Check out Chess with Different Armies, our featured variant for July, 2024.

This page is written by the game's inventor, Adam Goss.

Tables Chess

Chess and Backgammon have gone hand in hand for centuries, literally. Backgammon originally meant "back game" because it was often put on the back of a Chess board. It occured to me that it might be interesting to adapt Chess to Backgammon. The result I've come up with combines Backgammon's simple racing format with the strategic moves of Chess.


The game is played on a standard Backgammon board, which consists of 24 alternating black and white triangles or "points". The points are in 2 rows, with the rows split by a bar in the middle. (If you are playing this on a board that has no bar, the space in the middle of the board can act as the "bar.")

Each player has 10 pieces: 1 King, 1 Rook, 1 Knight, 2 Bishops, and 5 pawns. There are no Queens in this variant.

White's player puts his/her King on the far right point on his/her side of the board, along with one pawn. Two points to the left, are a Knight and a Pawn. On the first point to the left of the bar (the 7th point), player places the Rook and a Pawn. Moving clockwise around the board to the far left corner, White's player puts a Bishop on the 1st and 4th points, each accompanied by a Pawn. Lastly, a Knight and Pawn are placed on the first point to the right of the bar on the far side of the board.

Black's player set up his/her pieces in an exact mirror image of White's player's pieces, so that King/Pawn faces across from King/Pawn, Knight/Pawn faces across from Knight/Pawn, and so forth.


All pieces move in accordance with the roll of two six-sided dice. However, certain pieces can only take advantage of certain dice counts.

(For definition of the term "blot", see the Rules section below.)

King: The King moves forwards around the board either one point at a time (if a 1 is rolled) or two points (if a 2 is rolled). Rolls of 3 or higher do not permit a King to move. The King may never be left alone on a point at the end of a turn. A King may capture a "blot" only if another piece joins it on the same point afterwards during the same turn.

Rook: The Rook moves forwards or backwards any number of points, according to the roll of a die. If a 6 is rolled, the Rook may move 6 points; if a 5 is rolled, the Rook may move 5 points; and so forth.

Bishop: The Bishop only moves according to even rolls of a die (2, 4 or 6). A Bishop starting the game on a black point will always be on black points, and a Bishop starting the game on a white point will always be on white points. Bishops cannot move according to odd rolls of a die (1, 3 or 5).

Knight: The Knight only moves according to odd rolls of a die (1, 3 or 5). Knights cannot move according to even rolls of a die (2, 4 or 6).

Pawn: The Pawn only moves forward one point at a time, but may move 2 points to capture a "blot".


The goal of each player is to move their King to the last point on the board. For White's player, the King proceeds clockwise in a horseshoe path from the player's near-right corner to the far-right corner. For Black's player, the  King proceeds counter-clockwise in a horseshoe path from the player's near-left corner to the far-left corner.


Players start off by rolling dice to see who goes first. Higher roll determines the starter.

On a given turn, a player rolls both dice and moves his/her pieces in accordance with the numbers shown. For example, if a player rolls a 6 and a 3, one piece may be moved 6 points and another moved 3 points. Or, the same piece may be moved 6 points and then another 3 points. If a player rolls doubles, the player doubles each move; for example, if a player rolls double 6s, a piece may be moved 6 points, then another piece moved 6 points, then another piece moved 6 points, and then another piece moved 6 points (or the same piece may be moved 6 points four times).

Any number of a player's chess pieces can occupy a given point at any time (although too many pieces on a point may overcrowd it). 


If a single chess piece occupies a point, it is called a "blot" and is vulnerable. Should an opponent's chess piece land on a point occupied by a blot, the blot is sent to the bar. The owner of the blot may not move any of their other chess pieces until the blot is returned to the points' section of the board. A valid die roll must be made to re-enter the blot onto the player's starting section of the board (where their King starts the game from). After the blot has been re-entered, other pieces may be moved (this includes moving a piece already on the board during the same turn, but the blot *must* be moved first). If a player has multiple blots on the bar, all of them must be re-entered before any other piece can be moved.

The King may never be moved in such a way that it becomes a blot.


Should a player have two or more pieces on a given point, it forms a "block" and the opponent cannot land any pieces on that same point. However, an opponent's piece may move past a block if a die roll carries far enough.

Dice rolls must always be followed unless no legal move can be made. If only one die roll can be adhered to, the other roll is forfeit and play passes to the other player. If a player can make no legal move, the other player goes again.

Sometimes a player may be forced to move a chess piece backwards, but a player may also *choose* to move a piece backwards in order to block the opponent's movement or send a blot to the bar. This also means, however, that blocks set up by a player may have to be broken, assuming a legal move is possible.


The first person to land their King in the furthermost point wins the game. Should both players find themselves stuck, unable to pass their Kings past blocks despite legal moves being available, the game is declared a Stalemate.

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 Adam Goss.
Web page created: 2009-11-21. Web page last updated: 2009-11-21