The Chess Variant Pages

Recognized Variant Logo.
This is a Chess Variant Pages Recognized Variant!

Avalanche chess

This variant has been invented in 1977 by Ralph Betza. It is popular in orthodox chess variant circles, both in NOST as in AISE, this game is frequently played. In NOST, the game is one of the 20 most popular CV's, probably it is in the top 5. The game is mentioned both in Pritchard's encyclopedia of chess variants, where it is mentioned as one of the best chess variants, as in the book of Schmittberger.

This game can be played via email on Richard's Play-By-eMail Server.

Below the description of standard avalanche chess, a description is given of a variant, designed by Alessandro Castelli, with the object of decreasing white's opening advantage.


The rules of normal chess are followed with these changes:


White has a large advantage. White's advantage is reduced in BALANCED AVALANCHE CHESS in which White had no pawn push on the first move.

Here are two sample games on Balanced Avalanche Chess, sent to me by Alessandro Castelli.

Salvadori-Castelli (GP91) 0-1

1. Nf3// Nf6/a3
2. Nc3/c6 d5/h3
3. d4/a6 Ne4/a4
4. Qd3/h6! Bf5/a5
5. Nh4/f6 Bh7/g3
6. N:e4/g6 d:e4/c3
7. Q:e4/e6 Bb4+/c4
8. Bd2/b6 B:d2+/f3
9. K:d2/h5 Qd6/b3
10. e3/c5 c:d4/b4!?
11. Q:a8/d3 Q:b4+/g4
12. K:d3/f5 Qb5/c5+?!
13. Kc2/e5?? Q:c5+/e4
14. Kb2/f4 Qb4+/g5
15. Kc1/b5 Qc3+//
16. Resigns

Castelli-Kustrin (GP91) 1-0

1. e4// e5/f3
2. f4/f6 h5/f5
3. Be2/d6 Qd7/g3
4. B:h5+/a6 Kd8/a3
5. Nc3/c6 Ne7/g4
6. Na4/a5 Qc7/b3
7. c4/b6 Nd7/d3
8. Nc3/c5 Bb7/g5
9. Nb5/g6 Nc6/h3
10. g:f6/d5!? N:f6/h4
11. Bg5/d4! g:h5/a4
12. Nf3// Ng4/f6!?
13. f:e7+// B:e7/b4
14. b:a5// b:a5//
15. Qd2// Qe6//
16. Rf1// Kd7//
17. Rb1// Bc6//
18. B:e7// Q:e7//??
19. Cb:d4//!! e:d4/e5
20. Rb7+// Ke6//
21. R:e7+// K:e7/e6
22. Qg5+// Resigns

Avalanche Reversed King/Queen Chess

Alessandro Castelli (email removed contact us for address) proposed a variant of Avalanche chess, named Avalanche Reversed King/Queen Chess, Avalanche II Chess, or Castelli's Avalanche Chess. Castelli is the International Champion and the Olympic Champion on standard Avalanche Chess.

In this variant, Black starts with the King on d8 and the Queen on e8. This artifice stops the threat: Qh5/f6+ and equilibrates the play.

Here is a sample game.

Castelli - Salvadori (grand Prix 1992)

1. Nf3/c6 d5/g3
2. d4/h6 Nf6/c3
3. Qa4/a6 Bg4/a3
4. Bf4/h5 a5/b3
5. Ne5/g6 b5/h3
6. Bg2/b4 b:a3/h4
7. Qb4/a4 ! Nfd7/e3
8. Qb7/c5 N:e5/e4
9. B:e5/c4 Qc6/f3
10. Q:c6/e6 N:c6/f4
11. B:h8/f6 a:b3/e5
12. B:d5/f5 ! N:d4//
13. c:d4/a2 !! b2//
14. B:c4/g5 b:a1=Q/d5
15. Bf6+// Kc8/d6
16. B:e6+// Kb7/d7
17. 00// !! Resigns

Text by Edward Jackman, Alessandro Castelli, and Hans Bodlaender. Philip M. Cohen pointed out an error in an earlier version.
WWW page created: 1995 or 1996. Last modified: February 27, 1997.
Mar 2000: D. Howe added link to Richard's Play-By-eMail Server.