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A chess variant (or unorthodox chess) is a game "related to, derived from, or inspired by chess". The difference from chess might include one or more of the following:different rules for capture, move order, game objective, etc.;addition, substitution, or removal of pieces in standard chess (non-standard pieces are known as fairy pieces);different chessboard (larger or smaller, non-square board shape, or different intra-board cell shapes such as hexagons).
Regional chess games, some of which are older than Western chess, such as chaturanga, shatranj, shogi, and xiangqi, are typically called chess variants in the Western world even though they are not derived from, or inspired by, western chess. They have some similarities to chess and share a common game ancestor.
The number of possible chess variants is extraordinarily huge. Confining the number to published variants, D. B. Pritchard, author of The Encyclopedia of Chess Variants, estimates that there are well over 2,000.
In the context of chess problems, chess variants are called fairy chess, fantasy chess, or heterodox chess. Some chess variants are used only in problem composition and not in actual play.