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The Chess Variant Pages

Abecedarian Big Chess (ABChess)
Rules and Stuff

ABChess Home Page
Army Building
Pieces: A-F
Pieces: G-M
Pieces: N-S
Pieces: T-Z

Rules of Play

Here is a summary of key rules, in addition to the moves and setup of the new pieces.

  1. The game is played for checkmate, like ordinary chess. Stalemate is a draw, as is a triple repetition of position. (In original testing, the only draws were by perpetual check.)
  2. There is no equivalent of castling or en passant.
  3. The King may never leave his fortress.
  4. The King may never be on the same file/column as the enemy King, if there are no pieces of either color in between them.
  5. A Yeoman moving onto any space beyond the river may, but does not have to, promote to a piece previously lost by that player.

A Collection of Tips

Despite the much larger board, promotion is even more important here than in standard chess. The promotion zone is only three moves away, instead of five, and Yeomen do not form structures to block each other like orthodox pawns.

The pieces with Nightrider powers, the Pao, and the Teleporter all have first-move surprise tactics available. Work them out for yourself...they are not hard...and watch for them in your setup choices.

If the center Yeomen start to disappear, some interesting mate tactics can flow from the restriction on Kings facing each other. Also, an Immobilizer on the loose can freeze a King for dramatic mate potential.

When buying colorbound pieces, the Bishop, Camel, and Fad, it's worth doing it in pairs.

Computer Play with Zillions of Games

The script for playing ABChess with the Zillions of Games program is under development. It will be available for download here when it is complete.


The ideas behind this game came from a wide range of sources. Below I list many of the inventors, chroniclers, popularizers, and advisors who made this game possible. It's necessarily an incomplete list, but still worth a try.

Robert Abbott, King Alfonso X of Castile, Peter Aronson, Ralph Betza, Hans Bodlaender, J.R. Capablanca, T.R. Dawson, Christian Freeling, Roger Hare, David Howe, Adrian King, John Lawson, H.J.R. Murray, Ohashi Soei, David Pritchard, Tony Quintanilla, R. Wayne Schmittberger, David Short, and assorted Indians, Chinese, Japanese, and Persians whose imaginations live on.

Back to Pieces T-Z

Written by Glenn Overby II.
WWW page created: November 5, 2002.