So I've recently built and published a chess app, targeted at club chess player (like myself). The goal of the app is to educate and make chess more accessible.

I'm working on an update. One of the new features will involve being able to play chess variants, I'm adding variants which I believe help enhance a certain chess skill (tactics, endgames etc.). These are all variants which I play at chess club (for fun and practice).

A chess variant that I think helps players practice endgames is a variant we play, which we call chess-battleships.

The way it works is each player can only see their half of the board. Both players place a predetermined number of pieces anywhere they want, usually 3/4 pawns and one minor piece, plus their king.

Then the full board is revealed to both players and they play out the equal material endgame. This helps players understand endgames and positional play.

My question is does this chess game have an official name? If not I'd be happy to take suggestions as I'm unable to use the trademarked term "battleships" in my app.

Thanks for your time, Liam

  • I am interested in your app, having always dreamed of writing one myself. I have ideas for chess variants that are especially educational. Can you give a link? Jun 12, 2016 at 15:39
  • @user3456 Awesome! The app's current release doesn't have variants but does a few cool things you won't find elsewhere; such as turn a Chess Game into a GIF. Links: iOS itunes.apple.com/gb/app/chesst/id1106039515?mt=8 | Android play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.liamferris.chesst. If you're interested in any advice about making chess apps you can find my twitter in my app! I'd be happy to help best I can :) Jun 12, 2016 at 22:28
  • Actually, there is an online utility for making animated GIFs from a PGN or directly from an interactive chessboard (apronus.com/chess/wbeditor.php). Unfortunately, I am currently restricted to browser programming, but I am vitally interested in chess variant interfaces, especially those powered by a dedicated engine. Jun 13, 2016 at 11:39
  • @user3456 I'm actually aware of the website. I should've said a few things you wont find elsewhere on mobile or offline :P. Do you mean creating engines to analyse variant positions? I'm pretty interested in that stuff too Jun 13, 2016 at 12:53
  • I am the webmaster of that apronus website. Please contact me by email. We shouldn't discuss this stuff in comments here. Jun 13, 2016 at 20:14

4 Answers 4


This is similar to Crazy Screen Chess:

Screen Chess - Before the game, both players set up their pieces on the last 4 ranks, with the following restrictions: the bishops must be placed on opposite colors, and only 1 pawn can be placed on a file. Once the game starts, the rules are the same as regular chess, with no castling and no en passant.


Crazy Screen Chess - Same as Screen Chess, except with no restrictions on piece placement.

Source: ItsYourTurn.com


It is probably a new Chess Variant not described before (allthough similar elements were used in Chaotenschach in the 1980s).

  • Any name ideas @jknappen? Jun 13, 2016 at 12:53

I would call it a stratego-style chess variant (instead of battleship-style).

For names, my preference is descriptive, and I suggest secret-setup chess.


I'm not sure that this game has a name. But there is a similar game that does called Kriegspiel.

In this variation, each player has the full complement of Black and White pieces in front of them. But they sit back to back, so they can't see each other's moves. You need a third person, an umpire, to tell the two players the consequences of each move: e.g. capture, check, or take it back because it's illegal.

  • 1
    Kriegspiel is an interesting variant but not at all similar: in Liam Ferris's game, once the initial setup is done we're just playing chess, while Kriegspiel almost never reduces to ordinary chess. Sep 5, 2016 at 23:13

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