White's back row would look like this: RBNQKNBR and Black's would undergo an equivalent change.

Where can I learn more about this variant/play this variant with someone experienced?

4 Answers 4


Swapping the knights and bishops is one version of displacement chess. I'm not sure what you wish to learn though; the main aim of displacement chess systems, such as Fischer random chess, is to negate the benefit of rote learning. Learning how to play this variant well by studying sounds like a strange goal!

  • 1
    Yes, but I am somewhat of a fanatic, so I am trying to figure whether there is some advantage to doing chess different ways. Imagine fianchettoing to a2! Also, both the fool's and scholar's mates would be impossible!
    – Daniel
    Jun 20, 2011 at 17:35
  • @Daniel so 1 decade later are you/have you been playing 9LX more?
    – BCLC
    Jul 23, 2021 at 14:07

This is one form of Displacement chess, though I don't know that it has its own name, or any sites/books dedicated to studying it.


There is a call for this kind of switch when it is felt that chess is "too well understood."

The first call was about eighty years ago from former world champion Jose R. Capablanca. He embraced a "scientific" form of chess, took it to a high level, and then he (and his admirers) felt that there was little left to learn about in chess.

As it turned out, the Russians came along with a new, fighting, kind of chess that enabled them to defeat the "scientific" players. Only Bobby Fischer, among Americans, was able to play them on their own terms.

It's no accident nowadays that there are new calls for changing the game, because high speed computers like Big Blue have made a science of analyzing the old one. Human masters like Kasparov (a "Russian") now feel inferior to computers at this game.


Here is a photo from a Chess Pioneer (Russia) camp in the 1960s--1970s...notice the pieces are switched, so that White's back rank is, in fact, RBNQKNBR


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