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.

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