# Idea for a strange game: 2 player chess on 4 chess boards - has anyone ever done this?

So I was trying to come up with a metaphor for another story, and I think I might have invented an interesting game. I hope it’s actually new. The closest I could find was 4 player chess on 1 board:

And I’m thinking of something different. It would require 4 chess boards, but the pieces from only 2 boards.

The chess boards are arranged in a 2x2 rectangle, and Black and White start out in 2 rows on opposite sides. Each side has 4 castles, 4 knights, etc. In terms of names for the 2 kings and queens, it could be something like King of the North and King of the South - based on where they start - but of course they could travel to any part of the board. As pieces approach the edge of a board, they just continue onto the next as regular move rules dictate.

Just wondering what sorts of crazy chess strategies could result? Would the middle become important? Since there would be more movement across the board, would that shape whole-board strategy in certain ways? That there wasn’t enough time to get from A to B while a certain pincer does its work?

Just wondering.

So, you’re advocating for the standard 16 pieces to be played on a 16x16 square? My first thought is that knights would be almost useless

each side would get 32 pieces - 2 of everything

and each would have to check/mate 2 different kings

if a pawn made it to the opposite side, you could have 3 queens on the board

if 2 pawns make it, that’s 4 queens

Aah I see. I was confused because you said “Each side has 2 castles, 2 rooks, etc.” however, firstly, those are different names for the same piece, and secondly, players normally have 2 of these anyway…

so what you really meant is each player controls two full sets of pieces?

I still say knights will be mostly useless on such a large board…

Gah, my bad, should have said 2 sets - so yes, 4 castles, 4 rooks. Got those numbers wrong. Just made the edit above because it’s too confusing otherwise.

they’re still the same piece screams internally

you might as well say 4 horses, 4 knights

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This conversation has been noted and reported to the local Go inquistion. Thank you for your cooperation.

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I’m just going to go hang my head in shame now

I need to find a full-time editor to just follow me around…

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I don’t know about optimal board size, but I have idea. Game begins with empty board like in Go. First player places ANY figure on ANY coordinate, second player places figure. They can’t move. And so until all chess figures are placed. Only then move game begins.

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There’s an endless number of chess variants that have been explored, and some really crazy ones that are even widely played.

What you described seems most similar to (except their board is shortened to 12 ranks instead of 16, and one would win by checkmating either king):

Notably, this variant was even played by GMs Capablanca and Maróczy. See the wikipedia article for the game record, which might give an idea for strategy.

I imagine that players would have also considered the 16x16 board that you propose, but maybe they reduced to 12x16 in order to bring that action closer together and to keep the piece density from getting too thin (which would weaken knights and favor bishops, rooks, queens).

Another well-known variant that increases the size of the board and armies (but less drastically) is this:

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Lightweights!

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Wow, that’s amazing. I love how there’s over 200 different piece types.

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I like your idea, but there needs to be a restriction on where pawns may be introduced: a max rank otherwise they’ll all be on the 7th rank.
Another modification I’d suggest is that as soon as a side introduced the King on subsequent turns that side may either move a piece already on the board or place a new piece. This is to encourage earlier introduction of Kings, otherwise Kings will join the game last.

pawns should not be able to transform and they should be able to move in all 4 directions.

So far so good

This bit sounds like moving the pieces could get tricky. How about making it so the pieces don’t move. Maybe just place them on the intersections instead of the squares. And just say that they are captured if surrounded by enemy pieces. And maybe the winner is the person who surrounds more of the board.

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Maybe make all of the pieces equivalent for simplicity, that way they would all be worth the same and we wouldn’t have to worry about special rules for each type. We could even simplify the design, maybe just a simple geometric shape to represent them, instead of difficult to carve horses and castles.

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Yeah, we could carve them into triangles! The simplest shape to carve!

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This sounds like a “lifetime to learn / lifetime to master” kind of game.

On a side note, with all the different names for the pieces, it reminds me of the fictional game of AZAD from Iain Bank’s PLAYER OF GAMES.

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