Discover our new fun options: Duck Chess, Seirawan Chess and Setup Chess

Chess.com is pleased to announce that you can now play three exciting new chess variations on our site: Duck Chess, Seirawan Chess, and Setup Chess. Head over to our Options page to try them out now!

Our list of options gives players a chance to enjoy chess in a new way. These options will give fans the pleasure of playing a different game while maintaining the familiar feeling of playing chess.

Interested in learning more about these options? Here’s how they work:


duck chess

Don’t be surprised if you see a rubber duck on your timeline these days. Invented in 2016 by Dr. Tim Polden, Duck Chess recently went viral and created a huge buzz. Hikaru Nakamura, Eric Rosen, Levi Roseman, and Anna Kramling are among the many streamers who have tested this option live during their shows.

This variant follows almost all the standard chess rules, with two differences: first, there is no checkmate – players must capture the king to win. Then (and above all), this variant introduces a dynamic element: a rubber duck that blocks one square per turn. Both players must move the duck on the board after making their move.

Duck Chess on Chess.com

β€œIt’s so confusing. The duck adds a whole new level of complexity,” Rosen said during one of his streams. Indeed, the duck opens up a whole host of new tactics (or “quaactics” as some members of the community call them), preventing re-draws, releasing pins, blocking pieces, and more! With wild matchups and a new world of tactics at your fingertips, it’s no wonder this option has captured the hearts of everyone who’s tried it.

It’s so confusing. The duck adds a whole new level of difficulty.
β€” M. I. Eric Rosen

Do you think you can shoot your opponent in Duck Chess? Click the button below to play the game and find out! And if you like this option, consider supporting its creator here or purchasing Duck Chess merchandise.

Seiravan chess

Lamenting the increase in the number of draws and the decrease in new ideas in chess, Grandmaster Yasser Seiravan proposed a new option. Inspired by Capablanca Chess, it introduced two new pieces to the game: the elephant and the falcon.

The elephant combines the movements of the rider and tours. The falcon flies across the board using a combination of horse and elephant movements. However, the real innovation of Seirawan is how these parts come into play.

Seirawan Chess on Chess.com

Unlike Capablanca Chess, the game is played on a regular 8×8 board instead of the enlarged 10×8 board. Players start the game with an elephant and a falcon set aside and can place them on the board when they develop one of their regular pieces. When a normal piece leaves its starting place, the player can place an elephant or a falcon on it.

Placing the hawk on Seirawan Chess

According to Seiravan, his version preserves the harmony of chess while adding many new ideas to the game thanks to the incredible power of the two new pieces. Yaser even provides some interesting examples to demonstrate the new tactic that comes with the two extra pieces.

Below you can see a forced checkmate with only rook and king against king and rook. Watch the falcon fly from the white square to the black square to grab the tower with its talons and then deliver the finishing blow in just six hits.

Seirawan Chess Study 1

Seiravan also shows another forced victory over king and rook, this time with a mighty bishop:

Seirawan Chess Study 2

Below you can see an old video of Seiravan himself discussing his option:

Can’t wait to try these two new products? Click the button below to play Seirawan Chess!

Chess settings

Have you ever wondered what would happen if you could customize a chessboard your way? This is exactly what you can do with a variation of chess settings, where the action starts before the very first move.

Players start the game with 39 material points each. They take turns establishing the initial position of their pieces and spending their material points as they wish. Do you want to play with a standard set of pieces or do you want to have extra pawns and knights? Do whatever you want with Setup Chess!

Set up Chess on Chess.com

Players can place pawns in the second and third rows, and all other pieces in the first three rows. When both players have spent their points, they begin the battle as normal.

Setting up a chess mittelspiel

Want to customize your own startup configuration? Click the button below to check out this creative option!

Head over to our Variations page for off-the-beaten-path chess fun!

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