Two New Chess Variants By Niranjan Navalgund
A little beyond Fischer Random and a little ahead of poker !?

Two New Chess Variants By Niranjan Navalgund

FM NiranjanNavalgund

The unique part about these two variants that I invented is that I got both the ideas while playing National U-25 tournament. Chesspionage in 2019 and Pokerchess in 2018. I shared the variant with a few of my friends and they liked the idea and asked me to prepare a document and share it with the world. So, here I am!

1. Chessophile / Chesspionage

Chessophile or Chesspionage is a variant that retains the flavor of chess, but takes off the opening stage away. In addition to it, it has a move-by-move revealing connotation similar to any thrilling stories or detective cases.

* The players start with an empty board.

* Each player is given 16 pieces each.
* The player with the white pieces begins first.
* The players will start placing their pieces in the following order, taking turns -
Eight Pawns – Knights – Bishops – Rooks – Queens and finally, the King.

* The players can only place their pieces within the first four ranks (White – 1,2,3,4 and Black – 5,6,7,8)
* Captures are possible while the pieces are being placed. A player may wish to capture a piece if it is within the range of his pieces if he wishes to do so – but he cannot do both at once. He can either capture or place his own pieces.
*Once the kings are placed, the players then continue with the game like a normal game.
* Games end in the natural ways like in the game of normal chess


d4W (white pawn d4) – d5B
e3 W – d6B
c3 W – c5 B
f2 W- e7 B
b2 W – b6 B
a2 W- a7B
g2 W -g7 B
h3 W- h7 B

Nf4W- Nc7B
Nf3 W Nf6 B
Bd3 W Bf7 B
Bh4 W -Bh6B
Rd1 W – Rd8 B
Re1 W – Rg8 B
Qa3 W -Qb7 B
Ka1 W – Ka8 B

And once the kings are placed, the game continues normally. With the above mentioned moves, we reach the following position: 

A sample continuation: 

2. Poker Chess
Poker Chess as the title suggests, is a variant that involves a lot of guessing. The first ten moves are played like the normal game and from the 11th move, the players do not disclose their move but they do write the move on their scoresheet (to avoid cheating). They do it only during a threat.

After the first ten moves, the players are obliged to reveal their moves if they are:

*threatening to capture
*establishing contact with the opponent’s piece/pawn
* threatening checkmate
* threatening to win material by tactical means (even if it is a 3-4 move combination)
* threatening to promote pawn

Basically all threats are to be revealed.

Next, every player has one reveal – he can say reveal and the opponent will be forced to reveal the last few moves until the present position.

Illegal move
The player who makes five illegal moves loses.


1.g3 Nf6 2.Bg2 e6 3.Nf3 Be7 4.0–0 0–0 5.d3 d5 6.Nbd2 Nc6 7.c3 a5 8.Rb1 Rb8 9.a3 b6 10.b4 Bb7

Starting now the players do not share the move, but just announce – done.

11. Bb2 (now this move doesn’t threaten anything so the white player is not obliged to share it. On the other side black played : 11...axb4 He writes it on his scoresheet and says – capture, so the white player is forced to reveal his previous move because the black player says he intends to capture. So, the move is shown and white also makes the move on the board as a capture has to be revealed anyway

12.axb4 And now black played 12...Kh8 which he doesn’t show, but he says done. The white player just mentions a tick on the scoresheet upon hearing it.

13. e3 done. 13... Rg8 done. 14.b5 White player writes the move on the scoresheet and says ‘attack’ and this forces the opponent to reveal his moves on the board after 12.axb4. And once the two play their respective moves, they reach the position and white was right in saying that there is an attack on the knight with b5. (Now, if the knight had not been on c6, this call of white ‘attack’ could have been considered as ILLEGAL.)

14...Na7 Black reveals this move as it attacks the b5 pawn. 15.c4 White also reveals this move as it establishes contact with the pawn on d5. 15...c5 This move is also revealed as it invites enpassant. 16. Qe2 White doesn’t reveal this move. 16...Ne8 black also doesnt reveal this move 17.h4 Nc7 18.h5 Nc8 The last few moves were played without revealing.

19.h6 – attack. Note that none of the players have used their reveals, but they are using properties of the position to get the moves of the opponent. The players reach the position and fortunately for white – the moves h4-h5-h6 are possible and are not ILLEGAL.

19...Bf6 – played on the board as it establishes contact.

20. Ne5 played – as it threatens mate on f7

20...Qe7 played as it intends gh6. 21. hxg7+ Rxg7 played.

22.Kh2 (not revealed) 22...dxc4 capture – so the players reach the position until here and black has the possibility of dxc4.

23.Ndc4 played 23...Bxg2 played 24.Kxg2 played. 24...Qe8 played 25. Nc6 Bxb2 26.Nxb8 played 26...Bf6 (not revealed) 27.Nc6 not revealed Rg6 28.e4 Rh6 29.Rb3 Bg7 30.Ra3 f6 31.Qf3 Qg6 and here white asked for a reveal. Black had to reveal all the previous moves and so did white and they reached the following position

32.e5 played 32...f5 (not revealed) 33.Qe3 Qg5 (black isnt aware of the fact that white has played Qe3. This is the entertaining feature of this variant) 34.d4- attack, white announces attack and they reveal their respective moves.
34...Qh5 (black doesn’t reveal) and now white blundered with 35.Qf3?? and black announced ‘check’ and it turned out to be checkmate!

This variant is quite fluid in nature and I welcome suggestions from all of you. With this article, I presented a basic version and I would like to know if you have any ideas that I could incorporate in this variant - especially regarding legal moves and reveals.