Racing Kings

This variation game was first introduced to me by the great Wizard extraordinaire, Tim Dobbs, who is one of our Program Directors here at Chess Wizards. I don’t claim he’s the one who invented it, but he gets the credit for bringing this fun, challenging chess game to our classrooms.

Here’s what a starting configuration looks like:

Racing Kings - Chess Wizards Variation Game

The Rules

  1.        The first person to get their King to the 8th rank wins.
  2.        Since White moves first, if both Kings reach rank 8 on the same turn, the game is a draw.
  3.        The King can be captured just like any other piece. If your King is captured, the best you can do is a draw (by capturing the other King… practice your checkmate skills!).
  4.        Start with Level 1, then Level 2 to increase the challenge. You can add more pieces to add a huge number of variations to this, but no captures should be available on the first move and the starting positions should be symmetrical.


Alternative Dimension Rule: The Ghost King Version

  1.        Rules 1 and 2 from the regular rules still apply.
  2.        The King is off limits. He cannot be captured or capture other pieces.
  3.        You cannot put the other King in check (ghosts don’t like to be seen). You may not move into check, either. That is because the other pieces have proton packs, and we all know that ghosts don’t like proton packs.


A Note About Variation Games – Dealing With The Chronically Boring

Variation games are fun and help kids think about chess in a creative way. It improves their interest in the game and boosts their imagination. Tell this in a diplomatic way to any of the Chronically Boring who may give you a hard time about this ‘not being chess.’ They deserve our sympathy – they probably don’t even notice when everyone’s eyes glaze over every time they talk.