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ChromaChess is played just like the classic game of chess except the pieces are identified by colors rather than shapes. Pawns are green, rooks are orange, knights are blue, bishops are yellow, queens are red and kings are violet.


Green Pawns move forward in a straight line, except when capturing an opponent. On the first move, each green pawn has the option to move one or two spaces; after that, they move only one square at a time. 

To capture opponents, green pawns move a single square diagonally forward. 

When a green pawn reaches the opposite side of the board, it is promoted to a blue knight, a yellow bishop, an orange rook or a red queen. 

Green pawns represent the peasant farmers who serve the kingdom as the frontline army. 

Orange Rooks move in a continuous line straight forward, backward and side-to-side. 


The original Persian name for these pieces was “ruhk” which means “chariot.”


Orange signifies the rapid attack capabilities of these pieces.

Blue Knights move in an “L” pattern: two spaces in a direction forward, backward or side-to-side, and one space at a right-angle turn. 


Blue knights are the only pieces that can jump over other pieces. 


Knights are blue because they serve the king with “true blue” loyalty. 


Yellow Bishops move in continuous diagonal lines forward and backward. 


Bishops are yellow because they provide the court with enlightened counsel. 

Red Queens move in continuous lines forward, backward, side-to-side or diagonally. 


Queens are red because red is the color of passion, beauty and danger. 

Violet Kings move only one square forward, backward, side-to-side or diagonally. 


Kings are violet to symbolize wealth, wisdom and royalty. 

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ChromaChess is played on a regulation-size chessboard. The letters and numbers around the edge are markers for an Algebraic Notation system that indicate each square on the board.


The board is organized by columns and rows; columns are identified by letters a-h and rows are identified by numbers 1-8. 


Before placing pieces on the chessboard, make sure the lower right square for each player is white. 



In ChromaChess, the circular pieces represent the “white” side and the square pieces are the “black” side. When setting up pieces before a game, the circular red queen is always placed on d1 and the square red queen on d8. 


To begin the game, circular pieces always move first. 


En Passant* 


A special move for green pawns to capture other green pawns. It only applies if one player moves a green pawn two spaces and its destination space is next to one of the opponent’s green pawns. The opposing player may capture this pieces and move their green pawn diagonally forward on square. 


This capture must occur immediately after the opponent pieces move. If it is not captured during this turn, it will be safe from the en passant capture rule thereafter. 


*En passant is French for “in passing.” 



During castling, a violet king moves two space toward the orange rook that it will castle and the orange rook is placed on the other side of the violet king.

Castling can occur when:

  • there are no pieces between violet king and the castling-side orange rook

  • violet king and the castling-side orange rook have not moved

  • violet king is not in check

  • violet king does not move through or into check


A check occurs when one player places a piece on a square where they will be able to capture the opponent’s king in the next move.


To get out of check, a player must: 


  • block the check  

  • capture the opponent’s piece that placed the violet king in check 

  • move the violet king to a square that would take it out of check


The game is won when one player places the opponent’s violet king in checkmate.


A violet king is in checkmate when: 

  • the checkmate cannot be blocked 

  • the opponent’s piece that placed the violet king in checkmate cannot be captured 

  • the violet king cannot move to another square that is not under attack


A draw occurs in chess when neither player wins or loses AND the game ends in a tie. Either player can ask for a draw, and after the game each player wins half a point.


Stalemate occurs when a player has no legal moves available. The game ends in a tie and each player is awarded half a point. 


Over the last few years we have corresponded and shared images and prototypes with hundreds of players, teachers, and coaches all over the world. From their feedback, a new and challenging version of chess has emerged. 


The color pieces in ChromaChess shift the focus of the game from one of conflict and battle to a series of intellectual challenges exchanged between players. 


Thanks to everyone who provided feedback. 

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Premiere Edition contains:

  • 32 colorfully painted hardwood game pieces

  • 20" x 20" silicone chessboard 

  • Color key and piece placement guide

  • Nylon zipper bag



© ChromaChess 2019

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