What is CHESS with LOVE?

CHESS with LOVE (CwL) is a Chess variant (made by artist and game designer Ossian Borén) that adds a somewhat simple rule and does some slight changes to the base game, radically changing the way Chess is played and experienced. It turns a strategic game of war into a strategic game of war with respect to one of the most fundamental and unpredictable aspects of life: love!


The rules of CHESS with LOVE are listed below, or can be downloaded in .pdf form here.



The rules of CHESS with LOVE

What is needed?

*or other means of producing a random number between 1 and 8.

Changes in terminology


What does it mean to be in LOVE?

A game of CwL is played like a regular game of Chess, except for the addition of LOVE. During play, a couple of randomly selected pieces will fall in LOVE with each other. These pieces will attract each other and are therefore moved one space towards each other between turns until they lovemate or one of them is killed.


The LOVE phases

CwL has four phases. In the beginning of the game, only pawns can fall in LOVE. In the second phase only the rook, the knight and the bishop may fall in love. In the third phase the generals (the piece formerly known as the queen) fall in love, and in the fourth and final phase, the monarchs (the piece formerly known as the king) fall in love. If a piece in LOVE is killed, a new couple is chosen. A phase will keep going until a couple successfully LOVE-mates or every piece is killed.


How to determine who’s in LOVE

This is where the 8 side die comes into play. For each phase, use the die to produce two random coordinates between 1-8 and A-H. The piece closest to the coordinates (according to phase) on the board is now in LOVE. If two or more pieces are equally close to the coordinates, the one closest to the middle of the board is chosen, and if they are of different colour white is favoured. This procedure is then done again to determine the other piece of the couple. If two or more pieces of different colour are equally close to the the coordinates, the piece with a different colour from the first piece is favoured.

If there are only two of the intended pieces left on the board (as is the third and fourth phase by default), these two are chosen.

If, during the second phase there are only 1 or less of the intended pieces in play, pawns may fall in love as well, and if during the third phase there is only 1 or less general in play, pawns and second phase pieces may fall in love.


The LOVE move

Pieces in LOVE can be moved just as normal, but are pacifist and may not kill another piece, prohibiting such moves.

Whether a piece in LOVE is moved or not, it will do a LOVE move one space closer to it’s loved one each turn, the white moving first (or in any order, should both pieces be of the same colour). If the path between the couple isn’t straight, the pieces move sideways first (the A-H axis), then across the board (the 1-8 axis). A piece in LOVE may however be blocked, as it cannot move to (or jump over) a space already occupied by another piece during the LOVE move, even if that move would normally be a legal capture move. A blocked piece may instead move on the other axis, but never away from its loved one. Pieces may not move diagonally during the LOVE move.


To "lovemate"

Whenever a couple of pieces in LOVE meet (during the LOVE move or through normal move), they lovemate and are taken off the board, then the next phase begins.s. Should the monarchs lovemate, the game ends in a draw. The monarchs may not checkmate each other during the fourth phase, and can as such move next to each other (which would normally be an illegal move that would result in check or checkmate).


Indicating LOVE

It is recommended to indicate the LOVE status of a piece by adding something to its space (like a red marker) or replacing it with a special piece should you have something fitting. Whatever works!

Some of my thoughts on CHESS with LOVE

I consider CwL an artwork of mine, and I hope that you might consider this as well. The original Chess and its pieces might be one of the most important artworks throughout history, and as gaming in general and videogaming in particular slowly enters the contemporary art scene, I am very happy to able to work with this medium.

Initially I wanted to create a variation on any commonly known board game. I wanted to give the playing pieces a little more personality, and while I believe that Chess players in general are very protective of their pieces when playing, I think that they might not care about the pieces as much as the real lives they symbolise. It was during this process that the idea of the LOVE move came into my head, and I decided to make this little expansion.

I hope that you enjoy it, and, as the work is in "beta" status, please feel free to give me any kind of comment on it. I am very eager to hear from you!


You can reach me by e-mail or twitter


Ossian Borén