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Chess Combat is a chess variant with incomplete information, similar to Kriegspiel, Dark chess, and others listed at the chess variants website A player does not see the entire board, only their own pieces (including pawns), and squares where these pieces could move. This chess variation was invented by E M Azoff in 2011.

The traditional chess game is a game of total logic with full information available to each player. The element of chance and surprise is lacking, as is the challenge of dealing with incomplete information. A whole class of strategic thinking is therefore unavailable in traditional chess and is opened up in Chess Combat.

Chess Combat is designed to be played on computers. A server computer acts as the referee and the two sides each have a client computer upon which to play their side of the game. The web site provides a facility for players to play this game and runs a Chess Combat server for multiple games to be played simultaneously.

a b c d e f g h
h8 black king
c7 black knight
g7 black pawn
d6 black pawn
f6 black pawn
f5 white pawn
b4 black pawn
d4 white pawn
e4 white knight
f4 white bishop
b3 white pawn
h3 white pawn
a2 white pawn
h2 white queen
a1 white king
c1 white rook
g1 white rook
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
A game of Chess Combat in progress seen from White's perspective; note the King is always visible to each player.


The game of chess has numerous variants, a comprehensive database is available online at, though not necessarily complete. A particular branch of variants owe their origins to the parent variant Kriegspiel, invented by Henry Michael Temple in 1899 and based upon the original Kriegspiel developed by Georg von Rassewitz in 1812. A number of modern versions have been invented, including Verve, Dark Chess, and Fog of War, all of which are catalogued at the chessvariants web site cited. Henceforth these variants will be collectively called Kriegspiel variants (KV).

A list of Kriegspiel variants is given on the web page "Chess With Incomplete Information"[1].

Chess Combat was originally conceived in 2008 and its overlap with preexisting chess variations was subsequently discovered. A few rules in Chess Combat make it unique as a Kriegspiel variant - these unique rules are indicated in the Rules section.


A normal game of chess is played as governed by FIDE rules Rules of chess, FIDE. However with the following changes:

  1. The plyare

The goal of this chess variant is not to checkmate the king, but to capture it. A player isn't told if their king is in check. Failing to move out of check, or moving into check, are both legal, and can obviously result in a capture and loss of the game.

En passant capture is allowed, even if you do not see that it is possible. Unlike standard chess, castling is allowed even out of check, into check and through the positions attacked by opponent pieces.

This chess variant is best played on one of the online chess servers. For playing over-the-board, three chess sets and a referee are needed, just as in Kriegspiel.

There are some minor differences in the rules on different servers:

  • BrainKing: pawn promotions remain unknown for the opponent.
  • ItsYourTurn: the opponent knows that a pawn was promoted, but does not know where.
  • SchemingMind: you do not see what is in front of your pawns, but know if the position is occupied or not.
  • AjaxPlay.Com: En passant capture is not allowed; pawn promotions remain unknown for the opponent.


SchemingMind also provides some more variations of dark chess:

  • Dark chess (checkmate) - you are notified that your king is in check and you can't move your king into check. The goal in this variation is the same as in standard chess - to checkmate the king.
  • Dark crazyhouse - combination of crazyhouse and dark chess.
  • Dark suicide - combination of suicide and dark chess.
  • Sun Tzu chess - combination of Double Fischer Random Chess (like Chess960, but with different positions for white and black), crazyhouse and dark chess. You can drop pieces you have in any possible square on the board (like crazyhouse). This chess variant was invented in 2005 by John Kipling Lewis.
  • Lao Tzu chess - like Sun Tzu, but you can only drop pieces on square you can see. Also invented in 2005 by John Kipling Lewis.
  • Generally, because basic Dark chess rules are universal with respect to its “parent” classical variant, any other 2-player chess variant like Omega Chess, Seirawan chess or others may be played “in dark”, for example - Dark Omega Chess.[2]


Dark chess has a strong strategic flavor. Planning and strategy, as well as some psychological reasoning, are very important; tactics and move searching are not.

In this chess variant a king should be carefully protected from very dangerous checks by invisible pieces. For a queen the most dangerous pieces are knights, which can attack it without becoming visible.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Category:Chess variants Category:1989 in chess Category:1989 introductions