chess variant needs more play testing. It may evolve
Bigger than bigger ! This is a Chess variant with 26 different
pieces on a 16 x 16 board, an unrealistic summum.
There are 256 squares and 64 pieces per side which gives the same
density than for Orthodox Chess.
In Terachess one will find again 26 kinds of men encountered in Shako
, Tamerlane 2000, Metamachy.
The first Terachess has been designed in 2008 and found a certain
- It has been included in the second version of Jocly, which is
now no more supported, but it remains possible to play it on
this link (Thanks to Ed Trice).
- A full set has been manufactured by Khoa Pham in Vietnam who
untitled it Fairy
Chess, the Mother of all Battles.
- Its openings have been studied in Japan, within a detailed
blog linked here.
- In 2013, the rule for promotion of short-range pieces had been
If you come here for this 2008/2013 version, you will find it at
the bottom of this page.
In 2020, Terachess has evolved to Terachess II in order to be
consistent with my other chess variants. Several changes have been
made. The Ship and the Corporal are no more used. On the opposite
all compound pieces that can be made by combining the moves of
Rook, Bishop, Knight and King are now present. Except the King and
the Amazon, all not-Pawn pieces are present as pairs.
Terachess II is the most complex stage of a series:
The board is a 16 x 16 checkered squares with a white one at the
right end of each player.
There are 64 pieces per side.
The pieces are:
- 2 Sorceress, 2 Duchess, 2 Buffalos, 2 Cardinals, 2 Marshals, 2
Missionaries, 2 Centaurs, and 2 Admirals on 1st row
- 1 King, 1 Amazon, 2 Lions, 2 Crocodiles, 2 Rhinoceros, 2
Squirrels, 2 Giraffes, 2 Camels, and 2 Cannons on 2nd row
- 2 Queens, 2 Eagles, 2 Princes, 2 Machines, 2 Bishops, 2
Knights, 2 Rooks, and 2 Elephants on 3rd row,
- 16 Pawns on 4th row.
The white King is placed on the center of the second row on a
black square, the black King being on a white square. The Amazon
lays beside the King. The other pieces are arranged as on the
Moves And Captures
In Terachess, all short-range pieces are promoted when they get
to the opposite side of the board (on their last row). This
applies to the Pawn and to 16 other pieces!
- Knight: he moves exactly as in usual
Chess and is promoted to a Buffalo on the last row.
- Rook: it moves exactly as in usual
Chess, except there is no castling at Terachess.
- Pawn: it moves as in Metamachy,
not as is usual Chess. It can move straight forward one or two
square from any position on the board, without capturing. It
captures one square diagonally forward. When it reaches the
last row it promotes to a Queen, and nothing else.
- Prince: as in Metamachy.
He moves and captures one square in any direction like a King,
but without being hindered by check. Like the Pawn, he can also
move without capturing to the second square straight ahead from
any position on the board. When he reaches the last row it
promotes to an Amazon, and nothing else.
- Elephant: as in Shako
and Metamachy. It moves one or two
squares diagonally. When an Elephant moves two squares, no
matter what intermediate squares contain. Note that it always
stays on the same color of square. When it reaches the last
row it promotes to a Lion.
- Machine: as in Zanzibar.
It as it moves one or two squares on the rows or the columns.
When an Elephant moves two squares, no matter what intermediate
squares contain. When it reaches the last row it promotes to
- Camel: as in Metamachy.
It jumps to the opposite square of a 2x4 rectangle, like an
extended Knight. No matter what intermediate squares contain. It
is also described as a (3,1) leaper. Note that it always stays
on the same color of square. When it reaches the last row it
promotes to a Buffalo.
- Giraffe: as in Zanzibar.
It jumps to the opposite square of a 3x4 rectangle, like an
extended Knight. No matter what intermediate squares contain. It
is also described as a (3,2) leaper. Note that it always changes
the same color of its square. Under the name of Zebra, it is
also a fairy piece used by problemists for compositions. When
it reaches the last row it promotes to a Buffalo.
- Cannon: exactly as in in Xiangqi.
Also in Shako and Metamachy.
It moves without taking like a Rook, but it takes by going in a
straight horizontal and vertical line and jumping over exactly
one piece. When a Cannon takes a piece, there must be exactly
one piece between the original and final square of the Cannon's
move - this piece may be of either color.
- Lion: exactly as in Metamachy.
It moves as a King (a single step move in any direction), or may
jump to a position two squares away, jumping in any orthogonal
or diagonal direction, or jumping as a Knight.
- Eagle: exactly as in Metamachy.
It moves one square diagonally and then, slides away of an
indefinite number of squares vertically or horizontally. It is
authorized to go only one square diagonal. It can not jump and
the unobstructed path must start with the diagonal movement.
- Rhinoceros: as in Zanzibar.
It moves one square vertically or horizontally and then, slides
away of an indefinite number of squares diagonally. It is
authorized to go only one square in line or column. It can not
jump and the unobstructed path must start with the orthogonal
movement. It is a counterpart of the Eagle.
- Buffalo: as in Zanzibar.
It combines the leaps of the Knight (2,1 leaper), the Camel (3,1
leaper) and the Giraffe (3,2 leaper).
- Crocodile: as in Zanzibar.
It is the diagonal counterpart of the Chinese Cannon. It moves
like a Bishop and needs an intermediate piece between itself and
its victim to capture it. The Crocodile jumps the intermediate
and takes the victim on its square. The intermediate is left
unaffected. Also known as Vao by problemists.
- Marshal: it combines the move of Rook
and Knight. As in Zanzibar.
- Cardinal: it combines the move of Bishop and
Knight. As in Zanzibar.
- Amazon: it combines the move of Queen and
Knight. An old idea, used by Russians instead of the Queen in
the 18th century. As in Gigachess.
- Centaur: it is another compound piece that
moves as a Knight or a non-royal King. Being a short-range
piece, it promotes to a Lion when it reaches the last row.
- Admiral: it is another compound piece that
moves as a Rook or a non-royal King. That means that it is a
Rook that can also step one space diagonally. It corresponds to
the Dragon King that is found in Shogi.
- Missionary: it is another compound piece that
moves as a Bishop or a non-royal King. That means that it is a
Bishop that can also step one space orthogonally. It corresponds
to the Dragon Horse that is found in Shogi.
- Squirrel: also a compound piece that jumps as a
Knight or jumps at 2 squares, diagonally (a move called Alfil)
or orthogonally (a move called Dabbaba). It promotes
to a Lion when it reaches the last row. (The Squirrel
has been introduced instead of the Troll in May 2021)
- Sorceress: it moves like a Queen and
needs an intermediate piece between itself and its victim to
capture it. The Sorceress jumps the intermediate and takes the
victim on its square. The intermediate is left unaffected. Like
the Queen is Bishop + Rook, the Sorceress is Cannon + Crocodile.
As in Zanzibar.
- Duchess: it moves as a limited Queen, one, two
or three squares in any straight directions. When moving two or
three squares, it may jump and it does not matter what
intermediate squares contain. As in Zanzibar.
Promotions: summary table
A piece obtains a promotion when reaching the farthest row.
Promotion is compulsory and cannot be refused.
- Castling: there is
no castling in Terachess.
- End Of Game:
Victory is obtained when the
opposite King is checkmated. All other types of endgame (pat,
perpetual check,...) are classic.
The pieces are
- 1 Amazon, 1 Marshal, 1 Cardinal, 1 Sorceress, 1 Rhinoceros, 1
Buffalo, 2 Cannons, 2 Giraffes,
2 Crocodiles, 2 Camels, 2 Gazelles on 1st row,
- 1 Lion, 1 Eagle and 14 Corporals on 2nd row,
- 1 King, 1 Queen, 2 Princes, 2 Ships, 2 Bishops, 2 Knights, 2
Rooks, 2 Machines,
2 Elephants on 3rd row,
- 16 Pawns on 4th row.
The white King is placed on the center of the third row on a
black square, the black King being on a white square. The Queen
lays beside the King. The Eagle is just behind the King, and the
Lion is beside the Queen. They are the only major pieces on the
second raw, the rest being populated by the Corporals. On the 1st
row, the Amazon is in the back line of the King and commands a
side with Marshal and Cardinal. On the opposite side, there is the
Sorceress on Queen side with Rhinoceros and Buffalo.
Terachess-I (now obsolete)
Moves And Captures
Some of the pieces that were used for Terachess-I have been given
a new name in Terachess-II in order to cope with a consistent
system along with the other chessvariants of this author.
- originally the Eagle was called a Gryphon. The move was
- originally the Sorceress was called a Star. The move was
- originally the Crocodile was called a Bow. The move was
- originally the Giraffe was called a Bull. The move was
- the move of Rhinoceros has been slightly modified to be the
real counterpart of the Cannon. Before, the Rhinoceros jumped as
a Knight before sliding diagonally away, therefore it could not
move one step orthogonally. This was the exact move of the Unicornio
from Grant Acedrex.
In addition, Terachess-I had three pieces that have been
withdrawn in Terachess-II:
- Corporal: an extended Pawn. He can advance one or two
square from any position on the board and its capturing move is
one square diagonally forward. The improvement is that the
Corporal can also advance 1 step diagonally forward. (So, with
or without capturing). The Corporal can take en-passant every
time an opposite Pawn or Corporal or Prince has advanced two
squares. Promotes to Queen on last row.
- Ship: originally invented for Tamerlane
2000, it moves one square diagonally and then, goes away
of an indefinite number of squares vertically, never
horizontally. It can move one square diagonally only. It can not
jump and must begin its move with the diagonal step. The Ship is
more limited than the Eagle (which can move horizontally). When
the Ship reaches the last row it promotes to an Eagle.
Another piece tested then abandoned
on Terachess-II was the Troll:
- Troll: it jumps 3 step orthogonally or
diagonally. No matter what intermediate squares contain. In
addition, it moves and captures like a Pawn. This permits
the Troll to reach any square on the board. No e.p. It
promotes to a Queen if it reaches the back row of the
opponent with a "Pawn" move, i.e. not by jumping. It does
not promote by reaching the opponent's back row with a jump.
Zillions gives these average values, normalized to 5 for the Rook
Pawn: 0.5, Giraffe: 1.7, Camel: 1.8, Elephant: 2, Knight: 2,
Machine: 2.2, Prince: 2.3, Crocodile: 3.3, Bishop: 3.4,
Squirrel: 3.9, Centaur: 4.1, Missionary: 4.4, Cannon: 5, Rook:
5, Cardinal: 5.3, Buffalo: 5.4, Duchess: 5.8, Lion: 6, Admiral:
6, Rhinoceros: 6.1, Marshal: 6.9, Sorceress: 8.2, Queen: 8.3,
Eagle: 8.4, Amazon: 10.2
These values are just given for a very rough
estimate. A lot of players would disagree and give less or more
points to several piece. Never mind, make your own scale.
Terachess (-I) has been manufactured by Khoa Pham in Vietnam. Few
details have changed and the game renamed Fairy
Chess, but it is the same. The pieces are wonderful.
in the Chess Variant Pages
There is a preset
to play it there.
"Tera" c'est encore plus grand ! Démesurément inouï. L'échiquier
présente 16 x 16 cases et il y a 64 pièces par joueur, soit 4 fois
plus que pour les échecs réguliers.
Il y a 26 types de pièces différents: les 6 classiques, et 20
déjà rencontrées sur les autres variantes de ce site. Comme
toujours, toutes ces pièces sont faciles à se remémorer et ne
posent aucun problème au joueur classique qui voudra s'amuser.
La densité (nombre de pièces / nombre de cases) est de 1/2 comme
pour les échecs orthodoxes.