Exploring the Different Types of Chess Games: A Comprehensive Guide

Did you know there are different types of chess games waiting for us to discover? There’s more to it than the traditional game we all know and love.

For instance, there’s the randomized chess 960 version. Rapid and blitz chess are other types of chess that feature a time-restrained element. Finally, bullet and four-player chess are more exciting versions of the game that aren’t for the light-hearted.

In this article, we’ll explore the 6 main types of chess games. With that said, let’s jump right in.

1. Standard Chess

Standard chess is the classical way of playing chess and is the original version of the game. The time control for classical chess is at least 60 minutes for each player. In most professional chess tournaments, 90 minutes is given for the first 40 moves, followed by 30 minutes for the rest of the game, with an addition of 30 seconds per move starting from move one.

Standard chess is played on a board with 64 squares arranged in an 8×8 grid. The board is typically white and black, although other shades can be used such as blue and white, or brown shades. As long as the color is not too bright.

Each player starts with 16 pieces: eight pawns, two rooks, two knights, two bishops, one queen, and one king. They’re set up in a particular way, with the pawns in the front row and the other pieces behind them.


The main goal of standard or classic chess is to checkmate your opponent’s king. This means when a king is placed in check and has no legal moves to escape. When you checkmate your opponent’s king, the game ends, and you win!


In an official match of standard chess, players shake hands and determine who’ll play as white or black. The pieces are set up in their starting positions on the board.

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A chess clock ensures that each player has a set amount of time to make their moves. The clock starts when the player makes their first move. Then, they stop it by pressing the button on the side of the timer.

2. Chess960

Chess960, also known as Fischer Random Chess, is a distinct variation that offers an unpredictable and unique experience. In this game, the starting position of the pieces on the back rank is randomized, giving players a unique layout to work with.

Backrank is randomized


The goal of chess960 is the same as in classic chess: checkmate your opponent’s King. Yet, the randomized starting location necessitates players to adjust to the new layout of the pieces. It allows them to develop strategic solutions to the game’s difficulties.


Before the game begins, the pieces’ starting position is generated randomly, with a few restrictions to ensure fairness and balance. Typically, a computer program is used to create a random location for the pieces. The players can either agree on a starting spot or use a predetermined one.

3. Rapid Chess

Rapid chess is another variation played with a shorter time restriction. The game is faster and more dynamic than traditional chess because it’s typically played with a time control of 15 to 30 minutes per person.


Rapid chess has the same goal as regular chess, but the time limit is shorter. In some instances, players may also have the option of incrementing their time for each move. Increment is the amount of time added to the clock after each move is made. For example in a 15/10 game, you start with 15 minutes and get 10 seconds.


One trick in this version is to concentrate on developing strategies while creating threats on the board. Because time is restricted, players need to be aggressive and take risks. The quality of rapid chess games compared to classical slightly diminishes as players are given less time to think.

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4. Blitz Chess

This variation is similar to classic chess with the same board and pieces.

However, Blitz is a fast-paced version played with a time limit of 5 minutes or fewer per player. It became popular in the 20th century as players sought to add excitement and intensity to their games.


The goal is to checkmate the opponent’s king. At the same time, the clock is an important factor in these types of formats. If you let your time run out, then you lose the game unless your opponent has insufficient material to checkmate your king. In blitz chess, players have to think and move quickly, making it an exciting and challenging game. 


The rules of blitz chess are the same as standard chess except for the time limit. The game’s fast pace requires players to think and make quick decisions.

If the time expires and a player has not made a move, that player loses the game. In blitz chess, time management is essential, and players have to move quickly to avoid running out of time.

To manage your time properly, consider blitzing out the first few moves of the chess opening. By doing this, you’ll get a head start over your opponent. Also, don’t think for too long unless there is critical or decisive moment in the game. Going into the endgame with a leading time advantage is always favorable. You could still end up winning the game by flagging your opponent even if you have a completely lost position.

5. Bullet Chess

This version is the fastest-paced chess with concise time control, usually less than 3 minutes per player.

The origins of bullet chess can be traced back to the early days of online chess. It allows players worldwide to play against each other in real-time.

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Bullet chess became popular in the early 2000s with the rise of online chess platforms. It has since become a staple of online chess communities.


The objective of bullet chess is the same as standard chess, which is to checkmate your opponent’s king. However, the time limit means that players need to think and move quickly, making it an intense and thrilling version of the game.

In bullet chess, players usually rely on their intuition and experience, as there needs to be more time to calculate complex variations.


The game typically begins with an opening played quickly and decisively, with both players trying to gain an early advantage.

As the game progresses, players should be careful not to make mistakes, as a single blunder can be enough to lose the game.

In bullet chess, aggressive play is often favored over defensive play, as there needs to be more time to build up a solid defense.

6. Four Player Chess

This type of chess variant is played with four people simultaneously. This game is often played online and is one such variant that is growing in popularity. Players can temporarily join forces with other players to attack a common enemy or defend against a shared threat.


Its objective is similar to standard chess, which is to checkmate your opponent’s king. However, the significant difference in this variant is that there are four players instead of two, and each has their own set of opponents to strategize against.


Chess players play this game variant on a custom board, where four players start the game. These players take a turn in a clockwise direction.

Everyone plays individually, and it’s over as soon as a player checkmates one of the other three kings.

Wrapping it up!

Trying out different types of chess games can be beneficial in many ways. It can help players improve their skills, learn new strategies, and enhance their overall understanding of the game.

Believe it or not, chess isn’t just a boring old board game. Many variations keep it exciting and demonstrate how much potential chess has.

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