Question arose with a friend when he he posted this picture on his blog.

Is there a game where you could configure a game with the pieces like this? I know it is a bit odd, but he and I suspected it would be a somewhat fun diversion to actually play that board. Obviously you could do it with a physical board, but I usually play online or on my phone.

  • Intresting question although I would not use it for such sillyness :) I had such programs on other computers with older operating systems and I found them via google , chess.com and some forums. And they were free. Do not know about now but have you googled yet ?
    – mick
    Commented Oct 12, 2012 at 15:40
  • yeah I tried googling but to much noise, maybe not using the right terms, i keep getting custom made chess sets etc.
    – Pentomax
    Commented Oct 12, 2012 at 15:45
  • Have you tried chessbase ?
    – mick
    Commented Oct 12, 2012 at 15:49

5 Answers 5


You can use Xboard/Winboard depending of the OS you have and uncheck the option "Test Legality" at the general options menu, I did it myself with in my Xbord/Linux configuration and this is it:

enter image description here


Yes, the very popular lichess website has a mobile app with a board editor that would allow you to setup this position and pretend to play.

Here's a screenshot of the board editor:

Board Editor for Lichess mobile app

You may also want to look into "Horde" chess, which is a similar variant to what your friend posted. From this site: https://en.lichess.org/variant/horde:

Horde chess is a variant where the white side has a lot of Pawns (36 to be exact) (therefore shortnamed "the Pawns") and the black side ("The Pieces") needs to destroy the Horde to win.

All pieces moves similar to standard chess. In other words, a move is legal if and only if it is legal in standard chess for a similar position. There is an exception for the Pawns.

The Pieces wins by capturing all the Pawns. This includes pieces promoted from the Pawns.

The Pawns wins by checkmating the King of the Pieces. Pawns on the first rank may move two squares, similar to Pawns on the second rank. However, Pawns of the Pieces may not capture Pawns on the first rank that has moved two squares, as it is not a valid en passant capture.


Almost any commercially decent chess software allows you to set up your own position.

Chessbase, crafty, and numerous other chess engines allow you to do that. However, in the picture that you have posted, there are more than 16 pieces of one color. Since this is not possible in a real chess game (not matter how wild) most of these engines will reject the position as being 'illegal.'

If a position is legal, you can set it up as the starting point and play against a computer engine, or get an evaluation for that position.

Hope that helps.


http://www.apronus.com/chess/wbeditor.php allows you to set up any illegal position and then you can create an image of the diagram to share or you can create a link to that position and use the link in a post or in an email, effectively allowing you to play any chesslike game by exchanging such links with your online partner.


I still don't have the ability to comment so I'll have to make this an answer, but Lichess has a variant somewhat similar to what your looking for called Horde. It's 36 pawns against a normal starting side.

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