Games and Rules

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are all descendants of the 1500 year old East Indian game CHATURANGA CHESS.

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 WESTERN (Traditional or Standard) CHESS has been around for about 500 years and is the most popular chess game in the 'western' world.


However the Japanese game SHOGI CHESS is the most complex of all the major chess games and XIANGQI CHESS from China is 2000 years old and is played by more people than any other form of chess, dwarfing WESTERN CHESS in popularity.

Western Standard Chess is played on the 8 x 8 section of a CHESS2100 Great Chess board.


Also see Western Chess at

CAFE CHESS is a simple and fast game of chess, perfect for a quick game over a lunch break.

CAFE CHESS is a chess variant of Los Alamos Chess which was the first chess-like game played by a human verses a computer program. This chess program was written at the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory, New Mexico, for the MANIAC computer in 1956.

Cafe Chess is played on a 6 x 6 CHESS2100 Cafe Chess board, or on the 6 x 6 section in the middle of a CHESS2100 Great Chess board.

Also see Mini Chess at

GREAT CHESS is is the new Chess for the 21st century, It is a fast, action packed variant to the traditional game of WESTERN CHESS, with a myriad of new tactical possibilities. The result is a faster, action packed game.


Built on the foundations of arguably the most important historic chess game of them all - 800 year old TAMERLANE CHESS - Great Chess also draws inspiration from features found in Courier Chess, Western Chess, Capablanca Chess, Turkish Great Chess, Grand Chess and Omega Chess.


Great Chess is played on a 10 x 10 CHESS2100 board.


Playing pieces depicted above are from a 'BESPOKE' Chess Set.

Green circles - Sliders. Blue circles - Leapers.




The standard chess fighters are positioned as in Western Chess and

the Champions and Assassins are placed at each end as pictured.


The power pieces are placed at the players discretion in the first and second rows, with the Soldiers positioned at the players discretion in the second and third rows. Each player can choose a different start configuration.


Set up and play on the 6x6 centered squares of a CHESS2100 board as pictured above.

For the really adventurous, set up for 6x6 and then play using the whole board.

Set up and play on the 8x8 centered squares of a CHESS2100 board as pictured above.

For the really adventurous, set up for 8x8 and then play using the whole board.

The Objective of the Game

Victory is yours if you capture the opposing King - checkmate - or destroy his army.


When a King is directly threatened by an opponent's piece, the King is in check. The player in check must respond in one of three ways. He must either;

  1. Capture the threatening piece,

  2. Block the path of the threatening piece or,

  3. Move the King to an un-threatened square.


Checkmate occurs when a player's King is in check and the player has no way to get out of check on the next move. This ends the game with the capturing player as the clear winner.


Destroy the enemies army. If a player captures every enemy combatant except for the King, then that player is the winner. If an Assassin is still in its starting position, it is not counted as a combatant.


A game of Chess can also end in a draw in which there is no clear winner. A draw may occur one of five ways:

  1. Stalemate: A stalemate occurs if a player who is not in check cannot move any piece, including the King, without placing their King in check.

  2. Insufficient Mating Material: When neither player has the pieces needed to checkmate the other player. eg. Bishop and King vs. King.

  3. Threefold Repetition of Position: The game is drawn if the same position (with the same person on move) has appeared on the Chessboard three times.

  4. 50 Moves Rule: If there have been 50 consecutive moves of White and Black without any piece capture.

  5. Draw: If both players feel that nether side can win, they may agree to a draw.



If a player feels that their position is hopeless, the player may end the game by conceding to the other player.

How The Pieces Move and Capture

Before the start of the game, the players must decide which colour pieces they will play.

In Western Chess the lighter colour makes the first move.

In Great Chess either colour can start first, to be decided on the toss of a coin or other method.


Position the board so that a light corner square is on the right hand side of each player.

The starting positions are as illustrated above.


Moving is compulsory; it is illegal to skip a turn, even when having to move is detrimental. A player may not make any move that would put or leave the player's own king in check. If the player to move has no legal move, the game is over; the result is either checkmate (a loss for the player with no legal move) if the king is in check, or stalemate (a draw) if the king is not in check.

All Chess pieces (including the two new Great Chess pieces) capture an opponent's piece by landing on the square occupied by the opponent's piece, except the Soldier (Pawn) in En Passant (in-passing).

Sliders - The King, Queen, Towers, Bishops and Soldiers are sliders. They move along an unobstructed path diagonally and/or orthogonally.

Leapers - The Knights and the new Great Chess Champions and Assassins are leapers. They don’t require an unobstructed path to move along, as they can jump over other pieces.

The moves of each playing piece are illustrated below.

Western Chess


Castling is a strategic action in Western Chess where the King moves towards a Towers location and that Tower moves to cover the King. This move involves the King and either of the Towers.

A player can castle provided that:
1.The King is not in check.
2.The King and the castling Tower have not been moved during the game.
3.All the squares between the King and the castling Tower are unoccupied.

4.The King would not be moving through or landing on a square under threat.

When castling, the King either moves two squares towards the King's Tower, or the King move two squares towards the Queen's Tower. The King's Tower or Queen's Tower then moves to the square the King moved through.

There is no castling in Great Chess or Cafe Chess.


Any Soldier (Pawn) that reaches the last row, can be promoted to any power piece (normally the Queen).

Great Chess

In Great Chess the King, Queen, Tower, Bishop and Knight move and capture in the same way as Western Chess. With these pieces almost nothing about Western Chess has changed in Great Chess.

Rapid deployment

Traditional Chess suffers from constricted deployment of power pieces early in the game.


In a real battle the power combatants would often emerge from behind the rank and file Soldiers and lead the charge. They could also quickly re-deploy behind their army.


The addition of new leapers lets these power combatants enter the battle faster.


Additionally the 10 x 10 square Great Chess board allows for  various three row setups at the start of the game, giving the Towers and Queen the ability to move quickly across the battle field behind their army.

Dynamic battles

Traditional Chess has a slow and frustrating mid-game with deployed Soldiers (pawns) blocking avenues of attack. In a real battle the power combatants would simply move forward through the rank and file to press home their attack. This issue has been rectified in Great Chess with the addition of more leapers - "Champions" and "Assassins".​

New Fighters

Great Chess incorporates all the traditional Western Chess pieces and moves, but also includes the addition of new "Champions" and "Assassins". These new fighters are leapers - like the Knight and were created to balance the number of jumping pieces (leapers) with sliding pieces.


The Champions are the king and queens personal knights. Their ability to move in a similar way to a regular Knight, but in a more powerful way, make them devastatingly capable in close combat.


Assassins are a vital part of any battle. Their ability to leap over other combatants in any direction will take the enemy by surprise.


The Great Chess Pawns also gain new powers and are now called Soldiers. The Soldier (Pawn) moves and captures in the same way as Western Chess. However the Western Chess pawn denies the player the ability to fall back or retreat. Soldiers in a real battle can fall back and re-group to shore up their position. Great Chess Soldiers (Pawns) can move backwards to one empty square per move. They cannot capture on this move.

The Great Chess Soldiers can also move one, two or three squares forward on their first move.

All the fighters moves and capture are explained below.


Any Soldier (Pawn) that reaches the last row, can be promoted to any power piece that has already been captured by the enemy.



In the heat of a real world battle, a more capable combatant will step into a fellow Soldiers (Pawns) battle to save them or press home an otherwise unsuccessful attack. Traditional chess denies the player this capability.


In Great Chess the Queen, Tower (Rook), Bishop, Knight, Champion or Assassin have the power to move (any number of times) in their normal way to a fellow Soldiers (Pawns) position and permanently retire that Soldier from the battlefield.


This strategic action can be executed at any time. For example this move might be used to strategically re-positioning a power piece, or with devastating effect, bring a power piece into a confrontation initiated by a less powerful Soldier (Pawn) who was unable to take full advantage of his situation.


This move introduces some realistic, unpredictable and much needed battle mayhem that is missing in traditional Western Chess.

Cafe Chess

All rules are as in Western Chess except;

• there is no castling

• there is no Soldier double-step move

• there is no en-passant (in-passing) capture

• there is no Soldier (Pawn) promotion

• the Bishop moves diagonally, but can also move one square horizontally or vertically to any adjacent empty square.

Moves - click buttons
King move.jpg
Queen move.jpg
Tower move.jpg
Bishop move.jpg
Assassin move.jpg
Champion move.jpg
Knight move.jpg
Soldier move.jpg

Historically called the



The King - Slider - Value 1 or ∞ (depending on whether he is fighting or about to die) - can move one square in any direction, except when castling.

The battle is lost if the King is threatened with check or in check and cannot move out of check or cannot block the checking piece or cannot capture the checking piece.


The king cannot move into a checked position.


“A horse, a horse. My kingdom for a horse.”

Richard III's last words at the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485

King move.jpg

Historically called the



The Queen - Slider - Value 9 - is the most powerful Chess piece, combining the powers of the Tower and the Bishop. It moves along an unobstructed path any number of squares horizontally, vertically or diagonally.

  • Great Chess optional and recommended power.
    The Queen may also retire her own Soldiers (Pawns) by moving to their square - and removing them from the game.

“I am come amongst you, in the midst and heat of the battle, to live and die amongst you all; to lay down for my God, and for my kingdom, and my people, my honour and my blood, even in the dust. I know I have the body of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England too.”

Elizabeth I at Tilbury in 1588, as the invading Spanish Armada sailed into the English Channel.

Queen move.jpg

Historically called the




The Tower - Slider - Value 7 - moves along an unobstructed path any number of squares horizontally or vertically.

  • Great Chess optional and recommended power.
    The Tower may also retire his own Soldiers (Pawns) by moving to their square - and removing them from the game.


The most controversial chess piece is the TOWER (ROOK) which was originally a CHARIOT (and still is in many parts of the world).  In pre and early medieval times, the  RUKH / RUK / ROK (ROOK) in Shatranj Chess, symbolized a Persian war chariot which was heavily armoured and carried a driver and at least one ranged-weapon bearer, such as an archer or spearman. At times the sides of the chariot were built to resemble fortified walls, giving the impression of small, mobile buildings, causing terror on the battlefield.


As the medieval era drew to a close, war chariots had disappeared, but siege and belfry towers were still in use. The first appearance in chess of the TOWER to replace the CHARIOT was possibly a representation of an Assyrian Seige Tower, or a poorly made chess piece of an armoured chariot which had lost it's horses and wheels in the translation. The piece assumed the name 'TOWER' in most parts of the world - and in some English speaking parts of the world - the name 'ROOK', the English spelling of RUKH.


A TOWER makes total sense in chess, if you see it as a movable BELFRY / BELFRIE TOWER, a tall fighting enclosure in which SOLDIERS dominated large distances on the battle field, raining down projectiles from high with impunity, while being moved around in straight lines on the battle field. BELFRY TOWERS appeared on chess boards around the 8th - 10th centuries. Siege and Belfry Towers ceased to exist on the battlefield by the mid 1500's.


In 1849, the Staunton Chess pieces appeared in England and the designers, Nathaniel Cook and John Jaques, used the 'CASTLE' theme for the TOWER instead of the more logical and historically correct BELFRY TOWER or the earlier CHARIOT (RUKH / RUK / ROK). The myopic public embraced the CASTLE theme, and the Staunton pieces, including the CASTLE / ROOK, became a  standard in some parts of the Western world. However most parts of Europe and the Eurasian countries still use the TOWER description.


The TOWER clearly moves in the way a BELFRY TOWER would move, not a CASTLE. To my knowledge, nobody in the history of the world, has ever managed to move a castle around the countryside in the middle of a battle.

Cook and Jaques also curiously made their CASTLE the smallest of the power pieces, when it is the most powerful piece apart from the QUEEN, and historically had been one of the larger pieces on the board. If Cook and Jaques were still with us, they would have a lot of explaining to do.

Tower move.jpg
Pictures of the RUKH's transformation CHARIOT to TOWER
Assyrian Rukh Chariot
Assyrian Rukh Chariot

Chariot and warriors of the Assyrian army (detail), c. 645 BCE

Assyrian Seige Tower
Assyrian Seige Tower

Siege tower with battering ram in action. Assyrian army destroying the walls.

Rukh Chess Piece
Rukh Chess Piece

Iranian mythical hero Afrasiab in a Rukh (Chariot) in ivory from, about 7th/8th century,

Charlemagne Rukh
Charlemagne Rukh

Charlemagne Chariot Chess Piece 11th cent.

Islamic Rook
Islamic Rook

Rook Chess Piece 8th–10th century. Western Islamic Lands. Ivory

Rook Chess Piece
Rook Chess Piece

Rook 9th–12th century Iran, Nishapur. Ivory carved.

Rook Chess Piece
Rook Chess Piece

Rook, Lower Rheir, Germany. 11th cent. Two warriors in a small fortified enclosure, War Wagon or Belfry Tower. This piece may or may not have had wheels. Was this the type of piece that lead to the castle theme?

Charlemagne War Wagons
Charlemagne War Wagons

11th cent.

Breaching Siege Tower
Breaching Siege Tower

Towers came in two types, the Siege or Breaching tower for delivering warriors to the top of fortifies walls, and the Belfry or Belfries towers which were used to elevate archers to a commanding position on the battlefield.

Belfry Tower
Belfry Tower

Here we see a movable Belfry tower on wheels, with a large array of planks mounted as a shield to deflect arrows or other missiles.

Belfry Tower
Belfry Tower

A Belfry Tower was not use for assaulting walls. Belfry Towers were used for providing elevated fire power into the besieged structure and cover fire for ground combatants and construction workers.

Roman Belfry towers
Roman Belfry towers

Roman non-movable Belfry towers positioned to give attackers the advantage of height above the city walls.

Siege Tower
Siege Tower
Siege Tower
Siege Tower
Siege Tower.
Siege Tower.

Medieval English Siege Tower.

Dover Castle Siege 1216
Dover Castle Siege 1216

Dover Castle siege, 1216, French Belfry tower and earth works. Dover Castle was a vital strategic and communication lynch-pin in the empire of the Angevin kings of England. in 1216, the castle successfully resisted a major siege directed personally by Prince Louis of France during his near-successful invasion of England. He had some success breaching the walls, but was unable ultimately to take the castle. Artist Peter Dunn.

Dover Castle Siege 1216
Dover Castle Siege 1216

The Belfry tower was used during the battle as a shooting platform as apposed to a breaching platform.

Seige Tower
Seige Tower

A massive Breaching tower at the Siege of Lisbon in 1147

Norwegian Chess Rooks
Norwegian Chess Rooks

The Berserker Vikings. Rooks from the Lewis chessmen. NORWAY 12th cent.

Indian Rook Chess Piece
Indian Rook Chess Piece

In India the Rook has been represented by the elephant for hundreds of years.

Chess Rook
Chess Rook

In parts of the western world the Rook is depicted by a Tower or a tiny Castle.


Historically called the



The Bishop - Value 6 - moves along an unobstructed path any number of squares diagonally. As can be seen in the diagram, a Bishop only occupies squares of its starting colour.


  • Great Chess optional and recommended power.
    The Bishop may also retire his own Soldiers (Pawns) by moving to their square - and removing them from the game.

Cafe Chess - The Bishop moves diagonally, but can also move one square horizontally or vertically to any adjacent empty square.


The Catholic Church was very powerful in most parts of Medieval Europe and this made the Bishop powerful as well. Not only that, but the church received a ‘tithe’ of 10 percent from all the people. This made some Bishops very rich. Medieval warrior bishops often lead their own knights and infantry into battle, particularly during the crusades, and they personally led medieval armies to protect their worldly realms. Since it was forbidden to spill christian blood, some warrior bishops used blunt clubbing weapons like the mace to circumvent this prohibition.

Bishop move.jpg

Historically called the



The Hawk - Leaper - Value 5 - can slide one square horizontally or vertically OR can leap two squares horizontally, vertically and diagonally. The Hawk can jump over pieces and it can control up to twelve squares. The Hawk cannot move one square diagonally.


  • Great Chess optional and recommended power.
    The Hawk may also retire his own Soldiers (Pawns) by moving to their square - and removing them from the game.

A war hawk, or simply 'hawk', is a term used for someone who embraces war and revels in warfare. They could be a parliamentarian or an advisor to the King or a General who clamours for war. Highly intelligent, cunning and with a sharp eye for the right moment, they continually escalate an existing conflict as opposed to pursuing a peaceful solution.

"Nothing is true; everything is permitted.”

Hassan-i Sabbah

Assassin move.jpg

Historically called the


The Champion - Leaper - Value 5 - can slide one square horizontally or vertically OR can leap three squares vertically and one square horizontally, or three squares horizontally and one square vertically. The Champions can jump over pieces to control up to twelve squares. Think of a Champion as a more powerful knight.

  • Great Chess optional and recommended power.
    The Champion may also retire his own Soldiers (Pawns) by moving to their square - and removing them from the game.

The Champion was the King or Queens favorite Knight.

The most famous of all was Sir William Marshal - 1146-1219 - who has been eulogised as the "best knight that ever lived.”


Sir William Marshal fighting skills were legendary: in one to one combat, he bested 500 knights during his tourneying career to become the greatest swordsman and jouster of the age. William was promoted to 'MARSHAL' status - title and surname not related. Marshal’s were the most powerful men in medieval Europe and answered only to the king. William served four kings – Henry II, Richard I, John, and Henry III. On 11 November 1216, upon the death of King John, William Marshal was appointed regent of the kingdom - the caretaker King - and protector of the nine-year-old Henry III.

At the age of 70, at the battle of Lincoln in 1217, his last and most important battle, he charged and fought in hand to hand combat at the head of the child King's army, leading them to victory against the French and saving the kingdom. Soon after, under his own seal, he reissued the Magna Carta. He was 72 when he died peacefully in bed.


History recognises him as one of the greatest men to have ever lived and arguably the greatest ever Englishman.

Champion move.jpg

Historically called the



The Knight - Leaper - Value 4 - can leap two squares vertically and one square horizontally, or two squares horizontally and one square vertically. The Knight can jump over pieces to control up to eight squares.


  • Great Chess optional and recommended power.
    The Knight may also retire his own Soldiers (Pawns) by moving to their square - and removing them from the game.

When Scotland's Robert the Bruce – King Robert I – died in 1329, he asked Sir James Douglas - known by the English as the Black Douglas - to take his heart to Jerusalem.

Diverted on route to a crusade against the Saracens in Spain, Douglas saw a fellow knight become surrounded at the Battle of Teba. Throwing the king’s heart ahead of him, he yelled "Now pass thou onward as thou wert wont, and Douglas will follow thee or die." He then charged into the thick of the fighting, and died a warrior knight to the last.

Knight move.jpg

Historically called the



The Soldier (Pawn) - Slider - Value 2 or 3 - a Soldier in Western Chess can move one square forwards to an empty square. For its first move it can move one or two squares forward to an empty square.

A Soldier in Great Chess can move one square forwards to an empty square. For its first move it can move one, two or three squares forward to an empty square.

A Soldier cannot jump over other pieces or capture on the above moves.

Soldiers can only capture an opposing piece by moving one square diagonally forward.


Soldier Promotion:

In Western Chess when a Soldier (pawn) advances to the eighth rank, as a part of the move it is promoted and must be exchanged for the player's choice of queen, rook, bishop, or knight of the same color. Usually, the pawn is chosen to be promoted to a queen, but in some cases another piece is chosen; this is called under-promotion. There is no restriction on the piece promoted to, so it is possible to have more pieces of the same type than at the start of the game (e.g., two or more queens).

In Great Chess a Soldier may elect to either promote or remain a soldier upon reaching the last row. A Soldier can be promoted to any captured piece of the same colour. If no captured piece is available for promoting, a soldier can stay on the tenth rank until a captured piece becomes available. However the promotion at this time constitutes a move, even though the Soldier or promoted piece does not move.


En Passant (in-passing):

(Optional move in Western Chess.)

If a Soldier moves two squares on its initial game move and passes through an opposing Soldiers attack square and ends the move beside the opposing Soldier, the opposing Soldier may capture en passant. The opposing Soldier moves diagonally onto the square through which the other Soldier moved and removes that Soldier. The capture must be made on the next move.

There is no en passant move in Great Chess or Cafe Chess.

"Hail Caesar. We who are about to die, salute you"

Salute to the emperor Claudius, by captives and criminals fated to die fighting during a naval battle, staged for entertainment on Lake Fucinus in AD 52.

Soldier move.jpg