My Best Custom Chess Positions

My Best Custom Chess Positions

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This post contains a list of my best custom chess setups which I have created. If you want to join a chess community all about custom chess positions, join the custom positions club! 

1. Ral's Trapped Queens Variant

Description: In this custom position, there are two queens on the board, but both of them are trapped by pawns. Develop pieces and sacrifice as little as possible to free up your queen, then use it to checkmate your opponent! There are many strategies of freeing the queen, like just sacrificing a rook right away, but you can find yourself down material if your opponent is more efficient or if they pick up loose pawns and free their queen without a sacrifice! Be vary of pawn promotion threats and surprise moves (hint hint)

Note that this position can be played live on the variants server at this link:  

2. Promotion Prevention

Description: 2 rectangles of pieces stare to the end of the board on opposite sides. Each king is gridlocked between a swarm of pawns eager to promote. The idea of this position is simple to understand, but in practice can be much more difficult to pull off. Each side has 3 pieces that can be used to stop or help promotion. It does take a few moves to release the pieces, so be sure not to be outrun by your opponents’ pawns!

3. Ral's Trapped Kings Variant

Description: This custom position says beware! Any time your kind is devoid of moves, proceed with caution. But don’t fret: your opponent has the same problem! Each side is equipped with 2 rooks, 2 knights, and a queen in addition to pawns and yes, the trapped kings ready to be checkmated by those jumping knights. And be mindful of the a2 and a7 pawns -you’ve been warned.

4. Ral's Lunar Eclipse Position

Description: Inspired by the lunar eclipse that occurred on July 27, 2018, the pieces in this position are in the shape of a moon, held together by 9 pawns for each side. But don’t be fooled – the pawn structure is not fixed and you will find that this position quickly turns into a pawn promotion showdown! Don’t be discouraged if you lose too much material – make up for it with a timely pawn breakthrough!

5. Danger

Description: Welcome to a tactical battle which offers something for everyone. It is very interesting for both sides: With a trapped king on d1, white must be careful. One mistake and checkmate! But things are not so simple for black, as being down 2 rooks (with even minor pieces) is a lot to counterbalance. Luckily, black has a fleet of pawns ready to storm down the board. White will likely have to make some sacrifices. Black might try a sacrifice on d2 to help the pawn promotion cause. To win, one will need to effectively navigate the danger that comes with this sharp setup!

Note that this position can be played live on the variants server at this link:  (this is the old version though, the current one is shown above updated September 2022)

6. Miserable Kings

Description: Get prepared to hurl pawns and pieces at your opponent as they run for cover and shield their king from your attacks. But watch your king too, for both kings are exposed and can easily be attacked. Early in the game, checkmate is the sole goal, but if both sides defend well, the game goes into a pawn promotion endgame as the focus shifts from the kings to the pawns. Stop your opponent’s pawns and promote your own, then go after your opponent’s king once again!

7. Locked

Description: Realize the potential when two trapped armies come to life in this maze of padlocked pawns and pieces weaving through mazes of mystery. The pieces in this position will gravitate towards opposing pawns that can snap them up in an instant. But it isn’t so simple as to just take the free piece. Take the wrong piece and you will have an avalanche of your opponents’ pawns moving towards promotion! Be careful and don’t be afraid to sacrifice pieces to unleash the potential of pawn promotion!

Note that this position can be played live on the variants server at this link:  

8. Triple Knight Defense

Description: Come enjoy the fun of passed pawns and opposite side kings in this strategic battle. The three knights allow for solid defense, but those knights can play offense too, so watch out! An open board means trades are likely, leading to an endgame where the side with the better pawn setup and that pushes their pawns at the right time will have the edge. There are quite a lot of moves that are almost equally good in the opening so choose the game you want to play and then battle it out!

9. Trapped Queens and Kings Combined

Description: When you combine trapped kings and trapped queens, you have plenty of options: Sacrifice a knight or rook to free your queen. Aim your pieces at the opponent’s king and deliver a stunning checkmate. Is your opponent trying to free their queen? Trap it before its free! Combine that with pawn promotion, stalemates, and back rank mates and you have an arena of pure tactics and calculation. How you play the game is completely up to you, there is no "best" strategy, it just depends on the position!

10. Queens of the Board

Description: This position features an interesting combination of pieces, but most notably, each side has 2 queens! These queens are fairly centralized on the board, yet the position was set up so that it is difficult to trade queens right away. Develop your pieces and support your queens in their attack on the opponent’s king. Watch out for your own king and guide it to safety on either side of the board. Keep track of your 3 pawn islands – you will need as many pawns as possible in an endgame.

11. Pawns of Perfection

Description: In this exciting position, each side contains the same amount and same pieces as in a standard chess match, however, this is anything but a standard chess match! Each side has 4 advanced pawns that they must strategically use to create a good structure, block out the opposing side’s bishops and rook from developing, and protect from an enemy attack. Your advanced pawns are a big asset but can be a liability as your opponent will try to snatch them up. Castling is not permitted, so it is up to you to lead your king to safety in the thick of the battle!

12. Ultimate Inbalances

Description: Piece count? Piece placement? King placement? Pawn placement? You name it, there’s an imbalance to be found somewhere. The only thing not imbalanced is the number of pawns in this challenging setup. With 2 queens vs 1 and 4 bishops vs 2, white is the commander of the diagonals, but black’s 4 rooks and 3 hopping knights are poised to jump into the center of the board. White’s king is a target, but luckily can castle. Can you win in this game of ultimate imbalances?

13. What's Your Decision?

Description: There is so much to do in this clash of trapped queens and bishops, united pawns, confused kings, and hidden pieces. You will need to work hard to free your pieces from being trapped, but how many pieces is too much to sacrifice? Do you release your opponent’s pieces to try and promote your pawns? Which pieces do you use to sacrifice, defend a sacrifice, and attack the enemy king? Do you sacrifice pawns to develop your pieces faster? Is your king an asset to defend against sacrifices or a liability being attacked by the opposition? Plenty of decisions will need to be made, so what’s your decision?
14. Cat and Mouse
Description: This custom position is a tricky endgame so be careful! Every move matters! White has a train of 6 pawns right down the middle of the board, and black has majorities on the wings. With 4 light-squared bishops, black dominates the light squares but leaves white with the dark-squared advantage. The e8 square is of the utmost importance from the beginning, but black can shift the attention to their pawns with precise pawn moves. Whose plan will prevail? Will black be stuck defending the e8 square or will white have to run around the board to stop black’s efforts?
15. Super KID
Description: Unleash a powerful attack in the Super KID! This is a variation of the classical KID but a queen, rook, bishop, and knight are added to both sides. With more pieces, you can unleash a more intense attack on your opponent than ever before. More sacrifices and more mayhem leads to exciting games all around! Here is how this position is reached (before the pieces are added). 1. d4 Nf6  2. c4 g6 3. Nc3 Bg7  4. e4 d6  5. Nf3 O-O  6. Be2 e5  7. O-O Nc6  8. d5 Ne7  9. Ne1 Ne8  10. Be3 f5  11. f3 f4  12. Bf2. From here, the pieces are added and then it is white to move instead of black to move (from move 13) 

16. Lunar Eclipse Remastered

Description: The perfect balance of piece strategy and pawn promotion. Come and enjoy the second version of the Lunar Eclipse Custom Chess Position. This position is another pawn promotion showdown but this time promotion won't be so quick. Use your pieces to help your promotion efforts, defend your pawns, or stop your opponent from promoting. With 7 pawns each and the same pieces that start a regular chess game, you might think this may play out like one - but don't let that fool you - this is anything but a normal chess game.

17. Double the Trapped Queens

Description: Entangle yourself in this calculated mess of trapped pieces, king attacks, and pawn promotion. 2 sets of queens are trapped, though after a few moves, one set can be released. But watch out for pawns. A few captures later and promotion is on the horizon! Think carefully about if you want to trap and capture your opponent’s queens with your knights as the bishops could be released. With plenty of material on the board – and plenty is waiting to be untrapped – there is no shortage of possibilities in this intriguing variant!

Overly Ambitious Positions

Description: Are you up to the challenge? Black has more material but black can only shuffle back and forth until white decides to sacrifice or not sacrifice in order to break into black's position. Will white take the risk of losing in order to win?

Overly Ambitious (Version 1)

Overly Ambitious Version 2

Overly Ambitious 4

Additional Info on my custom chess positions:

Name Created Tournaments

Ral's Trapped Queens Variant

Nov 2017 

Overly Ambitious

April 2018  

Promotion Prevention June 2018  
Ral's Trapped Kings Variant June 2018  
Ral's Lunar Eclipse Position July 2018 
Danger August 2018 (updated September 2022) 

Miserable Kings November 2018 
Overly Ambitious Version 2 December 2018 

Locked March 2019 

Triple Knight Defense June 2020 
Trapped Queens and Kings Combined December 2021 

Queens of the Board May 2019 
Pawns of Perfection February 2022 
Swapped Pieces: Kings Indian Defense February 2022
Overly Ambitious 4 February 2022  
Ultimate Inbalances March 2022 
What's Your Decision? March 2022 

Cat and Mouse June 2022 

Super KID September 2022 

Lunar Eclipse Remastered September 2022 

Double the Trapped Queens January 2023