Chess variant

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A chess variant is a game derived from, related to or similar to chess in at least one respect.[1] The difference from chess can include one or more of the following:

  • Different board (larger or smaller, non-square board shape overall or different spaces used within the board such as triangles or hexagons instead of squares).
  • Addition, substitution or removal of pieces in standard chess (pieces not appearing in standard chess are known as fairy pieces)
  • Different rules for capture, move order, game goal, etc.

National chess variants, some of which older than Western chess, such as chaturanga, shatranj, xiangqi, and shogi, are traditionally also called chess variants in the Western world. They have some similarities to chess and share a common ancestor game.

The number of possible chess variants are unlimited. D.B. Pritchard, the author of Encyclopedia of Chess Variants, estimates that there are over 2000 chess variants,[2] confining the number to published ones.

In the context of chess problems, chess variants are called fantasy chess, heterodox chess or fairy chess. Some chess variants are used only in chess composition and not for playing.


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