12 September 2021

Chess Variants Explained

Variants, variants, who's interested in variants? A year ago we saw A Cascade of Chess Variants (September 2020). That post featured a video where:-

Chess.com hosts a round-table discussion with GM Vladimir Kramnik, IM Danny Rensch and researchers of Deepmind discussing their latest paper in which AlphaZero explores chess variants.

The post then informed,

Chess.com also released software to play many of the variants: 'AlphaZero (And Other!) Chess Variants Now Available For Everyone'.

In the last month we've seen a video series on 'How to Play Variants', including my favorite variant (that is not really a variant). Here it is.

How to play Fischer Random (Chess960) (1:17) • '[Published on] Aug 20, 2021'

The video's description starts,

Learn the rules to the chess variant Fischer Random (also called Chess960), quickly and concisely. This video has no distractions, just the rules.

There was, however, one distraction. While discussing castling, the video says,

You must always use the Rook that started the game closest to the side you wish to castle.

I'm not sure what that means or which rule it's meant to clarify. Maybe it's something like, e.g., 'The Rook to the left of the King is used to castle to the left', etc.

The following screen capture from the Youtube channel, Triple S Games, shows many of the variants in the channel's series. Chess960 is in the second row.

The red 'X's are for games other than chess. Scrolling down the Triple S page reveals more chess variants. I've often wondered how one of the variants in the capture, 'Crazyhouse Chess' (top row; third from the left), is played. Now I know.

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