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Grand chess

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Grand Chess starting position. The marshal and cardinal are to the right of White's king.

Grand Chess is a popular large-board chess variant invented by Dutch games designer Christian Freeling in 1984. It is played on a 10x10 board, with each side having two additional pawns and two new pieces: the marshal and the cardinal.

A superficial similarity exists between Grand Chess and an early version of the historic chess variant Capablanca chess because the same pieces and game board are used. But differences in initial start position, rules governing pawn moves and promotion, and castling make them significantly different games.

A series of Grand Chess Cyber World Championship matches was sponsored by the Dutch game site Mindsports. Past title holders included R. Wayne Schmittberger (1998, 1999) and John Vehre (2001). Grand Chess tournaments were held annually beginning in 1998 by the (now defunct) correspondence game club NOST.

Rules

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Mate in 2
by six-times U.S. champion Pal Benko
 
Solution: 1.Qj10+ Kxj10 2.h8=C#

The white pieces are placed on the first and second ranks and the white pawns are placed on the third rank as shown in the diagram. The white rooks alone are placed on the first rank, which makes it easier for them to activate earlier in the game since they are not blocked as much by the other pieces as they are in standard chess. The black rooks are placed the same, for the same advantage. Black's pieces are placed on the ninth and tenth ranks, and the black pawns are placed on the eighth rank.

A white pawn may elect to either promote or remain a pawn upon reaching the eighth and ninth ranks, but must promote upon reaching the tenth rank. Unlike standard chess, a pawn may be promoted only to a captured piece of the same color, so it is illegal for either side to have two queens, or two marshals, or three rooks, etc. If no captured piece is available for promoting a white pawn about to reach the tenth rank, the pawn must stay on the ninth rank, but it can still give check. This is analogous in standard chess to the ability of a piece to give check even when the piece is absolutely pinned.

Similarly, a black pawn promotes optionally upon reaching the third and second ranks, but must promote in order to move to the first rank. It can still give check from the second rank to a white king on the first rank, even if it can't yet legally move to the first rank.

As in standard chess, pawns can move one or two squares on their first move, and they may also capture en passant.

As in standard chess, checkmate is a win and stalemate is a draw. There is no castling in Grand Chess.

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Final position after 29.Mxe8 in Vehre-Schmittberger

Sample games

John Vehre vs. Wayne Schmittberger, 2001

Played at 2001 Grand Chess Cyber Championship Final

1.f5 f6 2.Nh4 Nh7 3.g4 g7 4.Nc4 Nc7 5.d4 d7 6.e5 Bd8! 7.Rje1 Kd10 8.Kf1 fxe5 9.Ncxe5?! Kc9 10.Re2? Kb9 11.Kg1 Rjf10 12.Bd3 e6 13.Rf1 Mh10?! 14.Nc4 Ci10 15.Nd6 exf5 16.Bxf5 Bd5 17.Ci1 Bxh4 18.ixh4 g6? 19.Rfe1 gxf5 20.Nxf5! Qd8 21.Bxc7 Qxc7 22.Re9+ Kc10 23.Cxc7 bxc7 24.Qf4 d6 25.Qe3 Mg8 26.Me2 Nf6 27.Qe7 Nd7 28.Qe8+ Mxe8 29.Mxe8 1-0 [Annotations by Vehre]

Fool's mate

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Fool's mate. Position after Cxc8#

1. Cf4 Qd10 2. Ce6 Qf10 3. Cxc8#

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Tabletop games: Rules and Strategy