Other Forms of Chess
There are other games that use most of the rules of chess and the same equipment. Some of these are popular, and some have been almost forgotten. Others are being invented as you read.
Very popular with the younger crowd, this version of chess requires two boards, two sets, and four players. It is real team chess, with each team consisting of two players. One plays White on one board, while the other plays Black on the other board. When a piece or pawn is captured, it does not simply leave the board. It becomes the property of your teammate. When you have acquired extra pieces or pawns in this way, you can use one of them by placing it anywhere on the board (with certain restrictions) in place of making a normal move.
There are thousands of chess variants, ranging from three-dimensional chess to versions that add squares to the board and pieces to the set. Older versions also exist, such as Chinese and Japanese chess, which are closer to the original Indian or Persian game. But none of them has gathered the great popularity of the royal game that we all know.
This is chess with a different starting position. A computer will generate your starting position, which can be almost anything as long as the pieces begin on the first and eighth ranks and the pawns begin on the seventh and second ranks. Certain restrictions apply to castling and the bishops must be on opposite colors.
Another, similar, idea is called prechess. The game begins with only the pawns on the board, and each player's first eight moves consist of placing his pieces somewhere on the first rank (for White) or the eighth rank (for Black). Again, the bishops must occupy opposite color squares.
The reason for these variations is simply that openings have been studied so intensely for the last couple hundred years that many players feel this tremendous body of knowledge takes away any possible creativity in the openings.
In this version, the object of the game is not checkmate. Rather, the object is to give away every piece and pawn. Besides being able to ignore check and checkmate with impunity, the other peculiarity of giveaway is that captures are mandatory.