Tuesday, May 30, 2023



Back in the 1980’s I invented a Shogi variant which transported the Shogi pieces to a 3-D board. The game was described somewhat inaccurately in Michael Keller’s World Game Review. I take full responsibility for the inaccuracy, blaming it on my poor effort to communicate the game to Keller.


The game is now on Wikipedia, using Keller’s description. I recently got a communication pointing out that the pieces were too lonely on a 9x9x9 playing field. I agree. I never meant for the game to be played on such a large field. It is now time for me to clear up the inaccuracies.


Space Shogi should be played on a field consisting of 81 cubes arranged 3x3x9. Think of the field as consisting of a row of three cubes, each one subdivided into nine smaller cubes. White occupies the 3x3x3 cube on one end of the field, and Black occupies the cube on the other side of the field. The middle cube is vacant.


The pieces are identical to those of orthodox Shogi, and their moves are extended to the third dimension. They are:


All the rules of orthodox Shogi apply, including captures, drops, and promotion of the pieces. The array is shown below, as are diagrams of the moves of the pieces.

Friday, May 19, 2023


 I have been a chess aficionado since I was in the first grade, and once upon a time I was a fair player, going 2-2-2 in my first chess tournament, the 1980 Florida State Chess Championship. After a while playing tournament chess, I gravitated toward postal chess, and then my passion for the game dried up. It's been years since I played the game, but I still have a collection of some 40-50 chess sets.

In college I got interested in chess variants. I have collected rulesheets for some 200-250 variations on the theme of chess, and I have invented more than a dozen chess variants myself. I must confess that I was more concerned with how the variants looked than how well they played, but I think that some of my variants are very playable.

Which brings me to my latest venture in self-publishing: Variations on the Theme of Chess, available in Kindle and paperback from Amazon. A significant number of the games described in the book are games I invented or modified. 

Games like Chesquerque:

And Cross Chess:

And Hexagonal Shogi:

And Hexagonal Xiangqi (Chinese Chess):

I think any of these games I have illustrated are very playable. 

In addition to my own inventions, I have included descriptions of some ancient and exotic chess variants.

Games like the Prussian National Game: ( In the diagrams below, the empty ranks are omitted)

And Edgar Rice Burroughs' Martian Chess: 

And Tamerlane's Chess: 

I have included some old, established variants.

Like Capablanca's Chess: 

And Courier Chess:

And I have even included some variants which are almost, but not quite Chess.

Like George Parker's Camelot:

And Gala, a game played long ago in Germany:

And one of my favorite not-quite Chess games, Cheskers:

If you like chess variants, you'll probably find one to suit your taste in Variations on the Theme of Chess.