Pocket Mutation Chess

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Pocket Mutation Chess is a chess variant invented by Mike Nelson in 2003.[1] In this game a player can take a piece from the board and put it into a pocket. The piece in the pocket can be put back on the board later. When placing the piece into the pocket the player can mutate the piece, i.e. change it to a different piece.

The game is one of the Recognized Chess Variants at The Chess Variant Pages.[2]


The starting position in this game is the same as in standard chess. Players make moves as in standard chess. Instead of moving, a player can take one of their own pieces from the board and put it into the pocket, provided that the pocket is empty. If the piece is placed into the pocket from the last rank, it gets promoted to a piece of higher class. Otherwise the player has an option to mutate the piece into a different piece of the same class. The choice of mutating (or not) must be made at the time the piece is removed. White cannot use the pocket on the first move. The king cannot be placed into the pocket.

As a players move, a piece in the pocket can be dropped on any empty position on the board, except the last rank. A pawn can make only a single step from the first rank, but can do a double step from the second one, even if dropped there or moved from the first rank. The en passant rule applies as in standard chess. Pawns that reach the last rank do not get promoted immediately. Instead, they can be placed into the pocket and promoted to a piece of higher class.

There is no castling in this chess variant. The game is declared a draw if no capture or promotion was made for 50 consecutive moves.

Classes of the pieces[edit]

Besides usual pieces there are several fairy chess pieces in this game. All pieces are divided into the following classes. All pieces from the same class are of presumably the same (or close) value.

Class Usual pieces Combined with knight Combined with nightrider Combined with king Combined with nightrider and king
1 Chess pll44.png pawn
2 Chess bll44.png bishop Chess nll44.png knight
3 Chess rll44.png rook Chess sll44.png nightrider super bishop (bishop+king)
4 Chess all44.png cardinal (bishop+knight) super rook (rook+king)
5 Chess qll44.png queen Chess cll44.png chancellor (rook+knight) cardinal rider (bishop+nightrider) super cardinal (bishop+knight+king)
6 chancellor rider (rook+nightrider) super chancellor (rook+knight+king) super cardinal rider (bishop+nightrider+king)
7 amazon (queen+knight) super chancellor rider (rook+nightrider+king)
8 amazon rider (queen+nightrider)
e8 black cross
d6 black cross
h5 black cross
a4 black cross
c4 black cross
f4 black cross
d3 black cross
b2 white upside-down knight
d1 black cross
Nightrider makes any number of knight moves in the same direction.


  1. ^ Pritchard, D. B. (2007). "Pocket Mutation Chess". In Beasley, John (ed.). The Classified Encyclopedia of Chess Variants. John Beasley. p. 164. ISBN 978-0-9555168-0-1.
  2. ^ The Chess Variant Pages: Recognized Chess Variants

External links[edit]