Chakra (chess variant)

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Chakra is a chess variant invented by Christian Freeling in 1980. The uniqueness of Chakra is owed to the invention of a new fairy piece named transmitter.[a] Freeling considered an earlier version of the game as insignificant.[b] "Then one night in the early eighties, Ed [van Zon] and I dreamed up the 'transmitter', a piece consisting of two parts called 'chakras', that would function as a 'portal' for transmitting pieces."

The game was first featured in The Gamer magazine in 1981 (issue 3), resulting in much interest and the sale of many Chakra sets.[1] Chakra is included in 100 Other Games to Play on a Chessboard (1983, 2002) by Stephen Addison.


Chakra is played on a standard chessboard and has many of the standard play conventions as in chess, including check and the winning objective, checkmate. Stalemate, as in chess, is a draw. The king in Chakra is named emperor.

Each player starts with 16 pieces: 1 emperor, 1 empress, 1 samurai, 1 monk, 2 monkeys, 2 courtesans, 2 chakras, 6 swords. The emperor, empress, and monkey perform identically to their chess counterparts (king, queen, and knight, respectively). The others are governed by special fairy rules. There is no castling in Chakra.

Move rules[edit]

  • The samurai combines powers of a chess king and a chess knight.
  • The monk combines powers of a chess king and a chess bishop.
  • A courtesan moves and captures like a chess king, but has an additional power: whenever it has an open path to its own emperor along a rank, file, or diagonal, it can move or capture along the rank, file, or diagonal in either direction.
  • A sword moves like a chess pawn, except there is no en passant. It promotes upon reaching the back rank to any previously captured piece, except a chakra. (If no captured piece is available, a sword cannot promote; however, in that case it can still give check.)

The chakra "transmitter" pieces[edit]


  1. ^ "Chakra's reason for being is a very special 'piece', the transmitter". (Freeling)
  2. ^ "Chakra was one of the first, if not the first Chess variant I invented. The resulting game deviated too little from Chess to have any independent justification."


  1. ^ Pritchard (2007), p. 173


  • Pritchard, D. B. (1994). The Encyclopedia of Chess Variants. Games & Puzzles Publications. pp. 45–46. ISBN 0-9524142-0-1.
  • Pritchard, D. B. (2007). Beasley, John (ed.). The Classified Encyclopedia of Chess Variants. John Beasley. ISBN 978-0-9555168-0-1.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]