moving to the bottom board and then capturing and checks are therefore more easily seen.

To hold a captured piece, drop both the top and bottom, horizontally oriented, onto either the left black zone for White or the right black zone for Black.


Rules are the same as the standard variant except for the technicalities explained above. In addition are the following rules:

Pieces are standard FIDE pieces with the exception of Pawns. Pawns always only move one square, promote only to captured friendly pieces, and cannot move to the central square of the board, capturing or not, or check there.

When a piece, but not a pawn, is taken from the opponent, the player that took the piece gets it `in hand'. The piece changes color, and the player can, instead of making a normal move, drop the piece on an empty square when he wishes.

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 John Smith.
Web page created: 2009-05-10. Web page last updated: 2009-12-20