Kung-Fu Chess

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Kung-Fu Chess was a real-time chess variant developed by Shizmoo Games. It was created in the early 2000s[when?] and remained on the company's website until the website shut down in 2008.[citation needed]

The game won the Audience Choice award in the 2002 Independent Games Festival.[1]


The game was conceptualized in the early 2000s[when?] by Dan Goldstein as a "real-time" version of chess; it was later developed by him and his brother Joshua Goldstein under the name "Ultra Speed Chess".[citation needed] The name was later changed to "Kung-Fu Chess" to reflect the martial-arts themed sound effects that would play during the players' moves.[2] The game was published by Shizmoo Games on the company's website, and was later supplemented with additional variants (such as Four-player chess, Crazyhouse, and Bughouse chess) before the website shut down in 2008.[citation needed]

The original version was added to the ICQ instant messaging program in 2005.[citation needed]

General aspects[edit]

A typical Kung-Fu Chess opening
d8 black rook
f8 black rook
a7 black pawn
c7 black queen
d7 black bishop
e7 black knight
f7 black king
g7 black bishop
b6 black pawn
c6 black knight
d6 black pawn
e6 black pawn
f6 black pawn
h6 black pawn
c5 black pawn
g5 black pawn
c4 white pawn
f4 white pawn
b3 white pawn
d3 white pawn
e3 white pawn
f3 white knight
g3 white pawn
a2 white pawn
b2 white bishop
c2 white queen
d2 white knight
g2 white bishop
h2 white pawn
c1 white king
d1 white rook
f1 white rook
Opening from 2007 Masters Cup semifinals.[citation needed] This position could be achieved, depending on the players' personal speed, before the delay of the first moved piece is ended. The player who gets to capture first on the right-hand side (White's f4 or Black's g5 pawn) is determined by who moved first, since the delay is equally long for both players.

In Kung-Fu Chess, either player could move any available piece at any given moment, though only one piece could be moved at a time. After a piece was moved, a predefined delay prevented it from moving again for a short period of time. This, plus piece movements not being instantaneous, meant that speed and timing were crucial aspects of the game, as any delay could determine whether a piece was captured or whether said piece dodged the opponent's pieces.[citation needed]

In addition to this, the game's "real-time" aspect led to essential differences between Kung-Fu Chess and standard chess. For instance, checks and pins did not exist in the game, since players were not bound to one move at a time and thus could respond to threats with multiple piece movements. Checkmate and stalemate were similarly both impossible to achieve; as such, the game only ended when one's king was physically captured or if one's opponent resigned.[citation needed]

In following with the martial arts theme, the game also featured a rating system categorized by belt colors.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "2002 Finalists and Winners". Independent Games Festival. Archived from the original on 2014-03-27. Retrieved June 17, 2020.
  2. ^ "GameDev.net - Interview with Shizmoo Games".

External links[edit]