Penalty Box Chess
Chess game and play clock with the pieces in t...

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What is “Penalty Box Chess”? It is a variation on normal chess created by Ben Allen and myself.

What you need:

  • A Normal Chess Set
  • The Normal Chess Pieces
  • A Quarter
  • A Separate Area, Apart From Where the Captured Pieces Are

The Setup:

Well, this is quite easy. Just set up the chess board as you would for a regular game, ONLY with the quarter in the exact center of the chess board, on the 4 corners of the 4 center squares.

The Starting Move:

Well, white goes first, as normal, but they have an option. In lieu of moving a piece, they can move the quarter into any place among the circle in this diagram. The Red X is the quarter, and the green boxes are legal moves:

After its first move, the penalty box then moves like a knight.

The Continuing Play:

After the opening moves, the play continues like a normal chess game, with normal captures, however, the penalty box can help change that. As I mentioned before, the Penalty Box moves like a knight. If it is moved to a square with a piece on it, it goes into the “Penalty Box”, the separate area. There is only room for one piece in the box, and if there is another piece in there, the mover of the quarter gets to take the other piece out, place it wherever they feel like, even if it’s the opponent’s piece, and put the new piece in. There are no rules on where the piece has to be put. The placement can even cause checkmate to occur. The only real restriction is that it has to be an empty square. Since the penalty box has so much of an impact, there are some rules that spring about:
When a piece goes into the box, it is still in play. Thus, if a king goes into the box, the game is not won.  Actually, since to win a game of chess, one needs to checkmate the other, and if one side doesn‘t have a king, they are invincible for a short time. (As such, some people do not use this rule, and if Dual Penalty Box is played, the rule is abolished.)
If a space is open, and a pawn comes out of the box, it can be placed on the first row of the opponent. If this happens, as in a normal game of chess, the controller of the pawn’s color gets to choose what piece it acts like. However, if the pawn is either captured or goes back into the penalty box, it returns to its natural state as a pawn.
If so desired, one can move their piece directly into the box. One exception; a pawn may either go into the box normally, or it can also go diagonally, as if making an attack.
If the king comes out of the box, one piece that has been captured can also come out. When the king returns to the board, the player that controls the color of the king can choose what piece that has been captured by an opponent, and the king’s controller can place it anywhere on the board. The pawn rule above still is in effect. If the opponent moves the box to another square with a piece in it, and takes out the king, they get to choose where the king itself goes, but not the free piece. The free piece rule is only waived if there have been no captures at that time.
Note: If your opponent places you in checkmate by taking the king out of the penalty box, the only move you can make is to block the mate, if possible. You may not use the free piece to put the other player in checkmate! Only one mate at a time is allowed! The box can block a check. If the king is in check, the box can be moved into the path of the piece checking the king, thus preventing the”Dual”>

Rules for Dual Play:

“Penalty Box” can also be played in a version with four players. There are no teams, however; when one person wins, the others all lose. The play continues as the normal singular chess does, but some rules also appear:
You need 2 sets, 2 sets of pieces, and 2 quarters (duh). There is one SHARED penalty box. The same rules apply. There is only room for one piece at a time, so when a piece goes into it, it is legal for the other board to take it, thus giving them 2 queens for example, or 3 rooks, 4 bishops, etc. The King CANNOT go into the penalty box. With the King in the Box rule active, it becomes rather more complicated, and it just doesn‘t work. Also, this means that once something is captured, it’s GONE!

The Ben Variant:

  • Pieces CANNOT move over the penalty box.
  • Pawns cannot move straight into the penalty box: they have to move diagonally (i.e. capture)
  • A promoted pawn remains whatever it was promoted to if it goes into the penalty box, but reverts to a pawn if captured (so that you can’t abuse the “king rescue” thing)


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