How do I play chess variants?

There's much more to play on than just... chess! 

Fun chess variants can be a great way to mix things up and apply your chess skills in different and exciting ways.

Where can you play variant chess games?

1) Go to the Live Chess page Menu

Hold your mouse over the "Play" menu and click "Live Chess":

2) Select the Game Type

Click the "game type" dropdown

3) Choose the Variant

Choose the type of variant you'd like to play

For a quick description of the basic goals and differences in each variant compared to traditional chess, simply hold your mouse over the "?" icon to get a brief pop-up description:

Each variant is explained in the "?" symbol at the right side

Types of variants


Bughouse is a variant of chess played by four players on two chessboards. Captured pieces may then be placed on an empty square by the partner on their turn. Click here for more details and the full rules, and Click here for Tips for Beginners


Crazyhouse is a variant which follows most of the normal rules of chess, except that captured pieces can be reintroduced to the board on your turn. The pieces move the same way that they do in traditional chess. Click here for more details and the full rules.


3-Check is a simple variant with one clear task in mind: Check the king as many times as you can! Normal rules apply, but you can also win (or lose!) a game by checking (or getting checked) 3 times in total. Click here for more details and the full rules.

King of the Hill

King of the Hill or "KOTH" is an exciting variant in which the goal is to get your king to the center of the board or "top of the hill.'' Click here for more details and the full rules.

Chess960 (Fischer Random)

Chess960, or Fischer Random, is a variant invented by the late World Champion Bobby Fischer. The rules of the game are the same as standard chess, but in an effort to reduce the impact of opening theory, the pieces have been randomly shuffled on each player's back rank. Click here for more details and the full rules.

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