Wild Castle

This is a shuffle variant of normal Chess, which preserves the possibility to do sort of conventional castling, by starting Rooks always in he corner, and the King on the central files. When played on an Internet Chess Server, the King can also start on the d-file, and you can castle from there. This adds nothing to the game, though, it just produces mirror images of other start positions. So in local mode XBoard does not bother to do this.

Initial setup

There is no fixed setup; the back-rank pieces are randomly shuffled with certain restrictions. Black's setup is the mirror image of white's, though.

e1, e8: King
a1, a8, h1, h8: Rook
a2-j2, a7-j7: Pawns

In addition both sides have:

1 Queen
2 Bishops
2 Knights

The Bishops will start on opposite colors.

Moves at a Glance

Click on a piece below to see its moves

Sliding capture or non-capture,
can be blocked on any square along the ray
Unblockable leap (capture or non-capture)
Non-capture only
Capture only


Piece ID value Moves (Betza notation) Remarks
King K - K Can castle with Rook, moving 2 steps towards it
Queen Q 9.5 RB or Q
Rook R 5 R
Bishop B 3.25 B Color-bound
Knight N 3.25 N
Pawn P 1 mfWcfF Promotes to Q, R, B, or N on reaching last rank

Pawn peculiarities


A King that has not moved before can move two squares in the direction of a Rook that has not moved before, in which case that Rook is moved to the square the King skipped over. This is only allowed if all squares between King and Rook are empty, when the King is not in check on the square it came from, and would not be in check on any of the squares it skipped over.

General rules

Differences with FIDE

The Queen, Bishops and Knights are randomly shuffled on the back rank in the opening setup.

Strategy issues

It is not possible to force checkmate on a bare King with just a single Bishop or Knight (in addition to your own King). Two Knights cannot do that either.

Bishops are confined to squares of a single color. Having Bishops on both colors compensates this weakness, and is worth an extra 0.5 on top of their added value.