The Chess Variant Pages

This page is written by both of the game's inventors, Andrew Blechinger and Jarry Vega.

Canyon Chess

By Andrew Blechinger and Jarry Vega



This game was concocted in collaboration with Jarry Vega.  We call it "Canyon Chess."

The board is a normal 8x8 grid, with the following squares removed on both sides:  QKt1, QB1, Q1, K1, KB1, KKt1, QB2, KB2, QR4, and KR4.  (Here, descriptive was used for the sake of brevity.  From now on, I will use algebraic notation.)


White sets up his army as follows:

6 Pawns on the third rank, except a3 and h3.
2 Knights sit on b2 and g2.
The King is on d2, and the Queen on e2.

Now to introduce some new pieces.

Two Marshals go on a3 and h3, and Archbishops take their places at a2 and h2.

For Black, take all the 2's and 3's and convert them to 7's and 6's respectively.  For example, the Black Queen goes on e7.


As for the new pieces:  If we can assume that Queen=Rook+Bishop, then the following equations hold in our version:



The goal is simple...first to mate the other wins.

However, there are some rules changes:

Castling:  The King or Queen may exchange places with any other friendly piece, provided they are on the same rank and one square (or a space one square in size) separates them.

-Neither piece has to be on their starting squares.
-You may castle with the King or Queen any number of times.
-For Kings, castling across and out of check are both legal.

Some other important rules changes:

-Pawns may only advance one space on their first move.
-Pawn promotion occurs on the player's sixth rank.  After that, it may become any piece in the game.  (That is, no FIDE Rooks or Bishops.)
-If the opponent has a lone King, without any mobile pieces, the player has 10 moves to deliver mate.  If that is not achieved, the result is a draw.

Playing Tips

Exchange Values

Assuming the pawn is 1 point, the following apply:

Knight:  3 points
Archbishop:  6 points
Marshal:  8 points
Queen:  9 points


Next, I would like to include notation for the new way of castling.  For example, K-A would indicate that the King and an Archbishop exchanged positions.


An added bonus:  to play this game, simply take a standard chessboard, and mask off the squares at the top of this letter.  Turn your Rooks upside down to signify that they are Marshals, and somehow remind yourself that the Bishops in your set aren't normal Bishops.

Sample Game

Finally, a sample game we played together during play testing, which I hope will sum up the strategy in this game.

1. d4, b5.
2. b4, d5.
3. Q-N, dxe.
4. fxe, Nd6.
5. e5, g5.
6. exdQ+, QxQ.
7. K-N, Af5.
8. g4, QxM+.
9. KxQ, Ag6.
10. Ne4, f5.
11. Nc5+, AxN+.
12. dxc, Mxc.
13. Qg3, f4.
14. Nxf, AxN.
15. MxA, gxf.
16. Qxf, Nf5.
17. gxf, Md5.
18. QxM+, cxd.
19. Ab4, Me4.
20. Af3, MxA.
21. KxM, Kd6.
22. Kxb, e5.
23. Axe+, KxA.
24. Kc5, Ke4.
25. b4, d4.

Here, with his next move, White triggers the "10-move rule."  Therefore, I'll restart the count, only with asterisks.

*1. cxd, Kd3.
*2. b5, Kc3.
*3. b6Q, Kd3.
*4. d5, Ke4.
*5. d6M+, Ke5.
*6. Qb3, Kf4.
*7. Qe6, Kg5.
*8. Me4#