The Chess Variant Pages

Rate Squarcle Chess for the 100 Squares Contest

Squarcle (Skw-air-kol) Chess, or Chess on the Surface of a Cone

By Christian Hupp

Squarcle Chess is so called because it is the combination of a square board (SQUARe) and a circular board (cirCLE).

Think of it as a series of nested Monopoly™ boards. The centermost board is 4 squares in size, the next one is 12 squares in size, the next is 20, and so on and on.

There are two types of Squarcle Chess: 10X10 Squarcle Chess, and 8X8 Squarcle Chess. Both will be displayed simultaneously, and I will mark off parts that only pertain to one variant or the other.

The the reason this variant could also be called chess onthe surface of a cone becomes apparent when you see the board:

Below is shown the starting positions of the 10X10 version of Squarcle Chess. There are a total of fifty pieces:1 White king, 1 Black king, 1 White queen, 1 Black queen, 1 white Count, 1 Black count, 2 White ballistas, 2 Black ballistas, 2 White trebuchets, 2 Black trebuchets, 2 White Rooks, 2 Black Rooks, 2 White rabbits, 2 Black rabbits, 2 White knights, 2 Black knights, 2 White bishops, 2 Black bishops, 10 White pawns, and 10 Black pawns. There are 25 pieces per player.

As always, the right-most square closest to you is white.

10X10 Squarcle Chess











The diagram below shows the starting positions of 8X8 Squarcle Chess. Notice how familiar it looks. There are 16 pieces per player (totaling 32 pieces):1 king, 1 queen, 2 bishops, 2 knights, 2 rooks, and 8 pawns. Like the board above, the right-hand, closest square is white.

8X8 Squarcle Chess









In this game, one special provision mut be made before I continue. It is a rule that already exists in FIDE chess, although it is a bit redundant in normal chess. The rule is as follows: no piece may move in such a way that the board looks no different at the end of the turn then it did at the beginning. This prevents people from being able to simply pass a turn.

All the pieces exist in both versions of squarcle chess, with the exception of the pieces marked.

The Pieces

  • King

    - The King's move is exactly like the FIDE Chess King's move. As the move is limited to an area of 8 squares, the changes in the board do not affect it.
  • Queen

    - A queen can travel in any constant direction (it cannot change directions in the middle of a move). To see how the queen moves, please examine the rook's move and the bishop's ove. The queen is capable of moving like both of these pieces.
  • Rook

    - This piece's move is self evident on a squarcle board. Either the Rook moves in a straight line from one edge to the other (Blue line), or it moves in a loop (red line). The rook will loop through a nuber of squares dependant on its position on the board. As an example, if the rook were on the outermost loop, it could traverse up to 35 squares. If, on the other hand, the rook were in the center, it could traverse only up to 5 squares counting the straight moves as well as the loop moves.
  • Bishop

    - A bishop moves in the same way as the diagonal portion of the Queen. The diagram is shown below.

    The length of a bishop's move is independant of its position, unlike the rook. For instance, if the bishop were on a corner, it could travel through 17 squares. In the center of the edge, the bishop still could travel through 17 squares.

  • Knight

    - Since the knight does not move in a line, as the queen, bishops and rooks do, it is not affected by the nature of the board. It moves just like an FIDE knight, as shown below (in blue crosses):

  • Rabbit (10)

    - The rabbit is a new piece. It moves as a rook does, but it jumps every other square, so that if the piece starts on a white square, it will end on a white square. This also means that, providing that the enemy (or friendly) piece is on a black square, and in the path of the rabbit, the rabbit can jump over it. Of course, if there is a piece on a white square, the rabbit is stopped at the closest available square. (The above condition is reversed if the rabbit starts on a black square.) The diagram is shown below.

    The blue Xs represent legal moves, while red Xs represent illegal moves. The A represents the rAbbit, the Fs represent Friendly pieces, and the Es represent Enemy Pieces. Note that the legal X on the same square as an enemy piece means that you can capture that piece (from this particular position).

  • Trebuchet (10)

    - The trebuchet (tray-boo-shay) is a new piece. Its movement is similar to the rook's, with one difference: the trebuchet may jump any number of pieces in its travels, provided it ends its turn by capturing the first enemy piece it encounters. Otherwise, it moves just like a rook, with the exception that it can only move 5 squares in a turn.
  • Ballista (10)

    - The ballista is a piece similar to the bishop, with one difference: it may jump over any pieces as it moves like a bishop, provided it ends its turn by capturing the first enemy piece it encounters. Otherwise, it moves just as a bishop, but only 5 squares at a turn.
  • Count (10)

    - the count (in a natural progression from the ballista and the trebuchet) moves as a queen does, except that it can jump over any number of friendly pieces, with the condition that it captures the first enemy piece it encounters. Also, if the count doesn't jump or capture, it can only move 5 spaces at a time, though it is not restricted to these five moves when it does jump. Like the trebuchet and the ballista, the count cannot capture without first jumping.
  • Pawn

    - the pawn moves like it does in normal chess.

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    Zillions of Games

    Squarcle Chess has now been implemented for Zillions of Games. Download and unzip this file to play Squarcle Chess against Zillions of Games:

    The 10x10 version of Squarcle Chess is an entry in the 100 Squares Contest
    Written by Christian Hupp; edited by Fergus Duniho
    WWW Page Created: Thu Aug 10, 2000; Last modified Thu Aug 31, 2000.