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Art of Chess & Variants

Historical chess games, the European and the Japanese chess World chess game Chess with other pieces, new original games Chess variants for children

1 Historical chess games, the European and the Japanese chess

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2 World chess game


Chess with other pieces, new original games


4 Chess variants for children



1 Traditional chess, European & Japanese



Standard European chess

First the classic chess game. On the image beside the starting position is demonstrated. We use standard figures for the representation in 2D. It has been used since long time before the computers came, in chess studies and puzzles. A short version of the rules:

  • winner is the one who can checkmate the opponent's king (means check and no way to escape)
  • white always start first
  • starting positions as on the illustration
  • beating by standing on the place of the opponent and taking the beaten piece aside (except donner en passant, see further on)
  • moving and beating of the pieces: pawn goes one field straight forwards, but beats one field diagonal forwards / knight (moving and beating): orthogonal, first 2 fields, followed by another field squared; the knight can jump over other pieces / bishop: all diagonal fields / rook: all orthogonal fields / queen: bishop + rook / king: one field in all directions
  • special moves:
    • from the starting point the pawn can choose to make a double step forwards
    • donner en passant: if, after having done the previous double move, you land just beside a pawn of the opponent, the opponent can choose to beat this very pawn of yours, and lands on the field passed your pawn.
    • castle: rook and king are switching places. On condition the fields between them are empty and the king is not placed in check. Also no field the king must pass by, may be threatened by the opponent. The rook and the king have not done any movement yet. Place: the king and rook land beside each other on the fields between them, reversed. Castle on the queen's side: one field more to the middle of the row.
  • a pawn reaching the last row, is promoted immediately by changing in another chessman of choice. Even when the player still has a queen in the running, he can get a second one. (For this a rook is taken and put upside down on the field.)




The historical Japanes chess game has several variations. We are showing the most common. Shogi is a fascinating game, because the fallen pieces do become the porperty of the conqueror. Therefore all pieces have the same colour, and the form of an arrow. The direction of the arrow reveals the owner, they are always pointing to the opponent.

Nevertheless some chessmen have another colour on the bottom, that is the promotion. A piece is promovating on the moment is reaches the last three rows of the 9 to 9 field. Rook and bishop then have the additional capacity of one step in the other directions. Silver generals become golden...

This as an example of a self made Japanese chess game. Who can't read fluently the Japanese characters, has a lot of trouble with the traditional characters on those pieces. For this reason the characters are replaced by simple symbols. Three lines is the symbol for the golden general, two lines for silver. The Y stands for the "vertical knight", the one vertical line is the spear.

Pawns move and strike 1 field straight ahead, no double moves possible. The spear in the column it points to. The "horse" can only jump forward (so to maximum 2 fields). 1 bishop and 1 rook move and beat as in European chess.

© Johan Framhout October 2014


Moves and strikes of silver and gold. Gold is recognised here with 3 stripes instead of 2. Some use the symbols sun for gold and moon for silver.

To promote (on the last three rows) the piece is turned (red colour). Promotion my be postponed (can be usefull for silver, horse or spear). Bishop and rook move additional 1 field in all remaining directions. Silver, horse, spear and pawn turn to gold.

All beaten pieces become the property of the conquerer and can be dropped on any empty field, witch is a turn. Except: not if the pawn cannot move from that field, not in a column where a pawn of its colour already stands, and by landing it cannot put the opposite king in chess (but it is allowed from the following step). If a chessman is dropped on the last three rows, it is not immediately promoted. Promotion only happens when the frontier is crossed (between the first six lines and the three last ones).


white chessman "silver"   white chessman "gold"
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