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Cylindrical chess

Ron Porter sent me the rules of this chess variant, of which he writes:
In high school (70-74) I played this variant (among others) with a friend.
Ron Porter called the game Troidal; Philip M. Cohen pointed out that a more standard name for this game is Cylindrical chess. Another name is Cylinder chess. The description below is due to Ron Porter.
The game is played on a standard board, with standard pieces, normal opening setup. Moves of all pieces are also as in orthodox chess, but with this modification:
Assume that the board is joined at the outermost ranks (A and H) as if it were a cylindrical board opened up. This means that pieces can move, threaten, and attack across the edge because they 'wrap' to the other side. All other rules (check, en-passant, promotion, stalemate, mate, castle) are exactly the same as orthodox chess.

Of special note:

  • Rooks are self-protecting at start (because they are really adjacent!)
  • Knights are spooky!
  • Bishops are deadly!

Cliff Lundberg sent email to me about this game, which he prefers over orthodox chess. The version he plays is identical to the one above, with one exception: castling is forbidden. The motivation for this rule change is the following:
Castling is a kludge put in to speed up development in regular chess; it is not necessary in cylindrical chess. We usually call it "wraparound" chess.
Cliff writes further:
We are former serious chess players who find this variant to be more fun than the old game. Right away there is a profound middle game, with many complications but not cramped--the bishops always affect play over the whole board.
Also, when he plays this game with his friends, the board is set up with the pieces transposed four files over; the rooks are in the middle, king and queen in the corners. This makes no difference logically, since there are no left and right edges anyway. But this helps to keep the game separate from standard chess in the players' minds, as he wrote to me. Other fans of this game are invited to contact Cliff.

Cylinder chess problems


Last modified: January 2, 1997. email address cleanup on October 6, 2005.