Alternative chessboard setups have existed for a long time. However, their popularity has been increasing rapidly over the past few years. Some people outright prefer Bughouse, Atomic, and Antichess to the original. But there is something timeless and elegant about the latter. Eventually, even the most forward-thinking players rediscover it and go back to the roots. Unfortunately, they often realize that overindulging in crazy variations has been detrimental to their proficiency. Sometimes, the changes are so dramatic that getting rusty at regular playstyles is inevitable. Nevertheless, there are ways to enjoy unconventional rulesets and benefit in the long-term. This article aims to show enthusiasts how to play chess variants without losing their edge. Discover 5 specific examples and learn how helpful they can be.
There are infinite possibilities when it comes to modifying standard rules. The degree to which they deviate from established conventions varies drastically. The key is to find a reimagining that retains the core principles with minor adjustments. There are several options that fit the bill:
- 4-Player Chess is exactly what it sounds like. It’s the good old familiar pastime, only with 2 more participants. Every other aspect is the same. The resulting free-for-all is extremely stimulating, and often hilarious. The downside is that it requires a special 4-sided board with additional pieces.
- Crazyhouse looks nearly identical to traditional chess at first glance. But there is one exception that makes all the difference. After capturing an enemy unit, the victor can reintroduce it as their own.
- King of the Hill introduces another way of achieving victory. A daring individual can move their King to one of the four central squares. If they succeed, they win instantly. But normal checkmates are valid just the same.
- 3-Check Chess rewards aggressive tactics. Check the leader of the opponent’s army thrice to defeat them.
- Chess960, invented by Bobby Fischer, is quite ingenious. The idea is to randomize the starting positions in the first row. White arranges them however they see fit, with a few caveats. Their Bishops must occupy differently colored cells, and the King must reside between the Rooks. This negates the advantages of having countless openings memorized. The opposing sides have to rely solely on their skill and strategic thinking.
These modifications are very close to their common ancestor. As a result, they all create amazing opportunities for practice while being highly amusing.
How to Play Chess Variants Online
Excited to explore all the fresh interpretations, newcomers tend to forget an important detail. They need a partner, sometimes several, who share their interest. Arranging such a session in real life is easier said than done. Thankfully, modern technology renders this problem obsolete. Connecting to a multiplayer lobby through a dedicated website is super convenient. The system automatically matches the interested parties, and moments later, the round begins. To ensure optimal performance, opt for a capable browser, like Chrome or Firefox. Having access to a stable broadband Internet connection is also desirable. Other than that, simply choose any mode out of the available selection, and have fun.
The 15-th century tabletop is more relevant than ever. Being good at it is a testament to a person’s intellect and decision-making abilities. Even in its ordinary state, it’s intellectually demanding as it is. Figuring out how to play chess variants can make things way more confusing. But the aforementioned spins on the formula treat their precursor with respect. They provide a refreshing perspective on the activity without transforming it beyond recognition. Try them out to shake things up and reach new heights of mastery.