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My daughter and I have devised a chess variant which we feel works very well: it preserves the basic moves and strategies of chess, yet adds new strategies and considerations. It is a form of "3-D chess", yet not gimicky as the current forms are, possibly because this variant did not start off with the intention to do another "3-D" idea. In fact, the 'stacking' of boards is a late addition to the game and not necessary for the rules to hold. It does help spatially-oriented human minds to relate to the game, though!

In our variant, a transparent (glass) chess board is suspended about 30 cm above another board. Standard gameplay occurs on the top board, with the bottom board initially empty. Whenever a piece is captured on the top board, it is moved to the same position on the bottom board. When the capturing piece later moves off the square, the piece below it (if still there) returns 'up' to the top board. Thus, pieces are 'buried' instead of 'captured'.

If a piece already exists in the relevant position on the bottom board, then that piece is then removed from the bottom board and considered 'captured' in the traditional sense. Thus, each position can have only a single 'buried' piece. Furthermore, all pieces on the bottom board must have an associated piece above them.

The twist is that a player can take his turn on the bottom board instead of the top board only if that move results in a capture. This is a traditional capture: the piece never returns to gameplay. Additionally, the rule that all bottom-board pieces have associated pieces above them is preserved.

The fact that each position (square) can have only a single buried piece makes gameplay very interesting. It becomes strategy to not defend pieces as taking an opponent's piece which just took your own piece will mean that your piece is forever captured. Other interesting strategy aspects emerge, such as 'wormholing' through the bottom board or tricking your opponent into capturing pieces that you prefer to have on the bottom board. Gameplay is much longer, but mistakes are more forgiving. To make it easier to find relative positions on the top and bottom board, the following squares have a small dot in the center of the square:

Chess board with dots

How might we present this variant for others to consider and enjoy?

  • Pay someone to do a new app for it. – SmallChess Jun 22 '15 at 0:44
  • Make the pieces disks as the pieces are in checkers or Xiangqi and you don't need the 2nd board. Decorate the edge of the disks so you know what they are from the side. – Tony Ennis Jun 22 '15 at 3:38
  • @TonyEnnis: That is a terrific idea! I don't like the idea of loosing the terrific traditional statue gamepieces, but alternate disk gamepieces, to be used when a piece is buried, may work. I do have concern that it would make planning strategy on the buried layer more difficult, though, as it woiuld be much harder to visualize. – dotancohen Jun 22 '15 at 5:23
  • How about something more simple, traditional chess pieces with a hole in the top. When the piece is "buried" (I think there must be a better word) then you put a peg in the hole. – Shane Hudson Dec 15 '15 at 1:58
  • @ShaneHudson: The buried pieces have another piece above them. – dotancohen Dec 15 '15 at 10:02
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The canonical site for publishing a new chess variant is https://www.chessvariants.com. Read some of the descriptions there to get a feeling of the format of presentation, register (it's free) and submit your chess variant. They have an intuitive form that helps you in the write-up.

  • That site is horrible, but here is the link for the chess variant in question. Thank you. – dotancohen Jun 25 '15 at 7:18
  • @dotancohen Consider naming your Chess Veriant. Maybe "Burial Chess" for the motive of burying a piece? – jknappen Jun 25 '15 at 7:21
  • Thank you. If I ever come across a synonym for "burial" with positive connotations, that will be the name! – dotancohen Jun 25 '15 at 10:43
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    I've simply called the variant Meirav, after the girl who came up with the idea. – dotancohen Jun 30 '15 at 11:51
  • Nice choice of name for the Chess Variant! – jknappen Jul 2 '15 at 15:54

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