Cylinder chess

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Cylindrical chessboard
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Chessboard480.svg
b8 black cross
d8 black cross
a7 black cross
e7 black cross
f6 black cross
h6 black cross
g5 black cross
a4 black circle
f4 black cross
g4 black circle
h4 black cross
a3 black cross
b3 black circle
e3 black cross
f3 black circle
b2 black cross
d2 black cross
h2 black knight
b1 black circle
c1 white bishop
f1 black circle
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5 5
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Cylinder chess
The diagram shows possible moves of a bishop on c1 and a knight on h2 on a cylindrical board. Note that the bishop can't move through the upper and lower sides of the board.

Cylinder chess (or Cylindrical chess) is a chess variant with an unusual board. The game is played as if the board were a cylinder, with the left side of the board joined to the right side. According to Bill Wall, in 947 in a history of chess in India and Persia, the Arabic historian Ali al-Masudi described six different variants of chess, including astrological chess, circular chess and cylinder chess.[1]

Cylindrical board is also used in chess problems.


Rules and gameplay[edit]

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c6 black pawn
h6 white rook
b5 black king
c5 black pawn
h4 white rook
a3 white king
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5 5
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Mate in 2
Cylinder chess with the null move

The game is played as if there is no edge on the side of the board. When a piece goes off the right edge of the board in cylinder chess, it reappears on the left edge; when a piece goes off the left edge, it reappears on the right edge.[2]

It is legal to move a rook from a3 to h3, even if there is a piece on b3, since the rook can move left from a3. A bishop on c1 can go to h4, by moving from c1 to a3, and then going up and left from a3 to h4. Moves that do not change the position, like 1.Ra3-a3 (assuming the 3rd rank is empty), are usually not allowed, but sometimes they are in some problems. It is allowed to capture en passant over the board edge. For example, if White has a pawn on a5, Black on h7 and Black plays 1...h7-h5, White can capture it: 2.axh6.

Bishops are more valuable in this variant. And, unlike in standard chess, a king and rook cannot enforce checkmate against a lone king on the cylindrical board.

The game is sometimes played with changed rules for castling:

  • Castling is not allowed. Proponents of this convention argue that the purpose of castling is nullified by all files being equivalent, as they are on a cylinder.
  • In addition to normal castling, castling with the wrong rook (over the board edge) is also allowed. When castling in this way on the kingside, the king moves from e1 to g1 and the rook on a1 moves to f1. On the queenside, the king moves to c1 and the rook on h1 moves to d1.

Some cylinder chess problems allow moves that don't change the position (null moves).[3] At the right an example of such a problem is shown. The solution is to put Black in zugzwang by playing 1.Rh4-h4. Now, after any move by Black, White has a mate. The move 1.Rg4 doesn't work because of 1...Ka5 threatening to capture the rook on h6.

Strategy[edit]

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8
Chessboard480.svg
a8 black rook
b8 black knight
c8 black bishop
d8 black queen
e8 black king
f8 black bishop
g8 black knight
h8 black rook
a7 black pawn
b7 black pawn
c7 black pawn
d7 black pawn
e7 black cross
f7 black pawn
g7 black pawn
h7 black pawn
f6 black cross
e5 black pawn
g5 black cross
h4 black cross
a3 black cross
b3 white pawn
a2 white pawn
b2 black cross
c2 white pawn
d2 white pawn
e2 white pawn
f2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
h2 white pawn
a1 white rook
b1 white knight
c1 white bishop
d1 white queen
e1 white king
f1 white bishop
g1 white knight
h1 white rook
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The diagram shows the vulnerability of the move e5 by Black, when the bishop has been allowed access to the edge of the board by way of the knight's pawn. This applies to an easy check on the kings by the bishop in the same manner.

In Cylinder chess, the traditional hierarchy of queen, rook, knight/bishop, pawn, is altered, with the bishop becoming more versatile and therefore more deadly than the rook, thereby switching the positions of the bishop and rook. Also, the traditional important center squares, and the common moves of pawn e4, d4, e5, d5, become very vulnerable moves in Cylinder chess, due to the fact that it opens up the player's center to attacks by the bishops which have been allowed access to the side squares.

Horizontal Cylinder chess and Toroidal chess[edit]

Toroidal chessboard
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Chessboard480.svg
a8 black rook
c8 black bishop
f8 black bishop
h8 black rook
a7 black pawn
b7 black pawn
g7 black pawn
h7 black pawn
a6 black knight
c6 black pawn
d6 black queen
e6 black king
f6 black pawn
h6 black knight
d5 black pawn
e5 black pawn
d4 white pawn
e4 white pawn
a3 white knight
c3 white pawn
d3 white queen
e3 white king
f3 white pawn
h3 white knight
a2 white pawn
b2 white pawn
g2 white pawn
h2 white pawn
a1 white rook
c1 white bishop
f1 white bishop
h1 white rook
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Torus chess initial position on a standard board

In Horizontal Cylinder chess, first and last rank are connected. In Toroidal chess the board has the form of a torus. One can get a toroidal board by connecting the first and last ranks of the cylindrical board. On the toroidal board, even king and queen can't checkmate a lone king,[4] but two rooks and a king are sufficient.

See the Torus Chess link below for a toroidal variant that can be played, with an explanation of moves and strategy. The diagram on the right shows the starting position for play on a standard board, using toroidal geometry.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Earliest chess books and references by Bill Wall.
  2. ^ D.B. Pritchard (1994). The Encyclopedia of Chess Variants (p. 79). ISBN 0-9524142-0-1.
  3. ^ From A. W. Mongredien, Bulletin de la FFE, No. 19, 1926
  4. ^ Е.Я. Гик, Шахматы и математика, Наука, Москва, 1983 (in Russian)

External links[edit]