Cosplay Chess

Want to see two mindful masters play a strategic battle of wits as your favorite warriors battle it all out? Cosplay Chess is turning chess into an epic battle as your favorite characters go head to head. It's all played out by attendees, and none of it is scripted. Come be a part of the action, or sit back and enjoy the show!

Rules listed below were for Kumoricon 2023 Cosplay Chess. Rules may be changed before applications for 2024 Cosplay Chess open. Please review the final rules before applying.


The event is open to all registered convention attendees. You must have a valid Kumoricon badge for the day of the match.

Kumoricon staff may participate if it does not conflict with their staff responsibilities.

How to participate

The participants in the chess match are chosen from among the convention attendees. No knowledge of how to play chess is required—the two chess masters will direct your movements. If you are interested in participating, you must submit an application, along with an image of your costume. Applications for Cosplay Chess are not first-come, first-served; participants will be selected based on the popularity of the characters, as well as the quality of the costumes. Be certain to read the event rules before you submit your application.

There will only be one match for 2023, the daytime match on Sunday.

The game

There will be 32 chess pieces, and two chess masters who will be controlling the moves of the pieces on the board. Alternates will also be selected in the event that participants drop out or miss the pre-meeting, and for special attacks.

The battle

  1. There shall be little or no physical contact between pieces not currently engaged in battle. During a battle, you may not touch the piece you are "fighting" unless you ask and they consent first. If you hurt, injure, or inflict any discomfort on another player in any way, shape or form you will be removed from the game immediately, no exceptions.
  2. When a move is made by the chess masters that results in a piece being taken, a battle will take place.
  3. All pieces, except the two involved, will remove themselves from the board and the two pieces will battle. The use of special attacks and moves is encouraged, and the back-up players, if called on, can join in the battle.
  4. The attacker will always win.
  5. The two pieces will battle and put on a show for the audience, and the loser will "die" in a dramatic way. Battles should last no longer than 3 minutes—if the battle exceeds the time limit, the attacker will be called on to "Finish Them".
  6. The loser will leave the board and observe the remainder of the match; they can get back into the game if a pawn makes it to the end.
  7. After the losing piece leaves the board, all the remaining pieces will return to their previous positions. Positions will not be marked, so you will have to remember where your space was before the battle started.
  8. Being in character is encouraged, as is play-acting. It would be impossible to provide microphones for all participants, so battle cries and the like should be loud. Other characters can also be used (i.e. for special attacks), except for those already on the board. However, do not get overly enthusiastic and harm someone (see #1).
  9. Unless you are part of the battle, DO NOT come onto the board. While it was fun to see Mokona using different weapons, it disrupts the game and can be a hazard. Please be respectful of the other participants. If you disrupt the game, you will be removed from the event.

General rules

  1. All entries must be easily recognizable characters from an anime, manga, movie, comic, or video game.
  2. All costumes must:
    1. Follow the convention guidelines—any entries that disregard this rule will be discarded.
      1. Costumes should be appropriate for all ages.
    2. Be self-contained, with no electrical plugs or other outside support required. A costume should be something that the applicant can move in; chess is, after all, a fighting game, and movement will be necessary for the role-playing. If your costume is bulky, heavy, heavy looking, or awkward, an explanation should be included with the application explaining in detail how the design of the costume makes quick movement possible.
      1. For chess masters, no masks will be allowed. Chess masters need to be able to see the pieces and plan their next move with ease.
    3. All weapons must adhere to the convention's weapon policy, and must be peace-bonded. If staff believes the player is violating the rules of peace-bonding, that player will be removed from the board and replaced.
    4. No props or stage accessories will be allowed which scatter. This means no confetti, no fake blood, no rose petals, and nothing else that could disrupt everyone's footing.
  3. Images of your costume must be submitted with your application. You will not be considered without all the information on your entry, as well as images. Remember to include your name and contact info, and the name/series of the character you are playing. You may submit more than one costume for consideration.
  4. Costumes will be selected on quality and construction, as well as the popularity of the character and show. Costumes not completed at the time of the convention may not be allowed to participate.
  5. Participants will be chosen and notified of their position the week before the convention, and will be required to attend a mandatory pre-game meeting before the game. If you do not attend the meeting, you will forfeit your place and it will be given to someone else.
  6. Any decisions of the Cosplay Chess Event Coordinator and Director of Programming are final.

Application form

Online applications for Kumoricon 2024 Cosplay Chess will open closer to the convention. Watch this space!