Small World™

SmallWorld™ is a super-fun chess variant created by Chess Power. And it is super-fast to play too. SmallWorld™ is played on a 5x5 board. You can use a normal chess board if you like, but just use one of the corners of the board.  

Castling is not allowed. And pawns can only move one space on their first move. Other than those limitations, all the normal rules of chess apply. White can promote his/her pawns by reaching the 5th rank, and equally black can promote by reaching the 1st rank.

In SmallWorld™ each player starts with one of each type of chess piece: one rook, one knight, one bishop, one queen, one king and five pawns.

To start the game, Black shuffles the black pieces in a random order to their choosing similar to Fischer-Random Chess. White then copies Black's shuffled set-up. White then starts. Just as in standard chess, you win the game by check-mating your opponent.


SmallWorld™ is a fun and challenging version of Chess that is fast to play. The original purpose of SmallWorld™ is for beginners to become familiar with each chess piece, how they move and the dynamics between pieces and pawns. However, SmallWorld™ is challenging even for experienced chess players. A major theme in SmallWorld™ is preventing your opponent from playing actively and limiting their pieces.

SmallWorld™ was created by Paul Macdonald, the founder of Chess Power. Acknowledgements to Martin Gardner, the creator of Gardner minichess. Paul found out after creating SmallWorld that a similar game was created by Martin Gardner all the way back in 1969! Essentially SmallWorld™ is a Fischer-Random version of Gardner minichess.

Here is an example game of SmallWorld™

Goliath the Giant turns up to the Lilliput Open and finds himself facing none other the Gulliver! Goliath knows who tricky Gulliver is, so decides to jump onto the attack from the very first move.

Black begins by shuffling his pieces on the back rank. White copies the setup.


Small World™ example starting position

White starts the game by moving his pawn from b2-b3.


Small World™ first white move

And Black replies by capturing the b3-pawn with his a-pawn.

2...      axb3

Small World™ first black move

Surprisingly, White doesn't take the pawn back and instead pushes his e-pawn from e2-e3. Notice how black's d4-pawn is pinned and cannot move because of the white bishop on a1.


Small World™ second white move

Black replies with a counter-punch of his own pushing the c-pawn and at the same time blocking the a1-bishop from attacking his king.

2...     c4-c3

Small World™ second black move

White aims to expose the black king and captures the d4-pawn with check!

3. exd4+

Small World™ third white move

Black has no choice. The king must recapture the pawn.

3...     Kxd4

Small World™ third black move

White attempts to attack the black king again with another check.

4. dxc3+

Small World™ fourth white move

And Black re-captures the c3-pawn using his b-pawn.

4...     bxc3

Small World™ fourth black move

White has prepared a clever response. He finally re-captures the b3-pawn using his c2-pawn and at the same time opens an attack from his rook on black's c3-pawn. Note White's bishop, rook and knight are all focussed on the black c3-pawn.

5. cxb3

Small World™ fifth white move

Black sees an opportunity to activate his queen. The idea is if white trades queens, black can recapture with the e4-pawn and black will then have two dangerous passed pawns threatening to promote. 

5...     Qd3

Small World™ fifth black move

White sees a chance to open the game further and deliver a double attack. He pushes his b3 pawn to b4, attacking both the black's bishop and rook. But it turns out this is a huge blunder. Can you see why?


Small World™ sixth white move

Black completely surprises his opponent with a queen checkmate! Goliath realises his mistake but it is too late! Gulliver is so tricky!!

6...     Qd2 #

Small World™ sixth black move

Here is the full notation of the game.

Goliath - Gulliver
Lilliput Open 2020
1.b3 axb3
2.e3 c3
3.exd4+ Kxd4
4.dxc3+ bxc3
5.cxb3 Qd3
6.b4?? Qd2#

Give SmallWorld™ a try. It is a lot of fun to play and you are guaranteed a super-fast exciting game. If you have any questions or you would like to send us one of your amazing games, email

© Copyright Chess Power Ltd - Site map
Phone: 0800 424 377 New Zealand

Edit Website